Hot Cross Damper Buns

Hot Cross Damper Buns



For those of us that like a bit more grunt in our buns!


Hot Cross Buns are traditionally light and soft and can be made using yeast or sourdough starter. My damper buns are considerably quicker and easier and best of all, they have a crunchy exterior and a denser dough making them irresistible as they come out of the oven (or air-frier 😃). 

1½ cups self-raising flour
1 cup wholemeal flour
2 tsp baking powder
¼ cup caster sugar
Pinch salt
2½tsp ground cassia or cinnamon
80gm cold butter
100ml water
150ml milk
100gm sultanas

2Tbsp plain flour
2tsp caster sugar
30ml water

1 x egg to glaze

Butter to serve


  1. Pre-heat oven to 180°C.
  2. Place flours, baking powder, sugar, salt and spice into large bowl. Mix to combine with your hands or a balloon whisk.
  3. Grate butter into dry mix tossing occasionally to coat rather mixing it as it will clump back together. Then rub any larger pieces of butter in, using clean hands.
  4. Add water and milk. Using a pastry scraper or rounded edged knife, mix to form dough. It should be wet-ish. Scrape out onto bench, and knead for 30 seconds or so, to simply bring together to form a smooth ball. If too wet to handle, scatter bench and dough with a little flour and try again. Don’t add too much flour as it will make the damper dry.
  5. Press dough into a flat shape about the size of a side plate and scatter over sultanas. Fold dough over fruit, and briefly knead to disperse sultanas throughout the dough.
  6. Divide into 8 equal pieces of about 110gm. Shape into buns and set on non-stick paper lined baking tray, about 2cm apart from each other.
  7. Make cross mixture. Mix flour and sugar with water to make a loose dough, soft enough to pipe, but not so soft that it pools. Place into disposable piping bag. Snip off the end to make a ¼ to ½cm wide hole.
  8. Whisk whole egg and brush over each bun.
  9. Pipe a cross on each bun.
  10. Bake for 18 to 25 minutes, until golden. Test by tapping base of bun, if sounding hollow they are ready.
  11. Serve warm with lashings of butter.


  • I usually advise to measure out ingredients with scales rather than using cups when it comes to baking. However, damper is a quick ‘bread’ to make and is forgiving enough to be able to work even if the amounts are slightly off. It’s all about learning to throw this together when you’re out in the bush or camping anywhere, using your intuition and common sense!
  • I prefer cassia to cinnamon as it has a sweeter taste profile. Use what you prefer.
  • Use all white or all wholemeal flour. Note wholemeal flour may need a touch more liquid to make the dough workable.
  • If you only have plain flour (white or wholemeal), to make self-raising, add 2 tsp baking powder per cup of flour.
  • The milk helps to make a softer crumb and helps with the exterior browning. No milk? Use all water.
  • Use a pastry scraper to move dough to the tip of the bag ready to pipe the crosses. See video.
  • These buns are best eaten fresh on the day of making, otherwise freeze for up to 1 month. Defrost in microwave.
  • Toasting these buns is best done in the oven under a grill as they won’t fit in a toaster most probably.
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