Monday, 17 March 2014

Supermarket hot cross bun review

Ever since I met Anne she's talked of very little but her dream of taste testing products ala Which magazine.  We've done a bit of it informally, mainly to humour her, over text. We spent along time tasting mince pies in November and despite the press heralding Aldi as the best we found Tesco's mid range excellent in price and taste. But what Anne really wanted, and anyone who knows her knows this, was a bona fide scientific testing under controlled conditions. I'm sure next time we will have clipboards and white coats, maybe hair nets when we test cheese?  Please note that I say this was scientific and in no way was it us sitting at Anne's dining room table feasting on four hot cross buns with a cuppa. That's a fact.

As usual, with five children between us its quite difficult to set something like this up so we concentrated on our local supermarkets. Ones we figured most of you will have nearby. To have made this fairer we could have got some from Aldi and Asda but they are a longer walk and we had important toddler business to attend to.

This week we decided to concentrate on mid range products but slipped a bakery item in too. Anne knew which was which but I mainly blind tested and we both very surprised with the results. We found all buns had a nice amount of fruit but all lacked in spice. We are big cinnamon fans so found this disappointing. We wondered if more fruit is added as its cheaper than spice to add flavour and bulk? They all varied in texture and looks. Here they are least favourite first. What's your favourite and why? Please note, as with everything, we are not affiliated with any companies or brands. We haven't been approached or given anything free for this and we are as honest and as fair as we can be.

4th place
Sainsbury's bakery

Looks: Very anaemic with no shine to them. If they made a noise it would be "meh" and shrug its shoulders looking downcast.

Texture: Extremely dry and hard. We found this surprising as we'd had them before and they've been soft and seeing as they are baked instore you presume they'd be fresh that day. To be enjoyed these would have to be toasted.

Fruit: Mean and not plump. No peel detected.

Spice: Ziltch


3rd place
Sainsbury's mid range

Look: Not very glossy, good even colour if a little dark.

Texture: Quite dense almost like a dry pannetone. Quite wholemeal and had a "healthy" taste.

Fruit: Abundance of plump fruit and tiny fragments of peel. Perhaps a little too much fruit for Anne but I don't think there is such a thing.

Spice: Fruit overpowers any chance the spice has you can see flecks of it in the dough so it is there


2nd place

Look: Best in appearance lovely sheen and colour.

Texture: Very light and almost fluffy. Very easy to eat and not overly bread like.

Fruit: Nice amount and good sharp citrus note from peel. However this does leave a slight bitter aftertaste which is best washed down with a cuppa.

Spice: Detect a tiny.bit but the strong citrus is dominate taste. There was an "earthiness" to it


1st place


Look: Quite dark on one side.  Medium shine.

Texture: Very doughy and soft. Extremely fresh tasting. Like hot cross buns should be.

Fruit: Loads and very plump and juicy. Slight citrus tang from peel but also from glaze which tastes like it could have been made with apricot jam although it probably isn't.

Spice: Again, not enough for us but more of a hot cross bun taste than just sticky bun like the others.

We were pleasantly surprised with Tesco's buns especially coming top over perceived better brands like M&S. Just get the spice right next year!


Coming up we test luxury ranges (so you don't have to).

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