Every two years my grandparents try to bring all the family together for a weekend at their farm. When I was an adolescent, these meetings didn’t seem of much interest to me, and when I didn’t find an excuse not to attend, I still rather perceived them as an obligation (I liked going to the farm of my grandparents, but I preferred not to meet so many and often mostly unknown people there to whom I was supposed to be polite). I think it was only 4 years ago that I still wasn’t thrilled by the idea of these family meetings. Luckily I went anyway, because I realized that my family is full of friendly, open and interesting people and I suddenly felt very fortunate to be part of a family like this. I was enjoying meeting this people, knowing more about them, listening to their stories, going for walks… I also still remember being fascinated by watching many of the women in the kitchen, moving fast, working efficiently. I had observed these energetic movements in my grandmother and mother and could now see it in more women of this family, some of which I didn’t even knew (or remembered). My grandmother who has taught householding and gardening to many apprentices during her life, is often the one working the most, worried about the schedule of the meals and watching everybody to see if they do their task according to her instructions.
These family meetings are structured around the four meals that are served every day. Who gets up before breakfast comes to the kitchen to see if helping hands are needed. We prepare the breakfast, usually a huge bowl of Muesli with tons of fresh fruit from the garden, then buns or bread with homemade jams and honey, coffee and tea for everyone. The tables on the terrace are covered with blue and white mantles and dishes, cups, cutlery and the food are placed on top.
The cleaning of the previous meal is often followed almost seamlessly by the preparation of the next meal. Lunch is usually rather light, as one of the highlights are the cakes everybody is invited to bring, eaten in the afternoon. In the short breaks between meals, we often go for walks in the beautiful surroundings. Of course we are all complaining the whole time about the amount of food and our full bellies, but I have to admit, that is the way we expect and want it to be.
At this year’s meeting a few weeks ago, I thought everybody would appreciate to have homemade and freshly baked buns that fill the enormous kitchen of my grandma’s farm with their smell, instead of white buns from the bakery. I wasn’t wrong, after just a few moments additional bread had to be taken out because not one bun was left, I was asked to make them again the following days, and many came to me asking for the recipe. On the last day I made two versions, adding cinnamon and raisins instead of the carrots and seeds to half of the dough. I was planning to repeat that for the post, as well as doing a third version with onion and oregano, but I suppose you’re already guessing how versatile these are and maybe you’re even thinking about an own combination (what about dried cranberries and walnuts for example? Or dried tomatoes and a little parmesan or goat cheese? Or do you rather prefer olives and rosemary?).
It is a recipe that requires minimal effort, the ingredients are thrown together the afternoon or evening before, in the morning the buns are just rolled and baked after a little additional rising time. There is not much you can do wrong and the aroma, texture and taste of the warm buns will reward you generously for the little effort of making them.
Makes 10 buns.
Carrot & Seeds Buns
- 2 cups whole spelt flour
- 1 cup light spelt flour
- 20g/ 0.7oz fresh yeast
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds
- 1 tablespoon flax seeds
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
- 2 medium sized carrots, peeled and coarsely grated
Cinnamon & Raisin Buns
- first 5 ingredients of the Carrot & Seed Buns
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 2/3 cups organic raisins
Oregano & Onion Buns
- first 5 ingredients of the Carrot & Seed Buns
- 1 medium sized onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 tablespoon oregano
Whisk the flour and the salt together. Make a little mold in the middle and crumble the yeast inside. Add 1/2 cup of water and stir until the yeast is dissolved. Add the rest of the water. Add the carrots and seeds/ cinnamon and raisins/ oregano and onion/ your favorite combination and use a pastry scraper (or your hands) to bring everything together into a dough (just enough to form a dough, you don´t really need to knead it). Cover with cling film and let rise overnight. In the morning, line a baking tray with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 160ºC/320ºF. Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces. Roll the pieces into little balls (click here for a tutorial on how to roll perfect buns, thanks for this helpful lesson John Pastry!), using a little flour if the dough sticks to your hands. Place them on the baking tray. Cover with cling film for 20-30 minutes to let rise again, then bake them for 20-30min, until cracked and slightly browned.
Notes: The title of the post is “Breakfast Buns” because I made them for breakfast and because it fits with my last titles all rather accidentally containing alliterations, but they are of course well suited for lunch, dinner and as a snack too!