I find these buns one of the most therapeutic things to make. You pretty much can’t go wrong when making them, so long as you don’t overbeat the batter. They’re fluffy, light, wholesome, and with a surprising crunch from the walnuts. They work best when at least a quarter of the flour in the mix is white. This being said, I’ve tried this recipe with wholemeal and rye and they still rise perfectly. You could also try buckwheat flour, a malted blend, dark or light rye, the list goes on.
MAKES 10-12 BUNS
400g plain white flour
400g rye flour
A generous pinch of salt
2 tsp dried instant yeast
Approx. 400ml lukewarm water
1 small apple, cut into very small cubes, seeds discarded
A large handful of walnuts, roughly chopped
Approx. 1 tbsp sesame seeds
Coarse or cracked black pepper
- In a mixing bowl, combine the white flour with the rye flour, salt and yeast. Make a hole or well in the middle of the flour and slowly pour in your warm water.
- Using a wooden spoon, begin to mix the ingredients together. You don’t have to be too gentle, but don’t go overboard. The mixture should be relatively sticky. It doesn’t form a solid dough, just a rough mix, so add a tad more water if your mixture is too dry, or a little of either flour if the mixture is too wet.
- Cover with a tea towel and put to one side, preferably in a warmer space in your kitchen. Ideally you’d leave this overnight or for at least 8 hours, but if the space is warm enough, the mixture will have risen in 2 hours.
- When you’re ready to cook, preheat your oven to 240C/220C fan/gas 8. When you remove the tea towel you’ll notice that the mixture has risen – it will still be sticky and more air bubbles/streaks will have formed. Carefully add your apple and walnuts and gently fold into the mix. The mix can be quite rough.
- Line a large baking tray with greaseproof paper or a silicone baking liner. Using two large spoons, begin to take sections of the dough to form bun-type shapes, again quite rough. You can use the spoons to your advantage, moving them about to shape the dough. Repeat until all of the dough has been used up.
- Sprinkle the rolls with the sesame seeds and some pepper. You could add some extra salt on top here too.
- Bake in the oven on a middle shelf for about 25 minutes. The time may vary depending on your oven. The tops of the buns should be brown and they should be firm and crispy enough to feel solid when you tap them.
- Remove the buns from the oven and allow to cool for a few moments before eating. Store any leftovers in an airtight container for about a week.
Now buy the book and try all the recipes
The Whole Vegetable by Sophie Gordon will be published by Penguin Michael Joseph on 6 January, price £25. To pre-order a copy for £21.25 until 16 January, go to mailshop.co.uk/books or call 020 3176 2937. Free UK delivery on orders over £20.