Secrets of the best hot cross buns

With hot cross buns flying off the shelves in the leadup to Easter, some of Australia's oldest bakeries share their secrets on what makes their buns special.

With thousands expected to be on the hunt for hot cross buns in the lead up to Easter, Aussie Farmers Direct has been working with its suppliers across Sydney, Perth, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide as they get ready for their busiest time of the year.

Aussie Farmers Direct’s Melbourne hot cross bun supplier, Delbake, is an award-winning family bakery, voted ‘The Overall Winner’ in The Urban List’s Hot Cross Bun taste test last year.

Delbake Managing Director, Anthony Longhurst, shares his secrets on what goes into making a great hot cross bun.

“The Longhurst family have been in the baking industry for over 160 years, and I’ve personally been a part of the business for as long as I can remember. We’ve always enjoyed baking hot cross buns at Easter – there’s something incredibly satisfying about watching them rise in the
oven.

“There are three key things you need to craft the perfect hot cross bun: quality Australian ingredients; a balanced, time-proven family recipe that’s been handed down from generation to generation; and a happy team of people who put passion and pride into their baking.

“Also, people don’t always realise how important it is for the bakery’s team to work together and genuinely care about what they are doing in order to produce a high-quality product. There are so many elements that have to come together in just the right way,” said Mr Longhurst.

Aussie Farmers Direct’s Adelaide hot cross bun supplier, Kytons, was awarded ‘Best Hot Cross Bun in Australia’ (2010) and placed bronze at this year’s Sydney Royal Fine Food Show.

Kytons General Manager, Sharon Sutton, believes it’s all down to TLC and the ingredients.

“Kytons Bakery is somewhat of an Adelaide institution. It’s been operating since 1938, and my family has been running it for over 14 years. We love baking hot cross buns at Easter – it’s such a big part of our business.

“Baking a great hot cross bun comes down to what goes into it – TLC is surprisingly important. A lot of time and dedication goes into making the buns, and the recipe hasn’t changed much over the years.

“We’re also very selective about the ingredients we use. Our flour comes exclusively from another local family business, Laucke Mills, whom we’ve had a relationship with for more than 20 years. The dried fruit we use is also of the highest quality and sourced straight from the grower,”
said Ms Sutton.

Kytons send its hot cross buns out fresh – just hours after they have left the oven.

“Selling hot cross buns on the day they are baked means they don’t need to be frozen for transportation and don’t contain the preservatives required to extend shelf life. Using natural Australian ingredients means our hot cross buns are much more wholesome, full of flavour and very fresh.

“Baked goods for other festive seasons like Christmas have a longer preparation time (puddings left to age are a delicacy for instance), whereas hot cross buns need to go from oven to plate in as little time as possible to maximise their freshness and flavour,” said Ms Sutton.

Mr Longhurst said the traditional bun was great for those who like a little more variety, as they provide a tasty base to get creative with.

“You can actually get really inventive, putting anything from maple syrup and bacon to cream cheese on them,” he said.

However, while there’s been a growing trend to diversify the ingredients and fillings of hot cross buns, Ms Sutton said the traditional bun is still the most popular.

“I think the majority of Australians like to settle down and enjoy one in the same way I do: toasted and with a hearty chunk of butter!” she said.

Duncan Kirk, Chief Merchant at Aussie Farmers Direct, said the company’s local suppliers of hot cross buns are selected due to their dedication to baking delicious products with fresh Australian ingredients.

“We have local suppliers who have won multiple awards for their range of baked goods. The teams are comprised of experienced bakers who work tirelessly through the night to make their famously fresh hot cross buns, and these are delivered directly to Aussie Farmers Direct for distribution that day. We’re delighted to be working with our local suppliers this year to get their hot cross buns to customer doorsteps this Easter,” he said.

A six-pack of delicious hot cross buns is available for $5.99 through Aussie Farmers Direct.