This is a recipe I saw Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall make on one of his latest programmes – River Cottage Autumn. He was talking about one of the most ancient wheat grains – Spelt. It has been around for decades but has only recently been popular and started to be used again. It is higher in protein than traditional wheat and its molecular structure is different meaning it can be more easily tolerated by some wheat allergy suffers.
The wheaty looking rolls Hugh produced got me wanting some for myself and so a short visit to the shops to get some flour and I was all set to go. The dough came together very easily, a little sticky at first, but keeping working with it and it soon becomes soft and smooth. It also uses only the 4 basic ingredients of flour, yeast, water and salt.
I noticed the spelt flour seemed courser than standard flour, but I think this added to the great texture of the rolls, slightly dense and yet very tender with a slightly chewy outer crust and a nutty wholesome flavour. I tore one open when still warm and inhaled its warm, just baked wheaty aroma – one of the best smells in my book. They tasted wonderful with a bit of butter and jam, but Hugh suggests serving them with some good veg soup. Either way, I’ll be making these again.
Spelt Rolls - (I halved this recipe and got 8 small rolls)
Recipe from River Cottage Autumn by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
1kg wholemeal spelt flour
3tsp dried yeast
3 tsp salt
600ml warm water
Add the flour, salt and yeast into a large bowl. Pour over the water and mix with one hand until a dough is formed. Add a little more flour or water as needed to produce a soft and sticky dough.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and kneed for 10 minutes until smooth and no longer sticky.
Lightly grease a bowl and place the dough in the bowl and cover with cling film. Leave to prove for an hour, until doubled in size.
Knock back the dough and divide into 12 – 14 pieces. Shape into rolls and place on a baking tray about 1inch/2.5cm apart.
Leave to prove for a further 30minutes until risen. Preheat the oven to 250C.
Bake the rolls in the oven for 12-15 minutes (depending on number of rolls) until risen, nicely brown on top and sound hollow when tapped on the base. Leave to cool slightly on a wire rack.
Eat while still warm with butter, jam, soup, cheese, pickles etc.
Makes 12-14 rolls