Whose hot cross buns are hottest? We did a taste test to decide video

BEVAN READ/stuff.co.nz

Six staff members were picked from hundreds of volunteers to compare hot cross buns. All ratings were done in a blind test and are the opinion of participants.

Easter sees every local bakery and supermarket bring out their version of the hot cross bun. Some are fruit-filled delights which melt in the mouth, others - well, let's be blunt, they're the rock solid type.  

We decided to put the supermarket and artisan buns to the test in a head-to-head tasting of hot cross buns.

We pitted bakeries nominated in our best hot cross buns in Auckland list, against buns purchased from supermarkets. 

Little and Friday's little hotties.

Little and Friday's little hotties.

Our testers got a taste of it all from the mediocre, to ones which tasted like "dads old socks" and others which had them going back for seconds.

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Delivered to us fresh and hot out of the oven were dozens of buns from Wild Wheat, Bread and Butter, Little and Friday and Scratch Bakeries. 

Hot cross buns ranked by results - Little and Friday takes top honours.

Hot cross buns ranked by results - Little and Friday takes top honours.

New World, Countdown, Pak N Save and Pandoro hot cross buns also joined the party, purchased that morning. 

For those viewing the video, these are the numbers assigned to each bun in our blind taste test:

1 - Wild Wheat
2 - New World
3 - Pandoro
4 - Pak N Save
5 - Countdown
6 - Scratch
7 - Little and Friday
8 - Bread and Butter

In our non-scientific test, we found five self-described hot cross bun connoisseurs, and one hot cross bun hater to rate how each of the buns tasted out of 10. 

Although most of us prefer our buns toasted with a smothering of butter, the taste test wouldn't allow for it as it would compromise the flavour and the freshness of the buns.

Our non-experts judged the glaze, the cross, the amount of fruit, the moisture (or lack of), the texture, the density, the spice, the sweetness - all the things that make a hot cross bun, a hot cross bun. 

Supermarket hot cross buns were put to the sword - ranked at the bottom of the table. Dry, fruitless and with a lack of glaze - the testers unanimously agreed that those buns would have been better toasted and buttered two or three times. 

Coming in hot were the artisan baker buns. It was a tight tussle, each bakery was only separated by the smallest margin of points. 

So the winner. Drum roll please.

The hottest of hot cross buns was awarded to Little and Friday. Packed with lots of spice and an intense orange flavour, Little and Friday buns were "full of flavour" and were even a darker colour which set them apart from the rest. 

One of the differences between bakery buns and supermarket buns is the machinery used, one baker said.

Bakery and caker buns are hand rolled so they can be packed full of fruit which contributes to the moisture of the bun. 

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Supermarket hot cross buns are processed through machines which means their fruit content has to be lower otherwise they would be too sticky. 

There you have it, one of the great questions of our time, well of today, solved: bakery buns came out trumps over supermarket buns.

 - Stuff

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