Sun Rolls ‒ Aurinkosämpylät

We've had an exceptionally cold spring this year, but now it finally looks like the snow has withdrawn (at least for a while). To get to enjoy wild veggies quicker, I tried to lure out the Sun from behind those clouds with these rolls I made for a housewarming present.

Rolls like these are usually among the first things Finnish kids learn to bake on their own. Still, I've been looking for the perfect recipe for most of my life. They didn't rise at all, they became too dense, they tasted like sugar buns. Eventually I've come to the conclusion it's not really about the recipe, it's about the touch and some basic rules you need to learn by experience. This is why I tried to include some tips I've found helpful in the recipe, so the instruction part may seem a bit complicated than usual, though it's not really.

- 10-12 dl flour (mostly white wheat flour, but do try experimenting with adding different full corn flours, wheat germ or such for less bun-like results)
- 5 dl water (some use oat milk or such but I wouldn't bother)
- 50 g margarine
- 50 g fresh yeast (I've found dry yeast harder to control)
- 1 tbsp dark syrup
- salt
- 2 carrots
- 1.5 dl  sun flower seed
Make sure all the ingredients are room temperature. Dissolve the yeast in water (which doesn't need to be warm). Add the syrup, the salt, part of the flours and the margarine. Keep kneading with your hand while you add flours little by little. Optionally, crate in the carrot and the sunflower seeds too.

Add flour just enough to get the dough to detach from your bowl but see it still sticks to your fingers. Using more flour than you absolutely need just gives you hard buns. Also, if you're using old flours you'll need less than fresh ones. Knead at least ten minutes more to make sure you get long, pretty strings and gets some of that seitan-style structure. Smoothen the surface of the dough, cover with a towel and let it rise until it's doubled its size (should take less than an hour).

With a sharp knife, take fist-size pieces of the dough and carefully roll a bit between your hands. If you wish, decorate by cutting a cross (Sun symbol!) on them and sprinkling some more seeds. Place the rolls on the baking sheet, put the baking sheet in a warm place (like over a sink filled fit hot water if you don't have any better place) and cover again for half an hour. For a bit nicer colour, spray a little water with a spray bottle.

Bake in 225°C for 8-10 minutes. If you let them be a little longer you'll get crunchier surface. When they come out of the oven, instantly cover them with a towel to keep them soft longer. These are at their best on the same day.

Nutritional values / 1505 g:
energy 3426 kcal
fat 97 g
protein 116 g
carbohydrates 525 g
fiber 43 g

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