The Antidote: The Best Butters and How To Work Them, This HCB Season
We all know the plethora of hot cross buns available around the traps at the moment, but do you know what butter to adorn them with and the appropriate technique?!!? We’ve got you. Plus our top five buns, just, well, cause.
By BuffetBy Buffet
What is a Hot Cross Bun without butter? It’s nothing, it should not exist. Slightly dramatic, but ultimately true. When it comes to what butter to use and more importantly your buttering technique, we’ve discovered not everyone is going about it the same way. Quite the opposite, in fact. We’ve got melters, curlers, smearers and slabbers (6mm to be precise) all within the Buffice. This is not a one-spread-fits-all situation so with toasters, grills and sandwich presses on and knives at-the-ready – let’s butter.
Molly – The Curling Wand
Butter: Pepe Saya Salted Cultured Butter
Technique: Slice then toast the bun on a sandwich press (do not squish). Curl the butter, let it melt. Easy pease.
Julia – The Butter²
Butter: Lurpak Butter Slightly Salted
Technique: Toast your bun so it’s borderline burnt. While still hot, smear the butter on then go in with a second smear once the toast has cooled down slightly. Respect.
Em – The French
Butter: Meander Valley Dairy Cultured Butter with Sea Salt Crystals
Technique: Slowly melt on a warm and freshly baked baguette (yes, this isn’t a bun but I’m French, so what of it?) add some comte for an extra treat. This can be consumed all year around, no need to wait for Easter (arguably better than HCB!).
Meg – The Dairy-Double-Down
Butter: Lurpak spreadable AND Gouda (or Edam as back-up) cheese
Technique: I have (controversially, according to my brother) adopted my sister-in-law’s Dutch HCB tradition. It involves a light buttering of nicely toasted buns while hot, and then several sliced slabs (thickness based on preferred bun to fromage ratio) of a Gouda placed on each half. Eaten while still warm and the cheese slightly soft, this is the overlap of two key interests, and I’m not mad about it.
Nikki – The Slow Burn
Butter: Firedoor Smoked Cultured Butter
Technique: Employ the sandwich press, set to toast (not to squish) and pop on the halved buns. Once golden, turn off the press, add butter atop the buns and set the press to melt setting (so it’s not touching the butter) for a slow-heat release and gentle permeation. Remove once ¾ liquified and tidy the spread with a knife. Note: sandwich presses are dangerous, and can burn unexpectedly at anytime, handle with care.
Gem – The Is That Butter or Cheese?
Butter: Latteria Soresina Butter (unsalted) with a hefty Maldon sprinkle.
Technique: Well-toast your bun, let it cool and add a 6mm slab of butter on top with extra flaky salt. When people ask if it’s butter or cheese that’s when you know you’ve got it right.
Rose – The Day Trip
Butter: Homemade Butter from Lyttelton Stores Co-op in Lawson
Technique: Get in the car, take yourself on a day trip to the Blue Mountains and pick up this little ball of joy wrapped in baking paper on the way. Find somewhere to toast your bun till burnt around the edges, then layer this almost cheesy butter on in this aggressive and necessary ratio. The 10,000 hour rule of HCBs.
Alex – The Sweet and Spiced
Butter: Downey’s Natural Cinnamon Honey Butter
Technique: Fire up that sandwich press and split your buns into two. Lightly glaze the top and bottom of each bun with butter, caramelise for 30 seconds on the press and remove once golden and crispy. To serve, place a slab of butter on top of the base half, add a sunny side up egg and crispy bacon (cooked in maple syrup for extra sweetness) then its honey-buttered top. Voila!
Top Five Hot Cross Buns to put butter on:
This Orange bakery serves up some next-level boulangerie bits and their hot cross bun is a case in point. It’s a masterclass in bun-age: generous in size, fruit and spice. Classic but somehow so much better. Perfect glaze, crispy cross, warm with spice, dense but fluffy interior. Oh god, yes.
Fizzysbread via Pina
Fluffy with sourdough tang. The lightness of the inside creates many nooks for butter to melt into making it an excellent butter-carrying device. Well spiced and excellent fruit quantity – it’s not trying to be controversial, it’s just an excellent bun.
Sonoma's Not Cross Bun
Find no x marks the spot, instead their signature S. A statement bun, with a varied selection of fruit embedded. The high fruit content makes it extra sweet and textural when that salty butter melts in.
Organic Bread Bar
In true OBB style this sourdough number is full of flavour, slightly chewy, and buzzing with their signature tang. A fruit-forward bun with plenty of cranberries and sultanas (speaking from experience this makes it easier to burn) and a good spice level too.
Small Talk Coffee & Snacks
This is a dense HBC but has great butter permeation as a result. Good spice and fruit and doesn’t squish when travelling due to aforementioned density.