The Bath bun is a sweet roll made from a milk-based yeast dough. It has a lump of sugar baked in the bottom and more crushed sugar sprinkled on top after baking. Variations in ingredients include candied fruit peel, currants or larger raisins or sultanas.
The original 18th century recipe used a brioche or rich egg and butter dough which was then covered with caraway seeds, coated in several layers of sugar similar to Frenchdragée.
The bun's creation is attributed to William Oliver in the 18th century. Oliver also created the Bath Oliver dry biscuit after the bun proved too fattening for his rheumatic patients. The bun may also have descended from the 18th century 'Bath cake'.
References to Bath buns date from 1763, and Jane Austen wrote in a letter of 'disordering my stomach with Bath Bunns' in 1801. The buns are still produced in the Bath area of England.
Although this is disputed, the 18th century 'Bath cake' may also have been the forerunner of the Sally Lunn bun, which also originates from Bath.