Rush for buns leaves baker breathless

02:45, Mar 25 2014
Rebecca Stevenson, apprentice baker at Countdown supermarket with a batch of freshly made Hot Cross Buns
Rebecca Stevenson, apprentice baker at Countdown supermarket with a batch of freshly made Hot Cross Buns.

With Easter less than four weeks away it's time to spare a thought for Sharron Woodward.

The head baker at the central New Plymouth Countdown supermarket is allergic to hot cross buns, but each morning she selflessly makes hundreds of the spicy morsels for the finger-licking enjoyment of others.

"I'm totally allergic to the spice. It closes my throat over and I can't breathe," she said.

It's not all bad news.

She doesn't have the same potential fatal consequences to the chocolate hot cross buns, though she sheepishly admits she hasn't actually tried them despite starting work at 3.30am to make sure all types of the bun are baked fresh each morning.

With Easter now less than four weeks, away supermarket bakers across the country are starting to ramp up production of the spicy buns.

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Countdown supermarkets alone have already sold 4.2 million and will bake 6 million more in the next few weeks.

Close to 30,000 of those will probably be baked by Ms Woodward, with the help of her bakery assistant Emma Davison and apprentice baker Rebecca Stevenson.

With just six months' experience so far, Ms Stevenson said she plays a limited role in the creation of the mixed fruit and cinnamon rolls.

"But I'll eat them and they are really yummy with butter," she says.

Ms Davison said there was no rule as to how a person should eat a hot cross bun though it wasn't a case of anything goes.

"It's a hot cross bun, so you can do what you like, you can have whatever you want on it. Butter, marg, jam. Not peanut butter though," she said.

Store manager Bernard O'Sullivan said they had been baking the buns since January and would continue selling them for about a month after Easter.

Five cents from every pack of hot cross buns sold at Countdown is donated to the Countdown Kids Hospital Appeal with proceeds put toward funding medical equipment for 10 children's wards around the country.

Taranaki Daily News