Little Crusty Spelt Rolls

Everyday baking at it’s finest

These were a joy, simplicity and nourishment in both the making and the eating. They reminded me of German bakeries, which are an altogether different animal to Parisian Patisseries. I like German-style bakers for their unfussy yet serious appreciation for substantial breads including pretzels, rye loaves and the loveliest crusty Weizenbrötchen (everyday bread rolls). I adore eating these for long, leisurely breakfasts when I’m in Germany; I enjoy the choosing a seed-speckled roll from the brown paper bag, cracking it open with my hands and buttering the soft, torn innards. This kind of baking seems, to me, to provide more physical nourishment than the airy frills of patisserie; dark flours, rye roughage and an abundance of seeds all have connotations of health. I have a preference for darker, denser breads in my everyday eating.

In recognition of these rustic themes I used an organic, unbleached spelt flour alongside some traditional strong white. I also used fresh yeast, scooped from the tub in tangy teaspoonfuls. I mixed with my hands and kneaded the dough with, not expertise by a long shot, but a blossoming tingle of familiarity; my hands knew I had done this before. I loved forming the pieces into little domes; turning and tucking until they sat perfectly round and springy in my palm. A rise, a good yolky glazing and a sprinkling of seeds and they baked in 15 minutes. Hot and crusty from the oven, fluffy but firm with a nutty hint of spelt; this is everyday, wholesome baking and a lack of glamour in now way impedes the extraordinary satisfaction of crafting nourishment and warmth with my bare hands.

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