Sourdough Recipes

Spiced Ale Sourdough Hot Cross Buns

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One a Penny, Two a Penny, Hot Cross Buns!

I have a rather vivid  memory of me in preschool playing this song on a recorder. I can see the room (my preschool was held in a church and the “music” room was in a meeting room that had those carpet covered moveable divider walls), the teacher behind a keyboard, and a bunch of little 3 and 4 year olds trying to screech out these notes. I had no clue what a hot cross bun was until I became an adult, but I did remember this song.
I have previously made a hot cross bun, but when this month’s Sourdough Surprises challenge came along, I knew we were going to have to try a sourdough version, too. This version is very similar to the yeasted version, with a few small changes. Sourdough, obviously, but I also added more spices, soaked the dried fruits in hot black tea overnight, and used a dark ale. Originally supposed to be a stout, I realized I didn’t have any beer when I was mixing up my poolish, and a quick knock at the neighbor’s door turned up a perfect surprise. They had a lone bottle of Spiced Christmas Ale in the back of their fridge, and I thought it could not be a more perfect addition.
These buns are a perfect treat for your Easter table, or any time. They are soft, slightly sweet, and deliciously flavored. The tang of sourdough is mellowed by the ale and spices, and everything seems to blend together perfectly.

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Yield: 20 rolls

Spiced Ale Sourdough Hot Cross Buns

Spiced Ale Sourdough Hot Cross Buns

These spiced hot cross buns are a perfect sourdough recipe to use your discard with. Flavorful and tender, these buns are a great way to start your day.

Prep Time 1 days 9 hours
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 days 9 hours 30 minutes



  • 325 ml Spiced Ale or stout
  • 150 g sourdough starter
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • 800 g flour
  • 325 g mixed dried fruit (I used raisins, prunes, cherries and cranberries but you use whatever combination you want)
  • 175 g mixed peel (candied/crystallized orange and lemon zest)
  • 200 ml hot black tea
  • 1 large egg
  • 50 mg melted butter
  • 50 g sugar
  • 1.5 tsp salt

Cross topping:

  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 TBSP water


  • 3 TBSP boiling water
  • 3 TBSP sugar
  • (I also added 1 tsp orange blossom water, but this is optional)


The night before:

  1. Mix together the ale, starter, spices and 250 g of flour in a large bowl.
  2. In a medium bowl mix the dried fruit, mixed peel and hot black tea.
  3. Cover both bowls and allow to sit on the counter overnight.

In the morning:

  1. Mix the plumped up fruit, egg and melted butter together in the bowl of an electric mixer.
  2. Stir in the spiced beer batter.
  3. Mix in the flour, sugar, and salt and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
  4. Stretch and fold the dough, cover with a tea towel and let it rest for 30 minutes.
  5. Stretch and fold the dough, recover, and let it rest for another 30 minutes.
  6. Stretch and fold the dough, recover, and let it rest for an hour.
  7. Stretch and fold the dough, recover, and let it rest for 2 hours.
  8. Weight out 100 g balls of dough (you should get 20), roll them into balls and place on a parchment lined baking sheet so they are almost touching.
  9. Cover with a tea towel and allow to sit at room temperature for 3-4 hours.
  10. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  11. In a small bowl whisk together the flour and water to form a paste and pipe crosses onto the tops of the buns.
  12. Bake 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
  13. While the buns are still hot, mix together the boiling water and sugar for the glaze (and orange blossom water, if you want), and brush over the top.
  14. Allow to cool, Enjoy!

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving:Calories: 498 Total Fat: 30g Saturated Fat: 18g Trans Fat: 1g Unsaturated Fat: 9g Cholesterol: 86mg Sodium: 413mg Carbohydrates: 51g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 3g Sugar: 13g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 6g

(adapted from Lauren Bakes)

This post was submitted to Yeastspotting, a weekly collected of all things delicious and yeasted!


  • Reply
    April 20, 2014 at 2:05 PM

    I have never seen a bun cut that way for eating. And it's never occurred to me that I haven't. I shall have to try it myself now!

  • Reply
    April 20, 2014 at 3:22 PM

    Mmmm, I made this recipe last year and OMG so good! Spiced Christmas ale would be the perfect addition here 🙂

  • Reply
    Varadas Kitchen
    April 20, 2014 at 4:52 PM

    Love the way yours turned out. I too remember the poem from books I read as a child and had no idea what they were until this challenge.

  • Reply
    April 20, 2014 at 9:39 PM

    Soaking the fruit in black tea overnight is a great idea. i'll have to try that next time I make this recipe

  • Reply
    April 20, 2014 at 10:41 PM

    I love that you used ale, and what a sweet coincidence your neighbor had spiced ale! They must have turned out so good.

  • Reply
    shelley c.
    April 21, 2014 at 12:58 AM

    I LOVE the ale. And your buns look so awesome!! 😉

  • Reply
    Cathy W.
    April 21, 2014 at 1:53 PM

    Spiced ale sounds like a great addition to these buns and soaked fruit in black tea. Wow!

  • Reply
    April 21, 2014 at 2:54 PM

    The ale and all the fruits and spices sound so good. I can't wait to try out the recipe.

  • Reply
    April 21, 2014 at 5:40 PM

    I'm intrigued by the ale in this recipe! Definitely will have to put that on my list of things to try.

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