13 questions with Jason Lilley, founder of Jason Bakery in Cape Town, South Africa. 

Back in 2011, a young baker entered the scene with plans to rock the world of pastries, pies and proven dough. With a respect for traditional baking methods, a love for his craft and a desire for just ‘doing it right’ Jason Lilley of Jason Bakery soon became the name on everyone’s lips (and hips). We like to think that all this passion was fuelled by AND UNION’s equally tasting and expertly brewed range of Modernist Bavarian beers – and as this self-taught baker was the first ever retail stockist of AND UNION when opening his first bakery, we might be onto something.


1. What’s on your playlist when switching on the ovens at 4am? 
Depeche Mode, The National, Pixies, Moby and then plenty of 80s tunes once it gets light.  
2. Who are your baking idols?
Markus Farbinger (île de païn in Knysna, South Africa) and Jeffrey Hamelman (King Arthur Flour Company, Vermont, USA).
3. Give us your favourite bakeries in Paris, London & New York?
Pain Pain (Clignancourt); E5 Bakehouse (Hackney) and The Dusty Knuckle (Dalston); Supermoon Bakehouse (Manhattan). 
4. What are you favourite bars/beer gardens?
The House of Machines (Cape Town, South Africa); The Bike Shed (London); Gallow Green (at the McKittrick Hotel, NYC).
5. Your AND UNION beer of preference?
It changes, but right now its Unfiltered Lager.
6. What recipe will you never share?
Most of them! It’s a tough one because staff know them and some of them move on, but our classic croissant recipe is safely guarded. 
7. As a baker which do you prefer, Christmas or Easter?
Both are crazy times for us, but I’ll favour Easter slightly, there’s more variety in the produce and we get four days of trade. We make 4 000 hot cross buns over Easter Weekend.
8. What’s the best use of And Union beer in a baking recipe?
Using AND UNION Thursday Black Lager, without a doubt our Dark Lager Chocolate Cake!
9. Where do you go to cool off, detach and escape the kitchen? 
My motorcycle is my sanctuary – a ride around the Cape Peninsula will clear anyone’s head.
10. Greatest lesson learnt in the kitchen?
As a self-taught baker … you burn, you learn.
11. What's the most common question you’re asked as a baker?
From customers: “Where did you learn to bake?” and “Can you bake my wedding cake?” From staff: “How long till this is done?” 
12. What’s your final meal?
Filet Rossini (replacing the filet with rib eye steak), featuring beef au jus, black truffle shavings and Foie gras on brioche. 
13. Why is it called a Baker’s Dozen?
13 instead of 12. Back in the day bakers sold by the dozen at a specific weight – failing to do resulted in a fine. To show honesty, some bakers included an extra loaf to ensure minimum weight was met. Most bakers displaying this goodwill to customers were prosperous.



The flour-coated genius was kind enough to share the love, and has decided to share his one of his most prized recipes with us - The Jason Bakery Hot Cross Buns. Thanks for the years of support Jay!

Hot Cross Buns Recipe

You will need:

2 Baking pans
Large Mixing bowl
Piping bag
Pastry brush
Spray ’n Cook or similar non-stick cooking spray
Kitchen cloth
An oven
Oven gloves
A cold And Union Neu Black - for sustenance

35g Cranberries
45g Raisins
40g Sultanas (golden raisins)
45g currents
280g full cream milk
2 large free-range eggs
85g unsalted butter (room temp)
30g fresh yeast or 22,5g instant yeast
55g brown sugar
10g mixed spice
540g stone ground cake flour
10g fine salt

80g cake flour
90g water

100g sugar
90g water
Zest from one orange removed with a peeler not a microplane or grater.
2 sticks of cinnamon.

For the Glaze:
Put all of the ingredients into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Allow to continue boiling for 1 min 30 sec. Remove from heat and allow cooling.

For the Buns:
Put all the ingredients except the fruit and the butter in a mixing bowl and mix until combined. Add the butter in small amounts and knead into the dough before adding the next bit of butter.
Once all the butter has been mixed in, add the fruit and knead the dough until the fruit is evenly distributed throughout.
Place dough into a mixing bowl, cover damp kitchen towel and allow to prove for one hour.
Place dough on lightly floured work surface and divide it into 120g balls of dough.
Shape each ball into a tight round with a smooth surface. Place on a greased baking tray about 2cm apart (#socialdistancing)
Allow to prove for another hour.

In the meantime, make the batter for the cross by mixing all the ingredients together and beat well. Spoon into a piping bag. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Once sufficiently proved, pipe a cross over each bun and load the tray into a pre-heated oven at 180˚C for 15min. The buns should have some colour on them.

Glaze your buns as soon as you take them out of the oven.
Allow to cool and tuck in with some Marmalade and an AND UNION Thursday Black Dark Lager!