Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Fennel & Cumin Spelt Bread Rolls - adventures with spelt flour

As I mentioned in this previous post, we moved home recently and left our rented house with its nice tidy white kitchen behind.  The house we bought is a fixer upper and most of it is still a building site, covered in plaster dust, with half of the upstairs bathroom missing and no flooring anywhere other than in two bedrooms.  Most of our belongings are still in boxes (and have been since the start of June), and the novelty is wearing off very quickly – I just want it to be finished dammit!  I’ll be sharing photos of my “new” kitchen soon, and bragging about my husband’s recently-acquired DIY skills.

Soft-focus food porn? 
I actually made these bread rolls way back in June for a Jubilee picnic, but the memory card with the photos has been packed away since then and I’ve only just managed to find it.  Plus our broadband has been all over the place due to the move, and I’ve just managed to get my iMac set up again.  So I have a bit of catching up to do! 

First assemble your ingredients, Delia style
I made these to try out some new spelt flour from Sharpham Park, who have a lovely range of products made from organic spelt, including breakfast cereals with various flavours like bran flakes with berries (which I also tried, but it didn’t even make it as far as the blog because I scoffed the lot very quickly – it’s delicious), speltotto (like risotto – obviously – but using spelt instead of rice, which I do intend to try as I love risotto but like the nutty flavour of spelt) and of course the range of flour, which I was rather impressed with.  I get genuinely excited when I try out a new flour.  Is that a bit weird?  I’m sure I’m not the only one.

This recipe is adapted from one by Nigel Slater.

Fennel & Cumin Spelt Rolls


250g Sharpham Park wholegrain spelt flour
250g strong white bread flour
350ml warm water
Heaped tsp dried yeast
1 tsp Maldon salt, crushed in a pestle & mortar
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds

First add the yeast to the warm water and give it a bit of a stir about.  Leave for 10 minutes or so till it starts to foam up.  

Toast the fennel and cumin seeds in a dry frying pan over a high heat for a couple of minutes – keep them moving around with a wooden spoon to stop them burning.  Pour the toasted seeds into a pestle and mortar and bash them up a bit.  

A great stress reliever.

Now throw everything into a big bowl, give it a really good mix around until it all comes together, turn it out onto a worktop* and knead, knead, knead until you have a lovely smooth stretchy dough, which you then want to roll into a tight ball, place into an oiled bowl, cover with a piece of oiled cling film or a floury tea towel, and leave for an hour or so until it doubles in size.


Now preheat the oven to 250 degrees C, and put a roasting tin or something similar in the bottom of the oven.

Turn the dough out, gently push all the air out of it, give it a quick knead and divide into 8 pieces.  Roll each piece into a little ball, place on a floured baking tray quite close together, and cover with a tea towel.  Leave for another 40 minutes or so until they’ve puffed up and have probably stuck together.  In the meantime, boil the kettle.

Now put your little rolls in the oven, and pour some water from the kettle into the roasting tin and shut the oven door.  The steam will give your rolls a lovely crust and help them rise.

Bake for about 15 minutes, or until they sound hollow when tapped underneath.  Cool on a wire rack for a bit, but do try and eat them while they’re still warm, preferably with some strong cheese and some cold meat like slices of pepperoni or chorizo.


I have to say I really did like these little rolls.  They are somehow chewier than bread made entirely from wheat flour, and despite being small are really quite substantial. 


Sharpham Park products are available from selected Sainsburys and online at their website, and the bran flakes have been on my shopping list several times now. 


  1. Yummy recipe. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Your home, er sounds fun! Just remember it will all be worth it in the end!

    Your rolls look great and I really like the fennel addition - I always find its a bit of a marmite ingredient - I *love* aniseed but sadly find most of the people I bake for don't share the love :(

  3. Happy new home, it will all be worth it.
    You aren't the only one to get excited about new flour. I do too. I love my flour ordering day. Oh dear, oh dear, I can't quite believe I have just typed that.


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