These little beauties combine two of my favourite food memories: my mum’s Indonesian spiced meatballs and the traditional sausage rolls from North Brabant, the Dutch province from which I hail.
Contrary to the British, Belgian and Northern Dutch versions of a sausage roll, there’s no puff pastry in sight with this one. The classic sausage roll from North Brabant combines beef and pork mince (known as “half-and-half”) with an egg, breadcrumbs and simple seasoning. This mixture is then rolled into sausage shapes, wrapped in a white milkbread dough and baked until golden.
These moreish soft bread rolls known as “worstenbroodjes” (“little sausage breads”) are particularly popular at fairs, around Sinterklaas, Christmas and carnival (the raucous festival that precedes lent). But they are so addictive, native North Brabant folk enjoy them all year round. In fact, about 25 million of these bad boys are consumed every year. And why not. They are a wonderful snack, equally at home with a beer or a cuppa. Combine them with a wholesome soup such as Dutch pea soup and you’ve got a family meal right there.
“Worstenbroodjes” are so much part of the North Brabant regional culture, in March 2016 they gained a coveted place in the UNESCO List of National Cultural Immaterial Heritage. To put that into context, not even the Neapolitan pizza has made it onto that list yet.
As delicious as the classic ones are, I’m celebrating the anniversary of the UNESCO recognition with these Indonesian spiced ones inspired by my mum’s meatball recipe. She used to add a Nasi Goreng spice mix and Ketjap Manis (an Indonesian sweet soy sauce) to her meat mix. I’m pimping things up even further with a good dollop of Sambal Oelek, an Indonesian chilli paste.
Standard white bread doesn’t excite me. So I like my sausage rolls with a wholemeal, brown or spelt dough. Not traditional. But then nor is my sausage filling. My version would immediately be disqualified from the annual “Worstenbroodjes” competition in North Brabant. Just as well I’m not competitive.
Spelt flour is not gluten free, but has a different gluten structure to wheat flour. It’s easier to digest than wheat flour. Some coeliacs and many people that are wheat-sensitive are actually OK with spelt. You can use a mixture of wholemeal and white spelt flour, but you may need to adjust the quantity of liquid accordingly. If the mixture is too dry, add an extra splash of milk or water.
You can replace the milk with a non-dairy milk if you prefer. But again, the ratio of flour to liquid, and also the addition of sugar may need a little adjusting.
There are regional debates even within the province of North Brabant as to whether the ends of the rolls should be open or closed. I’m of the school of closed rolls, as I prefer to keep all the flavours and all the moisture inside the roll rather than lost somewhere on a baking tray.
Have fun playing around with the filling too. I find pure beef mince too strong and dry for these, as you need the cooked meat to be moist and virtually melt into the soft bread casing when you bite into them. But versions with herby chicken or turkey mince are quite delicate and make for a leaner roll.
If you can’t find sambal, try another chilli paste such as a smokey ancho paste perhaps or harissa or Thai curry. Else a few drops of tabasco will do.
Leave out the sambal, ketjap and Nasi spice mix altogether if you want to try a more authentic version. In which case, just season the meat with S&P, a little freshly grated nutmeg and perhaps a touch of ground cloves.
Sambal Sausage Spelt Rolls (makes 12 -14 RSF)
The spelt bread dough can be made in a breadmaker on the dough setting. But be careful, as gluten releases more readily from spelt flour than it does from wheat flour. So you may want to use the glutenfree baking program instead and stop the process before the baking stage.
Else make by hand, or use a kitchen machine with dough hooks. Either way, don’t overwork the dough and do respect all the resting stages to avoid potential cracks in the dough as it bakes.
Feel free to substitute the spelt flour for a traditionale white wheat flour for a more authentic crust.
This dough makes fabulous rolls too.
For the bread dough
7 gr easy blend yeast
200 ml lukewarm milk (max 40 C)
380 gr white spelt flour plus a little extra for dusting the work surface
2 tsp salt
2 tsp unrefined golden caster sugar, coconut palm sugar or honey
20 gr butter or coconut oil, plus a little extra for greasing
1 egg plus 1 egg for the eggwash
For the filling:
350 gr half-and half mince of beef and pork (I used veal combined with a very lean beef mince)
2-3 tbsp fine breadcrumbs, preferably home made by drying out stale (GF) bread in a low oven and crushing
1/2 tbsp Nasi spice mix (see below)
1/2 tbsp Sambal Oelek
1 tbsp fresh coriander or parsley, finely chopped
1/2 tbsp Ketjap Manis (or soy sauce with a pinch of coconut palm sugar)
1 tbsp finely chopped spring onion or shallot
1 garlic clove, finely chopped or crushed
Combine the milk with the yeast in a small bowl or jug and set aside for a few minutes while you prepare the rest of the dough.
Sift the flour into a large bowl, then make a well in the centre. Sprinkle the salt around the edge of the flour. Add the milk and yeast mixture into the well, together with the sugar, 1 egg and the butter. Mix with your fingers or a fork to a paste and then gradually draw the flour into the paste until eventually combined.
Continue kneading either by hand, in a kitchen machine or with an electric mixer with dough hooks for about 5 mins or until you have a supple dough.
Grease another large bowl with some butter. Shape the dough into a ball and place into the greased bowl. Cover the bowl with cling film and set aside to rise in a warm non-drafty place.
After 1 hr, knock the air out of the dough, loosely reshape into a ball, cover and rest for another 30 mins or so.
Meanwhile combine all the filling ingredients in a large bowl until you have a smooth mixture. Add more bread crumbs if the mixture is on the wet side. Chill in the fridge for minimum 15 mins, which will make it easier to work with.
Divide the filling into 35-40 gr portions. Roll each portion into a sausage shape of about 10-12 cm. Place the sausages on a tray lined with a baking mat or grease proof paper. Chill in the fridge to firm up.
Lightly dust the work surface with a little flour. Divide the dough into 35-40 gr portions. Roll each portion into a ball and place on a tray lined with a baking mat or greaseproof paper. Cover with cling film and rest for 30 mins.
Lightly dust the worksurface again if needed. Roll a dough portion into an oval 2-3 cm larger than the sausage it will cover. Place a sausage onto the dough and fold the ends of the dough over the ends of the sausage. Then fold the length of the dough over the sausage from both sides.
Use a little water on the seam to help the dough stick if needed. Pinch the bottom seam together. Turn the sausage roll over and gently roll to smooth out the seam. You can also wet your fingers with a little water and smooth the bottom and end seams to ensure the sausage is nicely encased.
Set aside on a baking sheet covered with a baking mat or greaseproof paper and continue making the rest of the sausage rolls the same way Cover with cling film and allow the rolls to rest for 30 mins or so.
Lightly brush the rolls with a little egg wash, loosely cover with cling film and allow to rest for 30 mins.
Heat the oven to 200 C.
Lightly brush the rolls with a second thin layer of egg wash. Bake the rolls for 15-20 mins or until the dough is cooked.
Allow to cool for a few minutes on a wire rack. These are best eaten while still warm. Once cooled, they can be frozen. Reheat in a 160 C oven for 10 mins.
PS My oven thermostat is definitely on the blink, as it took ages for the rolls to cook and brown this time. Once they were golden at last, the bread itself had dried out much more than intended. As you can see in the pictures. I’ve ordered an oven thermometer now on Amazon. Cheaper than a new oven …
Moral of the story: if the dough is cooked, take the rolls out of the oven, golden or not. You’re looking for a soft roll here, not a crunchy one
Nasi Goreng Spice Mix
Mix together the following dry spices and store in a jar. Great in Asian rice dishes or to spice up sausages or meatballs
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp fine seasalt
1 tsp ground ginger (or 1/2 ginger and 1/2 galangal if you can find it)
1/2 tsp chilli powder or cayenne pepprr
1/2 tsp ground lemon grass or finely grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
Make some lovely dinner rolls like these little seeded ones with your leftover dough.
Great with soups too.
Any leftover sausage mix can be shaped into (mini) burgers and frozen for later.
You can also use it to fill peppers, courgettes or large flat mushrooms. Top with breadcrumbs or cheese and bake in a 185 C oven.
If you have both dough and filling left, a spicy burger in a spelt bun won’t go amiss. Top with slaw or salad, tomatoes, avocado and refreshing gherkins or jalapenos. Or top with Atjar Tjampoer (Indonesian pickled veggies) to stick with the theme.