Apple and Cheese Spelt Buns

December 17, 2018
3 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland
  • Prep time 6 hours 30 minutes
  • Cook time 15 minutes
  • Makes 12
Author Notes

Excerpted with permission from Rachel Khoo's The Little Swedish Kitchen:

One of the first words I learnt in Swedish was bullar, or buns. Not only am I a firm believer that the best way to learn a language is through food, but also because it’s a word that crops up time and time again when talking about Swedish cuisine. Buns are very popular: you have the infamous; kanelbullar (cinnamon buns, which are celebrated in Sweden on 4 October every year); kardemummabullar (cardamom buns); fastlagsbullar (fasting buns); vaniljbullar (vanilla custard buns); lussebullar (saffron buns)...I could have written a whole chapter on buns alone.

My aunt-in-law told me when I handed her yet another batch of freshly baked buns (she lives next door and is a very willing recipe taster) that Swedes just can’t get enough of buns, and neither can I. I’ve gone for a rustic approach here, with a rye and spelt flour combination. Apple, cheese and caraway is one of my favourite flavour combinations, but you can easily replace the warm aniseed notes of caraway with some chopped walnuts instead. —Rachel Khoo

Test Kitchen Notes

This recipe is featured in the story, The Warm, Cheesy Apple Buns We'll Be Baking All Winter Long. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • For the leaven:
  • 1 teaspoon instant dry yeast or 10g fresh yeast
  • 280 milliliters whole milk, at body temperature
  • 140 grams spelt flour
  • For the bun dough:
  • 200 grams spelt flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 110 grams rye flour
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 50 grams butter, melted
  • 30 grams honey
  • 1 medium egg
  • For the filling:
  • 1 egg, beaten, for egg wash
  • 200 grams grated Västerbotten or mature Cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons caraway seeds
  • 1 1/2 medium apples, cored, quartered and diced into 5mm pieces
  1. To make the leaven, dissolve the yeast in the milk. Sift in the 140g spelt flour to make a paste, then whisk until the mix is smooth. Leave covered with a damp tea towel in a warm place for about 1 hour, until it has risen and dropped.
  2. Next, mix together the 200g spelt flour, the rye flour and the salt. Make a well in the middle and add the remaining ingredients, plus the leaven. Mix together until you have a sticky dough, then turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough is soft and smooth. Your fingerprint should bounce back when you poke it. Cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 4 hours, until doubled in size.
  3. When the dough has risen, dust your work surface with flour. Roll the dough into a large rectangle until 0.5cm thick (about 45cm long x 35cm wide) brush with egg wash, then sprinkle on the cheese and caraway seeds and scatter over the apple cubes.
  4. Line two baking trays with baking paper.
  5. Fold the dough into thirds, lengthwise, first lifting a third of the dough towards the middle, then folding the top third down so it aligns with the bottom edge of the dough.
  6. Cut the dough into strips about 3cm wide. Cut each of the strips to split them down the middle but stop about 2cm from the top, just like you’re making a pair of trousers. Twist one of the strips, then the other strip. Then twist them both together. Twist into a bun shape and place seam side down on one of the lined trays.
  7. Repeat with the remaining dough, then brush with egg wash and leave to prove for about 1 hour.
  8. Preheat the oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7/425F. Brush the buns with egg wash once more, then put into the oven on the bottom shelf for 15-20 minutes, or until golden and cooked through. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
  9. Best eaten slightly warm and fresh on the day.
  10. Get ahead: The dough can be left overnight in the fridge after its 4 hour proving time.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • jessinkitchen
  • Rachel Khoo
    Rachel Khoo
  • Katherine Leahy
    Katherine Leahy
  • quiche'n'tell

8 Reviews

jessinkitchen April 5, 2020
These were delicious and a big hit with my four-year-old who proclaimed them his favorite buns. The dough was quite sticky to work with - I used the stand mixer for kneading because it seemed too wet for kneading by hand- and everything fell apart a bit when I twisted the pieces but I just sort of smooshed all the bits together and after baking they looked nice and rustic. This recipe takes time but but it’s relatively simple and seems to be pretty forgiving.
Katherine L. February 5, 2019
These were our Christmas morning breakfast. The recipe definitely took time but it was worth it. I also halved the caraway and they were still was tasty. Also, I did not bake them all. Instead the pre-prepared muffins were stored in the freezer and I baked them a couple at at time so we could have them hot. Great inventive recipe. Thanks!
quiche'n'tell January 9, 2019
Hi Rachel, these buns sound delicious. However, here in India it's hard to find rye and spelt flours. What substitutes can I use? Will a mix sorghum, and whole wheat work?
cpc January 5, 2019
If you cut and twist these pieces as described, don't all the fillings fall out, particularly the chopped apples?
Rachel K. January 7, 2019
Hi CPC, You need to press the filling in firmly (roll over with the rolling pin before you fold together the dough if needed). A little will fall out but you can easily stuff them back in on the top.
Malka Y. January 4, 2019
These sound delicious. However, the measurements use the metric system. What is the best conversion app or site for baking?
cpc January 5, 2019
Just Google convert grams to ounces. Most liquid measuring cups have both ounces and millilitre measurements. However, I HIGHLY recommend getting a kitchen scale (a good one is about $30) that uses both metric and standard measurements. It will be more accurate than measuring cups.
Rachel K. January 7, 2019
Thanks, CPC. Definitely agree that a kitchen scale is a good investment. Saves on washing up too!