The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Spice Buns

ph_kosel's picture

After recently making spice buns using the recipe for "multipurpose sweet dough" on page 130 of Crust and Crumb by Peter Reinhart with so-so results I tried a modified version of the recipe.  Others almost universally include eggs in recipes for similar doughs, but Reinhart does not.  Assuming eggs might have have been inadvertantly left off Reinhart's ingredient list, I included 2 eggs (~100g) in my latest batch.  This resulted in a much nicer dough, soft and kneadable where the previous by-the-book dough was so dry it wouldn't come together in the mixing bowl.

The unmodified ingredient list is in my previous post at

In my latest bake with the modified recipe I included 2 eggs, used a tablespoon of "mixed spice" (aka pudding spice) instead of the allspice/ginger mixture Reinhart calls for, and reduced the raisins down to 200g. I formed the dough into 9 rolls (instead of 18 as in my first trial) and let them rise a couple hours before baking for 20 minutes at 350F.

The result was very nice, and 3 of the rolls didn't survive long enough to be photographed.  The crumb was very tender, more so than anything I've baked before - I really don't have a good way to describe the texture since I've never had anything similar.  The crust of the was thin and slightly crispy when eaten hot.  The british style "mixed spice" was more pleasing to me than the simpler allspice/ginger mix Reinhart calls for but I think using a teaspoon of it rather than a tablespoon might have been wiser.

I sent Peter Reinhart an email pointing out what seems to be a typo in his recipe.

Here's a photo of this latest bake.


ph_kosel's picture

I had a hand at making spice rolls using the recipe in Peter Reinhart's book "Crust and Crumb"

Ingredients (per Reinhart)

454 grams un-bleached all purpose flour

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 Tablespoon instant yeast (see below)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup butter

8 ounces (227g) buttermilk at room temperature (see below)

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

2 cups raisins



Mix all ingredients except the raisins into a dough, then knead in the raisins.  Form into two-ounce balls and let rise about 90 minutes.  Bake 20 minutes at 350F.



I found that the dough seemed too dry to come together well so I added another slosh of buttermilk, maybe a tablespoon or two.  I weighed two cups of loose raisins and measured 270g; this seems a bit excessive and 200g might be more reasonable.  I popped the rolls in the oven at 350F with steam and set the timer for 20 minutes; after checking at 20 minutes I gave them another 2 minutes or so to brown up a bit.

The recipe made 18 2-ounce rolls.  I think next time I'll make the rolls larger, maybe 12 rolls per batch. 

The taste is OK:  nice sweetness, moderately spicy and rather yeasty.  I've that found recently that similar coffeecake recipes that called for similarly large yeast percentages also tasted yeasty to me.  I'm not sure if this is due to the initial yeast added or possibly to yeast propagation fed by the sugar. I may reduce yeast by half  in my next batch, to something comparable to typical bread recipes.

I found the texture a bit dry and dense.  The Reinhart recipe calls for surprisingly little liquid, and the results reflect this.

Overall, an interesting bake but something I think perhaps I can improve on - bigger, moister, less yeasty rolls, would be nice, and perhaps some cinnamon and a pinch of cardamom.


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