Hot cross buns are one thing I really miss at Easter as I’ve yet to come across a good dairy, gluten and sugar free alternative. I miss that combination of warm spices and sweet sultanas, and I especially miss the nostalgic spiced fruit smell while they’re toasting.
Last week I finally got round to trying out Sarah Britton’s life changing bread recipe (from her blog My New Roots), and O.M.G I can see why she called it that! This bread recipe is AMAZING. There’s no kneading, no waiting for it to prove and rise, no yeast, no wheat, no gluten, no additives or preservatives. Simply mix it all together, let it stand for 2 hours and then bake. That’s it!
I made a few tweaks to Sarah’s original recipe and replaced the oats with soaked buckwheat and left out the maple syrup, and it turned out brilliantly!
So naturally this got me thinking, would it be possible to make a dairy, grain and sugar free hot cross bun version of this bread?!?
The challenge was on, and a few recipe adaptations later I present to you life changing hot cross buns!! Woop woop! They’re completely grain, dairy, egg and yeast free, sugar free if you leave out the sultanas, and they even smell like spices and fruit when toasting!
The secret ingredient that holds them altogether is psyllium husks. If you’re not familiar with this ingredient, psyllium is one of natures most absorbent fibres and as such is brilliant at getting the digestion moving. It can also aid weight loss, alleviate diarrhoea and constipation, and help reduce cholesterol. Sounds pretty magical right?!
A small word of warning though, be careful not to get too enthusiastic with this magical little ingredient as it can have an adverse “draino” type effect, especially when hidden in a chocolate beetroot cake! 😂 The recommended dose is usually a teaspoon or two a day and you can find psyllium husks at most big supermakets and any whole foods or organic food store.
For this recipe it’s best to soak the buckwheat beforehand so you can rinse off the undesirable mucilaginous substance that comes off it. From there it’s up to you whether you also soak the nuts and seeds. The point of soaking is to remove the inhibitor enzymes on their skins that prevent them growing into plants, and that prevent us from digesting them easily. Soaking is also called activating as it essentially wakes up the seed or nut and it’s enzymes become live. Because the bread is baked at 175ºC however, they won’t stay activated, so soaking the nuts and seeds in this recipe would merely be to make them more digestible if thats something appealing to you.
Otherwise it’s simply a case of mixing all the ingredients together, let it sit to allow the psyllium and flaxseed to absorb the liquid, shape into buns, draw some crosses with coconut yoghurt, and bake!
The best way to eat these life changing hot cross buns is sliced in half and toasted with lashings of coconut oil or a spread of your choice. They also happen to freeze brilliantly so you can enjoy these spiced fruit buns all year round!
Life Changing Hot Cross Buns
Adapted from Sarah Britton’s Life Changing Loaf of Bread Recipe
Makes: 16 buns
Prep time: 15 minutes Soak time: 4 hours Bake time: 1 hour
1 cup/200g buckwheat groats, soaked
1/2 cup/85g almonds or hazelnuts
1/2 cup/75g sunflower seeds
1/2 cup/75g pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup/85g flaxseeds
4 Tbsp psyllium husks (or 3 Tbsp psyllium powder)
3 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
2 Tbsp rice syrup (optional)
2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp ground ginger
2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ground cardamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
pinch pink Himalayan salt
1 cup sultanas (optional)
1 1/2 cup/350ml filtered water
3 Tbsp coconut yoghurt for the crosses (optional)
To soak the buckwheat place it in a bowl and cover with filtered water. Leave at room temperature for 2 hours and then drain and rinse well. If you wish to soak the nuts and seeds do the same but leave the sunflower and pumpkin seeds to soak for 4-6 hours and the almonds to soak for 10-12 hours.
To make the hot cross buns, place all the ingredients into a bowl and stir with a large spoon until evenly mixed. Leave the mixture to stand for a minimum of 2 hours to allow the psyllium and flaxseeds to absorb all the water.
Preheat the oven to 170ºC fan bake and find a 20 x 20cm non-stick baking tin or silicon mould. Roll large spoonfuls of the mixture into balls (using wet hands if it starts to get sticky) and place them in into the tin or mould in rows. Aim to get 16 small buns or 8 extra large buns.
If you wish to draw the crosses, fill a small piping bag with coconut yoghurt and pipe crosses over the buns.
Place the hot cross buns into the centre of the oven and bake for approximately 1 hour. The buns will turn golden brown on top and when they’re ready they’ll feel firm and sound hollow when tapped. The buns should also come away easily from the sides of the pan. Remove the buns from the oven and place on a wire rack too cool before turning out of the mould or tin.
Use a bread knife to cut the buns apart, cut them in half, pop them in the toaster and serve with your choice of spread. These buns will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a week or 3 months in the freezer.