If you are a regular reader of my blog you will already know that I am a huge fan of spelt flour and I use it where ever I can in recipes, it is an ancient relative of modern wheat, the spelt grain (triticum speltum) was widely grown by the Romans. Organic milled spelt grain is sieved from the course outer layers of bran to create this creamy white flour. This amazing heritage flour is more nourishing, has higher levels of vitamins and minerals and contains less gluten. I bake a lot for my family, we love fresh homemade cakes and bread and what is really lovely is knowing exactly what has gone into it and having the choice to find alternatives that are healthier and will nourish.
What is interesting is that lately spelt flour has become trendy, it is popping up every where and I have seen it being used more and more in cookery books. Then this week on The Great British Bake Off they were using it on there, this can only help promote this lovely old flour.
It was funny watching The Great British Bake Off this week, it would of been a great week for me, but everyone around me still has not managed to persuade me to reapply, I got so close last time, but at the moment its not something I feel the need to do. If I do however go back and I made it to the show, I would have a theme that all my bakes would be nourishing, I would try where possible to use spelt flours, fresh flowers and maple syrup instead of sugar, all the tricks that I have learnt from ‘Love Bake Nourish’, my baking bible, but for now I am more than happy baking for the people that I love.
So onto these gorgeous little buns, fitting in nicely with my spelt theme, you can also adorn them with seeds of your choice, making them even more healthy and nutritious, using both refined white spelt flour and the wholemeal spelt they are delicious, nutty and filling. They are also baked in a muffin tin, not only is this fun, my Daughter Rosie loved this, but it makes them so easy to shape, prove and bake, perfect for a dinner party when you want everything to be just perfect.
This recipe was taken from ‘Scandilicious Baking’, it is a fabulous and interesting cookery book, full of lovely recipes that use spelt flour, I have so many cookery books and very often when they arrive they are so disappointing, but if I find amazing ones like this one, I test a few recipes from them and if I truly love the book, I add it to my Book Shop here on my blog, so please check it out if you would like some inspiration.
290ml whole milk ( I always use semi-skimmed, just to cut down on the fat, I didn’t need the whole 290ml, but you might)
45g organic butter
2 tablespoons of treacle or clear honey
200g refined spelt flour ( you can use plain white flour if you don’t have spelt)
140g wholemeal spelt (or normal wholemeal flour if you prefer)
1 teaspoon of salt
7g fast action dried yeast ( 1 sachet )
1 medium free-range egg
a handful of mixed seeds of your choice ( I used sunflower and poppy, but you can use linseed, sesame, hemp, what ever you like)
a handful of oat or spelt flakes (optional)
Heat 250ml of the milk, butter and treacle/honey in a small saucepan to just below the boiling point, remove from the heat and allow to cool, I pop a thermometer in to check that it reaches below 50C so that it doesn’t kill the yeast, but you can do this by hand, just make sure that it is blood temperature.
Sift the flours, salt and dried yeast in a large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly so that the salt and the yeast are evenly distributed. I must add here that I also always throw in the collected bran flakes that have collected in the bottom of the sieve, I don’t want to miss out on the taste or nourishing goodness.
Make a hollow in the dry ingredients and use a wooden spoon to stir in the lukewarm milk, butter and honey/treacle mixture in two stages. When the mixture begins to come together, scrape the dough off the spoon and continue to mix with your hands, adding as much of the rest of the milk as is needed to form a slightly sticky, but not wet, dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead for 5 minutes, using your hands or a metal or plastic dough scraper, until the dough springs back when you press lightly with your thumb. Now if you follow my blog regularly, you know what I am about to say next, I did mine in the food mixer with the dough hook, I just popped in the dry ingredients, set it on the slowest setting and very slowly poured the milk mixture in until I felt it was the right consistency, then I let the machine do the work.
Transfer the dough back into your mixing bowl, cover with a lightly oiled clingfilm or trusty shower cap and leave to rise in a warm place for 45 to 60 minutes or until doubled in size, remember that spelt flour can rise quicker than normal flour, so keep an eye on it.
Lightly oil a 12 hole medium sized muffin tin.
When the dough is ready, knock it back with a couple of punches and then turn it out onto your floured work surface. Knead for a couple of minutes, then divide the dough into 12 pieces, you can guess this and do it by eye, but I always weigh the dough, divide that weight by 12 and then you get them all the same size.
Put the dough pieces into the muffin tray, cover again with oiled clingfilm and leave to prove in a warm place for about 20 to 30 minutes, again you want them to of doubled in size, keep an eye on them, as I have already mentioned, spelt flour rises rather quickly.
Preheat the oven to 220C, 200C fan or Gas Mark 7.
Brush the top of each bun with the egg wash and sprinkle with a handful of your chosen seeds, oats and spelt flakes if you are using them.
Splash a little water in the bottom of your oven to create a steam, this will help your buns to rise. I pop a large roasting tin in the bottom of the oven to get really hot while the oven warms up and put the water into this, you don’t want to risk blowing up your oven ! Place your buns onto the upper middle shelf of the oven and bake for 5 minutes, after the 5 minutes is up, turn the heat down to 190C, 170 fan or gas mark 5 and continue baking for a further 10 to 15 minutes until the buns sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out on to a wire rack to cool, if you can be that patient, I always have to rip one apart and add butter straight away, its perks of the job!
As with most breads, these are best eaten on the day that they are baked.