Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Pizza buns (yeast-free)

Are you embracing the colder season or are you one of those who want to turn into a bear and hibernate? Coming from Iceland, where the days turn much darker in winter, I know a few who suffer from the winter blues but luckily their condition isn't serious, nothing that cannot be tackled with vitamin D and a cosy home. Candlelight, hot chocolate and warm socks often do the trick. Hyacinths too! This is the time to spread hyacinth bulbs in vases all over the home. The weather here on the west coast of Scotland has turned colder but we haven't quite stepped across the threshold and into winter. My trick to deal with the cold is a warm sweater and comfort food, especially bean stews or freshly baked bread or buns. Warm kitchens with heavenly scents are the best in winter, which is why yesterday I greeted the children with home-made pizza buns after school. It's one of my Antwerp recipes and brings back good memories.

Pizza buns ready for the oven

Before we make the pizza buns I would like to comment on baking powder: No one in this house is allergic but in my recipes I always use the gluten-free baking powder from Doves Farm. They don't pay me for advertising it, it's simply what I like best. Just recently I tried another brand, also gluten-free, but that one gave the pizza buns an aftertaste I didn't like. The reason I never use regular baking powder is that annoying aftertaste it always seems to give (use at least 50% less in the recipe if using regular).

We were living in Antwerp when I put this recipe for soft pizza buns together and for some reason haven't shared it on the blog. Personally, I'm not a big fan of pizza buns (my son and I want the real thing: pizza) but my daughters love the home-made ones. The buns are a great after-school snack, especially on cold days, freshly baked from the oven. For the dough I use white spelt flour but you can of course adjust the recipe for wholegrain (organic plain flour is also fine). The amount of salt depends on how salty your pizza sauce is: Mine isn't, it only has ¼ teaspoon. If your pizza sauce is salty you may want to use less salt. You can also add a bit of unrefined sugar to the sauce, or to the dough. Sometimes I substitute 2-3 tablespoons of the spelt flour for semolina or polenta. For a vegan version simply use soy yoghurt and vegan cheese. [Note for American readers: 1 cup of white spelt flour is about 130 grams, which means you will need scant 3¼ cups, depending on the type you use. For the lukewarm water, start with ½ cup and 2 tablespoons (= 155 ml) and add 1-2 tablespoons if needed.]


makes 20
435 g white spelt flour
1½ tablespoons baking powder, gluten-free
1 teaspoon (or less) fine sea/Himalayan salt
75 ml natural yoghurt (5 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon light olive oil
150-175 ml lukewarm water
3½-4 tablespoons pizza sauce
100 g cheese, grated (1 cup)
optional: Parmesan cheese and dried oregano/Italian herb mix

Prepare the pizza sauce if you do not have any leftover sauce. Here is my pizza sauce recipe.

In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients (see my above note on baking powder). Make a well in the centre and add the yoghurt, oil and water (start with 150 ml). Combine with a wooden spoon. Knead the dough with your hands while it is still in the bowl to get a feel for its texture. The dough is not supposed to be too wet, but if it is simply sift some flour over it and knead some more.

Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and knead it lightly with your hands. Bring out your rolling pin and roll and stretch the dough to form a square that is about 37 cm (14.6 inches). I make a square instead of a rectangle because I like my buns thick.

Spread the pizza sauce evenly over the square and sprinkle the cheese on top. Add some Parmesan and dried herbs, if using. Tightly but gently roll up the square into a thick log. Use a sharp knife to cut it in half, then cut each into 10 slices. Line a baking tray with baking parchment (the tray I use is 35 x 25 cm/13.8 x 9.8 inches). Place the buns into the baking tray in five rows of four.

Bake the pizza buns at 220°C/425°F (200°C fan oven) for 13-15 minutes. Allow to cool on a wire rack for a few minutes before serving them warm.

Uppskrift á íslensku.

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