Inspired living

Spelt Hot Cross Buns

Stretching brain power

With Easter approaching I have been eying
off the hot cross buns lined up in bakery windows and supermarkets everywhere. I must admit, I do love a warm hot cross bun, but I don’t like what I read on the ingredients list of some packets. A lot of butter, preservatives, egg and wheat flour – which is ok for some in moderation – but there’s nothing I like better that indulging in a treat that is 100% natural and good for you! And so my quest to make the perfect allergy free, dairy free and butter free hot cross bun began.

Firstly, I had a look at some traditional recipes to see how I could substitute ingredients; noting that baking is a lot different to my regular “throw it all together” cooking. There is a science to baking and there needs to be a balance of ingredients like a math equation to get your end result.

I thought by exchanging the wheat flour to spelt flour would be okay seeing as spelt flour is the closest grain to it’s white flour wheat counterpart. Spelt flour has a high water solubility, making it easier to digest for those with a wheat intolerance and is higher in nutrients. (Do note: although spelt is thought a safer choice for people with wheat allergies – it may not be completely safe for you and could have a mild reaction – buckwheat flour would be the safest choice). I then swapped the butter for olive oil and bought some organic icing sugar and raw sugar instead of using plain white sugar. To get the right consistency I needed a liquid – so I exchanged the traditional 350mls of milk for warm water.

The yummy dried fruits and mixed spices was my favourite part – they really liven up the aroma of the kitchen with excitement for whats to come.

The result is a slightly sweet, delicately dense spiced, healthy bun – crunchy on the outside and warm and fluffy on the inside – perfect for slathering on some freshly made jam and sharing with friends. (This recipe is also delicious as fruit bread – just cook the dough in a loaf tin instead of rolling into buns).

500g organic spelt flour + 1 tsp extra
1 heaped tablespoon of mixed spice (or add your own spices, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, clove)
1 teaspoon of dry yeast
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon raw sugar
2 tablespoons of olive oil
zest of 1 orange
350g water or 350g almond milk
1 cup of sultanas and currants

1/4 cup spelt flour

Sugar glaze:
half cup of organic icing sugar
1 tablespoon of mixed spice
2 tablespoons boiling water

  1. Mix yeast, sugar and salt along with half of the warm water into the bowl. Whisk until it’s a frothy and set aside.
  2. Place flour and mixed spice into a large mixing bowl. Stir in yeast mixture and remaining warm water. Knead into a dough.
  3. Add currants and sultanas to the dough. If you’re using egg – add it now too.
  4. Tip the dough into an olive oil greased bowl, cover and leave in the fridge overnight. (Alternatively, leave in a warm place for 2 hours).
  5. Knead dough again and break up into 12 pieces and shape into little round buns. Place the buns on a lined baking tray and cover with a tea towel. Leave for about 30 minutes, or until doubled in size.
  6. In the mean time, make up crosses mixture. Mix spelt flour with enough water to make a paste. Pour into a piping bag ready to draw across buns. (You could also use a plastic bag with a tiny hole.).
  7. When buns have risen, pipe crosses (or any other pattern of your choice!) onto the buns.
  8. Bake for 12 minutes on 180oc – until light a fluffy – you can turn one bun over and tap the bottom to see if hollow in the middle.
  9. Prepare glaze: Combine icing sugar with boiling water, stir until sugar is dissolved.
  10. Brush tops with sugar glaze while buns are still hot from the oven.
  11. Pop a bunch into a basket and deliver them to your loved ones!

Optional: Try adding some diced granny smith apple for a fruitier apple taste!

To view more healthy recipes visit Alison’s blog: An Apple A Day Nutrition