Spiced Sourdough Plaited Buns

Makes 8

INGREDIENTS

180g water
60g olive oil, plus extra for the bowl
50g rapadura sugar
2 tbsp mixed spice
150g sourdough starter (100% hydration)
450g flour, plus extra for kneading
1 tsp salt

METHOD

Add the water, oil, sugar, mixed spice and sourdough starter to a large bowl. I used my Kitchen Aid mixer for the dough making, but it can be done by hand too.

Add the flour and salt to the wet mix. Using the dough hook of your mixer, or by hand, knead for 8-10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. If you’re using a dough hook you’ll hear a change in the dough when the gluten activation has happened; it ‘slaps’ the bowl. Truly!

Cover the bowl with cling film or a silicon cover and leave at room temperature for approximately 8 hours or until the dough has doubled in volume.

Once the dough has doubled in size, cut it into 8 equal pieces and roll into balls.

Take each ball and roll into a sausage, cutting the length into 4 equal pieces. Take each of those pieces and roll into a sausage, so you end up with 4 equal length sausages.

Take the ends of the 4 sausages and pinch together so you can plait the bun without it coming apart.

Using an over and under technique, plait the 4 strands together and tuck the ends under to complete each bun.

Repeat with the remaining 7 buns.

Place the buns appropriately 1.5cm apart on a prepared baking tray. Drizzle a little olive oil into your hands and gently rub over the top and sides of each bun. Cover the tray with cling film (not too tight, you don’t want to squash the buns) and place into the fridge over night.

Next morning, take the buns out of the fridge for an hour, heat your oven to 200C.

When the oven is up to temperature, boil your kettle with at least 500 ml water. This is to add steam to your oven while the buns are baking. You’ll need an ovenproof dish to pour the water into. I used a bread tin on the shelf below the buns.

Place the tray of buns in the oven. Immediately add the boiled water to the pan you have underneath the buns. This will release lots of steam, which is what you want – just close the oven door quickly so it doesn’t escape.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, watching the buns for that lovely deep golden colour.

When you can feel they spring back to your touch, remove from the oven and while hot brush with maple syrup or jam over the top of each bun.