A Derbyshire bakery wants to tempt people back to the traditional hot cross bun this Easter with a free taster session- to compare with ones mass-produced by the supermarkets.

Years ago, Stacey’s Bakery, based in Ilkeston, would sell thousands of hot cross buns each day at its shops in Ilkeston, Heanor and Eastwood but sales have declined since supermarkets started selling the Easter favourite. It currently sells around 200 a day across its shops.

David Stacey, owner of the family-run bakery, said there is a huge difference between supermarket-bought hot cross buns, which are often heavy and stodgy, and those made fresh at Stacey’s Bakery.

To prove this theory David will be holding tasting sessions at the South Street shop on Thursday April 6 (10.30am until 2pm), where people will be able to compare the difference.

He said: “I remember a time when our hot cross bun production was non-stop. Now supermarkets sell them all year round, but they are so abysmal, ours are completely different. Supermarket ones have more in common with scones and crumpets than a bun. This is because when the spices are added to the dough it acts as a poison to the yeast, stopping the bun from rising. We use traditional methods to make ours which gives the yeast a fighting chance against the spice, and produces a light and fluffy hot cross bun. You simply can’t make hot cross buns in the same way as normal cobs, but sadly this is the route most bakeries and supermarkets have gone down nowadays giving us the wrinkly and dense hot cross bun. If you tried both you would notice a huge difference!

“If you buy one of our packs of four you can never just eat one. They are not heavy and don’t fill you up like a supermarket one would. They take just 30 seconds in the toaster whereas a supermarket one is so dense and full of water you can put it in the toaster for several minutes and nothing much happens.”

Stacey’s Bakery started producing hot cross buns weeks in advance this year. It normally starts two weeks before Easter and all the buns are made using a traditional machine which doesn’t destroy the gluten.

David said: “Over the Easter week, we have gone from baking 300 dozen a day 20 years ago to about 60-70 dozen each day. There has been a massive drop off since the late 90s but we haven’t changed anything.”

Stacey’s is also launching a new chocolate orange tart, which is made from crisp pastry and has a gooey filling. If you head to the Stacey’s Bakery Facebook page and leave a review you will receive a free chocolate orange tart in-store.

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