Hot cross buns taste test


Which hot cross bun should you be putting in the oven this Easter?

Bun fight!


Christmas mince pies have barely left the supermarket shelves when hot cross buns make their appearance, so clearly Australians have quite an appetite for these spicy, fruity baked goodies – and not just at Easter. 

We taste-tested the 'traditional' range of hot cross buns from major supermarkets Coles, Woolworths and Aldi, bakery chains Bakers Delight and Brumby's and membership warehouse Costco to see which buns are best.

In this article:

Best tasting buns

Coles Traditional Fruit Hot Cross Buns

Score: 76%

Price: $0.58 per bun ($3.50 per 6-pack)

Good to know: The country of origin label states that these buns are made in Australia from at least 95% Australian ingredients. Palm oil is listed in the ingredients list, and the label states 'contributes to the production of sustainable palm oil'.

Costco Traditional Fruit Hot Cross Buns

Score: 74%

Price: $0.42 per bun ($9.99 per 24-pack)

Good to know: These buns come in packs of 24 only and are the cheapest we tested, although you need to be a Costco member to buy them.


Other buns tested

Baker's Delight Traditional Fruit Hot Cross Buns

Score: 69%

Price: $1.25 per bun ($7.50 per 6-pack)

Good to know: Buns are $1.50 each if you buy them individually, but are discounted to $1.25 each if you buy them as a 6-pack.


Aldi Bakers Life Fruit Hot Cross Buns

Score: 67%

Price: $0.50 per bun ($2.99 per 6-pack)

Good to know: The country of origin label states that these buns are made in Australia from at least 67% Australian ingredients. Palm oil is listed in the ingredients list, and the label states 'contributes to the production of sustainable palm oil (MB)'.

Woolworths Traditional Fruit Hot Cross Buns

Score: 66%

Price: $0.58 per bun ($3.50 per 6-pack)

Good to know: The on-pack country of origin label states that these buns are made in Australia from at least 60% Australian ingredients.


Brumby's Traditional Fruit Hot Cross Buns

Score: 58% 

Price: $1.33 per bun ($8 per 6-pack)

Good to know: These are the most expensive buns in our test.


Hot cross buns compared

Hot cross buns compared

Taste test scores

  • Coles Traditional Fruit Hot Cross Buns 76%
  • Costco Hot Cross Buns 74%
  • Baker's Delight Traditional Hot Cross Buns 69%
  • Aldi Bakers Life Fruit Hot Cross Buns 67%
  • Woolworths Traditional Fruit Hot Cross Buns 66%
  • Brumby's Traditional Hot Cross Buns 58%

Price per bun

  • Coles Traditional Fruit Hot Cross Buns $0.58
  • Costco Hot Cross Buns $0.42
  • Baker's Delight Traditional Hot Cross Buns $1.25
  • Aldi Bakers Life Fruit Hot Cross Buns $0.50
  • Woolworths Traditional Fruit Hot Cross Buns $0.58
  • Brumby's Traditional Hot Cross Buns $1.33

How we tested 

Products 

We tested the 'traditional' variety of hot cross buns from six major retail chains. The price shown is what we paid in February 2019. 

Tasting 

We set up a blind tasting in a shopping centre in Ultimo, NSW, and invited members of the public to participate. Each product was assigned a code and its brand concealed. For each sample tasted, people decided if they disliked, liked or loved it. A total of 605 samples were tasted and voted on across the six hot cross bun products. A minimum of 100 taste tests were completed per product. 

Scores

The taste score is calculated as an average of all responses, where 'dislike' is scaled at 25, 'like' at 70 and 'love' at 100.

How do you like your hot cross buns?

We're spoilt for choice these days in the hot cross bun category. Fruitless, chocolate and gluten-free varieties are available as a matter of course in most major supermarkets, and flavours such as mocha or apple and cinnamon are sold in some bakeries. 

But in an online poll completed by more than 100 Voice Your Choice members in 2017, we found traditional fruit hot cross buns are still a clear winner, voted by 78% of respondents as their favourite type. Fruitless buns received just 1% of the votes, with chocolate and gluten-free buns picking up 3% and 4% respectively. 

Interestingly, our poll revealed that traditional fruit buns with peel were more popular than traditional fruit buns without (49% versus 29%). Sadly for peel-lovers, there was none to be found in the 'traditional' varieties we tested. 

Recipe: hot cross buns

homemade-hot-cross-buns-recipe
Home made hot cross buns

Think you can do better than store-bought? Try following this recipe for hot cross buns shared with us by the national president of the Country Women's Association, Noela MacLeod.

Ingredients

The buns:

  • 1¼ kg flour, sifted 
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons bread improver
  • 1 dessert spoon dried yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice 
  • 1 tablespoon powdered milk
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 egg   
  • 2½ cups warm water
  • 1 cup sultanas
  • ½ cup currants
  • ½ cup chopped dried apricots
  • ¼ cup mixed peel

The crosses:

  • 2 tablespoons plain flour 
  • ½ cup cold water (approx.)

The glaze:

  • 2 tablespoons sugar 
  • 1 teaspoon powdered gelatine 
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • ¾ cup water
METHOD
  • For the buns, combine sugar, bread improver, yeast, salt, spices, powdered milk, oil and half of the flour in a warm basin.
  • Add egg and warm water, beat with an electric beater for 5 ½ minutes.
  • Add dried fruit and the remaining sifted flour. Mix well.
  • Turn out onto a floured board and knead until dough is smooth and elastic.
  • Place back into the bowl, cover with plastic, and stand in a warm space until dough has doubled in size.
  • Turn mixture out onto a floured surface and knead well.
  • Divide into bun-sized pieces (approximately 60g) and shape into buns.
  • Place on a greased/lined oven tray and leave in a warm place until well risen.
  • Preheat the oven to 220°C (200°C fan-forced).
  • For the crosses, place flour into a small bowl and stir in enough water to make a smooth paste.
  • Use a piping bag to pipe crosses over the risen buns.
  • Place buns into a moderately warm oven and bake for 15 – 20 minutes. They're ready when they're golden brown on top and sound hollow when you tap them.
  • For the glaze, combine all ingredients in a small saucepan, stir without boiling until sugar and gelatine are dissolved. 
  • Brush glaze over cooked buns while they're still warm from the oven.

We care about accuracy. See something that's not quite right in this article? Email us at factcheck@choice.com.au or read more about fact-checking at CHOICE.


Leave a comment

Display comments