Hello and happy Sunday!
Baking with yeast is one of my absolute favorite things to do in the kitchen, for the simple reason that it’s so rewarding. Taking that extra bit of time (the rising!) and effort (the kneading!) is well worth it in my opinion, when you consider that sense of accomplishment of seeing your dough rise, and the delight of that first doughy bite (and all the next 😉 ).
Today I’m sharing a recipe with you for super soft swirl buns with a sweet cacao-date filling. They’re perfect for brunch or a snack – eaten as they are or with some nut butter on top 🙂 Hope you enjoy!
Makes: ca. 10 buns
- 465g Zopfmehl (this is a mix of plain white flour and spelt flour that the Swiss like to use for making the traditional platted loaf Zopf; if you can’t get this, I’d suggest mixing ca. 90% plain white flour with 10% spelt flour)
- 15g cacao powder
- 1 tbsp lucuma powder
- 1/2 40g cube fresh yeast (room temperature)
- 1/2 tbsp salt
- 2.5 dl rice milk (or other plant-based milk)
- 80g margarine; soft
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- 300g soft dates (I used the Sukari cooking ones from Palmyradelights.ch)
- 6 tbsp peanut butter/ other nut butter
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- 1.5 tbsp lucuma powder
- 4.5 tbsp cacao powder
- 4.5 tbsp rice milk
- optional: dark chocolate chunks, chopped nuts (e.g. pecans)
*Note: Due to a collaboration with Iswari you can get 5% off orders from iswari.ch using the discount code “blueberrysmiles” (I earn a small commission on such orders). I’m loving the quality of their products – from “superfood” powders to their unique mixes such as the Breakfast Protein. I linked the cacao and lucuma to the website as I used the Iswari products for this recipe.
- Lightly heat up the rice milk so that it’s lukewarm (not hot), add 1 tbsp of maple syrup and crumble in the 1/2 cube of fresh yeast. Leave for a few minutes.
- Measure the flour and cacao into a large bowl, add the lucuma and mix well before adding the salt on the side (not mixing in, as you don’t want it to come in touch with the yeast yet). With your hand, create a well in the center of the bowl.
- Pour the yeast/rice milk/maple syrup mixture into the middle of the flour well, sprinkling a little bit of flour on top. Leave for ca. 5 to 10 minutes – you should see some bubbles form.
- Next, add in the margarine and the remaining 2 tbsp of maple syrup and mix together using your hands until it all comes together. Knead the dough until elastic (ideally it should stretch until almost transparent – if it breaks apart instead of stretching it needs some more kneading). It took me a good 15-20 minutes by hand (alternatively knead it by machine using a dough hook, for ca. 10 minutes on low).
- Shape the dough into a round, place in a bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave somewhere warm to rise for ca. 1 hour 45 minutes.
- Filling – Blend together the ingredients for the filling (dates, peanut butter, maple syrup, lucuma, cacao powder and rice milk) until a thick, sticky paste forms. (My dates were so soft I could just mash them with a fork and mix everything together without having to use extra equipment – always great when there’s less washing up to do 😉 ).
- The dough should have at least doubled in size. Punch the air out and roll it out to a rectangular shape. Spread the sticky cacao-date mix onto the dough evenly. At this stage you can also sprinkle some dark chocolate chunks and/or chopped nuts on top of the filling.
- Roll the dough inwards, starting from one of the longer sides of the rectangle, gently but also firmly, so that you form a compact log. With a sharp knife slice up the log into even slices and place these on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
- Bake the swirl buns in an oven preheated to 200 °C for about 20 minutes (oven time may vary, so keep an eye on them. They should be lightly browned on the top and bottom, but still spring back a bit when you press the sides).
- Leave to cool on the baking tray and enjoy!
What on earth is a Grittibänz?! you may rightly be wondering. My fellow Swiss will, however, know these little bread men as a traditional treat we eat on December 6th, Saint Nicholas Day, along with clementines and chocolates.
Baking being something I’ve always loved, I started making them myself a few years ago, each time searching for an ever better recipe and the “right” technique to get soft and fluffy little men (and women), instead of ones that hardened as soon as they cooled.
As I was still in London this time last year, this is the first time since going plant-based that I have made Grittibänz and – I’m not saying this to be dramatic – these vegan ones are seriously the best I’ve ever made! So of course I want to share this recipe with you. Not only for all the Swiss who make these each year, but for anyone wanting a piece of Swiss culture or just a good recipe for vegan enriched bread dough. You obviously don’t have to form little men out of this dough, but can make rolls, form a plat (we call this bake a Zopf or Züpfe) or make whatever you want and eat it all year round.
The recipe I used is from the Swiss Vegan Society (Vegane Gesellschaft Schweiz). I have translated it into English and adapted it slightly (leaving out the vegan egg replacement, as I found it unnecessary) as well as changing the technique, based on my previous experience with handling dough.
- 500 g Zopfmehl – this is a special kind of flour made of white flour and spelt (which makes it more elastic); if you can’t get a hold of this, regular white flour (maybe mixed with some light spelt flour) should be fine as well
- 1 level tbsp salt
- 80 g soft margarine (I used this one by Alnatura – which also contains walnut oil)
- 1/2 40 g cube of fresh yeast (the recipe gives the alternative of using a sachet of dry yeast)
- 1/2 tbsp maple syrup (optional)
- 2.5 dl rice milk (lukewarm)
- To decorate: raisins, nuts, chocolate chunks etc.
- Warm the rice milk if straight from the fridge (it should not be hot, just lukewarm), add the maple syrup, if using, and crumble the yeast into the liquid.
- Measure the flour into a large mixing bowl, add the salt to one side of it (you don’t want it getting in contact with the yeast at this early stage). With your hand, form a hollow in the center of the flour into which you pour the rice milk and yeast mixture. Sprinkle a tiny bit of flour on to the surface of this “lake” and let this rest for 5-10 minutes. (Ideally you’ll see some bubbles start to form).
- Next add the soft margarine and knead everything together to a smooth, elastic dough. (I used my KitchenAid with the dough hook attachment for around 10 minutes. Either way, test the dough by seeing how far it will stretch before breaking apart. It should be quite stretchy).
- Place into a bowl, cover with clingfilm, and leave somewhere warm to rise for ca. 1 hour 45 min/ 2 hours. (My oven was still a tad warm from baking sweet potatoes 2-3 hours before, so I put the bowl in there 😉 ).
- Once risen, divide the dough into four equal rounds and form into the desired shape. To make a Grittibänz shape check out this video I found, as it’s easier to see it than to read about it (skip to minute 2). Feel free to make whatever shape you desire, just note that the oven time may vary depending on how thick or thin you make the dough.
- Decorate any way you like – e.g. using raisins for the eyes of the Grittibänz – and then leave the Grittibänz to rest for about 15 minutes, while you preheat the oven to 200 ° C (not on fan).
- Optional but recommended: before putting the Grittibänz into the oven, up the temperature and put two little dishes of water on a tray and into the oven, to create some steam. This should help your bakes rise and also retain that lovely softness. Take the dishes out and switch the temperature back to 200 ° C before putting your Grittibänz into the oven.
- Brush some rice milk onto the Grittibänz and bake for about 20 minutes or until baked through. They should be a nice golden color. Leave to cool before eating.