Hot cross buns and loaf…

Today I proudly give you my sourdough hot cross buns! I am so happy with these, all of my taste testers have given them a thumbs up, and now I happily share them with you in celebration of the upcoming release of my new book and in readiness for Easter..

For the rolls, I used my lighter enriched sourdough recipe from my book The Sourdough Whisperer as my base, and I made 2 versions: one all white flour, and one wholegrain version. For the loaf, I made a dough with oat milk and maple syrup that could also be used for rolls.

Sourdough hot cross buns are never going to be as light and fluffy as shop bought yeasted hot cross buns, these have more texture and depth to them, as you’d expect from a sourdough version, plus I did pack in a lot of dried fruit and peel! But, I am very happy to say that each of people that taste tested them (and there was quite a few) gave them a big thumbs up!

Dough notes: please keep in mind that these doughs are slow to fully prove, even without the additions, enriched and milk based doughs are slow growers; add in the dried fruit and peel, and they’re even heavier; add in the spices and especially the cinnamon, and it slows them down even more. So don’t worry if they haven’t fully proved in the morning, just leave them and give them a few more hours to do their thing.

My hot cross buns

Makes 12 rolls

Dough Ingredients

White flour version:

50 g active starter

330 g reduced-fat or 2% milk or plant-based milk

1 large egg yolk (reserve egg white for brushing)

50 g butter (I use slightly salted butter), at room temperature

50 g runny honey

500 g strong white bread flour, plus more for dusting

150 g mixed dried fruits and peels

7 g salt, or to taste

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp ground allspice

Wholegrain flour version:

50 g active starter (I used my wholewheat starter but you can use any starter made with any flour)

330 g reduced-fat or 2% milk or plant-based milk (I used oat milk)

1 large egg yolk (reserve egg white for brushing)

50 g butter (I use slightly salted butter), at room temperature

50 g runny honey

250 g strong white bread flour, plus more for dusting

250 g wholegrain spelt flour

150 g mixed dried fruits and peels

1 tsp salt, or to taste

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp ground allspice

Note: I used a mix of dried fruit and mixed dried peel, mine included sultanas, raisins, dried cranberries, dried apricots, orange peel and lemon peel.

For the crosses, for use just before baking only

100 g plain/all purpose flour

100 g water

For the glaze, for use after baking only

100 ml water

100 ml honey


Try adding 1 tbsp orange essence, and/or 75g chocolate chips, to the dough, or anything else you fancy!


A medium baking tray lined with parchment paper

Icing bag with smallest nozzle, or sandwich bag with tiny hole cut in one corner


Step 1: In the early evening, in a large mixing bowl, roughly mix together all of the dough ingredients, except the reserved egg white. It will be a very sticky dough, even sticker if you are using the wholegrain spelt flour, and it may be easier to use a bowl scraper or spatula to mix it at this stage. Leave it roughly mixed, cover the bowl with a clean shower cap or your choice of cover and leave the bowl on the counter.

Step 2: After 2 hours, perform the first set of pulls and folds on the dough. Lift and pull the dough across the bowl as far as you can, turn the bowl slightly and repeat, round and round the bowl, until the dough come into a soft studded ball, then stop; it will be a sticky dough, but will eventually easily come into the soft ball. You may find that you have to fold the dough over onto itself rather than pull it and stretch it at this point. Cover the bowl again and leave it to sit on the counter.

Step 3: Over the next few hours, perform three more sets of pulls and folds on the dough, covering the bowl after each set. The dough will remain sticky but will become stretchier, and should come together into a nice soft ball each time. Do the final set before going to bed.

Step 4: Leave the covered bowl on the counter overnight, typically 10 to 12 hours, at 18 to 20°C/64 to 68°F.

Step 5: In the morning, hopefully the dough will have grown to double in size, with a smooth surface. If the dough has not doubled yet, allow it a few more hours to continue to prove. This is a very slow and heavy dough, even heavier than usual with all the added dried fruits, and it may take longer to fully prove.

Once ready to shape, turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Have your lined pan ready. Cut the dough into 12 equal weight pieces. Shape each portion into a smooth ball, and place the dough balls onto the paper lined pan, spaced evenly, with 1-2 cm gaps between them. Cover the pan with a large plastic bag or damp tea towel, and leave it on the counter.

Allow the balls of dough to prove again, letting them grow to double the size. This may take 2 to 6 hours, depending on the temperature of your kitchen.

Step 6: Mix the plain/all purpose flour with the water and stir it until it make a smooth paste. Spoon it into your piping bag. Use a small nozzle or cut a 2mm hole in your piping bag and test piping the paste on your counter, ensure that it holds its line when you pipe some out.

Note: testing the paste before piping it onto the prepared rolls is a tip that I was given from the brilliant Cherie Denham (read more about her at the end of the post). She also said that if you do test the paste on your counter and it’s too sloppy to hold itself, add more flour to the mix to thicken it up, and then test it again. If it’s holds a nice smooth line, go for it..

Mix the egg white with a tablespoon (15 ml) of water and brush the top of the balls of dough gently with it.

Pipe lines of flour paste across all of the buns to form the crosses.

My first ever piped crosses!

Step 7: When you are ready to bake, decide whether you would like to bake in a preheated oven or from a cold start. If preheating, set the oven to 200°C (400°F ) convection or 220°C (450°F) conventional.

If you preheated the oven, bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes. If using a cold start, place the uncov- ered pan of dough in the oven, set the temperature as directed and set a timer for 30-35 minutes and bake until the rolls are browned.

Heat the water and honey in a pan over a medium heat, let it simmer and thicken slightly.

Step 8: Remove the pan from the oven and allow the rolls to cool briefly. Brush with the warm honey water to make them shiny. Remove from the pan and place on a wire rack to cool briefly before tucking in!

Note: you can also make a glaze using sugar and water, or there’s various other ways which you can find online.

Hot cross bun loaf

I made this dough and baked it as a loaf but it could also be used to make buns in the same way as the above process. I have used oat milk and maple syrup so this loaf is ideal as a vegan option, you could also use milk of your choice and honey if you’d prefer.

Note: you could also use either of the above doughs to make a loaf following the same process as below

Makes 1 loaf or 12 rolls

Ingredients for the dough

50 g active starter

375 g oat milk

500 g strong white bread flour

150 g mixed dried fruits and peels

50 g maple syrup

7 g salt, or to taste

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp ground allspice

Optional for the criss cross design

50 g plain/all purpose flour

50 g water


A lined loaf tin, I used my Pullman tin, minus its cover, 21.5 x 12.5 x 11.5 cm (81⁄2 x 5 x 41⁄2 inches)

An icing bag with tiny nozzle or sandwich bag with tiny hole cut in one corner


Step 1: In the early evening, in a large mixing bowl, roughly mix together all the dough ingredients until you have a shaggy, rough dough. Cover the bowl with a clean shower cap or your choice of cover and leave the bowl on the counter for 2 hours.

Step 2: After 2 hours, perform the first set of pulls and folds until the dough feels less sticky and comes together into a soft studded ball. This will be a heavy dough. Cover the bowl again and leave it on your counter.

Step 3: After another hour of rest, do one more set of pulls and folds on dough, covering the dough again afterward.

Step 4: Leave the covered bowl on the counter overnight, typically 8 to 10 hours, at 18 to 20°C/64 to 68°F.

Step 5: In the morning, hopefully the dough will have grown to double in size, with a smooth-ish dough surface around the dried fruits and peels. If the dough hasn’t grown sufficiently, give it more time, this is a heavy slow dough. Have your pan ready and place the paper liner on the counter. Gently lift and fold handfuls of dough from one side of the bowl into the middle in a line, using the same pulling and folding action as used previously. Turn the bowl 180 degrees and do the same on the other side so that you have a thick sausage of dough in the middle of the bowl.

With a wetted hand, place your whole hand over the dough, turn the bowl upside down and gently ease the dough from the bowl into your hand. Place the dough, seam side down, on the paper and slip your hand out from underneath the dough. Use the paper to lift the dough into the pan, cover it with the same shower cap and leave it on the counter. Allow the dough to proof again, letting it grow level with the edge of the pan until it is just peeking over the top. This may take 2 to 3 hours, depending on the temperature of your kitchen. The surface will become smooth and the dough will spread to fill the pan.

This step can also be done in the fridge for a longer, slower second prove, up to 24 hours, and can be baked directly from the fridge.

Step 6: When you are ready to bake, decide whether you would like to bake in a preheated oven or from a cold start. If preheating, set the oven to 200°C (400°F ) convection or 220°C (450°F) conventional.

Option: to add the criss crosses, pipe a flour paste design across the top of the loaf before baking. Mix 50 g plain/all purpose flour with 50 g water until it makes a smooth paste, and use a piping bag to pipe lines across the top of the loaf.

A bit rough but it was my first ever attempt!

Step 7: If you preheated the oven, bake the loaf for 45 minutes. If you are using a cold start, place the pan of dough in the oven, set the temperature as above and set a timer for 50 minutes. If the surface of the loaf looks like it is going to bake darker than you would like, cover the top of the loaf with another pan or some foil.

Step 8: Remove the loaf from the oven and the pan, tap the base of the loaf and if it sounds hollow, the loaf is baked. If not, return it to the oven, out of the pan, directly onto the rack to bake it for a further 5 to 10 minutes. Remove it from the oven and allow it to cool briefly on a wire rack before slicing.

To glaze, brush with warmed, melted apricot jam or golden syrup after baking and while still warm.

I must say a huge thank you to the very brilliant Cherie Denham for holding my hand through making these, Cherie is a brilliant baker and cook and helped me hugely! If you’d like hear us in conversation do check out my recent podcast episode – Cherie is wonderful and a true inspiration. Find us talking here: and subscribe to the channel so that you don’t miss future episodes.

You can also find the podcast on Spotify, Amazon and Google.

If you like the creativeness of these recipes, you’re going to love my new book!

Me and my sourdough story..

Hi, I’m Elaine, and I started baking sourdough in 2013. I was introduced to it by a wonderful blog friend, Selma, who sent me some dried starter and full instructions to revive the starter and bake my first loaf.

I’ll be honest, I was scared!!! I didn’t know anything about sourdough, I’d never even eaten any, so I bombarded Selma with questions which she happily answered (the sourdough community is a passionate sharing bunch), and then I went for it…and it worked like a dream. I baked a beautiful perfect loaf, below, I was so proud, and promptly ate half of it in one go right there and then, it was so good.

This is my first ever loaf:

From that point, I wanted to learn more about sourdough, so I played around with flours and processes, had some failures but lots more successes, and I eventually perfected a method that I could use every week to bake sourdough for my son, who now won’t eat any other bread. So I needed to know it works, which is why I can safely say that if you want to try it, I KNOW that my method works!

And I love it! I love everything about making sourdough, I love the process, the outcome, but mostly, I love watching other people enjoy what I’ve created. And I hope that you will have the same love and satisfaction from your own loaves.

If you’d like to know more, please do get in touch, or have a good look round my website for help and guidance and everything you need to know xx

A more recent loaf

Join us for the BIG BAKE-A-LONG!

Let’s bake together all over the world, in our own kitchens, all at the same time!

What’s happening:

On Saturday 1st July, Angela (see below) and I invite to join us in our kitchens for a zoom ‘Bake Along’ : join us as we make the stuffed sourdough pizza rolls from my new book, Easy Everyday Sourdough Bread Baking. Watch us as we make, share, chat, swap tips, and mostly, HAVE FUN with all of YOU 🌟🌟🌟🌟

A perfect opportunity to make my new recipe with me and Angela, make it in your kitchen with friends, family, children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, anyone who fancies playing with dough…lots of fun AND tasty food!!! Perfect to eat IMMEDIATELY, for your Saturday night, weekend plans, or 4th July celebrations. I highly recommend making a couple of doughs ready to play with – I will!

🌟 Join us at 10am EDT US time/3pm UK time/please convert to your time zone 🌟

What we will provide:

The full recipe for my stuffed pizza rolls, Angela’s recipe, and tips for her homemade tomato sauce.

Details of everything you will need for the event including the dough and at what stage it needs to be, details for fillings, utensils, baking tray etc. and alternative options. If you don’t fancy a pizza filling, I’ll provide alternative ideas for using the same dough.

If you are not a sourdough baker, you are welcome to join in with a yeasted dough.

🌟 Make and bake and learn and share 🌟 and as you’re making and baking/once you’ve baked them, post online and tag us so that we and the world can see the fun we’ve had!

We look forward to welcoming you into our kitchens!

Timing: 60-90 mins.

You will see Angela and I onscreen, and the brilliant Keanu will be on hand behind the scenes to read and forward any questions during the event.

How to book a place:

Click on this link to book your place. There is no charge for this event. If you want to join and just observe you’ll be very welcome.

Who we are:

Angela Ferraro-Fanning is a permaculture homesteader in central New Jersey. She believes in regenerative homesteading practices that mimic patterns in nature. The six-acre historic farm is home to Clydesdale horses, honeybees, sheep, ducks, geese, guinea fowl, a small orchard, hobby vineyard, and food forest gardens. Angela is the author of several books including The Little Homesteader series, The Harvest Table Cookbook, and The Sustainable Homestead. She also co-hosts a podcast called HOMESTEADucation.


IG, TikTok: @AxeAndRootHomestead

YouTube: Axe And Root Homestead

Elaine from Foodbod Sourdough, is a sourdough baker, cookbook writer and teacher, but mostly a sourdough ‘simplifier’. The key focus of everything she does, and shares, is to show how truly simply sourdough can be made. Elaine removes the complication and unnecessary steps, and often the fear, that can come with making sourdough, and shows bakers all over the world how they can easily make their own healthy, tasty bread, week in, week out, in their home kitchens, to suit their lifestyle and timings.

Elaine also hosts a podcast all about food, The Foodbod Pod.





🌟 SEE YOU ON 1st JULY: Click on this link to book your place 🌟

It’s often about the dough, not the lame…

A question that I am often asked is: where can I get a better lame, mine doesn’t seem to work that well?

And as much as I have a very beautiful new branded lame I might very happily wish to sell you, usually the issue isn’t actually the lame, it’s the dough.

If you are having issues scoring your dough, it truly is unlikely to be an issue with the lame. Instead my questions to you would be:

Was your dough soft and sticky after the overnight proof?

When you turned your dough out from the banneton did it spread?

When you tried to score your dough did the lame just drag through it?

Did the dough collapse and not hold any shape?

But first and foremost, I would ask, how did your loaf bake?

The answer to all of the questions that I get posed about dough and loaves, is always, how did the loaf bake; because if your dough bakes to a wonderful loaf that you thoroughly enjoyed, then it doesn’t matter how the scoring went, or how your dough behaved.

However, if you feel you would like your loaf to be somewhat enhanced or different, then read on…

If you have a nice sharp lame, or a thin sharp blade that you use, and still it drags through your dough, your dough needs some input. If your dough is soft and sticky it either needs less water from the start, or it over proved, or just needs to be pulled tighter for the banneton.

And in which case, this post will help you.

If you’re happy with your dough but would like an cleaner surface to score, or more time to score pretty patterns, before baking, place your banneton full of dough into the freezer for 30 minutes, then turn it out, score and bake.

If you would like to purchase one of my lames, of course you’d be more than welcome and you can find them here. But to get the best out of using them, or whatever you’ve got, work on firming up your dough first. Then score slowly, be decisive, and score deeper than you probably think you need to. If I can help, get in touch.

Happy scoring!

Why hasn’t my dough grown?

There are certain rites of passage when it comes to making sourdough, we make our starters, there may be some bumps in the road, but in the end, we get there. Then we make our first doughs, again, lots of learning, and even when we think we’ve sussed it, suddenly something can throw us. This is why I constantly share whatever tips I can to try and anticipate your questions, so this is another one in case it’s useful:

What prevents dough from growing?

Peoples immediate response is to blame the starter, and it’s rarely actually the case. If your dough grows your starter works. If it’s slow, it could be for other reasons, or…

BUT if your starter has become thin for any reason, it is therefore weak and will struggle to lift itself, let alone a dough. So keep an eye in the consistency. If it has become thin as a result of heat, or weak flour, just spoon in some more flour and thicken it back up to give it some body and power. Let it respond before using.

A young starter is not by default a weak starter; I have used a 3 day old starter and it’s worked perfectly. Yes, they gain flavour and power with age and use, but a young starter is again, rarely the reason.

A big culprit is cold temperatures, they slow down the proving, so your dough hasn’t ‘not grown’ it just hasn’t finished growing. Give it more time. That’s all it needs.
If you want to put it in some warmth go for it, but don’t leave it for too long, and keep an eye on it.
(Don’t forget to look at the boost on page 61 of The Sourdough Whisperer if you’ve got it).

Another issue that people often overlook is a dry surface. If your dough has got a dry surface as a result of not being covered properly, only being covered with a dry tea towel, or you live in a dry place, the dough underneath cannot grow (this also works the same for a starter). Remove the dry surface and let the dough continue to prove and next time cover it with a shower cap or similar. It needs the moisture and protection.

Heavy doughs also struggle to grow. If your dough has a lot of add ins, it won’t grow as much as a dough without additions, and that’s fine. Let it get to double if you can.
A heavy wholegrain dough may take longer to grow, especially if you’re using home milled flours and haven’t allowed for it needing extra water.

These things are all fixable, as is everything with sourdough, hopefully they’re useful tips. If you’ve got your own to add, please feel free in the comments xx

Blueberry and goats cheese waffles…

How about a special breakfast, or just a great snack, or brunch, or lunch, or any meal really? I give you my blueberry and goats cheese waffles…

If you don’t like goats cheese, swap it for cream cheese or leave it out completely. If you don’t have a waffle maker, use the batter to make pancakes instead. If you prefer something sweeter, throw in some chocolate chips, the possibilities are endless…

Have fun!

Fast sourdough flatbreads/naans…

How about some fast tasty sourdough flatbreads? These can be used as naan breads, wraps, manaeesh, and easy fast pizza bases. They are great eaten immediately, or can be reheated and refreshed perfectly in the toaster!

You can feed your starter for the job, or use discard if you’ve been making a new starter. The starter provides flavour and texture in these flatbreads rather than lift.

Find full details here…

Have fun! Let me know if you try them xx

Top knot loaf…

I give you my top knot loaf. With this loaf you will be handling the dough in a way and at a point that may feel a bit scary, but go with it, it’s great fun, and worth being brave…you’ll find step by step photos in the recipe…

Have fun!

PS you can use any grains, there’s full details on how to cook them in my first book, or, if you can’t find any grains, you can use seeds. I have been asked if you could use oats, but if you use oats they will soak up water and change the consistency of the dough.

Sourdough herby fougasse…

A tasty flatbread, with a perfect mix of soft pillowy holey parts and equally lovely crunchy edges, ideal for eating on its own, teamed with cheese, or dips, antipasti, soup, chili, or anything it can be dunked in!

I hope you like it!

By the way, the fougasse freezes and defrosts perfectly…allow it to fully cool then wrap it to freeze it. To defrost, place it, uncovered, on a rack to defrost for 2-3 hours then serve. For best results heat it briefly in the oven to crisp up the edges again.

Click here for the full details:

Cheese and chilli flake loaf..

If you like bread, and you like cheese, you’ll love this! Add in a bit of chilli heat, to a level of your choice, and you’ve got this loaf of joy!

In this recipe, the dough is laminated, and spread with small chunks of cheese, rolled up into a fat sausage to prove again, before baking. The cheese creates pockets of melted brilliance inside the loaf…I challenge you to eat only one slice!

This loaf was created as an oval, but will also work as a round loaf or in a large loaf tin.

Download your copy of the recipe here, print it out and keep it to go with your book:

I hope you’ll give this a go, and please do tag me if you post it online and come back and comment here and let others know how you got on…