from one generation to the next
It’s a while since I wrote about bread baking but my passion for slowly fermented 100% spelt sourdough bread continues to grow. My bread is essentially flour and salt mixed with water so is it any wonder I am amazed by the fabulous freshly baked loaves I take from the oven.
My daily loaf recipe has evolved in the passed 12 months simply from pushing boundaries. I’ve learned sourdough made with a mature, active starter is very accommodating so I no longer worry about sticking to a time driven regime. Because of the busyness of daily life some dough has spent 2 days in the fridge before being shaped and baked, while occasionally shaped loaves have spent another 2 days patiently waiting for me to have the time to heat the oven and bake. None of these loaves have suffered and once or twice I suspect I’ve even detected a subtle improvement.
Time driven kneading of the dough is now a thing of the past for me too. My hands suffer from the ravages of a lifetime of dexterous work and some days the joints are so painful, it’s an effort to clutch a spoon, but my super relaxed bread dough doesn’t care, just as long as I don’t forget to give it a few turns and stretch it to the max before relegating it to the fridge for a day or two of rest.
All of this makes me feel as if my previous sourdough experiences, the ones that failed, happened in a different time and dimension. I’ve witnessed the transition of my young starter from a vulnerable weakling to a robust living thing eager to turn flour and water into bread, and this in turn has simplified my bread making routine. Having relaxed into the processes, my loaves, while rustic to the eye, make fabulous eating.
I haven’t made sweet buns for quite a while. In preparation for Easter and the imminent visit of my grand daughters from Melbourne it’s time to dust the flour off my Hot Cross Bun recipe from 2016 and see if 12 months down the track, my changes in basic bread preparation makes any improvement to the end result. I tweaked the recipe just a little too, I can’t help myself.
VERDICT: They were wonderful, try them for yourself…
A note for Fodmappers: Each bun has less than 10g of currants. One hot cross bun should not trigger symptoms as 13 grams is the recommended safe maximum sized serve of currants. All other ingredients are OK.
Sourdough Spelt Hot Cross Buns
300mls strong chai made with 2 chai teabags
60g melted butter, cooled
100mls milk at room temperature( I used lactose free)
2 large eggs, whisked lightly
300g activated spelt sourdough starter
570g organic white spelt flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
100g brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
60g roughly chopped pecans
Pour the hot tea over the dried fruit and leave until cool. Drain the fruit and reserve the tea.
Put the milk and melted butter into a measuring cup and make the volume up to 250mls with reserved chai. Discard the remainder of the tea.
Lightly whisk the eggs to break up the yolks then whisk into the other liquids to combine.
Whisk the flour, salt, sugar and spices together in to thoroughly combine.
Weigh the active starter into a large mixing bowl, add the dry ingredients, the fruit and nuts then the liquid ingredients and mix into a shaggy dough.
Set aside for 20 minutes.
Lightly flour the bench, tip the dough onto the bench then knead only until smooth.
Put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic (I use a plastic shower cap) and set aside for 40 minutes.
Stretch the dough it into a large oblong on the bench. Fold the edges to the middle over and over until you have a tight boule.
Return the dough to the oiled bowl, cover the bowl with plastic then rest the dough overnight in the fridge. My dough had 15 hours.
The next morning, divide the dough into 16 X 100g-ish pieces.
Line an oven tray 30cm X 30cm with baking paper.
Shape the buns by stretching each piece then folding the edges into the centre until the outside surface is taut and most of the fruit is inside.
Place the shaped buns on the paper lined tray 1cm apart, then cover them with a sheet of baking paper and a clean tea towel. Allow to rest at room temperature for 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 220C
Crosses: Make a thick slurry with 1 heaped tablespoon gluten free flour, 1 heaped tablespoon spelt flour, pinch of baking powder and 4 tablespoons cold water. Add a little more water if necessary to make a creamy consistency.
Pipe the crosses onto the buns then put them immediately into the hot oven.
Bake the buns for 10 minutes at 220C then reduce the heat to 200C and bake for a further 20 minutes.
Glaze: In a small pan heat 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water stirring constantly until the sugar has melted. Bring to the boil, simmer for 30 seconds then turn off the heat.
Immediately after you remove the buns from the oven, brush generously with the glaze, then set the buns aside to cool on wire rack.