Sourdough Surprises: Cranberry Orange Hot Cross Buns (Whole Wheat)
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: Easter
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24
Hearty whole wheat hot cross buns flavored with dried cranberries and orange zest, decorated with orange icing and leavened with a sourdough starter.
  • For the sponge:
  • 1 Tbsp. sourdough starter (100% hydration)
  • ⅔ cup (5⅜ oz/ 52 g) lukewarm water
  • ⅔ cup (2.8 oz/79g) all-purpose flour
  • For the Dough:
  • 1 cup (6 oz/170g) dried cranberries, moistened in 1 Tbsp. orange juice
  • ⅓ cup (2⅝ oz/74.5g) orange juice
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup (1 stick, 4 oz/113g) unsalted butter, softened and cut into 2 pieces
  • 2¼ cups (9 oz/255g) whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups (8.5oz/240g) all purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup (2½ oz/70g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup (1 oz/28g) nonfat dry milk powder
  • 1½ tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • zest from one orange
  • ½ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • For the Icing:
  • 1½ cups (6 oz/170g) confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 - 5 tsp. orange juice (or milk or cream)
  1. Combine the sponge ingredients in a bowl. Cover and let sit overnight or for 8-10 hours until the mixture is bubbly.
  2. Combine the sponge with the remaining dough ingredients except the cranberries and mix and knead until the dough is soft and smooth. You may need a little extra flour to compensate for the extra moisture from the starter.
  3. Cover the dough and allow it to rise until it is puffy though not doubled in bulk. This took several hours in my chilly house.
  4. Grease two 9" round cake pans and set aside.
  5. Gently deflate the dough and gently knead in the cranberries. Divide the dough into 24 pieces and roll each into a round ball.
  6. Place 12 balls in each pan, about ¾ inch apart. Cover and let rise in a warm place until they are puffy and touching each other. This took another few hours even though I proofed it in an oven with the light on for warmth.
  7. Toward the end of the rise, preheat the oven to 350F/177C.
  8. Uncover and bake the buns for 25 minutes, until they are light golden on top. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes so they are still warm but not so hot that the icing will run off.
  9. While the buns are cooling, make the icing by combining the sugar, vanilla, salt and orange juice together in a small bowl. Drizzle the icing over the warm buns in a cross over each bun. Serve warm.
Recipe by BakeNQuilt at