Hello friends! I’m sneaking in with a baking project for your weekend. A baking project that you might also consider meal planning for your week (because who doesn’t want a warm muesli muffin every morning of the week) . A baking project that could keep you indoors in the air conditioning for the hottest part of the afternoon and make your house smell like bread and success.
This recipe is a true mashup. It’s muesli meets pull-apart bread. It’s breakfast meets afternoon snack. It’s time to soften the butter and preheat the oven – this is a good one!
Despite this bread being packed to the gills with dried fruit, oats, and nuts – it’s really not too sweet at all. The sweetness comes from the fruit itself and isn’t overpowered by refined sugars. These muffins feels more like a hearty and wholesome breakfast bite. If your brain is like mine we might call it… Practically a Salad.
I bring this bread to you straight from one of the very best bakeries in Tel Aviv.
This is Uri Scheft of Lehamim Bakery. He’s a wild man.
At least, that was my immediate impression of Uri when I saw how be braids and slashes his incredible challah loaves, how much chocolate he smears into his famous babka, and how he literally chops together dough, dried fruit, whole eggs, and honey to make his Spelt and Muesli buns.
Where bakers are often strategic perfectionists, Uri is wild and free – BLESS!
I met Uri on a recent trip to beautiful Israel with Vibe Israel. I was lucky enough to get in the kitchen with some of the best bakers in Tel Aviv. The inspiration was bountiful, the breads swirled with chocolate, the cakes packed with pistachios. It was such a rich experience and I’ll have more recipes inspired by my travels around Israel in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, let this beautiful bread into your life. Feel wild. That’s the key.
We’ll start building this dough in layers.
The first layer is room temperature water and flax seeds. Allow the flax seeds to soak for 30 minutes. They’ll soften, thicken, and absorb some of the water.
Does the 30 minutes matter? Yes it does. Leave them be. Trust the process. We really do want to soften the seeds.
To the soaked flax and water add instant yeast.
You can use active dry yeast if that’s what you have on hand, just give the dough an extra 15 minutes or so in the rise.
Next we’ll layer flours and brown sugar – food for the yeast.
This recipe calls for two types of flour: all-purpose and spelt. Spelt flour looks very much like all-purpose flour but is derived from an ancient grain and has a bit more protein than it’s all-purpose counterpart.
If you don’t have spelt flour on hand you can substitute easily all-purpose flour – no problem.
A room temperature egg, a teaspoon or so of salt, and a few tablespoons of olive oil.
We’re making a lightly enriched dough, adding some luscious fat (but honestly, not too much).
Bring the dough together on a dough hook for several minutes.
You’ll see the flax seeds studded throughout the dough. The dough should have enough fat and flour to begin to cleanly pull away from the sides of the bowl. If the dough feels a little wet and sticky, add a bit more all-purpose flour. If the dough feels too dry, add a few tablespoons of water.
You’ll get a feel for it.
Turn the soft dough out onto a lightly floured counter.
We don’t want too much flour into the dough from the counter, so let’s go easy.
The dough should be moist to the touch but not sticky to the hands.
To knead the dough, we’ll use the heel of our hand to press the dough away (tearing the gluten strands as we extend the dough) and fold back into a ball. Rotate 45 degrees and press the dough away again, form into a ball, rotate and repeat.
The dough will begin to feel strong and more firm after 4 to 5 minutes of slow kneading.
Place the dough in a bowl that’s been lightly greased with olive oil. Allow to rest until it’s almost (but not quite) doubled in size – about 40 minutes.
Cozy the risen dough onto a lightly floured counter.
Now for the crazy fun part!
Use a metal bench scraper to slice a checkerboard pattern into the dough.
Top the checkerboard dough with ALL OF THE TOPPINGS.
I added dried cranberries though dried cherries would also be wonderful!
I added toasted pecans (mostly big halves of pecans) though hazelnuts or walnuts would also be a great idea.
Diced, pitted dried dates – a must.
Sunflower seeds and sesame seeds!
And we’re still going.
Fresh apple chunks (peel is nice) and a few tablespoons of old-fashioned oats.
We’ll add a few tablespoons of honey and two whole eggs – all right there on top of the dough and on top of the toppings.
If it feels wild and fun – you’re doing it right!
Next we’ll take the metal bench scraper to fold the dough into and mover the toppings.
The goal is to incorporate the egg and honey, to evenly disperse all the toppings, and actually chop into the dough making smaller chunks.
The dough will feel rather wet, full, and a little messy – trust, it’s all part of the process.
Shimmy small handfuls of the dough and toppings into two greased muffin tins.
Brush lightly with egg wash and sprinkle generously with old-fashioned oats. We’ll bake until golden!
Smear warm buns with softened butter and live your best life.
Photos with my friend Jon Melendez.Print
Spelt and Muesli Morning Buns
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For the Spelt Dough
- 1 cup warm room temperature water
- 1/3 cup flax seeds
- 2 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
- 2 1/2 cups spelt flour
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
For the Muesli Filling
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 1/3 cup diced pitted dates
- 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 1 green apple, peeled and diced
- 2 large eggs
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
For the Egg Wash
- 1 large egg
- A splash of water
- A pinch of salt
- To make the dough, pour water into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the flax seeds and allow to soak for 30 minutes.
- Whisk the yeast into the water and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Add the flours, egg, brown sugar, salt, and olive oil. Use a spatula to mix the ingredients together into a shaggy dough.
- Fit the bowl on the mixer with a dough hook and mix at medium speed until the dough begins to come together around the dough hook, about 4 minutes. Add a bit more room temperature water if the dough seems dry or a bit more all-purpose flour if the dough is too wet.
- To stretch and fold the dough first lightly dust a counter with all-purpose flour. Use a plastic dough scraper to move the dough from the mixing bowl to the floured work surface. Use your palms to knead / push the dough away from you in one stroke. Stretch the dough away from you, tearing the dough before folding it back atop itself. Rotate the dough a quarter turn and continue to push the dough away from you and fold it back on itself. After 2 minutes the dough should be a nice ball shape.
- Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and sprinkle the top of the dough with a sprinkle of flour. Cover with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rest at warm room temperature for 45 minutes or until the dough has almost doubled in size.
- Cut the dried fruit, and apple, and gather up the seeds and oats.
- After the dough has risen to almost doubled in size, again use the plastic bench scraper to coax the dough out onto a clean work surface. Press into the dough to flatten it just a bit. Use a metal bench scraper to cut a checkerboard pattern in the dough, not cutting all the way through the dough but making deep incisions. Pile the dried fruit, nuts, seeds, diced apple, honey, eggs, and half of the oats on top of the dough.
- Use the bench scraper to fold and cut the ingredients into the dough. You’ll be incorporating the ingredients and cutting into the dough. Work until the egg, honey, and all of the toppings are evenly distributed and the dough is coarsely chopped.
- Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease two muffin tins. Whisk together the egg wash.
- Generously dollop the chopped dough and fruit into the muffin cups so that the tins are full but not heaping too much. Allow the muffins to rest for 15 minutes or so while the oven preheats.
- Brush gently with egg wash. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes until puffed and golden brown. Remove tins from the oven and allow the buns to cool for 10 minutes before running a butter knife around the edges to remove to a wire rack.
- Serve with softened salted butter. These muffins are best they day or two after they’re baked.