(This one’s for Christina, who asked me to share the recipe for these over a month ago – sorry its taken me so long!)

It is officially ‘Soup Season’ again in our household. We don’t tend to go for soup when the weather is warm, but now that the days are shorter, darker, colder and currently wetter, we crave a warm bowl of soup at lunchtime. I make two or three kinds a week at this time of year, and boxes of it get taken in to work or are heated in the microwave here at home. The basic soup is made from roughly a kilo of whatever veg is around plus onion and garlic and whatever other flavourings “hum”, cooked up with a litre of fresh chicken stock (or if I’ve run out, veg stock). We sometimes make croutons (most recently from stale breadsticks chopped into chunks and lightly fried with some garlic). We often add a swirl of home-made yoghurt and/or a handful of toasted seeds. Delicious, but not quite filling enough without some sort of bread.

I’ve recently discovered a kind of quick bread, that has more in common with a savoury cake than anything, but mostly we eat our soup with Spelt Sunflower Rolls.

spelt rolls

Spelt is an ancient grain, more easily digested by those with a mild gluten intolerance. The rolls are quite dense, with a wonderful nutty taste, so I make them quite small or they are too much of a good thing! As with any heavier flour, they tend to require kneading for slightly longer (I tend to go for 15 mins) but are well worth the extra trouble. I stick the music on and drift off while I work the dough to a soft and smooth ball. This time I got a melancholic mix of Strawbs, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, The Cure and Tom Petty! They also work best with milk or milk and yoghurt as the liquid rather than water, it makes them lighter.

1kg wholemeal organic spelt flour

10g dried yeast

20g fine sea salt

100g sesame seeds (plus extra for coating)

600ml warm milk (or half and half milk and natural yoghurt)

1 Tbsp olive oil or melted butter



  1. Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl and stir in the milk to make a soft and slightly sticky dough.
  2. Add the olive oil, mix in, and turn dough out on to a clean work surface…
  3. Knead well for 10-15mins until dough is smooth and silky
  4. Form dough into a round, lightly oil with olive oil, place in a clean bowl and cover with plastic until doubled in size
  5. Divide the dough into 12-16 equal pieces (depending on your appetite!)
  6. Form each piece into a round, roll top lightly in a bowl of milk and then in a plate of sesame seeds to coat, then place on floured board to rise, covered in plastic.
  7. Heat the oven to its highest temperature with a heavy baking tray in and a smaller tray for boiling water. If you find – as I tend to – that you need more than one tray, leave out the water tray and just spray the oven with a mister later on.
  8. Once your oven is up to temperature and the rolls have almost doubled in size, carefully remove the tray(s) from the oven and gently transfer the rolls to them, working as swiftly as possible, but be gentle!
  9. Mist the rolls with the plant sprayer full of clean water and carefully return the tray(s) to the oven. If you have room for a water tray fill it with boiling water at this point and put it in the bottom of the oven, otherwise spray the inside of the oven before gently shutting the door and setting the timer for 10 minutes.
  10. After 10 minutes turn the oven down to 200C (390F) and cook for a further 10-15 minutes, until the rolls are nicely brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
  11. Remove rolls from trays and leave to cool on a rack. Enjoy with a bowl of soup, or filled with cheese and pickle, or anything else you fancy!


13 thoughts on “Bread of the Day: Spelt Sunflower Rolls

  1. Sounds really delicious. We tried a Spelt loaf too the other day. I agree with your description — quite dense, but a lovely nutty taste. Goes well with those winter soups you mention. One of our favourites is curried Red Lentil; it’s been a family staple for over 30 years, and both of our daughters have adopted as a family heirloom.

    1. Hi Mark. Curried red lentil sounds rather tasty – fancy sharing the recipe?

  2. Thank you Janet. I’ll try them this weekend; I have some spelt (I actually bought it by mistake insted of chestnut flour for making some pasta so I’ll be able to put it to good use. It’s called Farro flour here in Italy. Farro is quite popular also as a grain that can be made into soup or salads. Thnk you so much for remembering. Christina

    1. Hi Christina. Farro flour sounds so much nice than spelt… Good luck with the rolls – let me know how you get on!

  3. WOW – they look very yummy!! Now, I’d heard of spelt, we grow spelt at work as a heritage cereal – works really well – we’ve something up here called ‘Bere’ it makes a nice flour but quite heavy – a landrace barely variety – it is good for those with gluten intolerances too. Up here they use it to make bere bannocks – a type of savory scone bread – a bit like a farl – great and tasty – If you ever want to try any bere flour – give me a mail and I’ll send you some to try.

  4. I have been up since the crack of dawn making soup for our lottie winter celebration later today ~ those rolls would go down perfectly with it. They look most professional. Must have a go but sadly not enough time today. Now providing they are not all scoffed in one sitting Janet how long would they keep for and how do you store them?

    1. Hi Anna, they keep well just in a bread bin for 2-3 days, and you can always freshen them in a microwave by warming them for a minute or so. I tend to freexe them in pairs and get them out as and when needed. Lottie session sounds wonderful!

  5. aloha,

    it gets a little cold here down to 65 deg at night so i’m also ready for soups and making alot of it….your bread roles look great, i’ll have to try making some:)

    thanks for connecting

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