Friday, September 18, 2020


My love for breakfast pastries dates back to my earliest days of primary school, as the school bakery had them fresh and abundant every morning. A lot of time has passed since those chilly mornings, but my love for pastries remains. Especially if they are like these; rustic, ever so slightly sweet, nice, golden, and crispy on the outside, and pillowy soft on the inside. And that is exactly where the beauty of baking lies, in the complete freedom to make these, and any other pastries, completely to your liking.
These beauties are rolled with delicate and fragrant lavender honey, sweet enough to brighten them up, but not as far as to make them into dessert pastries. The honey melts into the dough itself, almost making them flaky, like laminated pastry, which is marvellous when you unravel them slowly, and dunk them into an icy cold jam. They are best served hot, right off the baking tray, with a tangy jam of your choice, and a large cup of freshly brewed coffee. And if you like your pastries on the sweeter side, do dust them lightly with icing sugar just after serving.

450 grams plain flour
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
150 grams buttermilk
100 millilitres warm water
60 millilitres vegetable oil, divided
20 grams fresh yeast
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 ½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
150 grams lavender honey

Sift the flour into a large bowl, add in the salt, whisk well, and set it aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the fresh yeast, sugar, and the warm water, and set it aside for about 10 minutes so the yeast can activate. Once the yeast has activated, make a little well in the centre of the flour, pour in the bubbly yeast, buttermilk, half of the oil, vinegar, and vanilla, and mix with a wooden spoon until a very soft and slightly sticky dough forms. It should not stick to your hands, but if it is, add another tablespoon of flour, but not more, as the dough needs to be as soft as possible. It is better to let the dough rest briefly and knead it again, than to add more flour. Place the dough in a large clean bowl, cover it with a kitchen towel and let it rise, at room temperature, for about an hour, or until doubled in size.
Once the dough is ready, transfer it to a lightly floured surface and knead it briefly, and then divide it into 12 equal pieces. Roll each of the dough pieces into a large circle, about 30 centimetres in diameter, and drizzle a generous spoonful of honey all over it. Roll up the dough into a long log, pinching the seam so it stays tightly rolled. Coil the dough into a swirl, or your favourite shape, and place it on a large baking sheet lined with baking parchment. If you want a more intricate shape, you might need to add a tad more flour, to braid or twist it more easily. Continue shaping and rolling until the dough is used up, and then let the pastries rise in a warm spot for another 30 minutes, to rise again. Just before baking, brush them with a bit of the reserved vegetable oil, and bake them in a preheated oven, at 200°C, for about 15-18 minutes. Serve hot, with a spread of your choice, and a cup of strong coffee.

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