1 April 2014

Q&A with Jennie Brand-Miller

Prof Jennie Brand-Miller answers your questions. 


I want to make my own hot cross buns this year, which flour has the lowest GI value and do you have a low GI recipe for making them? 
To date there are no GI ratings for refined flour whether it’s made from wheat, soy or other grains. This is because the GI rating of a food must be tested physiologically that is in real people. So far we haven't had volunteers willing to tuck into 70-gram portions (that’s nearly 2.5 ounces) of flour! What we do know, however, is that bakery products made from highly refined flour whether it’s white or wholemeal are quickly digested and absorbed. What should you do baking your own buns? Try to increase the soluble fibre content by partially substituting flour with oat bran, rice bran or rolled oats and increase the bulkiness of the product with muesli, All-Bran or unprocessed bran. But even we don’t find low GI baking easy. However, the great thing about home baking is you get to decide on the portion size.
Hot cross bun

Here’s a recipe for Hot Cross Buns that Ali Roberts created for us. We tested these buns here at SUGiRS and found that even with pysillium and dried fruit, they still had a moderate GI value (66). If you want to make a batch, note that this recipe uses the Australian 20ml tablespoon. If you have a 15ml tablespoon, you will need to add 2 extra teaspoons of the psyllium, caster sugar and golden syrup. It makes 26 medium-sized buns.

Buns: 3 cups 00 flour; 1-1/3 cups wholemeal plain flour; 1 cup wholemeal spelt flour; 2 tbsp pysllium; 2 tbsp caster sugar; 4 tsp dried yeast; 3 tsp mixed spice; 200g (7oz) raisins, finely chopped; 1¾ cups reduced-fat milk; 60g (2oz) 40% reduced-fat margarine; 2 tbsp golden syrup; 1 small egg; cooking spray, for greasing; 1 extra small egg, lightly whisked, for brushing
Paste: 1/3 cup 00 flour; 2½–3 tbsp water
Glaze: 1/3 cup 100% fruit spread; 1/3 cup water

Combine the 00 flour, plain flour, spelt flour, pysllium, sugar, yeast and spice in a large bowl. Stir in the raisins. Heat the milk, margarine and golden syrup in a small saucepan until the margarine melts and the mixture is lukewarm. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the egg. Add to the dry ingredients and mix to a soft dough. • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and prove in a warm, draught-free place for 45 minutes or until the dough doubles in size. • Preheat oven to 180C/350F (fan-forced). Spray a swiss roll pan or large baking tray with cooking spray. Punch down the dough with your fist and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for 2 minutes or until the dough returns to its original size. Divide the dough into 18 equal portions. Knead each portion into a ball and place close together in the pan. Cover with a damp tea towel and set aside for 20 minutes to prove or until buns rise up and touch each other. • To make the paste, place the flour and water in a small bowl. Beat until smooth, until a little more water if the paste is too thick then spoon into a small plastic bag. Brush the tops of the buns with a little egg. Snip a small hole in the corner of the bag and pipe the flour paste to form crosses over the buns. Bake the buns for 25–30 minutes, or until they are cooked through and golden brown. • To make the glaze, put the fruit spread and water in a small saucepan. Stir over low heat until the spread melts. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes or until the mixture reduces and thickens. Pour through a fine sieve into a small bowl. • Turn the hot cross buns out onto a wire rack. Brush the tops of the buns with the glaze and set aside to cool.

(Per bun: Energy: 730kJ/175cals; Protein 5g; Fat 2.6g (includes 0.6g saturated fat and 13mg cholesterol); Available carbohydrate 32g; Fibre 3g)