Hot-cross-buns

FoodApril 8, 2022

Hear me out: Hot cross buns are too big now

Hot-cross-buns

They should be short and wide, argues Mad Chapman.

For a long time, there was one tried and true method to enjoying an easter hot cross bun. Make your way to your local chain supermarket or bakery, spend approximately $3 (supermarket) or $8 (bakery) on half a dozen buns, slice one in half, press between palms a little to flatten if required, toast, butter, enjoy. If one is feeling fancy, one might order a single hot cross bun from a cafe and have it be prepared by someone else.

I know these two methods and know them to have a reliable outcome of 1x delicious hot cross bun. There’s no need to worry about logistics or science or economics because if I follow those simple steps, I will be able to consume (in mere minutes!) a lovely toasted bread roll with raisins and spices or maybe even chocolate. What a beautiful thing to have such certainty in life.

Well rest in peace to that beautiful life because hot cross buns are too big now. 

They’re literally too big. 

When did hot cross buns get so tall? Everywhere I look there’s hot cross buns the size of small cars being advertised for sale. Every boutique bakery has their own version and nearly all of them are gargantuan creations, a parody of a hot cross bun, stretching to the heavens as if to be closer to god on this holiest of holidays. 

Typically I would say more is more and appreciate an unnecessarily large offering, but not for this. Because with great height comes great cost. What once was a reliable low-to-mid range price for a snack has become a game of gambling one’s life savings on a bag of carbs. I will never forget the day I left work, walked past the nearby eatery advertising hot cross buns, thought yum, walked in, ordered a six pack, then looked down at the eftpos machine to see $36.00 on the screen like some sort of taunt. And yes, this whole silly article is due to me not being able to forget that day in 2019. 

Left: a lovely height. Right: Way too tall.

But the real low point was when I got home and opened the packaging to reveal six gigantic buns. Paying $36 for six hot cross buns is unholy. Paying $36 for six hot cross buns that then do not fit in the toaster is the first sign of the apocalypse. Toasting a hot cross bun is a simple human pleasure and being unable to toast one because it’s massive is counterintuitive, in my opinion. 

Put it in the oven, you might be thinking. Sure, that’s an option, but if I accepted that argument, the world wouldn’t have the crack-up gif at the top of this article. And besides, anything toasted is a convenient snack and a hot cross bun is supposed to be the definition of a convenient snack. Introduce an oven into the prep and you’re entering meal territory which is not where we want to be when eating a lone bread roll. Plus, an oversized bun cut in half with a standard lathering of butter suddenly feels too dry, like a scone. Whichever way you slice it, a large hot cross bun does not have the correct ratios.

There are some places that do, seemingly by coincidence, make a fancy and flat hot cross bun. Brumby’s tends to produce a wide bun, as does Daily Bread, the 2022 supreme winner (though be prepared to spend $$$ for their ones). So evidently it’s not a rule that expensive hot cross buns have to also be as tall as possible. And if it’s not a rule, why are so many unnecessarily large?

Let more bakeries follow the lead of the oft-rightfully-maligned supermarkets and bring back the small hot cross bun.

Postscript: I’m not just here to complain (though I do love to complain) so I’ll end by sharing a practical tip for all those struggling with over-inflated hot cross buns: slice them into thirds then toast and butter three parts.

The Spinoff’s first-ever food newsletter is here. Written by Charlotte Muru-Lanning and produced in partnership with Boring Oat Milk, The Boil Up is your weekly catch-up on what’s happening in our diverse and ever-changing culinary landscape, covering the personal, the political and the plain old delicious.

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Mad Chapman, Editor
Aotearoa continues to adapt to a new reality and The Spinoff is right there, sorting fact from fiction to bring you the latest updates and biggest stories. Help us continue this coverage, and so much more, by supporting The Spinoff Members.Madeleine Chapman, EditorJoin Members

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