My wife told them: ‘Oh, Phil will bake something for the event!’ And by 11am on the day she is calling me on the phone: ‘Are they ready yet?’
Baking a good bun takes time, even when you are not sure what you are going to do. I started by making a sourdough with some bubbly starter, Strong White Flour, salt and water, to create a base with some strong gluten. While that was rising, I gave some thought as to what, exactly, I was going to bake.
I decided I would do two types of rolled buns, one sweet and one savoury. The sweet one had dried fruits, soaked overnight in water, with the dough supplemented with butter, ricotta cheese, caster sugar, coconut ‘flour’ and some more Strong White. The fruit, once drained, was mixed with freshly ground spices (cinammon, cardamon and cloves, ground and sieved), flaked almonds and mixed peel.
The savoury was more of an experiment. I have mentioned earlier the Greek-style flatbreads with cheese and mint, so I thought I roll based on those would be interesting. The dough was supplemented with ricotta cheese, butter and very strong wholemeal flour and the filling was grated Halloumi cheese (which bakes down to nothing, like butter), cubed Feta, fresh mint leaves (coarsely chopped) and pine nuts.
I baked the fruit buns first, since I thought the cheese buns would be better hot, then rushed them up to the event.
It was only when people started tucking in that I realised: I didn’t actually know what they tasted like.
I had an extra batch, which I baked and had for lunch. They were lovely!