We know you thought that working at The Urban List Sydney was all tough, long days full of pizza, cupcakes and the odd meeting thrown in here and there. This is only partially true and we actually take our duty to make sure only the absolute finest grub ever passes your lips very, very seriously. So seriously, in fact, that when it comes to Easter time, we don’t want you to waste precious jaw movements and half your year’s allowance of butter on an average-at-best hot cross bun.
So, as the most stealth and hard-hitting of investigative journalists, we present to you our findings on Sydney’s best hot cross buns. You’re welcome.
We received two varieties of these bad boys to sample from the legends at Brasserie Bread. The first was a classic fruit-filled type, made with organic wheat flour, an in-house blend of spices and jam-packed full of raisins, currants and citrus peel.
“You can really taste the spices! The citrus peel adds a bit of a kick to these, too.” – Sophia (the TUL Sydney editor)
The second was the dark horse of the HCB game, an innovative sour cherry with dark chocolate variety with Belgian dark chocolate, sour cherries, cocoa and wholemeal flour.
“The chocolate and sour cherry buns were a great twist on your original buns. They had the perfect chocolate-to-sour-cherry-to-bread ratio.” – Sophia
Bourke Street Bakery
We’ll start off by telling you that these aren’t hot cross buns, but rather an enormous hot cross loaf of joy. This mega-bun from Bourke Street Bakery was one of the favourites among the team, which made for plenty of dastardly deeds to get the last crumb.
“These are HUGE! We loved cutting deliciously thick slices off and lightly toasting them. That way we could enjoy hot cross bread for days.” – Alex (TUL Sydney’s Marketing Manager)
“Nicely soft, balanced spice, and ideal fruit-to-bread ratio. Sticky outside made for sticky fingers, which made for a finger-licking good outcome. Large size was conducive to my desire to eat a whole one and justify it. 4/5 sultanas.” – Anna (writer of this article and comms exec extraordinaire)
Flour And Stone
If you love a HCB that is chockers full of fruit, these ones are for you. Nadine from Flour And Stone tells us the secret to their HCB begins with a generous amount of spices, and continues with a generous helping of currants, raisins and sultanas, as well as sour dried cherries and Italian confit orange peel.
“These had a lot more fruit in them than the others, which isn’t a bad thing at all in my books. They had a good flavour and tasted wonderful when warmed up and lathered in butter (like most things).” - Sophia
The Cook And Baker
Hailing from our new favourite bakery in Bondi Junction, these guys were a welcome addition to the race. The smell was enough to distract us from the virtual food on our computer screens, so a feasting happened much sooner than planned.
“These are so pretty! The tops are wonderfully shiny and they’re moist without being too heavy. We got these bad boys fresh out of the oven so they were still warm. They aren’t overly spiced or sweet, which makes it easy to eat a few in one sitting.” – Sophia
“So good! Stuffed it in my mouth way too fast. The sultanas were nice and juicy, the buns nice and soft, and the lack of peel was even better.” – Lucy (our wonderful intern)
These guys were the only gluten-free contenders among the group, although there are plenty of options for our mates that don’t make friends with flour. Baker Gili Gold from Bake Bar told us, “I have selected specific flours and starches based on their physical and chemical properties to provide the desired texture and flavour of the finished product.”
“They were pretty large and had a cake-like texture, but were really yummy when heated up with butter.” – Ellie (the token coeliac and TUL’s comms exec)
“These were more like hot-cross muffins – which is no issue with me. Bit chewy for my liking, although I understand our gluten-free friends might have less options in this particular area.” - Anna
Bowan Island Bakery
As far as wafting hot cross bun scents distracting us from our work and our salad lunches go, this one tested our willpower the most. Made with organic flour and a blend of fruits and spices, these Bowan Island Bakery HCBs were a very welcome delivery to the TUL office.
“I refuse to utter the ‘m word’ to describe these bad boys, so please allow me to offer some alternatives: spongy, buttery, and all-around melt-in-your-mouth. They toasted evenly, remained soft in the middle and didn’t go chewy or soggy when slathered with half a tub of butter on each side.” - Anna
“Nice, moist, flavoursome, fruity, you think it will be heavy but it’s light, with a hint of cinnamon” – Daniel, our account manager’s, Mum
In reference to the chocolate versions: “I really liked these! Just the right amount of chocolate to satisfy the sweet tooths without compromising the traditional hot cross bun flavour.” – Alex
AboutLife Natural Marketplace
While perusing our favourite Surry Hills wholefoods store (that we definitely don’t go to so we can enjoy free samples for lunch) we came across a hot bun offering that had us pleasantly surprised and doing another three laps around the store, feigning surprise each time we ‘stumbled’ across these sinfully delicious baked goods. These spicy buns come in regular and spelt form, so you’ve got a bit of variety if needed.
“Wonderfully spicy with traces of fruit but no annoyingly overpowering citrus peel. They’re very dense, but if I’m going to eat a HCB, I’m happy to work for it. Probably not as healthy as the wholefoods market would like me to believe, but show me a healthy HCB that tastes as good as this, and I’ll show you a raised eyebrow.” – Anna
Sweetness The Patisserie
Are you one of those people who prefer their buns a little less fruity, and a bit more on the spiced, bready side? Then the Sweetness The Patisserie hot cross buns are the ones for you.
“I’m not the biggest fan of hot cross buns in general, but these ones were definitely a good way to ease into it. Less fruit and a good amount of spice without being overpowering.” – Jack, TUL's Operations Executive
Image credit: Daniel Maddock