My mom is a very special woman. Not only is she unearthly beautiful (reminding me of a fairytale queen), she is also the kindest, strongest, wisest and most loving woman and mum I have ever met. In short, the best mum in the whole Universe. She can also take a lot of the credit for my passion for cooking. Pretty much all my cooking and baking memories from when I was little involves my mum. My brothers and sister and I would line up around her, standing on chairs, helping her mix and measure, and of course make sure the taste was acceptable (it always was). With her enthusiasm and creativity I began connecting cooking with family time, laughter and joy. When we were tall enough to reach the kitchen bench without chairs, we were allowed to experiment on our own. We would make fantasy cakes that tasted awful but were eaten nevertheless, as well as muffins that we sold to neighbors, and we would play restaurant, making a menu, setting the table and inviting my mum and dad as special guests. Ah, those precious memories!
Anyways! Ever since I moved to Copenhagen, I have paid regular visits to my family in Norway, and more times than not I have left again with my bag full of homemade bread rolls (I know, I am totally spoiled. However, there is really no point discussing with the most generous woman in existence). Everything my mom makes is heavenly, and her bread rolls are no exception. Needless to say, I am quite sentimental about these – they taste like home. Regardless of my emotions however, these rolls are quite famous. EVERYONE loves them and they always make an appearance on special occasions like Christmas and holidays where the whole family is gathered. While I was back home around Easter, my mom and I decided to join forces in the kitchen and veganise her special rolls. The result turned out amazing (my mom even thought the recipe turned out better than her non-vegan version). They are perfectly soft and incredibly tasty, and they reach new heights when eaten warm, straight from the oven. The rolls are perfect for breakfast, with some tasty toppings like silky smooth hummus, homemade jam or pesto, or as a side dish to soups and stews.
The rolls are made with spelt, an ancient grain that has been around for 6000 years at the very least. It is a distant cousin to wheat, but when comparing the two grains, spelt has a tougher husk, which makes the nutrients inside the grain more protected, and the spelt therefore ends up being quite nutritious. In fact, one cup of cooked whole spelt contains 11 grams of protein, as well as 106 % of your recommended daily value of manganese. Manganese is essential for proper bone health, preventing osteoporosis, and has been found to control the blood sugar, aid against PMS and epilepsy, and improve brain function. Spelt also contains large amounts of calcium, magnesium, selenium, zinc and iron, in addition to high levels of vitamin B, especially niacin and thiamine, important for a healthy nervous –and cardiovascular system. Also, it contains a lot of fiber that reduces the cholesterol level, and thereby lowers the risk of damage to the blood vessels. Eating whole grains has also been proven to strengthen the heart and keep the blood pressure on a normal level. Additionally, the rolls contain healthy fat and protein from the seeds and walnuts (If you are allergic to nuts, feel free to leave them out).
Many people who have trouble tolerating wheat find that spelt is much better for their digestion. While researching online, I found that spelt is supposedly better for the digestive system compared to common wheat because of its water-solubility, making the spelt flour easier to degrade by the churning and mixing actions of the stomach (as opposed to wheat that ends up like a hard ball in your stomach). However, if you are sensitive to gluten I would recommend you to try my Bread Rolls made of Nuts and Seeds instead. If your body on the other hand tolerates gluten, you should most definitely try this recipe because the rolls are totally awesome – It is a bit of kitchen-love coming right at you, because in the end, nothing really beats mom`s cooking. Am I right? (No need to answer, I know I am)…
Mom´s Amazing Spelt Bread Rolls
Makes about 25 bread rolls
1 cup (2,5 dl) whole spelt grain (soaked for at least 8 hours)
1/3 cup (¾ dl) olive oil
2 cups (5 dl) water
25 grams yeast
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 cup (2,5 dl) rolled oats
1 cup (2,5 dl) whole spelt flour
4 ¼ cups (1 liter) finely ground spelt flour
100 grams walnuts
½ cup (1 dl) sunflower seeds
½ cup (1 dl) pumpkin seeds
A pinch of salt
Cover the whole spelt grains with water, and let them soak for at least 8 hours (or overnight). Blend all the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Heat the water until it reaches body temperature, and blend it with the yeast. Add the olive oil, maple syrup and water to the bowl, and work the wet and dry ingredients together using your hands. Add the soaked whole spelt together with the water they were soaked in. When everything is well mixed, leave the dough in the bowl and cover the bowl with plastic foil and towels. Let the dough rise for about 1- 1 ½ hours. Make bread rolls, and put them on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Cover the tray and the bread rolls with towels, and let the bread rolls rest and rise for about 30 minutes. Spray some water on top of the rolls, and sprinkle with seeds. Push the seeds lightly into the rolls. Bake at 430 OF (220OC) in the middle of the oven for about 10-12 minutes, until they are golden on top.