If you are avoiding gluten in your diet, it’s usually quite easy to come up with alternative choices without missing out too much. But there are certain times of the year when you really want to join in with traditional treats, and hot cross buns at Easter is definitely one of them.
These Gluten Free Healthy Hot Cross Buns are as close as you’ll get to the real thing but without the gluten. They can’t pretend to be quite as light and fluffy as the originals, but these are wholesomely satisfying and surprisingly light on the tummy. Sweetened with maple syrup and packed with fruit and spices, they are delicious served warm and buttered.
The perfect way to make sure no one feels left out.
- To make a double batch (around 2 dozen depending on size of the buns)
- Try to use organic ingredients wherever possible so your buns will be extra clean and healthy.
- 500g (4 cups) Gluten free brown bread flour (Doves is good)
- 1 cup psyllium husk (makes the dough lighter in texture)
- 400ml warmed milk
- 100ml maple syrup
- 100g melted butter
- 2 eggs beaten
- 2 tsp (12g) dried yeast
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tsp mixed spice or one each of cinnamon and nutmeg
- 1 grated eating apple
- 300g/ 1½ cups of organic sultanas and raisins
- Grated zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons gluten free flour mixed with a tbsp water and 1tsp maple syrup to make a paste for the crosses ( these should be piped on with a disposable icing bag)
- Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl (flour, psyllium, salt, spices) and make a well in the centre.
- Warm the milk over a gentle heat in a saucepan, and add the maple syrup and melt in the butter.
- Once the butter is completely melted, allow the milky mixture to cool to warm and stir in the beaten eggs ( you don't want them to scramble!)
- Sprinkle the yeast onto the surface of the lukewarm milk this should help it to activate and give your dough a better rise.
- Grate the apple and citrus zests into smaller bowl and add the raisins or sultanas. Turn all the fruit round together to blend them evenly.
- Stir in the milk/egg mixture ( which should now be starting to froth), into the well and combine the wet and dry ingredients, also sprinkling in the bowl of fruity ingredients.
- Stir together just enough to make sure everything is well blended into a sticky dough, but don't over work - it is not necessary to knead either as you would with normal bread dough.
- Gluten free dough only rises once, so shape it into small bun shapes and place generously spaced apart, on to parchment lined baking sheets.
- Cover the buns with lightly oiled cling film and leave to rise for at least an hour in a warm place ( a warm boiler cupboard is perfect, or a preheated oven which has been turned off and allowed to cool slightly).
- Once the buns have doubled in size or thereabouts, pipe on the crosses with the flour paste. If it isn't Easter just leave out this stage, but the buns taste good any time of year!
- Bake in a moderately hot oven at 180 0c /350 f for around 15 mins, and once baked, open the door of the oven and allow to cool slowly.
- They are cooked if they sound hollow when you tap them on the bottom, but if you're not sure you can always test with a toothpick.
- You can brush with some more beaten egg and milk to glaze them as they bake, or with a little warmed honey, water and lemon juice as they are cooling in the oven.
- Serve warm and buttered.
- These freeze well, and can be warmed up in the oven whenever you need buns!
Once you have been baking gluten free for a while, you learn a few tricks the hard way. Gluten free fours tend have a rather drying effect on the dough, so in this recipe I’ve add a grated apple, maple syrup rather than sugar and a little extra milk to help to keep the buns moist.
The psyllium husk is a fantastic ingredient because it brings lightness to the texture and is excellent for binding everything together. It has the added benefit of being really helpful for your digestion too, as it has both cleansing and calming properties. But if you’re not avoiding wheat, check out my Healthy Hot Cross Buns recipe for a traditional Hot Cross Bun recipe with a healthy twist.