Hot cross buns - not rising enough

I am using Paul Hollywood's recipe and the yeast is mixed with flour, etc and then the warmish milk/butter mixture is added to the dry ingredients. Then the 1st kneading for 5 minutes and then leaving in bowl to double in size and then ah hour later dividing them into buns and leaving for another hour to double in size, etc. The first batch was rather flat and the second, a bit better but not like a real bun! I figured after the first batch that the milk wasn't warm enough and added the milk warmer to the second batch which I think helped. Both batches tasted great. I have read that some recipes the yeast is added to the water first so it froths up and then added to the dry ingredients and this recipe doesn't do that. So, is the problem, not enough yeast, not enough kneading, not dissolving yeast first in milk, putting buns too far apart on the tray forcing the buns to rise rather than spread. ? This is the first time I have made them and would like to have a great batch as they taste great. I have tried to google for an answer but not much luck. Thank you in advance.

Chef_shazzie10, Mar 31, 2:38 pm

it depends on the yeast. instant yeast does not need to be added to fluid, dried yeast does.

warm should be body temperature, so should feel neither hot nor cold when you hold your finger in it. too warm and it will kill the yeast.

Chef_unknowndisorder, Mar 31, 2:48 pm

Use high grade Flour, and yes place the yeast in Blood heat water with some flour, and a small amount of sugar, cover with glad wrap, 10 minutes.
If an egg is used then add this into the yeast mix, before adding to the Flour.
Kneading gets the air into the dough ,so you may not be giving it enough .
Blood heat, is when you can just not hold your finger in the hot water.
To assist the rising of the yeast, place it over a bowl of hot water and warp it in a towel.
Same with the dough to rise, Just oil the dough, place in bowel, cover with glad warp, then place over a bowl of hot water, warp in a towel till proven.

Chef_aj.2., Mar 31, 7:03 pm


OP, is the yeast you are using with in its use by date?.
Also is it small brown like seeds, if so that is the yeast I use for making bread, and crumpets , and I do as in my above post.

Chef_aj.2., Mar 31, 7:06 pm

What brand/type of yeast are you using?

Chef_sarahb5, Mar 31, 9:06 pm

Check your yeast. I always activate mine first whether it's instant or other because about two weeks ago I had some yeast I bought in December that said it was good until April not activate at all. It was Pams yeast. So I did another test in warm water to double check - same thing no reaction. I then went out and bought new yeast (Edmonds) activated it and it worked. I did ring Pam's to complain and got some vouchers. I am wondering if it was too hot in my dark pantry over Jan/Feb? The new yeast says to refrigerate after opening whereas the Pams ones didn't.
I'm going to make a Paul Hollywood hot cross bun recipe tomorrow that uses fresh fruit as well as dried.
Good luck and what a bummer, at least they taste good.

Chef_village.green, Mar 31, 9:25 pm

I didn't want to bump the thread I found the below quotes, but thought may be of interest(to do with hot cross buns not rising):

Chef_unknowndisorder, Mar 31, 11:01 pm

My advice is not to leave a big gap between the buns unless you want them to spread. I put them side by side so they are higher. Also depending on how warm it is you may need to leave them longer to double in size.
Oh I don't do them on a tray either but in a cake tin, my tin takes about 7 in the round one and 9 in the square one from memory, haven't made any this year yet.
I really like Paul Hollywood's recipes as well.

Chef_cgvl, Apr 1, 9:10 am

Keep your yeast in the deepfreeze- and it will and cannot outdate.

Chef_lilyfield, Apr 1, 9:19 am

Thank you everyone for your help. I used Edmonds Instant Dry Yeast, best before 03/08/2016. I did read in the feedback to the recipe that cinnamon affects yeast doing its thing and the buns take 2 tsps of cinnamon. AJ, it does look like tiny brown seeds. Cgvl, cake tin is a great idea as I was using a big baking tray so they did spread!. Thanks again to everyone for the feedback. much appreciated! Happy and blessed Easter to you all.

Chef_shazzie10, Apr 1, 9:24 am

Apart from checking that your yeast is active I add 1-2 TSP gluten flour.
I also mixed and knead my bread then let rise in the fridge over night.
Take out in morning and let come to room temperature ( takes about 1 hr).

I like making bread pity I can't eat it LOL

Chef_mica3, Apr 1, 5:51 pm



I agree with this, been doing it for years, never had a problem.

Chef_nauru, Apr 1, 8:11 pm

Yes, cinnamon can effect yeast fermentation. I remember a while ago I ended up with baked cinnamon "roof tiles" not buns :) It was sourdough. I've learn a lesson, and now I am using more yeast or sourdough starter, or both is I use spices. It is better to use instant or fresh yeasts when dealing with spicy dough.

Chef_lenart, 6 days, 1 hour

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