Soft Spelt Seed Buns: no dairy

Soft Spelt Seed Buns: no dairy

My new recipe for soft Spelt seed buns are jam-packed and full of nutritious seeds. The spelt buns recipe has no dairy and I use a blend of wholegrain spelt flour and white spelt flour, or swap out for all wholegrain. For extra softness, I used the Tangzhou starter method from my Japanese buns. I make 12 small-sized buns as they are very filling however, you could make 8 larger buns.

These spelt seed buns are delicious fresh the first day then perfect the following days split and toasted with spreads. I have found they still taste good 3 days later. I stored them in a container at room temperature. If you are somewhere warm you may need to store them in the fridge. They will freeze well for up to 6 months.

What is a Tangzhou Starter or also known as Yudane Starter?

Exert from King Arthur baking

Introduction to this Asian technique — which has origins in Japan's yukone (or yudane) and was popularized across Asia by Taiwanese cookbook author Yvonne Chen — cooks a small percentage of the flour and liquid (water or milk) in a yeast recipe very briefly before combining the resulting thick slurry with the remaining ingredients.

How does this technique affect yeast dough? It pre-gelatinizes the starches in the flour, meaning they can absorb more water. The flour will absorb twice as much hot water or milk as it does the cool/lukewarm water or milk you'd usually use in yeast dough.

Not only does the starch in the flour absorb more liquid; but since heating the starch with water creates structure, it's able to hold onto that extra liquid throughout the kneading, baking, and cooling processes. Which in turn means:

  • Since there's less free (unabsorbed) water in the dough, it's less sticky and easier to knead;
  • The bread or rolls may rise higher, due to more water creating more internal steam (which makes bread rise in the oven — along with the carbon dioxide given off by the yeast);
  • Having retained more water during baking, bread and rolls will be moister, and will stay soft and fresh longer.

Takes = prep. 20 mins, rest 60 mins + 30 mins
Bakes = 15-20 mins
Makes = 12 small dinner rolls or 8 larger rolls.
Total time = 2 hours + 10 minutes


Tangzhou Starter

  • Flour, I use white spelt flour or wholegrain  – 20g, 2 tablespoon
  • Water - 25g, 2 tablespoon
  • Milk, I used oat milk – 60g, 4 tablespoon

Dough Ingredients

  • Flax Seeds – 40g (1/4 cup)
  • Pumpkin Seeds – 50g (1/3 cup)
  • Sunflower Seeds + some extra for the top – 50g (1/3 cup)
  • Wholegrain Spelt flour, or your choice – 350g (2 cups + 2 tablespoons)
  • White Spelt Flour, or your choice – 150g (1 cup)
  • Dry yeast – 7g (2 teaspoons)
  • Warm Water or Milk (I used oat milk) – 180ml (3/4 cup)
  • Honey – 1 tablespoon
  • Salt – 10g, 1 tsp + 3/4 teaspoon
  • Olive oil – 1-2 tablespoons
  • Egg –  1 beaten for the egg wash
  • Sunflower Seeds – 1 tablespoon for the top (optional)

*Easy to digest, try soaking seeds in 1 cup of water overnight.


  1. Soak the seeds covered in water overnight. If you don't have the time soak them for a minimum of 15 minutes - 3 hours. Rinse and drain the seeds.
  2. Make the starter add liquid and flour to a small saucepan and stir on moderate heat until thick. Remove and cool down for at least 15 minutes. Once the starter has cooled down, add the starter to your bowl of flour, and yeast mix then pour in the warm water or milk and combine with a mixer using dough hooks, or mix with your hand. After a few minutes it will become a shaggy-looking dough, then start adding salt, seeds and oil. Please note Spelt flour doesn't require too much kneading. Over-kneading will make your bread tough. Remove from the bowl and place on a floured bench and form a smooth dough ball.  Rest for 45 minutes to 60 minutes to double in size, depending on the climate and temperature in your kitchen the time may vary. I rest in the microwave without the light on.
  3. Remove the risen dough from the bowl. Rest again for 15 minutes then divide into 12 small rolls of about 92g each and place on a large baking tray. Rest covered in a baking tray for 30 minutes. Before baking brush with egg or plant-based milk wash and sprinkle with sunflower and or pumpkin seeds (or level off if you'd like to toast them later on. They stayed soft for a few days in a sealed container on the bench. Or freeze some for a later date.
  4. Bake 200˚C fan for 15-20 minutes until golden. Rest for about 30  minutes before eating.

Sue Maree P Baking Tips

  • Flour – you could use all wholegrain spelt flour
  • Milk – you could use full-fat milk
  • Honey – you could swap this out for an alternative sweetener like sugar or maple syrup
  • Seeds – you could be creative and add chia or sesame seeds
  • Egg wash – you could brush with a little milk instead, use plant-based milk for a vegan option