Friday, 22 April 2011

Soaked grain, slow rise Hot Cross Buns!

Last night at about 8 o'clock, it suddenly dawned on me that today we should be having Hot Cross Buns for breakfast, and that there was no way we were going to have any unless I got creative in the kitchen with a healthy version! So I spent a while looking online for recipes for a soaked grain, slow rise version, and do you know what? There wasn't one! Well at least I couldn't find one. Up for the challenge I adapted a traditional  recipe (quite a lot) to be made with oak smoked malted and wholegrain spelt flour and also sugar free, then I experimented with soaking the grains overnight. It was a total success! Huzzah! The oak smoked flour gave the buns such a gorgeous flavour, though I think they'd be pretty tasty with regular malted too. I know this comes a bit late for Good Friday, but, Hot Cross Buns are so scrummy and we have so many bank holidays coming up that there will be plenty of opportunities to be baking more I reckon.

Soaking grains is not a new idea, it was traditionally done (and still is) in many countries. Soaking the grains with liquid and an acidic ingredient, makes them more digestible and means the nutrients are more available to us, so if you have time its a very valuable and worthwhile process.

There are two ways you can do this recipe. You could do it the way I did as I had decided to make them pretty late at night and couldn't wait to try them out..... I soaked the grains over night, made the dough in the morning and did a 2 hour rise, followed by a 45min rise after they were shaped, and had them ready in time for lunch! Or to get a longer ferment and an extra slow rise, start the morning before you want to eat them, that way they'll be pretty much ready to bake for a slightly late breakfast the next day. The grains will soak during the day, at night the dough can be mixed, then it can rise slowly in a cool room overnight for a truly long fermentation. 

For a quicker take on hot cross buns, please check out this post for rye soda bread style hot cross buns! Updated December 2014.

Ingredients (1)
250g strong oak smoked malted flour (you can use regular strong malted flour)
200g wholemeal spelt flour (plus about a cup full extra aside for later)
7g dried yeast (I like Doves Farm)
210ml warm water
2tbs plain organic soya yogurt

Ingredients (2)
1 1/2 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp allspice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
grated zest of 1 orange
1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax and 3 tbsp of water)
50g melted vegan butter (we like biona)
140g of raisins and sultanas

For the cross
50g white spelt flour
60ml water
1 tsp melted coconut oil

For the glaze
2 tbsp boiling water
2 tbsp xylitol/maple

The night before, mix the first set of ingredients (1) together to form a wet sticky mix. Cover with  a plate and leave overnight to soak. The next morning it will look like this:

Next add to the mix the ingredients (2) and mix by hand until you get a very sticky dough.
Just before the fruit was added
Turn out onto a well floured surface and knead. You'll need to add between 1/2 to 1 cup full (depending on absorbency of the flour you use) of flour as you go to form a dough. Knead until elastic, around 5 mins. Shape it into a nice round, cover with a damp cloth and leave to rise somewhere warm for 2 hours, until it has doubled in size. After this time, gently knock out the air and divide the mix into 16 balls. Place them on greased baking trays, cover with a damp cloth or damp scrunched up greaseproof paper and leave to rise for 45 mins.
When they have risen, preheat the oven to 220 C (425 F). Mix together the ingredients to make the crosses, it should make a paste. Pipe the paste in the shape of a cross on each bun.

Pop them in the oven for about 15mins until lightly golden. As soon as they are ready, remove them from the oven and brush them right away with the glaze made from the boiling water and xylitol/maple. Leave a couple of minutes then enjoy with some vegan spread or coconut oil.

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