Our Hot Cross Buns 2024 Review – which is your favourite?

It’s a tough life being part of the Hill Street marketing team. This week we had to eat our way through several packets of hot cross buns to analyse important factors like texture, fruit content, spice level, and ‘toastability’.  We also surveyed our senior management team to find out their favourites – which revealed how passionate people are about their hot cross buns!  Read on for the lowdown on Tassie’s best buns.

If you’ve been in any of the Hill Street stores over the last few weeks you will see hot cross buns from our various Tasmanian bakers filling every available space – on top of the delis, by the registers and under cloches in our cake sections.

An Easter tradition originating in England and marked with a cross to symbolise Christ’s crucifixion, hot-cross buns are made with a rich yeast dough containing milk, sugar, eggs, dried fruit and spices.

Today the original recipe has been tweaked and several Tasmanian bakers make their own versions. Here’s how each one performed in our taste test, and which ones our team voted as their favourite. Note the range may vary in each store, according to location of our bakers.

Jim’s Mum’s Easter Buns, Southern Bakehouse
Loved almost universally as the ‘people’s bun’, this well-priced allrounder was the most mentioned in our Store Manager survey. They are by far our best seller and at only $4.95 for half a dozen they’re an economical choice. If you prefer a light, soft bun with a reasonable amount of fruit, Jim’s is your choice. Kids like them and they toast well. They’re equally great for afternoon tea with butter, or halved and toasted for breakfast.

Texture: soft
Fruit content: 24%, mainly raisins and currants
Spice level: mixed spiced, light
Toastability: excellent

Favourite of:  Store Managers Helen (New Town), Greg (Latrobe), Dwayne (Lauderdale), Sandip (Blackmans Bay) and Bron (Head Office – People & Culture).

Jackman & McRoss Hot Cross Buns
Jackman’s Hot Cross Buns are a heavier bun loaded with fruit and spice, including dried apricots and hazelnuts. At $18 per half dozen, they are a substantial bun made with quality ingredients.

Texture: dense
Fruit content: high – raisins, currants, mixed peel, dried apricots and hazelnuts
Spice level: richly spiced with good cinnamon flavour
Toastability: good, although they are thicker so fit better in a sandwich press, but watch out for burning due to the high fruit content.

Favourite of:  Steve, our CEO, who loves the addition of dried apricot and hazelnuts, Maria our Section Manager at Hill Street Home, who recommends them with a thick helping of Meander Valley unsalted butter and Jonno, Store Manager at South Hobart: “You can’t go past them!”

Jean-Pascal Hot Cross Buns
There’s no doubt that Jean-Pascal has put his signature light touch and patissier’s skill into these hot cross buns, which have a light brioche-style texture and a perfect balance of fruit and spice. At a good mid-range price of $13.50 for a packet of six, they are a delicious, quality bun made with real butter, eggs and yeast.

Texture: fluffy yet firm, brioche-style
Fruit content: medium to high – mainly raisins, currants
Spice level: good spice level
Toastability: great toasted, again due to their height they fit better in a sandwich press

Favourite of:  Natalia (marketing team) and a close second for Maria in Hill Street Home, who says they also make an excellent summer pudding.

Pigeon Whole Hot Cross Buns
These delicious artisan buns are a bit of a unicorn – only around for a very short time, you must grab them when you see them!  Because of the small numbers available, we’ve selected Pigeon Whole (for several years running now) as the hot cross bun on our Online Easter Order Form. Use this link to make sure you secure these premium buns, as well as lots of other Tasmanian-made goodies, for Good Friday or Easter Sunday.

We couldn’t taste them for our taste test this year, but Pigeon Whole’s Jay Patey says his buns are traditional in style, perfectly balanced with spice and Australian vine fruits.  They’re crafted with a little of Pigeon Whole’s sourdough and real unsalted butter.  They’re best served warm with lashings of butter.

Emmaline’s Hot Cross Buns
A newcomer on the scene this year, Emmaline’s buns are made in Adelaide. While we are loyal to our Tassie bakers, Emmaline’s has broken through as a strong contender, and on the day of our taste test, had actually sold out. Helen our Store Manager in our New Town store, says Emmeline’s, which sell for $11.50 for six, are a light bun, a little more substantial than Jim’s Mum’s buns, with good texture, fruit level and spice flavour, and New Town customers love them!

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