Jesus, The Bread Of Life

Do you ever have one of those ideas that just starts off as a seed of thought. And as it grows you become increasingly excited, filled with anticipation and subsequently, high expectations. But then EVERYTHING goes wrong?! This is, indeed, one of those stories with an Easter egg hunt of profound revelations I gained while baking hot cross buns! (And I’m sharing two bread roll recipes too, of course!)

Hot Cross Buns

A Story On Hot Cross Buns

Lori and I were brainstorming post ideas for the year when suddenly I felt my self saying “I want to make hot cross buns for Easter. I’ll do a story.” Wait, what?!

I’d never had a hot cross bun, let alone actually seen one in person! But perhaps that was the excitement of it all to me. Little did I know how much this tiny mustard seed of an idea would hold. That it would, indeed, become an “Easter Egg” hunt, about far more than just hot cross buns.

Legend Of The Donkey’s Cross

Traditionally when one thinks of Easter, bread rolls are not a forefront thought. But as the idea was developing I realized just how perfect it actually is. 🥚I recalled Bronner’s legend of the donkey’s cross and how perfectly it ties in with the cross on hot cross buns.🥚

Legend of the Donkey's Cross

Boom! That’s my story – or so I thought…


Lori and I turned to Bronner’s cookbooks to see if we could find a recipe, but alas, there were none for hot cross buns. We did, however, find a delicious recipe for “Aunt Beatty’s Rolls” in our 2nd edition cookbook.

Dinner Rolls in rustic wooden bowl with jam

The idea of transforming an everyday bread roll into an Easter treat was my second surprise as I took in how symbolic it is of🥚the transformation we have because of Christ’s love for us!🥚

I love to cook and bake. But, without a doubt, I am but a novice. I will be the first to confess that I am not the most confident nor am I the fairy godmother of the kitchen that this dough would need. As a result, I turned to chef Dietrich Bronner (and grandson of store originator Wally Bronner) to work his magic in transforming Aunt Beatty’s rolls into hot cross buns.

Dinner Rolls And Hot Cross Buns

The idea of a sweet roll filled with fruit provides yet another parallel to our Christian life.🥚 It is a picture of the sweetness we receive with the gift of the Holy Spirit indwelling in us. 🥚And also of the fruit of the spirit we are to bare. Which, of, Christ says “you will know them by their fruits.” – Matthew 7:16

  • Love
  • Joy
  • Peace
  • Patience
  • Kindness
  • Goodness
  • Faithfulness
  • Gentleness
  • Self-Control


It was in explaining my idea to Dietrich, that yet another revelation befell me. Whenever I think of making bread and kneading dough, I am reminded of T.D. Jakes’ analogy that 🥚it is the crushing of the dough that causes it to rise.[1] 🥚The parallel of this of course is the crushing our Savior lovingly withstood for our sake so that we too could rise through Him. Could there be a better picture for an Easter story?!

Bronner’s Flavorful Favorites: Aunt Beatty’s Dinner Rolls

dinner rolls in wood bowl and Bronner's cookbook
Dinner Bread Roll Recipe

Aunt Beatty’s Rolls

Traci Gassel
A delicious dinner roll with dense crumb that is perfect with dinner or served at breakfast or tea time with jam and butter from just 7 ingredients!
5 from 3 votes
Servings 2 Dozen Rolls


  • 1 pkg Yeast
  • ¾ cup Sugar
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 3 tsp Butter
  • 1 Egg
  • 7 cups Flour


  • Dissolve yeast in 2 cups warm water. (About 110°F)
  • Mix in sugar, salt, butter and egg.
  • Add 4 cups of flour. Then gradually mix in the rest.
  • Knead dough.
  • Place in 2 ungreased pans and allow to rise until doubled in size.
  • Punch down to remove air bubbles, then shape into balls, spacing a little apart.
  • Put a warm, wet dishtowel over the rolls and allow to rise once more until doubled in size.
  • Bake at 400°F for 12-13 minutes.

To begin, I simply made a half batch of dough. But interesting to note, I simultaneously baked half of my rolls on a parchment lined, metal baking sheet and the other half on a parchment lined ceramic baking dish. Here were the results:

Dinner rolls on wire rack

Hot Cross Buns Recipe Left Me Feeling Like A Hot Mess

I was quite overwhelmed at the thought of transforming Aunt Beatty’s rolls into hot cross buns. Dietrich made it seem simple enough. With recipe in hand, I was ready for my baking day sans one ingredient, and here’s where the fun begins!

Apparently mixed peel is a seasonal item (at least here in Michigan). But it’s a pretty integral ingredient in traditional hot cross buns. I ran to 4 stores the morning I planned to bake, frantically searching for mixed peel, and struck out every time. (So be sure to plan ahead and order online if necessary if you want to give these sweet rolls a try for Easter!)

Frosted Hot Cross Buns For Easter

Behind The Scenes | Baking Day Disaster Diary

Little did I know that this was just a foreshadowing of how the day would go…

It felt like everything that could go wrong was. Consequently, a good chunk of my morning was spent wondering if it would be a “fruitful” workday or a wasted day off! I was beyond frustrated and felt myself shutting down, wanting to just nap it all off, but I couldn’t. It was in those moments when I realized just what I was supposed to be writing about for this Easter post, rising inside of me like yeast …

God’s Grace

I wanted to capture a more beautifully polished video on “how to make hot cross buns,” as I had achieved when I baked Swedish Lusselbullar at Christmastime. And despite my best efforts, sabotaged by a barrage of mishaps, it was evident that was not going to happen. I stood – figuratively speaking – staring at the mirror looking for perfection with nothing but failure reflecting back at me. (Can I be honest? It felt like more of a slap!)

Gold Colored Metal Crucifix Wall Cross
Featured: Crucifix Wall Cross (1214580)

And in that moment it hit me. 🥚That in and of myself, it was not enough, it never could be … that’s why Jesus went to the cross! 🥚

Accepting the sacrifice of Jesus’ love restores us to right relationship with our Heavenly Father.

And in this beautiful revelation, I embraced the mess of my day. Disappointment turned to amusement as things continued not to go my way.

But despite the fact that I was unable to curate a beautiful “how to make hot cross buns” video, Dietrich did make a delicious recipe, which I hope you will enjoy nonetheless!

Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns Easter Recipe

Dietrich Bronner
Based off of a half batch of "Aunt Beatty's Rolls" from Bronner's Flavorful Favorites cookbook, these fruit-filled sweet rolls with cross on top makes a delightful Easter treat.
5 from 3 votes
Servings 1 Dozen


  • 1 1/8 tsp Yeast
  • 6 tbsp Sugar
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • tbsp Butter
  • 1 Egg yolk only
  • 7/8 cup Mixed Peel
  • 5/8 cup Crystallized Ginger finely chopped
  • 1 scant cup Raisins soaked overnight in chai tea with juice from ½ of a lemon
  • tsp Cinnamon
  • tsp Ground Ginger
  • ½ tsp All Spice
  • cups Flour + 2 tbsp
  • Zest From An Orange And Lemon

Flour Paste For Cross

  • ½ cup Flour
  • 5 tbsp Water
  • ½ tsp Lemon Extract optional


Prepare Ahead Of Time

  • Soak 1 scant cup of raisins in boiling water with a chai teabag and juice from half a lemon for a few hours or over night.

Yeasted Mixture

  • Dissolve 1 1/8 tsp yeast with 6 tbsp sugar in 1 cup warm water until yeast is bubbly.
  • Mix in ½ tsp salt, 4½ tbsp butter and 1 egg yolk.

In A Separate Bowl

  • Combine the peel, candied ginger and zest.
  • Drain the raisins and add those and in the mix with 2 tbsp flour.
  • Combine fruit and yeasted mixture.
  • Add 2½ tsp ground cinnamon, 1½ tsp ground ginger, ½ tsp all spice and 2 cups flour, gradually mixing the (remaining 1½ cups ) flour in.
  • Knead the dough 5-7 minutes. (Just until dough stretches without cracking.)
  • Place in an oiled bowl and leave in a warm place to proof until doubled in size. Approximately 1½ hours.
  • Once doubled, punch the dough down to remove air bubbles and divide into 12 equal pieces.
  • Roll dough against the counter and the palm of your hand with pinched ends beneath to form a smooth roll.
  • Place rolls on baking tray lined with parchment paper. Put warm, wet dishtowel over rolls. Let rise until doubled in size, approximately 1 hr.

To Bake-In The Cross

  • Mix ½ cup flour with 5 tbsp water to make a flour paste. (Incorporate lemon extract for flavor if using.) Add more flour or water as needed; mixture should be pipeable, but not too runny.
  • Pipe cross shape over rolls after second rise, before placing in oven.


  • Preheat oven to 400°F, Bake approximately 20 minutes.
Hot Cross Buns In Rustic Wood Bowl With Candle and Flowers
Hot Cross Buns with baked-in cross from flour paste.

How to Make The Cross In Hot Cross Buns

Regardless if you go all out with the fruit-filled sweet roll or choose the more humble dinner roll, either recipe can be enjoyed as a hot cross bun in one of two ways:

  1. The most simple version is to simply make an icing from confectioners sugar with 2-3 tbsp liquid. (Some options include orange juice, milk or water.) Then simply pipe a cross on your baked roll once it has cooled.
  2. Alternatively, you can create a flour paste such as the one found in our recipe above, and pipe a cross on before baking.

Gratitude For Grace

Thank you, Jesus, for grace. For the divine mercy that compelled you to choose the crushing of the cross so mankind can be made whole in You. Thank you for a love such as this world has never known, or can ever know, apart from you. You are my everything. Amen.

Cross silhouette With John 10:17-18
Photo Credit:

[1] “Crushing: God Turns Pressure Into Power with Bishop T.D. Jakes & Pastor Steven Furtick” YouTube –

16 thoughts on “Jesus, The Bread Of Life

  • April 1, 2022 at 4:10 pm

    This is so well written! I love how the story didn’t go as planned, but in that, God revealed even more to you. Thank you for sharing!

    • April 1, 2022 at 4:30 pm

      Thank you for taking the time to read our story and share your thoughts, Kathy! It definitely caused me to see a bigger (and more beautiful!) picture! I am so grateful you enjoyed this post!

  • April 1, 2022 at 2:00 pm

    What an ambitious recipe! I’m thinking Julia Childs standards! I love how you correlate it all the Jesus and His work on the cross! So reminded me of the parables He used to give others an understanding. ‘Crushed to rise!’ Please continue your cooking with Jesus lessons… so good!

    • April 1, 2022 at 2:08 pm

      I love how God chooses to show up in all His love in the everyday (and sometimes mundane) tasks of life when we invite His sweet presence – whether things are going our way or, as in my case, are not! Thank you for taking the time to read our post and share your thoughts, Kay!

  • April 1, 2022 at 1:36 pm

    I really appreciated how you shared your personal revelations about God’s grace and Jesus’ sacrifice, revealed to you through the everyday practice of baking! I was reminded that the season of Easter is a special time of year, when I have the opportunity to think about the good heart of God, and how He shows us His love through Jesus’ death and resurrection.

    • April 1, 2022 at 1:43 pm

      Thank you for taking the time to read our story and share your thoughts, Bill! Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in a moment, especially when it is not going the way we’d like, and miss God’s sweet whisper, ever saying “I Love You!”

  • April 1, 2022 at 12:11 pm

    I love this.
    I love how you bring it all together.
    Jesus is unfortunately excluded in an all inclusive society.
    I really appreciate this.
    Very well written.
    I love the information, the recipes.
    All the ” ingredients ” you’ve stirred into this blog makes for a enjoyable tasty ” recipe “

    • April 1, 2022 at 12:34 pm

      Thank you for sharing the gift of your time to read our post and for sharing these beautiful thoughts KellyRae! (They have touched my heart and I am truly humbled.)

  • April 1, 2022 at 11:35 am

    I appreciate your talent in sharing a story. Your blog is full of useful information and insight. It’s a gift to help the reader relate and tie the story together with a message. It’s clear you put a lot of effort into this. I look forward to future posts.


    • April 1, 2022 at 11:52 am

      Thank you kindly Jay! In this case, I felt like more of a vessel as the events and story unfolded; it was certainly more than I could have planned. I appreciate the kindness of you taking the time in your day to read our story and share your thoughts.

  • April 1, 2022 at 10:12 am

    5 stars
    Loved this blog on so many levels! I want to try the recipe! Thank you for the insights on grace! Sorry you had to experience going through a “hot mess” but I appreciated the insights on crushing and grace! What a beautiful lesson from hot cross buns (and not just about the donkey)!!

    • April 1, 2022 at 10:20 am

      Though it doesn’t always “feel” good, sometimes it takes getting messy to experience the blessedness of beautiful transformation! Thank you for taking the time to read our post, Jo Anne!

  • April 1, 2022 at 10:05 am

    5 stars
    This message speaks to my soul. Something so overlooked (buns at Easter dinner) have become a symbol of love and everlasting freedom. Thank you for painting such a beautiful analogy. I cannot wait to transform my Easter dinner with these beautiful buns!

    • April 1, 2022 at 10:09 am

      Thank you for spending these “sweet” moments with us, Alice! I’m grateful this message resonated with you and hope you never look at bread quite the same.

  • April 1, 2022 at 9:51 am

    5 stars
    LOVED the article and now I want to try my hand at making the cross buns, 2nd recipe….. they look fantastic!
    What a beautiful expression of Jesus’ love you showed in the simplicity of bread.

    • April 1, 2022 at 9:55 am

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read our story, Kim; we hope you will enjoy these delicious, sweet rolls!


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