Try Bannock Cross Buns this Easter

With Easter approaching I thought i would try an alternative to traditional hot cross buns. Sourdough Selkirk Bannock Buns.

Thomas Rocliffe, a 14th-century monk, is widely credited as making the very first hot cross or Alban bun in 1361. A sweet, fruity bake bearing a cross on top, the buns were given to the local poor on Good Friday. This Easter treat so pleased the recipients that word soon spread, and efforts were made across the country to imitate these cakes. By the 19th century, hot cross buns were commonly eaten on Good Friday to mark the end of Lent.

Traditionally Bannock bread was an unleavened bread made from wheat flour and oatmeal and cooked on a hot ‘stane’ placed directly in a fire .Similar to Australian Damper. As raising agents were introduced Selkirk bannock from Scotland is well-known and named after the town in the Scottish borders where it is traditionally made. It is a spongy, buttery variety, sometimes compared to a fruitcake. made from wheat flour and containing a very large quantity of raisins. The first known maker of this variety was a baker named Robbie Douglas, who opened his shop in Selkirk in 1859.

The bannock is started with a ‘sponge dough’ (like a sourdough bread starter) and over the course of approximately twenty hours they add other ingredients such as butter. It then goes through fermentation stages prior to baking.

Here i will be using my Sourdough starter (see ‘Starter for Ten’ blog) Alternatively though you could use a 7g sachet of dried yeast.

Ingredients to make 2 – 750g Bannock buns.

For the Fruit Mix – 130g Sultanas, 130g raisins, 120g Crystallised Ginger, 10g ground ginger, 20g Fennel seeds, 90mls Orange Juice (splash of Cointreau liqueur)

Mix the ingredients above and leave to soak for 12-24 hours, mixing whenever passing.

To make the ‘Sponge’

110g Sourdough starter

110g White bread flour

30g Wholemeal Bread flour

110mls lukewarm water.

Mix well and leave overnight to reinvigorate the sourdough starter.

If you are using Dried Yeast you will not need to make a ‘sponge.’

Final Dough

275g of the Refreshed sourdough ‘sponge’ from above

White Bread Flour 200g

Wholemeal Bread flour 200g

Butter 60g

Honey 30g

salt 5g

230mls of lukewarm Water

(If you are using Dried yeast – add – 300g White Flour, 300g Wholemeal flour and the 7g Yeast and 340mls water)


Place the Flour, salt, (yeast if using) honey and water in a bowl and mix.

Cover and leave for 30-60 minutes

Turn onto a floured work surface and work in the finely chopped butter.

Knead well – working in the butter. When there are no lumps of butter present, add the sponge mix and knead for a few minutes until the dough is soft and pliable.

Rest the Dough for 10 minutes.


Roll out the dough into a rough rectangle

Spread the Fruit mix evenly over the dough

Roll up into a ‘sausage.’ and then flatten this slightly

Turn 90 degrees and roll the flattened sausage up into a roll.(see photo)

Divide into 2 pieces and shape each piece into a round.

Flour the outside of each piece and place into a proving basket or onto a lined baking tray and leave to prove for 4-6 hours in a warm place.


If in a proving basket, tip out onto a lined baking tray

Bake for 35-45 minutes in the oven at 180oC


Immediately upon removing from oven, glaze generously with 100g honey and 50g double cream – It will need several coats

Allow to cool on a wire rack.