Post is sponsored by Doves Farm
Did you know it’s #RealBreadWeek? A week celebrating bread made the old fashioned way, nothing but flour, water, salt and yeast, no funny chemicals or mass commercial processes. Unsurprisingly, I can happily get behind this. As a guy who has tried and failed on far too many occasions to successfully work with sourdough the last couple months have been a revelation, as I committed myself to conquering this week spot in my baking arsenal. I am now regularly turning out loaves of bread I am childishly excited about. I would love to say I am joking but I have performed an actual happy dance when I pull from the oven, a blistered loaf of sourdough that looks like it has come from the shelves of one of the many amazing bakeries London has to offer. I do know however that I will never bake loaves of bread more than once a week and so the question is, what else to make with the starter that is happily hibernating in my fridge right now? The answer is clearly cinnamon buns, it’s the very obvious, very delicious choice. To celebrate all things bread we also have to talk flour and for that I turned to Doves Farm, one of the UK’s best organic flour companies. I am currently working with them to show you a whole world of alternative grains, specifically ‘ancient' grains.
Now the term ancient grain might not be one you’re accustomed to hearing but it has a fairly simple definition. It is a form of grain that has been cultivated for food for over millennia and one that hasn’t been changed much through selective breading like modern cereal varieties like rice, corn and the wheat varieties we use more widely (the stuff found in regular flours). This means grains like buckwheat, KAMUT® khorasan and spelt. The bigger question might be why use ancient grains when regular wheat is so readily available. The answer I am most interested in is flavour. Those of you that have tried something that pairs the flavours of rye and chocolate together understand what I mean, these grains have their own unique flavours and ones that can enhance your recipes.
For today’s recipe I am using spelt. Spelt is one of the ancient grains we are maybe more accustomed to, you’ve been able to buy it supermarkets for years and it’s one of the easiest to use. You can generally substitute in at least 50% spelt flour without any changes to the recipe and in some cases you can use even more. The spelt lends a more complex flavour and has an inherent touch of sweetness. For this bread dough I used 100% spelt except for the starter which I maintain with regular white bread flour. If you need a guide to starting a sourdough starter, Doves Farm have a handy little guide.
Spelt Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls
200g sourdough starter (100% hydration)
50g light brown sugar
450ml Doves Farm Organic White Spelt Flour
1 tsp salt
75g unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg
200g light brown sugar
1 heaped tbsp ground cinnamon
100g unsalted butter, very soft
Cream Cheese Glaze
50g unsalted butter, very soft
65g full fat cream cheese
100g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
To make the dough place all of the ingredients, except the butter, in the bowl of an electric stand mixer and on low speed, with the dough hook attached, knead the dough for about 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. With the mixer still running add the butter a piece at a time. Once all of the butter has been incorporated knead for a further 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth, elastic and pulling away from the sides of the bowl.
Spelt makes for a dough with incredible extensibility, that is to say a stretchiness you won’t find with regular wheat dough, so I’ve added an extra step that helps make the dough more manageable which might be a little unusual if you’re not used to working with sourdough.
Cover the bowl with clingfilm and set aside at room temperature for two hours. During this period we are going to give the dough a set of ‘folds’ to build strength in the dough. Basically use a wet hand to scoop up the dough from the side, lifting about 20-30cm high and folding it over to the opposite side. Do this at the north, east, south and west side of the bowl. Do this after an hour’s rest and then again after the two hours have passed, making sure to keep the bowl covered between each set. After the two hours are up set the dough aside for 4-6 hours or until the dough has risen by about 50%. Place the bowl into the refrigerator overnight, up to 24 hours.
Prepare a 9x13 brownie pan by lightly greasing with butter and lining the base with parchment paper. Take the dough from the fridge and tip it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll the dough into a rectangle that is roughly 40cm x 50cm. Spread the butter over the entire piece of dough. Mix together the cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle in an even layer over the butter. Roll the dough up into a tight sausage and cut into 12 equal sized pieces (I find unflavoured dental floss to be the absolute best thing for this as it doesn't squash the layers together, this dough is also fairly soft so you’d need to be delicate if using a serrated knife). Place the buns into the prepared pan and cover with clingfilm. Set the buns aside for about 1-2 hours or until risen and puffy, the buns will not double in size but they should be touching at this point. Whilst the buns are proving preheat the oven to 190C (170C Fan).
Bake the buns in the preheated oven for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool in the pan before serving. If making the glaze mix all of the ingredients together until smooth. Spread over the cooled buns and serve.
Once the dough is refrigerated you can leave it there for up to three days but once baked they are best served on the day made.