One day I had the urgent desire to turn my lentil curry into bread.
Yep, I was sitting there, eating a warm bowl of lentils with relish and felt like making a bread out of it. I would be able to take it away and have it as lunch wherever I like and wherever no microwave exists to heat a curry. So I started experimenting. And out came those buns, which admittedly are not a base for a sweet jam breakfast. But a perfect background for a savory snack, a hearty breakfast with cheese or spreads or avocado on it. The lentils add protein power to it, the black tea kicks your tired mind, the carrots provide freshness & moisture and the spices take your senses to India, making you feel warm inside. The perfect bun to start the day.
The recipe seems long and difficult at first, but it’s not that complicated. For a bread it is easy to make and there are no long waiting times, so give it a try…
For approximately 12 buns you need:
- 40 g raisins (optional)
- 80 g red lentils
- a tea bag of black tea or the same amount loose black tea
- 400 g spelt flour (type 630)
- 50 g sun flower seeds
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 1/2 tsp curry
- 1/3 cube fresh yeast (about 15 g)
- 150 ml water, lukewarm
- 100 g grated carrots
- 10 g salt
With the lid on boil the lentils in double amount of water and add the raisins if using them. After 2 minutes add the tea bag or the loose tea in a tea strainer and leave the lentils to themselves.
Meanwhile combine flour, spices and sun flower seeds in a big bowl. Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water and pour into the middle of the flour mix. Stir a bit to mix with some of the flour, creating a little lumpy lake in the middle of the bowl, and put aside. Grate the carrots into a bowl and add the salt. (Salt inhibits yeast to grow, so I tend to mix with the other ingredients first and add to the flour later).
Take the tea bag out of the pan and combine lentils and carrots in the carrot bowl. Leave for a few minutes to cool down, so the yeast won’t be shocked by high temperatures and refuse to do its work.
Then add the lentils to the flour mixure and stir with a fork or a mixing machine. When the dough starts coming together use your hands to knead it properly for about 8 minutes. You will probably have to use a little more flour while doing so to prevent the dough sticking to your hands and the bowl. The lentils release their moisture very slowly and the dough stays wet quite a while, so keep adding little amounts of flour but don’t overdo it, as the buns should be nice and moist. When the dough seems elastic and smooth, put it back into its bowl, cover with a clean kitchen towel and leave in a warm place for 10-20 minutes to let it rise. You can clean the kitchen in the meantime…Or read a book ;)
Take the dough out and without kneading and bashing all the air out of it divide into 12 equal buns. Carefully take each bun and shape as you like, the easiest way is to pull the sides to the middle and then turn the bun upside down. That way you get little round ball-shaped buns. Place next to each other on a baking tray, leaving little gaps to give the buns space to rise and cover with the towel again. Leave for another 15-20 minutes.
Heat the oven to 210 °C. You can brush the buns with a little water and put some seeds on top if you like. Put the tray into the oven and bake for ten minutes. Reduce heat to 200 °C or even 190 °C depending on your oven and bake for another 15-20 minutes. Take the buns out, place on a grid to cool. And then enjoy those hearty & spicy buns…