No knead Hot cross bun bread

Matt Preston sparked the whole affair. Referring of course to kitchen hacks. He managed to make the casual weekend baker look like a master. If the thought of sourdough starters and endless kneading fills you with dread then this No knead hot cross bun bread is for you. Filled with the warming spices of traditional hot cross buns, Easter bread couldn’t be simpler.

No knead Hot cross bun bread

The original no prove bread recipe first appeared on Masterchef, Australia. Masterchef was possibly the first cooking show that inspired hopefuls to dream about careers in food. Personally, I loved the masterclasses most. Adriano Zumbo’s croquembouche had me knee-deep in choux, complete with caramel dipping, unstable towers and hot-spun sugar. Needless to say, burn shield came in very handy. Back to the bread. I’ve made Matt Preston’s basic bread often, and then started experimenting with alternate flavourings and flours. Once you have the wet to dry ratios firmly in place, the dough is open for creative flavour substitutions.

No knead Hot cross bun bread

Flavouring your No knead hot cross bun bread

Here, I’ve meddled with the recipe, enriching the dough with butter, dried fruits and warming spices.The hands-on time is probably 5 minutes with a quick mix the night before and baked the following morning. You’re rewarded with cinnamon air and the seductive smell of yeasted homemade bread. The texture is surprisingly light with a hard, darkened crust. It couldn’t be simpler.

No knead Hot cross bun bread


No Knead Hot Cross Bun Bread
Makes 1 loaf


  • 320g cake wheat flour
  • 200g wholemeal spelt flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant dried yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup castor sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1  teaspoon mixed spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • grated zest of 1 orange
  • 1 1/2 cups mixed dried fruit (sultanas, raisins, currants and candied orange peel)
  • 1/4 cup melted butter, cooled
  • 500ml room temperature water
  1. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, salt, sugar, yeast and spices.
  2. Stir through the dried fruit.
  3. Add the butter and water to the flour and mix until well combined.
  4. Cover the bowl with cling film and refrigerate overnight.
  5. Remove the bowl from the fridge and bring up to room temperature.
  6. Preheat the oven to 200º C.
  7. Line a 25cm round oven-proof dish or baking tray with parchment paper. Grease or flour well to prevent sticking.
  8. With a spatula dipped in flour, scoop the dough into the prepared tin or straight onto the baking sheet.
  9. Dust the top of the dough lightly with flour and bake for 55-60 minutes until deeply golden and cooked through.
  10. Cool on a wire rack and serve with whipped butter.


For all the hot cross bun fans, here are several favourites:

Hot cross bun scroll scones

Spicy hot cross bun soda bread

Hot Cross Buns with Honey Butter

9 Comments. Leave new

  • Could this be any more simple, I love it! I usually make a (more labour intensive) version with dried apricots and seeds but I am going to try this tonight. It looks and sounds absolutely delicious Dianne! Can I check, do you always use ordinary plain flour rather than strong bread flour? Happy Easter and thank you for sharing! x

  • Dianne Bibby
    28 March 2016 6:07 pm

    And a happy Easter to you. I think we’ve now eaten enough chocolate to last another year! I love heavily fruited breads and the apricots sound really good. I use mostly white bread flour when making bread, but for this no-knead version, I find that all-purpose flour helps to keep the texture lighter, almost cake-like. It also keeps slightly longer. Hope morning tea is going to be scrumptious!

  • Hi Di, does this one need to prove before it goes in the oven – or just come to room temperature and then straight into the oven?

  • Dianne Bibby
    11 April 2020 11:00 am

    Hello Les. Yes, it does need to do a second proof before baking. I think it is in the method to proof until doubled in size. This could be different length of time, depending on the weather. Lots of love. Happy baking. D

  • Hi Di, regarding the no prove hot cross bun bread , I tried it and it Had a lovely flavour but as a bread it was a flop. Very dense and doughy, especially towards the middle of the bread . It was also very wet and tacky so could not shape it at all. Just scooped it out with a spatula as recipe suggests and it plopped on the baking sheet making a long flat shape like a ciabatta. It hardly rose either . Was delicious hot out the oven but when cold it was what my mother used to call ‘doodgooi’.
    Any idea of what went wrong ?

  • Dianne Bibby
    13 April 2020 3:50 pm

    Hi Alison. Sorry to hear your bread was disappointing. Not sure what could’ve gone wrong. I’ve made and tested it dozens of times and received great reviews from readers who made it over Easter. Let’s see if we can pinpoint a few possible pitfalls.
    Always double check the scale is set on grams not pounds. I know it sounds obvious, but it’s happened often with readers and myself.
    It’s specifically a no-knead bread because the dough is wet and very well hydrated. As it proofs overnight, it will firm up though. It must have an overnight proof.
    The expiry date of both flour and yeast is also important. Flour brands differ one from another as too the absorption.
    The bread is baked in a cast iron pot, like a Le Creuset or similar. The encompassing heat from the pot cooks the bread faster too, almost like an oven within an oven. The dough takes the shape of the vessel that it’s baked in and is not intended to shape free-hand.
    I hope this helps. Kind regards Di

  • Thanks for your reply! I think there is a very real chance that the scale was in pounds🥺
    My niece used the scale after me and said that someone had changed it and it was in POUNDS! And I remember thinking …hmmmm…wonder what measure I was using . I’m staying with family for lockdown so not familiar with the kitchen and utensils.
    I think a cast iron pot is a great tip and will also check date of yeast.
    I forgot to add that we ate the whole lot regardless and the middle piece which really was too wet to even toast , I gave to the hens who clearly also found it very 😋
    Will definitely try it again.
    Best wishes , Alison

  • Dianne Bibby
    14 April 2020 2:19 pm

    You’re welcome Alison. Even my scale, which I always set on grams, often converts to pounds as I dust off excess flour. Such a small thing, but clearly disastrous for baking. Hope round two is obstacle free. All the best. Di

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