BORDER bakers are rising to the challenge of meeting Easter demand for hot cross buns.
Second generation North East family bakery Valentines Artisan Sourdough Bakers said it was by far their busiest time of year.
Perry siblings Harry, Joe and Matilda took over their parents' business nearly 2-1/2 years ago.
"The Thursday bake for Good Friday is the biggest bake all year," Harry said.
"It's all hands on deck - my dad comes back to help us so we're a team of six - baking from 4pm Wednesday to 6am Thursday."
Harry said they started baking their traditional hot cross buns - from a 50-plus-year-old recipe using German spices and Australian-grown fruit - three weeks out from Easter this year.
"We extended it from two weeks (out from Easter) due to the demand," he said.
Valentines hot cross buns are sold in their five stores: the Rutherglen bakehouse; BBB and Valentines in Myer Centrepoint in Albury; and Valentines at Wodonga Plaza and BBB at White Box Rise Shopping Centre in Wodonga.
Bonegilla-based The Bicycle Baker started making its sourdough hot cross buns early this month.
Founder and baker Nicky Bruce said they made traditional and choc-orange varieties, which would be delivered around the Border until Easter Saturday.
"Last week we ran our first sourdough class which was all about how to make sourdough hot cross buns," she said.
"I made an Italian Easter Bread (Colomba di Pasqua) for the class; It was so yummy and I'm working on including it into next year's Easter offerings."
The Bicycle Baker hot cross buns are available in Albury from The Essential Ingredient, Border Just Foods, The Proprietor Cafe, Timber, Musette and Get Tossed Salad Bar and in Wodonga from The Secret Cup Cafe, Bonegilla Migrant Experience, Jack's Food Store (Corryong) and The Ten Mile Cafe (Holbrook).
South Albury business Nord Bakery is baking traditional hot cross buns as well as its popular Belgian dark chocolate and glazed ginger variety.
Baker Thor Sonnichsen has also offered a hot cross bun semla, which is a traditional sweet roll made in Scandinavian countries.
A hot cross bun croissant has also been added to the offerings at the bakery recently.
Silver Creek Sourdough is offering its vegan-friendly buns with organic Australian fruit at its Beechworth bakehouse on Thursday.
Hot Bake is offering traditional hot cross buns in its Albury and Lavington shopfronts.
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