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Hot Cross Buns

Anyone else out there love them?

The best I have found are at Schubert's on Clement--any other nominees?

Also, I prefer crosses with a lemon gel as opposed to sugar. What is this type of cross made of--I can never find recipes with them--perhaps this a regionalism.

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  1. We go with Schubert's as well. We used to like Draeger's in San Mateo/Menlo Park but something changed in their recipe or preparation.

    1. La Farine in Berkeley (sugar crosses, though).

      1. I miss Schubert's and Boudin's buns. (moved away from SF.) :-(

        1. My 2014 survey has officially begun. Masse's, (Berkeley), source of a favorite in past years, has a tall, shiny bun with a cross of confectioner's sugar with maybe a touch of lemon. The raisins are plump and moist, (golden and regular), the citron is clean and bright. Not too much spice in evidence,but fragrant. Nice balance of sweetness and breadiness-perfect with my cup of Dancing Lady Wedding Black Tea (from Tea Here Now).

          4 Replies
          1. re: savvyitaliana

            Today's hot cross bun was from La Farine. Very light bun with some candied fruit and currants. Not much spice, nice lemon flavor in the confectioner's sugar cross. Somehow, the flavor of the candied fruit was not very noticeable. Not too sweet.

            1. re: savvyitaliana

              Tried one this morning from La Farine on Solano. Would not describe this as light, rather coarse and dryish. I like the judicious hand with spicing and the lemony icing. Agree this needs more citron.

              1. re: Melanie Wong

                Crixa Cakes has the best one I've ever had...

                1. re: donbonus

                  Now you're making me regret I didn't try one from Crixa this season. I thought about asking if any of the attendees for yesterday's East Bay brunch could bring me one! But seven examples were more than enough, next year.

          2. Pilgrim Kitchen on El Camino in Belmont.
            It might still be cash only; they're open on Easter Sunday (gotta get 'em fresh). Great candied peel taste, not dense, cannot remember the gel vs. frosting X however . . .

            1. At Acme bakery in Berkeley, had a "Sorta Cross Bun".
              A bit on the dry side, more bread-like, it's likely a great candidate for toasting and then smearing with butter. Candied citron is flavorful, though a little toothy. Spice is very subtle; I think it is nutmeg not cardamom (what's traditional?). No glaze, no cross, but nice texture.

              1. Had one from Montclair Bakery in Oakland, sorry! not on the short list. Sad, because I like so many of their other goodies. This bun was dry, with a confectioner's sugar and water cross that was hard; it fell off when slicing the bun. There wasn't much noticeable glaze, not much flavor, not much candied fruit.

                Today, had one from Hopkins Bakery in Berkeley. Too much cinnamon, in my view. Also had the shockingly green and startlingly red candied fruit (really hard) mixed in there. Also on the dry side with little glaze. The frosting cross did have lemon in it.

                1. I had my annual HCB from Feel Good Bakery. Very much as I remember it, although the white icing cross was lemon-flavored (a nice compromise between the two cross styles).


                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                    Had my 5th (I think ) of this season today from
                    Sweet Adeline in Berkeley. They may only make them Fri., Sat, Sun. Lemony icing cross, no glaze, very nice spice level. moist currants. Pretty good. I did miss the candied citron or lemon peel that appears in many others. Not quite as scrumptious as Masse's or La Farine, but a nice
                    bun, nonetheless.
                    Went to Feel Good too late in the day to get one...

                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                      Feel Good's has an interesting texture. On the moist side and a bit chewy, not as bread-like as many. Chockful of currants, just a little citron, smooth icing.

                    2. Yasakochi's Sweet Stop, San Francisco

                      Tried one on Thursday. Custard cross dyed fluorescent yellow, chewy bun with mostly raisins, not much spice. Probably wouldn't buy again.

                      1. Flour & Co., San Francisco

                        Getting caught up here . . . this one's a bit out of the box. The smallish bun, $2.75, has a very thin glaze over the top and then a cream cheese frosting cross. No raisins, no citron, no cardamom. Instead, it's studded with a few dried cranberries and lightly spiced with cinnamon. The bun part is too bread-like for my druthers. The frosting was the best part.

                        While I probably would not buy this again, I was happy to check out this place for the first time. Plenty of other things looked very appealing. Here's more about Flour & Co.,

                        1. Fillmore Bake Shop, San Francisco

                          Liked this one a lot, feels pretty classic with the taste that I recall from childhood. A fluffy, yeasty bun, pastry cream cross, a little icing and powder sugar too for good measure, the cardamon is mild but clearly present along with raisins and citron. The body was on the damp side, as if the buns had not rested long enough before the tray was cut and decorated.

                          The counter guy said that the bakery makes them all 40 days of Lent. And they sell out almost every day. By noon when I was there today, they were already on the fifth sheet of hot cross buns. They're $2.50 apiece.


                          1. Pop Art Bakeshop said on their FB page that they'll sell hot cross buns Fri 4/18/14 only, available for pre-order as well.

                            Pop Art Bakeshop
                            2307 International Blvd, Oakland
                            Hrs: Fri 8am-3pm

                            1. i make my own with old family recipe from england - the crosses need to be custard - yellow egg custard. the citron is home made.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: lauramedanich

                                Will you share your recipe here for Good Friday?

                              2. Esther's German Bakery, Los Altos

                                Spotted this giant example this morning at Rainbow in SF. No shelf tag but it was on Esther's shelf and presumably its product. I didn't buy one yet wanted to mention it since it has the lemon gel cross. Looked very moist and studded with yellow raisins.


                                P.S. If anyone has tried Esther's HCB, please comment.

                                1. Lotta's Bakery, San Francisco

                                  Today is the anniversary of the 1906 Earthquake. Many San Franciscans follow the tradition of gathering at Lotta's Fountain on Market Street, an important meeting point, at 5:12am to commemorate the Great Quake and Fire.

                                  Not me, instead I headed to Lotta's Bakery on Polk Street. During Lent, it makes hot cross buns ($2) on Fridays and Saturdays. On first bite, I liked the springy texture but didn't get much in flavor pay-off. Then it started to grow on me. Not very sweet other than the thick white icing cross. Studded with currants, fresh orange rind and subtle whiffs of cardamon, there's nothing at all obvious about this HCB. So demure and so lovely.

                                  1. Arizmendi Bakery, 9th Avenue, San Francisco

                                    Arizmendi on 9th makes hot cross buns ($2.75) three days a year: Good Friday (today), Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday. The staffer told me that they always sell out well before closing time.

                                    Topped with a custard cross, this was the densest of the HCBs tried this year. The dark hue of the interior made it look whole wheat based, but no, that's the heavy use of spicing. Buttermilk added an interesting tang. Other than the spices, this was fairly plain with meager currants.

                                    Much too heavy and bread-like for my tastes.


                                    1. Dianda's Italian American Pastry, San Francisco

                                      Even lighter and not as sweet as Fillmore Bake Shop's, Dianda's hot cross bun ($2.75) is akin to a mini Colomba di Pasqua. Rich with butter and eggs, the tender and airy texture strikes the midpoint between bread and cake ala panettone. With but the thinnest of sugar glaze washes and a custard cross, sweetness derives from the raisins, maraschino cherries and other candied fruit embedded in the bun.

                                      The polar opposite of Arizmendi's, this might be my favorite this year.


                                      The second photo is the chocolate rum cream mushroom dubbed "dildeaux" by Derek "ChowFun".

                                      "5 Great Historical Myths And Traditions About Hot Cross Buns, a Pre-Easter Pastry"

                                      1. Mayfield Bakery's still suck. Dry brioche with raisins and no discernible spice. Several years ago, they were made with a soft, sweetish bun.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: emily

                                          So disappointing to hear . . . but I'm glad I skipped making a special trip to try one at Mayfield.

                                        2. Gotta make them at home for the perfection you desire. My Mom has a classic recipe where you scald the milk and top with CUSTARD not white sugar. Then i make my own citron from meyer lemons which make the taste perfect.

                                          2 Replies
                                            1. re: Melanie Wong

                                              Yes, recipe please . . . I've not had custard-topped HCB (I'm from the Northeast and it seems that the yellow goo or custard cross is a regional variation).

                                              The only thing better than a good HCB is "Easter Pudding" - bread pudding made from leftover HCB. Thus, I always make an extra large batch.

                                          1. My grandfather was from England where hot cross buns originated I think. Myom has alwaysade them for as long as I can remember. The English family recipe we used was probably lost and my mom used one from a jello pudding box from the late 60s I think. The jello pudding marketers thought of a good way to short cut the yellow crosses. The recipe is super good. Scalded milk kind that tastes perfect.

                                            1. My wife just rushed over to Schuberts to buy the last of the HCB (4/20/2014 - 4 PM) only to be told that they will be baking them for another week, apparently at least until the 26th or 27th, so there's still time.