You need to plan ahead if you want to make these for Easter Sunday. Start the process on Saturday morning to bake the buns late Sunday morning. You will notice the ingredients are mostly in gram amounts, I have learned (from experience) when it comes to bread baking this will give the most consistent results. Digital scales work best and keep within 2g of the ingredient weight. Another handy and very affordable piece of equipment is a dough scraper for folding the dough and cutting without severing the gluten.
100g white spelt flour or organic white flour
100g filtered water
1 tablespoon sourdough starter
320g white spelt flour or organic white flour
5 g unrefined salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
pinch of nutmeg
100g raisins or sultanas
200g mashed roasted pumpkin (see note below)
melted butter for brushing
- Make the production starter in the morning of the first day (Saturday morning). Cover with a bowl cover or plastic bag and leave to ferment for 12 hours - after this time the starter will have visible bubbles and roughly double in size.
- In the early evening around 6 - 7pm make the dough. First weigh the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Use a whisk to combine and aerate.
- Put the milk and butter into a saucepan and gently heat until the butter is melted. Don't boil, just warm the milk. Remove from the heat add the pumpkin flesh, mashing with a fork to combine or use a stick blender to purée. Pour this mixture over the dry ingredients along with the production starter. Use a dough scraper or spatula to mix for 2 minutes to thoroughly incorporate the ingredients. The dough will feel a little sticky at this stage but it shouldn't feel wet. However, as pumpkin moisture content can vary if the dough feels very sticky and wet add 20g extra flour and mix well to combine.
- Cover the bowl with a plastic bag so the dough doesn't dry out and leave to rise at room temperature (if it is cool in your kitchen then place the bowl somewhere warm) for 3 hours. Before bed place the bowl in the fridge and leave to rise for 10 - 12 hours.
- In the morning (7 - 8am) remove the dough from the fridge and tip onto a bench - resist the urge to add extra flour, the cold risen dough should be reasonable easy to handle. Knead half a dozen times to develop the gluten for the final rise. Next use a dough scraper or 'blunt' butter knife to cut into 12 even sized pieces. Use your fingers to gently fold the cut edges under to make a rounded bun shape. Place the buns on a lined baking tray with 1cm space between each. Cover with a plastic bag and set aside to rise for 2 - 4 hours (how long they take to rise depends on the temperature of your kitchen). Once the buns are just touching and visibly risen they are ready to bake.
- Preheat the oven to 220C. Place the buns into the hot oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 200C. Bake for 30 minutes until golden. Check after 20 minutes and if the buns are getting nicely brown on top cover with a sheet of baking paper so they don't brown further. Remove from the oven and cool on cake rack, brush with melted butter or ghee to give the buns a nice shine. Best eaten warm from the oven with a thick spread of butter - they are also lovely toasted the next day.
To make the crosses combine 3 tablespoons flour with 2 tablespoons water, spoon into a ziplock bag and cut a small hole (approx 2mm) in one of the corners. Twist the bag and slowly squeeze out the paste onto the buns to make crosses. Roast Pumpkin - when roasting pumpkin for dinner I often bake extra for adding to baking. I slice the pumpkin into wedges - leaving the skin on as this is easy to peel off once cooked. Brush with a little ghee or coconut oil and season lightly with salt. Roast for 30 minutes at 190C until tender, flipping the pumpkin wedges after 15 minutes for even cooking. Cool then remove the skin and mash or puree.