baking/ morning tea + afternoon tea/ one bowl baking/ traditions and rituals

Spelt Currant Buns

freshly baked spelt currant buns

Where we live, we are coming out of the depths of winter – one that seems to have gone on forever. There is life in the trees, the world is finally growing again, and the sun has some warmth to it when it gets the chance to shine.

But it’s been a long one. Open fires, many cups of tea, and something warm to eat have been required just to get us through; our afternoon slippers and fruit toast game has been strong. And while I love entering spring, and watching the ‘beginning’ of another year, there’s nothing quite like coming home to something warm from the oven to make you feel at ease on a cool afternoon. 

currant bun dough
spelt currant buns warm from the oven
spelt currant buns for a cosy afternoon tea

I love the thought that coming home can be a remedy to whatever kind of day you’ve had. Good or bad, home is a place to feel at ease. And when the weather, or the darkness, has made the day a bit more challenging, the need to feel relaxed when you walk in the door is amplified. Luckily, we have warm currant buns to help with take the chill away and soften the rough edges.

Slippers on, tea in hand, it’s time to get cosy.

currant bun dough
currant bun dough
cutting currant buns

As we enter the warmer months here in the southern hemisphere you might question the need for something like a hot currant bun. But, the change of season doesn’t always remove the need for a little warm baked comfort, especially when weather is still a little unpredictable (as it always seems to be here). The northern hemisphere has some cosy times ahead, so these may be just right for you right now, north or south. And, quite honestly, I think a currant bun fresh from the oven would rarely be knocked back, whatever the time of year.

Here is a recipe for some quick Spelt Currant Buns you can whip up for the afternoon. They’re wholesome and comforting, and will fill your belly with warmth until well after the sun goes down. 

currant buns for afternoon tea
spelt currant buns

This recipe is adapted from the Heisswecken Raisin Spice Buns from Classic German Baking by Luisa Weiss.

They’re made using a scone or cookie cutter, so you don’t need to fuss about trying to roll the dough into little buns, just roll out the dough until it is around 1 cm thick (1/2 inch) and stamp away. Making buns this way requires much less effort and I don’t know about you, but I don’t have much energy for extra effort on a weekday afternoon; I’m looking for maximum comfort requiring minimal effort!

I’ve used wholemeal spelt flour, switched sugars and added a little more butter and milk to compensate for the spelt flour, which tends to soak up a bit more liquid than all-purpose flour. We added in a few extra spices for fun, and some fresh tangelo zest (because our tree was laden) but feel free to use fresh orange or lemon zest, or a little candied peel if that is your preference. 

I gave the tops of these a little brush with some milk but did away with a proper egg wash, mostly because I couldn’t be bothered (this honestly felt like a step too far for a weekday afternoon) but also because I can’t ever bring myself to use only an egg yolk – what is there to do with one lonely egg white?! Throwing one away would surely feel a waste.

Go ahead and brush these with a little milk and an egg yolk whisked together for a more golden crust if your heart desires, or you could brush the tops with a little milk and sprinkle on a little crystallised sugar which would make for a delicious, delicate crust. Or, keep it plain like me and just slather on the butter; I’m pretty sure there will be few complaints.

I recommend these fresh from the oven with salted butter (and a little jam if the day calls for it); or you can enjoy them the following day, sliced in half and lightly toasted, alongside one or more cups of tea.  

spelt currant buns

Spelt Currant Buns

Adapted from Classic German Baking by Luisa Weiss

Makes around 10 – 12 buns

250g / 8.8oz wholemeal spelt flour
1 teaspoon (5ml / 0.17fl oz) instant yeast
2 tablespoons (25g / 0.9oz) coconut sugar
pinch of fine salt
1 teaspoon (5ml / 0.17fl oz) ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon (2.5ml / 0.08fl oz) ground cardamom
1/4 – 1/3 cup (80ml / 2.7fl oz) milk of your choice 
1 egg
60g / 2.1oz unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup (40g / 1.4oz) currants
zest of 1 organic orange, lemon or tangelo
a little milk for brushing


Make the dough by mixing together the flour, yeast, sugar, salt and spices in a large bowl. 

Add in the milk, egg and butter and rub these into the flour mixture using your fingertips, like you would if you were making a scone – start with the smaller amount of milk and add more if the mixture is too dry. Once the butter is fairly well mixed in, tip the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until it is smooth. 

Flatten the dough slightly and add the currants and zest, and knead again to mix well. Form the dough into a ball and place back in the bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and pop somewhere warm (like near the heater or fire!) and let rise for 1 hour. Put on your slippers and have a cup of tea while you wait, or make the dough before you go pick up the kids from school.

Preheat the oven to 200°C / 400°F / Gas Mark 6. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

After an hour, tip the dough out onto a floured benchtop and roll out with a rolling pin until it is about 1cm – 1/2 inch thick.

Using a scone cutter, cut out as many rounds as you can, gathering together the scraps and rolling out again until you have used up all of the dough. Place the rounds on to the baking tray leaving a little room between each one. Cover with the damp tea towel and leave to rise somewhere warm for another 20 – 30 minutes. 

After the buns have risen again, brush the tops with a little milk, or egg wash, or milk and a tiny sprinkling of granulated sugar or xylitol. 

Bake in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes, or until golden brown on top.

Serve warm with salted butter, jam or honey if you like, and a hot cup of  tea.

Spelt Currant Buns

Print Recipe
Serves: Makes 10 -12 Cooking Time: 1 hour 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 250g / 8.8oz wholemeal spelt flour
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml / 0.17fl oz) instant yeast
  • 2 tablespoons (25g / 0.9oz) coconut sugar
  • pinch of fine salt
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml / 0.17fl oz) ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5ml / 0.08fl oz) ground cardamom
  • 1/4 - 1/3 cup (80ml / 2.7fl oz) milk of your choice 
  • 1 egg
  • 60g / 2.1oz unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (40g / 1.4oz) currants
  • zest of 1 organic orange, lemon or tangelo
  • a little milk for brushing

Instructions

1

Make the dough by mixing together the flour, yeast, sugar, salt and spices in a large bowl. 

2

Add in the milk, egg and butter and rub these into the flour mixture using your fingertips, like you would if you were making a scone – start with the smaller amount of milk and add more if the mixture is too dry. Once the butter is fairly well mixed in, tip the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until it is smooth. 

3

Flatten the dough slightly and add the currants and zest, and knead again to mix well. Form the dough into a ball and place back in the bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and pop somewhere warm (like near the heater or fire!) and let rise for 1 hour. Put on your slippers and have a cup of tea while you wait, or make the dough before you go pick up the kids from school.

4

Preheat the oven to 200°C / 400°F / Gas Mark 6. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

5

After an hour, tip the dough out onto a floured benchtop and roll out with a rolling pin until it is about 1cm - 1/2 inch thick.

6

Using a scone cutter, cut out as many rounds as you can, gathering together the scraps and rolling out again until you have used up all of the dough. Place the rounds on to the baking tray leaving a little room between each one. Cover with the damp tea towel and leave to rise somewhere warm for another 20 – 30 minutes. 

7

After the buns have risen again, brush the tops with a little milk, or egg wash, or milk and a tiny sprinkling of granulated sugar or xylitol. 

8

Bake in the oven for 15 - 20 minutes, or until golden brown on top.

9

Serve warm with salted butter, jam or honey if you like, and a hot cup of  tea.