After spending countless bus journeys and trips to Heathrow on my favourite app, DuoLingo, I picked up my firsts tidbits of conversational Swedish. One of the first words I learnt was bullar, or buns. Luckily for my language skills (and my appetite!) buns are extremely popular in Swedish culture. I feel like I could write a whole chapter on buns alone, but here’s one of my favourite recipes for a rustic approach to the classic:
Apple and Cheese Spelt Buns
Makes 12 buns
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Proving time: 6 hours or overnight
Baking time: 12-20 minutes
For the leaven:
10g fresh yeast or 1 tsp instant dry yeast
280ml whole milk, at body temperature
140g spelt flour
For the bun dough:
200g spelt flour, plus extra for dusting
110g rye flour
1 tsp fine sea salt
50g butter, melted
1 medium egg
For the filling:
1 egg, beaten for egg wash
200g grated Vasterbotten or mature cheddar cheese
2 tbsp caraway seeds
1 1/2 medium apples, cored, quartered and diced into 5mm pieces
To make the leaven, dissolve the yeast in the milk. Sift in the 140g spelt flour to make a paste, then whisk until the mix is smooth. Leave covered with a damp tea towel in a warm place for about 1 hour, until it has risen and dropped.
Next, mix together the 200g spelt flour, the rye flour and the salt. Make a well in the middle and add the remaining ingredients, plus the leaven. Mix together until you have a sticky dough, then turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough is soft and smooth. Your fingerprint should bounce back when you poke it. Cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 4 hours, until doubled in size.
When the dough has risen, dust your work surface with flour. Roll the dough into a large rectangle until 0.5cm thick (about 45cm long x 35cm wide) brush with egg wash, then sprinkle on the cheese and caraway seeds and scatter over the apple cubes.
Line two baking trays with baking paper.
Fold the dough into thirds, lengthwise, first lifting a third of the dough towards the middle, then folding the top third down so it aligns with the bottom edge of the dough.
Cut the dough into strips about 3cm wide. Cut each of the strips to split them down the middle but stop about 2cm from the top, just like you’re making a pair of trousers. Twist one of the strips, then the other strip. Then twist them both together. Twist into a bun shape and place seam side down on one of the lined trays.
Repeat with the remaining dough, then brush with egg wash and leave to prove for about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Brush the buns with egg wash once more, then put into the oven on the bottom shelf for 15-20 minutes, or until golden and cooked through. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
Best eaten slightly warm and fresh on the day.
Get ahead/ The dough can be left overnight in the fridge after its 4 hour proving time.
Recipe from my latest cookbook, The Little Swedish Kitchen. Order it on amazon now!