Makes 16 buns

INGREDIENTS

200g active, ripe starter
350g water, preferably filtered (cold if baking in summer)
500g organic baker’s flour
1-2 tablespoon of sugar of choice (more if you like them sweeter)
1 tablespoon of mixed spice
¾ cup sultanas (roughly chopped)
¾ cup of currents
10g fine sea salt
For the cross- ½ cup of bakers flour and 1/3 cup of water.

METHOD

MEASURE AND MIX INGREDIENTS: (Use a digital scale for accuracy) In a bowl, firstly weigh in the starter and water, then mix with a plastic or wooden spoon until combined. Next weight in the flour, sugar and mixed spice, then mix again until all of the flour is hydrated. It will be rather dry at first but that’s ok as it will soften.

REST: Cover the dough with a tea towel for 30-60 minutes to autolyse. This is the process where the gluten is activated and starts to develop.

ADDING THE SALT: Turn the dough out onto the benchtop. You will notice that its relaxed and become softer and less dry. To add in the salt, press the dough with your fingers then sprinkle over the salt with 1 teaspoon of water to help it dissolve. Then again gently press it into the dough. Don’t worry if it’s not all dissolved- this is normal as it will eventually during the kneading process.

ADDING THE FRUIT: Once you can see that the salt has blended in, it’s time to add the fruit. Press out your dough into a rectangle then sprinkle over the fruit. Fold the ends into the middle then start to knead your dough.

KNEADING: Using the palm of your hand, gently press the dough out away from yourself, then pull it back in with your fingers. Knead the dough back and forth until it feels soft and elastic for up to 10 minutes. At first the fruit will not want to mix in but eventually it will.

Your dough will be sticky. Don’t be alarmed, as this is how it is meant to be.

*You will start to notice the dough becoming more elastic and smoother. (yet still sticky)

RISE AND PROVE: Once your dough has been kneaded for up to 10 minutes, you will notice it feels soft and elastic (and still sticky). This means there is good gluten development and your bread is going to have a good structure when it rises and bakes. Now it’s time to bulk prove the dough.

BULK PROVING: Return your dough to the bowl you weighed everything in and cover it completely with either beeswax wrap, a damp tea towel or lid, leaving space for it to rise at room temperature. This can take 3 hours in the warmer months or 3-4 in the cooler months. Your dough should double in size and be very puffy to touch when it has reached its full prove.

Next:

SHAPING: Tear off a sheet of baking paper and line a baking tray ready to place your buns onto, then set it aside.

Dust your bench with flour and with a plastic spatula or dough scraper, gently remove your fermented dough from the bowl onto the floured bench. Your dough will feel very light and airy.

For the buns: Lightly dust the dough with flour and gently shape it into a rough square. With a dough scraper or large knife, divide the dough into 16 even squares approx. 75g each. Then roll each little dough square into little balls and place them evenly but not quite touching on a tray lined with baking paper. This will give them space to rise.

Do not ever let plastic wrap touch your dough as it will stick, and you won’t be able to remove it.

FINAL RISE/PROVE: Cover the tray of buns with a tea towel and or place the tray into a non-toxic plastic bag to let them have their final prove/rise for another 2 hours.

They should have risen and will now be puffy and touching each other. When your dough is ready to bake it should have doubled in size, be quite soft and puffy and when pressed with your finger, show little resistance.

You are so close, it’s almost ready to bake. It’s time to add the crosses.

To make the cross mixture: Mix together ½ cup of Bakers flour and 1/3 cup of water until it is the consistence of thick yogurt. Fill a piping bag with the mix and pipe crosses onto the buns.