A dairy free version of the Easter classic!

These were taken into one of our offices and no one had a clue they were any different than regular hot cross buns! If you’re after a non vegan version you can click here or here (this second recipe uses a bread machine!) if not, then let’s get on with it! We were really keen to explore the idea of making enriched dough without dairy and egg, and seeing as it’s Easter, hot cross buns felt like the perfect place to start. Whilst neither of us are vegan ourselves, we like to experiment with different recipes to see how excluding dairy or egg and replacing with something plant based changes the outcome. Vegan cupcakes are far superior to a classic cupcake in our opinion (softer, fluffier, just straight up delicious!!)

A regular enriched dough calls for butter, milk and egg, these ingredients are added in to make softer, tastier dough. It takes a little patience sometimes as adding fat into your dough can mean the yeast is less active which is why enriched dough often calls for more yeast than a regular bread recipe. In this vegan version we simply eliminated the egg and swapped our milk and butter for dairy free alternatives, not messing around with anything too much. We thought that perhaps the difference in fat and sugar content in the milk may affect our buns, we chose to opt for oat milk as it’s a dairy free milk with one of the higher fat contents, and is therefore more similar to cow’s milk. Our choice for dairy free butter was coconut vitalite which is generally our go to for vegan baking (namely vegan buttercream).

So once we had our dough together, we heat our milk and water a little and combine with the yeast and then pop everything in a stand mixer and let it do it’s thing, we needed to add in the fruit. Some recipes call for the fruit to be added between first and second prove but we really find this knocks the air out of the buns so we add it in right as the end of the kneading process and fold it into the dough until it’s evenly distributed. After the first prove, you need to portion up and shape your buns, when placing them on a baking tray you want them to be just a few centimetres apart so that by the time they’ve had their second prove and are about to go in the oven they’re just about touching. When they’re baking make your syrup so you can brush them as soon as they’re out the oven and you have you’re delicious sticky, shiny vegan hot cross buns!

Vegan Hot Cross Buns
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  1. 500g strong white bread flour
  2. 2 x 7g yeast
  3. 50g caster sugar
  4. 200ml non dairy milk (we used oat milk)
  5. 60ml water
  6. 60g dairy free butter (we used vitalite)
  7. 2 tsp salt
  8. 1 tsp cinnamon
  9. 1 tsp mixed spice
  10. 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  11. 50g sultanas
  12. 50g dried cranberries
  13. 1 orange juice and zest
  1. 2-3 tbsp plain flour
  2. 1 tbsp caster sugar
  3. water
  4. almond extract
  1. 50g sugar
  2. 50ml water
  3. 1 tbsp honey
  1. Mix together your dried fruit, zest and juice in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Gently heat your milk & water in a pan or the microwave till it's lukewarm, remove from the heat and add the yeast.
  3. In your stand mixer, fitted with dough hook attachment (or bowl if you're doing it by hand), add the flour, salt, sugar & spices.
  4. Add in the non dairy butter and milk/yeast mixture. Turn on your mixer and leave it to work to form a smooth dough.
  5. We like to finish our dough off by hand, so tip onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a couple of minutes until it's soft to touch, then fold in your fruit so it's evenly distributed through the dough.
  6. Transfer to a bowl and cover - leave to prove for an hour, or until doubled in size.
  7. Knock the dough back and portion and roll into 10-12 equal balls (depending on how big you want them). Place on a lined baking tray and cover with cling film or a tea towel for about 40mins.
  8. Mix together the plain flour & sugar with a little water and the almond extract to create a thick paste, add a little water at a time till you get the consistency you're happy with for piping - transfer to a piping bag and snip the end off to create a little hole.
  9. Brush on a little non diary milk to your risen buns and pipe crosses on the top of the buns with your almond paste.
  10. Pop in the oven at 180C for 15-20mins till they're golden brown.
  11. Meanwhile in a pan boil the sugar, water & honey together on a high heat to create a sugar syrup, brush on your hot cross buns whilst they're still hot to create a nice sticky bun, leave to cool.
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