A team effort is behind the best hot cross bun in New Zealand, and its biggest critic, Daily Bread head baker Patrick Welzenbach describes it as “perfect”.
Daily Bread, Auckland took out the top place for a second consecutive year in Baking New Zealand’s Great NZ Hot Cross Bun Competition, which was judged in Palmerston North on March 17.
With extra butter, a little more moisture and a faster proving of the sourdough, the winning entry is the fluffiest hot cross bun Daily Bread has created while continuing to produce a classical bun.
“I have to say that this year’s bun was perfect. I was so happy. Normally I’m just 90% happy about the finished bun, but this year I couldn’t make it any better. It was perfect,” says Patrick.
And he credits the perfection to locally sourced ingredients as much as possible, even the candied peel and orange glaze, which is made in the bakery, use New Zealand oranges.
Part of the secret is Patrick’s baking history in which he can trace back to more than 20 generations of his family and he’s grateful to his grandfather for teaching him to bake as a six year-old. “I was born to be a baker.” And while hot cross buns are not part of German bakery goods, Patrick knows just how they should taste.
With the team at Daily Bread, he develops the recipe before individual bakers add their expertise focusing on a specific element.
“At Daily Bread we put the team in front. It was absolutely a team effort. I couldn’t do it without the team. One guy did the crosses perfectly and super wide and straight, another baker made the perfect dough and another made the absolute shiniest glaze. Everyone has a small part to make the complete product and everyone is so proud that we have won for a second year.”
You can get your hands on the winning hot cross buns at any of the Daily Bread bakeries in Auckland, at Farro, New World in Remuera who is a keen supporter of the bakery, and at other Auckland New World stores and some Four Square supermarkets. Outside of Auckland, they are available by ordering online.
Nada Bakery takes second place
Who would have considered adding pimento – a type of chilli pepper, or coriander to a hot cross bun spice recipe? Well Michael Gray and his mother Judith Gray did along with their bakers at Nada Bakery in Wellington.
The spicy combination blended with plump presoaked fruit gave their hot cross bin the in the Great NZ Hot Cross Bun Competition earning them a second place win.
Nada Bakery general manager Michael Gray says: “Our dough is made in a precise way before we bulk ferment the dough to allow the yeast to feed and develop a more intense flavour. Our qualified bakers weigh off each bun at 140gm, hand mold each one before a final proofing, adding a crispy cross and baking. Once our buns are baked, we glaze them with an apricot and yuzu glaze.”
To get your hands on Nada’s hot cross buns you can purchase them at their Tawa or Johnsonville bakeries or order them online.
Inventive taste of Denmark
You can take a Dane from Denmark but their love of chocolate will always follow them.
For John Thomsen, head baker and owner of Christchurch’s iconic Copenhagen Bakery with wife Donna, opening up the category for the 2023 Great Hot Cross Bun Competition meant he could add chocolate to his much loved buns.
In 2022 Copenhagen Bakery won third place in the national competition and this year they’ve claimed third place again.
Copenhagen’s recipe features indulgent spicy flavours, three traditional fruits but also cranberries and the finishing touch of Belgian chocolate. “We made our hot cross buns for the competition with the indulgent traditional spicy flavors of a zesty three-fruited cross bun, blended harmoniously with cranberries and Belgian chocolate.
John describes it as: “Decadence – a spicy, zesty fruity, oh so nicely warmed through…with a melted choccy explosion.”