Hot cross buns

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Appears in
Oats in the North, Wheat from the South: The history of British Baking, savoury and sweet

By Regula Ysewijn

Published 2020

  • About

The tradition of baking bread with a cross placed on top or pressed into the dough is linked to both paganism and Christianity. At the beginning of spring, the pagan Saxons baked bread in honour of the goddess Eostre – which is the origin of the name Easter, according to Bede the Venerable, an 8th-century English Benedictine monk.

The cross on the bread represented the rebirth of the world after the winter and the four phases of the moon, as well as the four seasons and the wheel of