Hot Cross bun Loaf by Jesse Wells,

Head Chef - Forest Lodge Hotel




I enjoy a good hot cross bun a lot! But trying to get them in toaster sometimes can be a bit of a faff.

So i tried a hot cross bun loaf instead with an idea of pairing it with cheese. I love sweet things like honey with cheese, it doesn’t all have to be acidic with cheese in my opinion.

The loaf slices really well, and lasts a few days. I paired it with some of my favourite cheeses from the Book and Bucket cheese company, Hardy’s a 9 month old hard manchego style and ‘Orwell’ a soft sheep milk cheese (they also make a wonderful version of the soft cheese with wild garlic which is incredible on warm crusty bread). Also with a cucumber chutney and a spiced tomato chutney. But you can serve it with whatever cheese you like. Or just eat it warm straight away, or toast. It may seem odd with the cheese but it really does work, it’s definitely worth a go.



500g plain or bread flour

9g dried yeast

300g mixed peel/fruit like sultanas

1 x egg

40g butter

300ml milk

5 teaspoon mixed spice

75g sugar

10 g salt

Zest of 1 orange

Rice flour for dusting

Glaze - 100g water 100g caster sugar

For the glaze bring the 100g water and sugar to the boil, and allow to cool.


In a bowl weigh the flour, salt, fruit. Mix together.


In a pan add the milk, mixed spice, orange zest, sugar, butter. Put on a gentle heat, whisk until just warm. Make sure it doesn’t simmer or boil.

Allow to cool slightly, (make sure its not hot, just slightly warm) whisk in the yeast, and 1 egg.


Now add the liquid mix to the dry mix, i use my hands to bring it together. Form a dough. Then leave for 30 mins covered to autolyse.


During the autolyse the flour absorbs the water, becoming fully hydrated. This activates enzymes in the flour that stimulate the proteins to start gluten development. At the same time, further enzymes are starting to break starch down into the simple sugars that will feed the yeast during the bulk prove.


This also allows you to make all sorts of bread easily with no mixer and with very minimal kneading/effort involved.


When the 30 mins is up you should have seen the dough increase by at least 1/3 in size, remove the dough from the bowl onto a very lightly floured work surface.  Knead to just bring the dough back together, to a smooth surfaced dough Cut in half.  Roll each half to a flat.


Imagine the top of your dough is 12 o clock, and work in quarters, the right being 3 o clock, the bottom 6, the left 9.


Lift 12 o’clock up and bring down to 6 and push down. Bring 3 over to 9 push down. Bring 9 over to 3 and push down. then finally 6 up to wear 12 is. You should have what resembles a small loaf. Turnover, cup your hands round each end of the dough, and roll the dough across the bench towards you. This just seals the folds you made. This technique comes from sourdough shaping. Creating tension in the dough, and giving a good rise and shape.


When you have two loaves, Take 2 loaf tins, oil very lightly and dust with rice flour. Normal flour will work.  Place your loaves in the tins, leave covered in a warm place until doubled in size.


Bake at 160 until golden brown and the loaf springs back. To test remove from the tin, use a cake skewer and ensure it comes out clean. The hollow test doesn’t work on this as its a soft bun.


When cooked remove to a wire rack, and brush with the glaze mixture.