Whole Spelt Sourdough

When you think of 100% whole grain spelt bread, what images come to mind? Bland 1970′s era health food? What people with dietary restrictions must resort to? Lots of hard and challenging work? A door stop?

Those were largely my impressions until I found this spelt bread recipe to be as delicious and easy to make as it is nutritious. So when the inspiration strikes to get virtuous with your eating habits without sacrificing sensory pleasure, give this one a whirl. You’ll enjoy that flaky, buttery croissant all the more when you rotate this spelt recipe through your bread baking line-up now and then.

A bit about spelt: Spelt is an ancient variety of wheat with its roots in the Fertile Crescent some 9000 years ago. It is more widely used in Europe where it’s known as dinkel in Germany and farro in Italy. While higher in protein than commonly used wheat varieties, the nature of its proteins results in less gluten formation when making bread dough. Spelt is renowned for its health benefits. Many people with wheat allergies or sensitivities can enjoy bread made with spelt flour. What really helped make a fan out of me, however, is the mellow nutty flavor that spelt delivers. Read more about the Wonders of Spelt.

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The Ingredients:

530 grams (about 5 cups well fluffed up) whole spelt flour
350 grams (~1+1/2 cups) water
10 grams (1+1/2 tsp) salt
3 Tbs honey or sugar or 2 Tbs agave
1/4 cup sourdough starter
Follow the instructions in the video.

Bake at 450 for 45 minutes or until internal temp is 195-200.

Whole Grain Spelt

Spelt/Kamut Variation

Miscellaneous Notes: I’ve baked this bread several times since making the video and have found a few things you can vary in order to adapt the recipe to your time schedule.

Spacing the stretch and folds out by as little as 10-15 minute works just as well as the 30-60 minutes mentioned in the video. Three or four stretch and folds at 15 minute intervals seems pretty optimal.

Most of the time I mix up the dough in the evening, let it sit out overnight, and bake it the next morning. But I’ve also mixed up the dough in the morning and then immediately refrigerated the dough in a covered bowl until just before bed time. I then took it out to proof at room temperature until morning. This worked very well too.

You could probably also leave the dough in the fridge for up to a two or three days until you’re ready to bake. Since the dough continues to proof in the fridge (just very slowly), you’ll want to be careful not to let the dough sit out too long after removing from the fridge or it may over-proof. Since I haven’t tried this yet, you’ll have to take a good guess on the timing and let us know your experience.

Another relatively minor thing I’m doing differently now than when I shot the video, is I’m leaving the lid on the baker for the entire 45 minutes. I find the crust gets plenty brown and crusty this way.

Wheat Berries

Wheat Berries

Recipe Variations: There are, of course, endless ways to vary the recipe. A mix of spelt and kamut flour also produced an excellent loaf. Kamut is another ancient variety of wheat known for its nutritional value and naturally sweet and nutty flavor. The “official” kamut web site has some very interesting information.

Kamut flour has different moisture absorbtion properties than spelt, so if you’re playing around with different combinations of grains, you’ll also have to adjust the amount of water used. The following worked well:

300 grams spelt flour
230 grams kamut flour
360 grams water
Same as video for everything else.

August 2011 Update: Thanks Brent for this Spelt Bread Recipe variation and how to make it into sandwich loaves. Great picture too!

Feb 2012 Update: Check out Phil Dellinger’s post for Dutch Crunch topping.

 

{ 534 comments… read them below or add one }

Dave July 23, 2014 at 2:00 pm

What hydration level do you use for your spelt starter?

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Dick Eastmure July 23, 2014 at 4:05 pm

Definitely less water than spelt. I use something like 135 gr spelt flour to 115 or 120gr water. I like my spelt starter to be stiff so easy to spoon out of jar plus it seems to keep much longer in the fridge with very little hooch build up.

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Jodie June 21, 2014 at 4:40 pm

I’m going to give this recipe a try tomorrow! I have a rye/whole wheat starter that’s been performing very well for me but I usually use much more than 1/4 cup. Is a 1/4 cup really enough? :) Also, I’ve never refrigerated my starter and am wondering how I do that. My current starter has just doubled in volume, can I remove half and put it in the fridge? Or do I put it in the fridge before it’s had time to double? I’ve read on some sites that half the starter should be thrown away and I have trouble with that as I HATE waste. I’m fairly to this whole starter business so I apologize for the number of questions that have probably been addressed somewhere on this site. I love Breadtopia! lol

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Breadtopia June 22, 2014 at 9:34 pm

Hi Jodie,

You could even use less than 1/4 cup. It would just prolong the rising time an perhaps result in a more sour bread.

You can keep the starter in the fridge between use and/or feedings. If you keep a small enough quantity of starter on hand, you can usually get by with not discarding any provided you’re baking on a somewhat regular schedule.

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Chris May 26, 2014 at 5:30 pm

I have bought the Romertopf. I have bought a thermometer to check the temperature of my oven, and I have followed the recipe to the letter. My dough always looks just like Eric’s in his video. It rises nicely, and doubles in size after like 16 hours. Yet… every loaf comes out gummy. Having purchased the thermometer, I know my oven is 450 degrees, so I know it is not a quirk of my oven.

I have tried baking it more time, less time, lid off for last 10 minutes, lid on the whole time and I have tried dropping the temperature to 425… still gummy. When I take the temperature of the inside of the bread, it is always somwhere between 210-220.I can’t shake the feeling that 450 is just too hot… but so many of you have had success… It doesn’t make sense. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong here. My next instinct is to drop the temperature to like 375 and bake it for an hour or so… but again, with so many people having such good results at 450 I don’t see how that can be right…

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Bill May 27, 2014 at 12:41 am

I can only think of two possibilities. Hopefully someone with more experience will provide additional information.

Perhaps your thermometer is not accurate. If the center temperature of your bread is 200 F then it should not be gummy inside. Ignoring the temperature, if your probe is gummy when you pull it out, your bread is not done.

Perhaps the probe tip is not in the center of the loaf. If it’s too near the bottom or edge of the loaf or part of the probe is touching metal or the clay cooking vessel then the reading will be a false high.

If you need a longer cooking time leave the top on for more time to avoid a tough crust.

I use a simple six inch metal meat thermometer and always get good results.

Good luck!

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chris May 27, 2014 at 10:25 am

Hi Bill,

It is possible that I”m plunging the thermometer in too far. I looked at the manual, and it doesn’t say anything about where the sweet-spot is on it, so I was trying to bury a good portion of the probe angle-wise. So you bring up a good point… but still, after 45 minutes to have a gummy texture when everyone else seems to be just fine here is odd.

Thank you for your reply :)

-Chris

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Aron May 27, 2014 at 9:15 am

Are you cutting into the loaf right away after you pull it out of the oven? If you cut into the bread before it cools, it can gum everything up.

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chris May 27, 2014 at 2:58 pm

Oh no, most definitely not! It sits for at least 90 minutes before I cut into it. But thanks for the response.

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ashlee May 27, 2014 at 7:09 pm

Hi Chris,
I use a romer too, one without a lid. I posted a few months back my method, but in a nutshell here’s what seems to work best for me with the romer. I do my final 2hr rise in the romer itself. When the dough has risen almost to the top, I put it in a water bath for 10 mins (this creates steam). And in this 10 mins I put the oven on low, about 280-300. I put the bread in at this low temp and then crank it up immediately to around 420, I have an electric fanforced oven and I find 450 to be too high. I cook it for around 45 mins all up, but I often drop the temp to 280 for the last 10 mins and I often tip the bread out of the romer for that last phase to let the bottom crisp up. I don’t use a thermometer, I have been doing it for a while and I know when the bread feels right by knocking on the bottom. I don’t use a lid at all. My bread turns out perfect each time. I think that a longer, lower cooking time is your answer as there’s not much else that could explain the gummy texture, other than using too much water. Also, the longer, lower temp gives you an even colour all over the bread. Everyone’s oven is different, it took me a while to come up with my formula, perhaps yours will differ a bit but persistence will get you there.
Hope this helps.
Regards Ashlee

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Chris May 28, 2014 at 6:57 pm

Hi Ashlee,
Thank you so much for your thoughtful response. Sorry to sound like such a n00b, but can you tell me what a water bath is? You don’t actually pull the dough out of the romer to do this, do you? I have an electric oven too, though not a convection. Perhaps this is in part why I’m having such weirdness. It doesn’t look like Eric uses an electric oven. I really like the sound of your ideas here. It may be the heating elements above that are throwing things off. I wish I could spend more time trying this, but I work long hours, and have to wait for every weekend before I can try again… A couple more days, and I’ll give it another shot. Thanks :)
-Chris

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ashlee May 28, 2014 at 9:58 pm

Hi Chris,
Usually when you bake bread you put some water in a ovenproof dish in the oven to create steam, which inturn crisps the bread. The beauty of the romer is that it is clay and porous so you soak the actual romer dish in a sink full of water so that the romer absorbs water and then realeases it as steam in the oven.
So, when it’s time for your final rise (usually done in a bread forming basket) but I do it directly in the romer, oil your romer, lay a piece of parchment paper on the bottom so the bread doesn’t stick. Put your dough into the romer, then cover it and place the romer with dough into a sink of warm water, this speeds up the rise, allows the romer to absorb water. When your bread is almost to the top of the romer, put it in the low oven then go from there. Put your bread on the lowest rung of the oven to stop burning at the top.
Good luck!
Ashlee

Aron May 18, 2014 at 6:03 pm

Just made this bread, and it came out great using my 75% hydration starter.

I used 75g of strong white starter (a little over 1/4 cup), and I also did the second rise for about 6 hours in my fridge. When I baked it, I preheated my oven and dutch oven to 500f, and then baked it with the lid on for 30 minutes, then with the lid cracked for another 10.

Check out the album here: http://imgur.com/a/rNGzD

This recipe has changed my feelings about spelt, thank you!

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Wendy May 6, 2014 at 3:12 pm

Hello,

Is the spelt flour called for in this recipe fresh milled from your mill or is is spelt flour from a store?

Thank you
Wendy

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Lizbeth May 15, 2014 at 2:02 am

Wendy, I get spelt flour from a shop (wholemeal or white)

Cheers!

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Daniel Etherington May 1, 2014 at 3:03 am

I always like the bake using grams as it’s accurate and easy to scale up. However, “1/4 cup” of starter is tricky, as the volume will vary depending on how lively – how gassy – the starter is. Hm. I’m guessing that’s about 70g, or a couple of oz?

Another query, the whole spelt flour here seems pretty pale, and not very branny. I just bought some local spelt flour here in the south of England, and it’s very branny – presumably that means it’ll be more absorbant, so the recipe could take more water?

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Breadtopia May 1, 2014 at 4:24 am

True. Wing it.

Yes, could take more water.

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Ina April 6, 2014 at 4:55 pm

Made a loaf I am finally happy with! Used less water relied on the feel of the dough!
Baked it for over an hour in the romertopf with the lid on, just realised I have been eating raw dough bread, that was my problem not baked enough, now my loaf resembles the bought one, yeh! At last!
Thanks everyone.

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Lizbeth March 24, 2014 at 7:49 am

Hi Baker Beanie!
I buy the same flour at the same place I have been baking with breadtopia’s recipes for more that two years and I love it!
And sure don’t be afraid of experimenting!!

Here a pic of my last spelt sourdough made with own kefir starter!
;)

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Baker Beanie April 6, 2014 at 7:50 pm

holy crumb! that looks great!
Thanks Lizbeth.
so we’re in competition for those 5kg bags of flour hey…
haha.
i did try some sesame & it was yum but didn’t stick very well.
any tips anyone?¿

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Ina March 23, 2014 at 1:30 am

Made another loaf and happy with taste and texture substituted 100gm whole meal self raisin flour and just 2tbs honey, didn’t want to compromise the spelt flour but the only way I could make it work! Will try to change the wheat for something else as I don’t want to eat wheat ( GM)!

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Ina March 21, 2014 at 4:08 pm

Hi, can I leave out some of the honey to produce a less sweet tasting bread, also I wish it was a drier crumb how could this be achieved? Mix another flour with the spelt? I really don’t want to eat wheat if I can!
Thanks.

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Bill March 22, 2014 at 12:59 am

Hi Ina,
I used this spelt recipe yesterday, substituting 3 tbs of molasses for the honey. It was less sweet, and delicious. Next time I’m going to use honey but reduce the amount by 1 tbs.

I throw in probably another half cup of spelt flour when I’m stretching and folding the dough, and to help me form it before I put it in my buttered tin baking mold, which doubles as my proofing container. I bake until the internal temperature reaches 200 F and my crumb seems dry enough. There are some experts out there who can give you better advice about this issue.

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graham March 10, 2014 at 5:22 pm

Ina, adding a bit of yeast is fine, but…in the final analysis, why bother? its enzymes go to work much faster than sour enzymes, so yeast will full rise a dough in a couple of hours, whereas sour takes much longer. That’s at the front of the cycle. At the other end, say at the 10-12 hour mark, this can cause the dough to start to collapse prematurely. If you want a normal yeast loaf, why not just make one and leave out the sour? If you’re having trouble with the sour, remember you have to leave it for >7 or 8 hours to get the rise, and that it will be much wetter than a yeast loaf. And the ambient temp has to be ≥ to 23c (ideally). I live in Brisbane, Queensland, so this is seldom a problem! Rise and shine!
Graham

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Ina March 10, 2014 at 6:03 pm

Thanks graham, I just want a good tasting pure spelt loaf like ” Sonoma ” from Sydney , ha ha trying to achieve what they have!

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Anne March 9, 2014 at 6:01 pm

My spelt sourdough starter and bread are doing well. I would like to know, though, if I can make 2 small loaves instead of one big one still have it come out okay. I would divide at final stretch and fold. If yes, what differences in cook time?

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Ina February 15, 2014 at 6:24 pm

Just made another loaf using all white spelt flour weighed all ingredients using digital scales, took out of oven looks ok not risen much still looks like crumb is going to be rubbery! How do we get rid of the wet rubbery style of bread it’s horrible! Not to my palate!

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Ashlee March 9, 2014 at 6:29 pm

Hi Ina, I wonder if your starter is active enough. If you’re not getting a good rise you may need to make sure you leave your starter for longer before you add your main mix. As a rule I take my starter out of the fridge, feed it,put half back in the fridge and leave out the half that I’m going to bake with for at least 5 hrs, I like to see my starter almost double in size and be full of air holes before I ad the rest. Having said that I would not say that my crumb is fluffy and dry, in my experience this bread is a more chewy bread, which I find delicious. Does anyone else get fluffy dry crumb?

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Ina March 10, 2014 at 4:23 pm

Thanks, I buy a spelt artisan loaf and that is what I am comparing it to, what would a bit of yeast do?

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graham March 10, 2014 at 5:33 pm

Ina, I’ve replied to your query in the mainstream blog…but I would add that in the second, pre-bake rise the dough should almost double in size; it should rise quite dramatically in the first 15 minutes of being in the oven. If you’re using a stone or ceramic container, don’t put the dough in when the vessel is stone cold. I don’t use one of these, and instead set oven for 120c and as soon as I put the loaf in raise this to 220. I believe this does the same thing as having a stone vessel, which itself has to heat up before it passes the heat onto the loaf. Good luck! G

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Ina March 10, 2014 at 6:04 pm

Thanks graham, I just want a good tasting pure spelt loaf like ” Sonoma ” from Sydney , ha ha trying to achieve what they have!

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Ina February 14, 2014 at 10:14 pm

Made my 4 th loaf looks good better than previous but don’t like the wet doughy consistency of the crumb! Why can’t I get it fluffy and drier like the artisan full spelt loaf that I have been buying?

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Diane March 9, 2014 at 5:33 pm

Ina try reducing your water, your liquid. With spelt one has to reduce the liquid. I found his instructions very good. Here is an attached photo of my spelt bread.

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Victoria is baking February 12, 2014 at 3:16 pm

I have been baking countless breads since I started baking in September. Thank you again Eric for your wonderful and clear to follow instructions on all the videos. This got me truly started.
I have begun to experiment more and found a wonderful combination of about 450 g spelt flour and 100 g buckwheat flour. I add about 3/4 cup gluten free oat groats and 3/4 cup raw sunflower seeds. I use 3 table spoons honey, and about 1/3 cup of fresh starter. The dough is rather wet and I knead it for a while, really not that long, just to get a good elastic dough and then let it rest for an hour. I repeat it 3 times, a mix of stretch and fold and kneading, depending on the dough, let it sit cool over night, next morning I drop the risen dough on to my counter, push it a little together, no kneading or folding, pull the edges up and drop it into the proofing basket. After 1/1/2 hour I bake it at 450 F for 45 min in a Roemertopf, lid on until the last three minutes. It comes out great every time.

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Victoria is baking February 12, 2014 at 3:38 pm

Of course 350 g water…. I forgot to mention.

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Ine February 12, 2014 at 3:59 pm

That looks delicious, I’m definitely going to try your recipe Victoria!

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Victoria is baking February 12, 2014 at 4:07 pm

Thank you, I also add 10 g of salt. I use a scale to measure out all my ingredients. But I go very much by my gut feeling when it comes to the consistency of the dough. If it’s to wet to handle, I flour my hands and the bowl with the dough and give it a few rounds of kneading and let it rest. The added oats and sunflower seeds make it harder to stretch and pull. Play with it.
Have fun!

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Ine February 16, 2014 at 5:53 am

Victoria, I used your recipe this morning! Mmmm, it tastes wonderful! I’m still baking with very basic equipment (no dutch oven or clay baking vessels) and baked this one just on a baking sheet, which may have attributed to the fact it’s a bit flattened. Will definitely use your recipe again and maybe experiment with some other flours instead of the buckwheat, I still have some sorghum and teff flour in the pantry, anybody ever try baking with those?

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Victoria is baking February 28, 2014 at 8:08 am

Hi Ina,
You need to be careful with too many gluten free
flours added to spelt or any other base, they do change the equation a bit. Try to stick to the spelt and exchange 100g of the 530 g spelt with an alternative flour, like whole wheat, or kamut or buckwheat. Or even white flour if you like that. When you make your fresh starter, let it develop nicely over a whole day or over night. If you experience a very sticky dough, use lots of flour on your hands and board, to prevent to much stickiness.
It helps to turn the dough out on the floured counter and knead it a little instead of stretch and pull. You can let the dough sit for half hour and turn it out again, see how the dough performs. You’ll get the hang of it! It’s such fun, my family is still in awe of the breads we’re eating now!

Ina February 14, 2014 at 10:18 pm

Does it taste good? What’s the crumb like?

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Victoria is baking February 18, 2014 at 4:13 pm

This is wonderful, I can only recommend you invest in a Roemertopf, a German clay pot, oval with lid. It’s the best thing I did since I started baking.
This looks good! Be brave!
I also use the Buckwheat flour mix with the spelt (Whole spelt, not white), which is a combination of different flour types and makes a little sweeter, nuttier taste.( Called buckwheat flour mix for pastry and pancakes)
In my last bread, two days ago, I used 100% spelt and added 1/2 cup chia seeds, used a little more water and 3/4cup sunflower seeds. 3 tsp honey and again 1/3 cup of sourdough starter. 10g salt as well.
It’s good and tasty. Try it!

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anne February 12, 2014 at 2:04 pm

What does it mean to “feed” the starter?

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Bill February 12, 2014 at 2:22 pm

Feeding the starter means to give it flour and water. If you are storing your starter in the fridge you should feed it once a week. If you’re storing it at room temperature you may need to feed it at least every 24 hours or even more often.

I bake once a week. The day before I bake I take my starter out of the fridge and start feeding it. Before I use the starter for baking, I take out about a tablespoon, put it in a new jar and feed it a tablespoon or two of flour, with sufficient water to make a paste. I let this sit out at room temperature until it has lots of bubbles and then I put it back to sleep in the fridge.

I recommend the video, “Managing your Sourdough Starter”.

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Ine February 3, 2014 at 2:53 pm

Hi there, I’m very excited I just started on my first sourdough bread! I made my first starter this past week. Just by mixing water and flower, on the 3rd day it looked dead (it had completely separated and there was half an inch of water on top) and I was very worried I somehow killed it, but managed to get it back to life! This evening it was very active and bubbly so I decided to go for it :-) I’m making this spelt bread, but I’ve halved all the ingredients because I’m just living alone and don’t eat that much bread. Anyway, I was wondering how I should adjust baking times for this smaller loaf. Any advice?

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Bill February 4, 2014 at 1:23 am

Ine,
I use a cooking thermometer. When the temperature at the center of the loaf reaches 200 F it’s ready. My baking times vary from loaf to loaf so I’d be lost without this tool. Enjoy!

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Ine February 4, 2014 at 2:20 am

Thanks Bill, I still have a very basic setup at the moment, so no cooking thermometer yet. I guess I’ll just keep an eye on it and when I think it’s done I’ll give the bottom a knock to hear if sounds hollow.
Anyway, I’m very excited to be baking today!! I’ll let you know how it goes!

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Ine February 4, 2014 at 9:31 am

ok, I’ve baked my first bread, yay! I encountered a couple of problems, I think I used too much water, the dough was really wet, too wet to properly stretch and fold and too wet to shape later on. And I think it may have been a little bit too cold during the night when I let it sit. I ended up baking it in a stoneware oven dish because I don’t have a Dutch oven or any other of the suggested baking vessels, but that was ok. It didn’t look great coming out of the oven though. I actually feared it was just a brick. It looked smaller than I expected and there was not much oven spring at all. But to my surprise it did taste wonderful!! The crust was good and the crum was also much better than expected, it just didn’t look nice from the outside. Anyway, I learned lots, and will definitely bake it again, hopefully next time it will not only taste great but look great too!

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Breadtopia February 4, 2014 at 9:39 am

Looks good to me.

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Bill February 4, 2014 at 10:41 am

Thanks for the photo, Ine. Your bread looks great!

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Victoria is baking February 12, 2014 at 3:51 pm

The bread looks really great! If you want a more controlled rising and breaking of the bread during baking, why don’t you score it with a razor blade in the center?
An old fashioned sharp blade, a quarter of an inch deep.

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Ine February 12, 2014 at 4:08 pm

Thanks Victoria, I did score my second loaf. And it came out looking pretty nice though it was a bit more dense than my first loaf, maybe because I put a little bit less water in it compared to my first loaf. But I still had trouble handling the wet dough. I guess I just need some more practice, I’m sure I’ll get it right after a few more tries :-)

MarkMcD February 1, 2014 at 10:56 pm

Hi, first time reader… I hope I’m not comitting some kind of unspoken faux pas here but I’d like to try the recipe in my breadmaker. It’s a Panasonic and so far has handled the pre-mix flour mixes very well, with a learning curve for me on getting measurements right. :D

The attached pic is before I learned the amount of yeast modifies the height of the loaf. :D

I am trying to work on a FODMAP diet and spelt bread is one of the recommendations.

The breadmaker has a wide range of baking options, varying the rest, knead, rise and bake times but I think they are all presets. Has anyone tried this recipe in a breadmaker and if so, what settings did you use?

Note: If nobody has, I’ll see what I can achieve and post back here.

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Richard February 2, 2014 at 10:02 am

Hi MarkMcD,
Seems to me what you are proposing is a different type of bread than what is described here in, namely No Knee Bread. I am not certain you could accomplish this method with a bread maker but then I don’t own one (did years ago) and do not know the capabilities of them these days.
From my limited understanding of baking with spelt, there are some basic things to consider to create great spelt bread. I think spelt is a very delicate flour so needs to be handled very lightly to bring out the very limited gluten available. Thus Eric’s folding method works very well. Over handling will result in a ‘brick’. Over proofing is also a no no and result is the same as over handling. In no kneed, the (relatively) long proofing time brings out a lot more flavor as does sourdough vs dry yeast. So if your bread maker is capable of very little mixing/kneading, a long proofing time and relatively hot baking temperature than maybe you could get a loaf liken to the method above. Haven said that, experimentation is the key. Bread baking is a journey!

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MarkMcD March 9, 2014 at 6:29 pm

Just a quick update… I haven’t got to the Spelt bread yet. I’ve been using Laucke flour (locally made – they bought and use the last windmill in Victoria Australia) to get my head around all the options for my breadmaker.

It does do dough and has a range of programs for varieties of bread (about 24 including the dough-only ones) but I am working my way through things like changing water, different flours, and yeast quantities. The idea is, when I can reliably produce good loaves across a number of different bread types, I can begin playing with the recipes by putting everything together from scratch – the Laucke flours are just-add-water-and-yeast types.

The reason I am doing this is due to a couple of bin-breads when I tried going beyond the basics, so I figured I’d get them down pat first, then branch into more complex recipes.

I love the site and have been reading heaps here to help on the path to perfect bread…

More to come…

Mark

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Richard January 29, 2014 at 11:45 am

I’ve been making the 100% spelt bread exclusively for about 2 years now and it has become a staple. I love the fact that it seems way more gentle on my digestive system. Also, because of its water solubility,clean up is much easier. No more harden ‘glue’ on my baking utensils. A couple of things that I have a adopted are as follows.
I use organic spelt exclusively to feed the starter which I grind myself. It makes WAY better starter. Same easy clean up and the flavor it gives is to die for. I also make it quite thick. This helps to extend the fridge life as much less hooch forms on the top. It is also easier to scoop out. I use molasses for the sweetener(60 grams per loaf) which adds to the complexity of the flavor. Other tricks which many are explained by Eric are folding in 10 or 15 min intervals, under proof rather than over proof (I initially proof for about 10 hrs). I also have taken to baking for about 40 min rather than the 45mins which may just be my oven. You just have to experiment with that to get it correct. Spelt takes quite a bit less water to hydrate and I have even found that different batches of the spelt kernels will vary as per hydration levels.
Thank you for the inspiration this website has given me! I love my spelt bread!

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Elle February 28, 2014 at 4:39 am

Please can you share your recipe?

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Lisen January 25, 2014 at 6:12 am

Hello, I wonder if you could shed any light on my little problem…. I make Spelt bread and I mix in loads of seeds etc. I bake it in tins and score the top. But every time it comes out and looks like a volcano top has erupted…why is that, can I do something so that does not happen? I make the dough the night before, it will sit in my cold kitchen for anything between 12-20 hours before I get to bake it.

Really grateful for any advise!

Many thanks, Lisen

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Ashlee January 25, 2014 at 7:15 am

Hi Lisen that used to happen to my bread as well. I think it was due to me putting the bread too hot an oven which made it burst open at the top. If you see my method below in a previous post you could try that. I put it in on a slow heat and crank the oven up to 200deg celcius (400 faren) immediately, it worked well for me and gave an even rise.

Regards Ashlee

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Lisen January 25, 2014 at 9:03 am

Thank you Ashlee for taking you time to reply to me!

I shall try that!!!

The strange thing it is the opposite what my recipe says, it says turn the oven up hight 275C then when you put your bread in turn it down to 222C….

I am going to make another batch today so will try your way, it sounds more logical to me!

:-) Thank you!!!

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Ashlee January 25, 2014 at 6:40 pm

Hi Lisen, yes, my recipe says to start on hot oven then cool down, but I got the same explosion as you. So now, I start it on around 150C and crank it up to 220C and cook it about 30- 40 mins. I have a fan-forced electric oven. At the end I take the bread out of the pan and put it in the oven for another minute or so to crisp up the bottom. Good luck.
Ashlee

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Lisen January 26, 2014 at 5:22 am

Hello again, well I put it in a cold oven and it worked much better but still craters but smaller. :-) I wonder if the dough is too wet and that is why my scores do not work too well….? Next time I am going to add a bit more flour. Thanks Ashlee!!!!

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Ashlee January 26, 2014 at 7:47 am

Hi Lisen,
Glad it worked better, I don’t score my bread at all, but that’s because I don’t know how! The dough for my bread seems like it’s too wet to hold the score. Anyway, best of luck.
Regards
Ashlee

Jim January 23, 2014 at 6:22 pm

I am a new to baking bread and on a total plant based diet for health reasons. I am wanting to start baking my own bread. Do you have a recipe for a multi-grain spelt bread, e.g. 6 or 8 grain? Can the spelt sourdough recipe be used with a multi-grain?
I appreciate your website.
Thanks

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Ashlee January 25, 2014 at 6:45 pm

Hi Jim, I’m no expert but whenever I put grains in I always soak them for an hour or so, so that they don’t take too much moisture from the bread. I add the grains when I add the bulk of the flour. Regards
Ashlee

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graham December 17, 2013 at 9:39 pm

It’s all a lot easier than Chris’s complex instructions make out. The measurements needn’t be so absurdly precise–and this goes for the starter too. So long as you’re in the ballpark it will work. It’s all about texture and rising. And you don’t need fancy vessels either, like baskets, ‘bakers’ and stones. An old cake tin will do, or even a plain old bread tin, so there’s no need to head out and spend cash you may not have on stoneware and other stuff. We’re not all loaded, are we! The important point is that this way you can focus your limited cash reserves on buying decent organic spelt because it’s the bit that really matters–and it ain’t cheap!

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Ina January 8, 2014 at 8:58 pm

Hi, who’s Chris? That you were referring to, just read through previous comments and was wondering! :)

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Trent Smith December 12, 2013 at 5:04 pm

I tried your wonderful 100% spelt sourdough for the first time today.
Taste, color, crust are good, but I would have liked to see a bit more oven- spring and the middle of the loaf was a ‘tad’ under cooked. I had followed your recipe exactly. Is it possible that the elevation of our home affects the process. I live in Taos, NM – elevation 7,000 feet?

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aafke December 6, 2013 at 7:36 am

Baked this bread now three times. It was delicious every time! It is becoming my every day bread.
But: the bread burns to the Römertopf every time. Last time it completely ruined the loaf. Seems to be getting worse…
Anybody knows what is causing this? Any suggestions?
All the best,
Aafke

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Ashlee December 7, 2013 at 4:40 am

I use a Romertopf too, and my bread used to stick to the pan but not any more. I oil the pan with olive oil and I place some parchment paper on the bottom and now the bread comes out easily. I now do the final proof directly in the Romertopf (mine is a loaf shaped Romer with no lid) when it has risen to almost the top I put the Romer in a bath of water for 10 minutes, this creates steam when it’s baked. I put the oven on for a few minutes and then put the bread in and crank the oven up to 200deg and let it cook for about 40 mins. At the end I take the bread out of the Romer and put the bread in the oven for a few minutes to crisp up the bottom. I find this method works perfectly for me, my oven is fan forced. I found that if I put the Romer into a very hot preheated oven then the bread cooked too quickly on the outside and did not cook through properly, so a slowly rising oven works best for me. Hope this helps.

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aafke December 7, 2013 at 7:22 am

Thank you, Ashley, for your suggestions. I will definitely try the oil and parchment paper. I have an old gas oven and it is hard to adjust the temperature. I find that when I put it on gas mark 8, the bread rises nicely and is well done, but it scorches easily and sticks to the topf. Gas mark 7 does not give the nice broken surface. The bread is done, but looks dull… There seems to be no in between with this old lady of an oven of mine. I will try your method and see how this works. I will let you know.

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Arlis January 14, 2014 at 11:03 am

Do you really mean 200 degrees Farenheit? It puzzles me that he bakes his at 45o deg fro 45 minutes, but yours gets done at 200 in 40 minutes??? I am trying to do your method, at it is in the oven right now, it baked at 200 for 30 minutes, then, as I am short on time, I turned it up to 400 for another 30 minutes…I really am not sure about this. : |

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AspiringBreadMaker January 14, 2014 at 3:05 pm

Arlis,
I can bake a regular, white no knead loaf at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes, but if I’m baking at 350 (which I always do for this spelt bread, as I feel it doesn’t destroy nutrients as much as a higher temperature would), it takes an hour.

My guess is the 200 degrees here is Celsius, which would equate to about 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, as posted in the recipe, you can always keep checking with a thermometer (I bought mine here) to see if the internal temperature of the bread has reach 195-200 degrees.

Hope this helps. :)

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Arlis January 14, 2014 at 9:17 pm

Thank you!

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Ashlee January 14, 2014 at 9:00 pm

Hi Arlis, I am in Australia and we use degrees celc. 200 deg cel is roughly 400 deg far. Good luck.
Regards
Ashlee

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Arlis January 14, 2014 at 9:22 pm

Yes, you have both been a wonderful help! I didn’t think about it being Celsius. The bread actually turned out quite delicious, to me! It’s a little too sour for my daughter’s liking, but the texture and all was good.

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AspiringBreadMaker January 15, 2014 at 11:30 am

Happy to help! If you find your bread is too sour, check out these tips:

For less sour bread:
• Promote more lactic acid and less acetic acid by making sure your starter isn’t too thick–use more water. Also, do less kneading mixing, as this works oxygen into the starter producing more acetic acid sourness.
• Be sure your bread dough has enough water as well–the more moisture, the more lactic acid (milder).
• Feed the starter 4-12 hours before using in recipe (and preferably 24 hours before as well). Feeding every 12 hours produces a less sour starter. The sooner you use it after feeding, (like 4 hours later), the less sour. You can take 1-2 tablespoons from the base starter, and then start feeding it a day or two before baking with it.
• Keep starter “unrefrigerated” at least a couple days before baking with it, as refrigeration slows down yeast activity, which allows the bacteria to flourish producing more sour acids. –Though, one man says keeping it out unrefrigerated and unfed for a few days will produce a more sour starter, but a less sour bread…warmth kills a sour taste.
• Shorten the fermentation/proofing time of the bread…the longer it proofs, the more sour.
• Don’t proof overnight in the refrigerator–this allows for more sour flavor.
• Use more starter–this will allow for a shorter fermentation/proof, which means less sour. However, there are others who say just the opposite.
• Add a little baking soda to the recipe but do so only before forming the loaf to stick it in the oven, otherwise, I find my bread doesn’t rise/proof as well. This tip works really well!

DEBORAH November 30, 2013 at 8:45 am

Hi,i’m trying to revive my sourdough but if the worst comes to the worst i will have to use some fresh shop-bought yeast,i have not been able to find any dried yeast.Could you please tell me how much fresh yeast i would have to use for this beautiful spelt bread recipe. Thank you.

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Ina November 26, 2013 at 8:56 pm

Oh forgot to add started a spelt sourdough starter a couple of wks ago and put in required amount plus a little yeast because it not matured yet! Couldn’t taste sourdough?

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Anusha November 21, 2013 at 1:29 pm

Can this recipe be baked in a glass pyrex bread pan without a cover? Or, if a cover is necessary then can aluminum foil be used as a substitute? I’m not crazy about using foil, but I don’t have a cover at the moment and would really like to use my starter to make some bread! Just wondered if anyone had any experience making spelt sourdough without a cover? Thank you!

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elvira January 8, 2014 at 2:53 am

Hi Anusha,

The idea behind baking any bread with a lid is keeping the moist and confine heat in for the first 20 minutes or so, it helps the bread to get a nice oven spring and a nice crust. |I bake most my breads in a Romertopf or a cast iron pan, since the two create a better environment for the bread, you get better results using clay pot or cast iron, they become hotter than pyrax. heat is what makes the difference. you can get nice results also with a pyrax pan. it would be less but still delicious. but consider to use a clay pan or cast iron its the difference between good and fantastic.

Elvira

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Anusha January 11, 2014 at 4:35 pm

Thank you Elvira.
A while back, I went ahead and baked with my pyrex with out a top and it came out very well. No doubt a Romertopf or dutch oven would be better, but I just wanted to know if it could be done without it as I was new to baking breads, sourdough in particular. I left a pan of water in with pyrex for the moisture and got the same crusty top. It’s still very delicious and light and crust. All good things a sourdough should be.

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Beverley H. November 20, 2013 at 1:56 pm

My adaptation using regular yeast and seeds. Makes 2 large or 3 smaller loaves of Seeded Spelt Bread:
The Ingredients:
1kg whole spelt flour (Have some additional spelt flour for sprinkling on the dough so that kneading is not too sticky.)
750ml (~ 3 cups) lukewarm water
3 tsp salt
6 Tbs honey or date syrup (Silan)
2 flat tablespoonsful of dried instant yeast
3 tablespoonsful of olive oil
Optional:
1/3 cup chia seeds
½ cup sunflower seeds
½ cup pumpkin seeds
Method:
Pour 750ml of lukewarm water into a large mixing bowl. Add the 2 tbs of instant dried yeast, plus 6 Tbs of honey and ¼ cup of the spelt flour. Mix together and put in a warm spot in the kitchen to activate (until it starts foaming). If cold weather, turn on the oven to a very low temperature (75 -100 C) to warm the kitchen.. Once the yeast mixture is activated add 3tsp salt and 3tbs olive oil. The seeds can be added in at this point if you want seeded loaf. Slowly add the spelt flour while mixing with a spoon. When all the flour is mixed in, sprinkle some additional spelt flour on both sides of the dough ball and knead by stretching and folding dough in for 5-10 minutes. Place the bowl containing the dough in a plastic supermarket shopping bag and place in a warm spot to rise (If stand-alone stove, then put the bowl covered by the plastic bag on the stovetop to get the warmth from the oven, which was put on at about 75-100 C to heat up the kitchen).
After dough has risen (about 30 minutes) knead for 5 minutes again. Allow to rise and knead 2 more times. After kneading for the 3rd time, divide in 3 equal portions and put in bread tins. (Tip: line with parchment/cookie paper before putting the dough into the tins, or use silicone bread “tins”). Place tins with dough into the plastic shopping bag to rise for 30 -60 minutes. After the dough has risen, place the uncooked loaves in a preheated oven at 400 F (or 200 C) for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on cake racks. ENJOY!

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Victoria is baking November 7, 2013 at 9:14 am

Hi, I also just started out baking my own organic sourdough spelt bread. I begun with my own starter, which I developed out of a white flour starter and fed it only with spelt. By now it is 100% spelt.
My breads have all been a success, the best being actually a mistake in weight, I put 6 cups of spelt flour and adjusted by sight the water, salt and starter. It came out great. I just kept it in the oven 15 min longer and checked with a thermometer. Which brings me to an issue. I would like to bake a larger loaf. How do I adjust the baking time? I thought of doubling the amounts to get a more then 2 lbs loaf. My Roemertopf can handle it. How do I adjust? Lower the temperature to 425 and bake 1/3 longer? Anybody with experience?

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Breadtopia November 7, 2013 at 9:25 am

This is where an instant read thermometer comes in particularly handy. I would lower the temp as you suggest and then check the dough temp after an extra 10 minutes or so.

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Victoria is baking November 7, 2013 at 12:56 pm

I will try this, thank you, Breadtopia! Do I understand you right, I shall lower the baking temperature in general for a larger loaf to 425 F for the entire baking time? And lengthen the time by ca, 10 minutes…I will measure the temp!

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Breadtopia November 7, 2013 at 1:51 pm

Those are my guesses. Start there, see how it goes and make adjustments for next time if necessary. It’s hard to go too far wrong if you’re monitoring the internal temperature.

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Kathy B October 26, 2013 at 10:15 am

Some of us, though, cannot do spelt who have gluten intolerances. Fuuny, though — I can use Einkorn — it is a predecessor with fewer chromosomes. I don’t use it often ,but when I do, I use this recipe. It is not as beautiful a loaf as this — you have to change proportions and play with it (esp. since I’m at high altitude). However, you can get a successful loaf of bread with it. It is much, much, much denser, but you get used to it.

Spelt actually turned out to be a bit worse for me than general wheat on my intolerance testing — so be sure you check it out before you use it.

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Amy October 25, 2013 at 10:01 pm

I love this bread recipe and make it often, but my husband just found out he is allergic to gluten, is it possible to make sourdough bread from gluten free flours like quinoa, etc?

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musthavebeen October 26, 2013 at 7:05 am

If you look back at previous posts, you’ll see this very thing discussed. However, does your husband have an allergy or an intolerance to gluten? I am gluten intolerant (meaning if I eat it I will be unable to digest it fully and end up bloated and with worse gastrointestinal woes for about 24h). I can tolerate spelt just fine though. In fact, some with Celiac’s can eat spelt gluten despite having reactions to modern wheat glutens. If your husband is under a doctor’s care, check with the doctor & proceed w/ caution, but don’t give up! I spent about 2y gluten free before I started successfully treating my IBS w/ FODMAPs diet, which (blessedly) includes spelt on its safe list. Good luck!

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Aspiring Bread Maker October 31, 2013 at 10:31 am

Amy,
I agree with musthavebeen–definitely look into the possibility of spelt, especially sourdough spelt. When you use sourdough to leaven the bread, it greatly breaks down the gluten to levels that even many with Celiacs can tolerate. A google search should pull up some good info for you.

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John October 24, 2013 at 7:52 pm

First time the sprelt recipe. Split a loaf with a neighbor. It ‘s all gone. Wow!

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Angela October 23, 2013 at 4:58 pm

It’s been a blessing to read this blog, especially about spelt & sourdough. I finally was succesful with my rye starter, and started my first sourdough last night, and finished it this morning in a loaf pan.

How does it look? Could I have let it rise longer?

We are going wheat free, and I’ve succesfully used spelt in several non bread loaf recipes, but being able to make a sandwich loaf has been a challenge. I’ve managed whitecspelt, but not 100% spelt. I will post my trials later for evaluation if that’s okay.

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Breadtopia October 30, 2013 at 9:10 pm

Yes, please, post away!

I don’t think letting your dough rise longer would have helped. It looks great as is.

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Julie October 22, 2013 at 9:14 am

Is there a weight for the starter? I use my scale exclusively

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musthavebeen October 16, 2013 at 11:19 am

Firstly, thank you so much for the spelt sourdough recipe. I’m on a diet called FODMAPs http://www.ibsgroup.org/brochures/fodmap-intolerances.pdf due to IBS. Under this diet, I was able to return to bread via 100% spelt varieties found at health food stores. However, for years the only way to have decent artisanal bread was to suffer the consequences for deviating from my diet. When I heard that there was such a thing as sourdough spelt, my heart leapt, as I’ve always wanted to be a bread baker but thought now that was beyond me. Anyway, I’ve loved the spelt recipe (and would love some variations…my attempts so far haven’t been successful).

However, I’m having trouble with the trick of using a probe thermometer to test for doneness. It worked pretty well the first time (at approx 200 degrees F the loaf was done properly) but since then I’ve had the dough still dense and soggy inside when the temp is well above 200. I’ve tried different thermometers to see if that was the problem. My starter is still roughly the same consistency, and I’m careful to make the dough similar in wetness/dryness as seen in the videos. My only thought is that since my first loaf was extremely flat, due to the type of pan I had at the time as well as overproofing and having the dough too wet overall, the thermometer didn’t really read accurately perhaps due to the flatness of the loaf.

I also just got my first Romertopf baker. I wasn’t sure if I should soak the baker for 15m as instructed by the manufacturer, since I didn’t see you do this in the video. Also, I didn’t know if the baker needs greasing. My first loaf in the baker definitely looks better but I had to pry it out, and I’m still having problems with overly dense/doughy center.

Thank you so much for doing this! I’m so enjoying the process of feeling like a real baker again.

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Aspiring Bread Maker October 16, 2013 at 12:44 pm

What a wonderful testimony you have!! It sounds like you are looking for the healthiest ways possible to make bread, which is so great. I don’t have gluten related issues, but I was on a mission for this as well, as I don’t want to “develop” issues down the road now that I have begun baking as a new hobby. I am making “all” of my grain products with sourdough now. Some people also soak their grains, but just “souring” them is enough to break down gluten and phytates.

In my search for healthful baking, I found wonderful information from sites like Gnowfglins (has a great Sourdough eCourse and eBook), Nourished Kitchen, Kitchen Stewardship, Cultures of Health, and The Healthy Home Economist. Also, you might also consider baking with “einkorn” and “emmer”–two other ancient grains. I believe people are smart to stick with ancient grains. May God bless your health. :)

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Victoria is baking November 7, 2013 at 9:25 am

Be generous with the flour when stretching and folding, let it rise over night in the fridge and let adjust to room temperature in the morning (2 hours) before last folding and proofing for 1.5 hrs.
Sometimes it also has to do with the starter. Take it out of the fridge before using it, at least 1/2 day. I put it on the counter, give it a good stir and feed it one more time. Less water is good at that point. Your starter just needs to smell right, pleasantly sour, mine does not actively bubbles every time. But the results are still good. Do not wet the Roemertopf, just let it be in the 450 F pre heated oven for at least 1/2 hour. Be careful not to burn yourself (happened to me) Flip the dough from the proofing basket (1.5 hrs) into the hot pot, put the lid on and bake for 30 – 35 min, then take the lid off. If you feel it browns too much, put the lid back on. I always measure when the bread is still in the oven, I take it out when it reaches at least 197 F.
I hope it helps!
PS: It also depends, where you live. Altitude and climate always effects the baking.

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Aspiring Bread Maker October 9, 2013 at 7:50 pm

Thank you *so* much for this wonderful recipe using all spelt flour. I ground spelt berries in my blender so I could use “real flour,” and following your recipe, the bread came out beautifully last night on my first try! In fact, I thought it was the best bread I had ever tasted in my life, but after a little while, I decided it was a bit too sour (I over-proofed the dough I think), so I will be experimenting with proofing time and also with my starter to make it a little less sour (I’m thinking my starter may be a little strong on the acetic acid side due to low-humidity and from not feeding it daily).

This website has been such a blessing, and baking bread is such a blessing not only for me but for my family and those I have been able to share it with! There’s just something about freshly baked, homemade bread that feeds one’s soul. I thank God for bringing me here! I’m a month old bread baker, and I’m loving this journey so far. :)

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Breadtopia October 9, 2013 at 7:56 pm

Beautiful! Thanks for your nice post.

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rosalee October 9, 2013 at 10:03 am

I would like to know what is the best temperature to bake sourdough bread?

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Glenda Daniels September 24, 2013 at 2:05 am

Hi, I have made a starter out of quinoa flour and the starter looks good. I was wondering if you think I used the recipe you have for your spelt flour if it would work on quinoa flour. They say that quinoa flour has got a lot of protein in it as well and I am following a diet that is gluten free.Thanks for any suggestions you might have. I am really excited that the starter has worked as I have never done anything like this before. Cheers Glenda

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Breadtopia September 24, 2013 at 7:08 am

It’s the gluten protein in spelt that traps the CO2 from the fermentation and gives it its rise. Quinoa wouldn’t do that so you’d have a very dense loaf. I don’t think there’d be much resemblance to this bread. But if your experimenting leads you to something you’re happy with, I hope you’ll share it with us. There are lots of people looking for a way of making a decent gf bread.

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Aspiring Bread Maker September 14, 2013 at 11:41 am

Thank you so much for creating and sharing this recipe, as I am really excited about the whole process of bread making but really wanted to do it with whole spelt flour, and most all recipes for that include a large amount of white flour as well. I have spelt berries and would like to make this bread with freshly ground spelt flour from the berries. Do you think that would work? Would you recommend that I first sift the flour once or twice? Thank you!

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Breadtopia September 15, 2013 at 8:34 am

Sure, it would work. Sifting is totally your call. Removing bran will result in a somewhat less dense loaf. Try it different ways and see which you prefer.

Good luck.

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Aspiring Bread Maker September 15, 2013 at 7:46 pm

Thank you! I’m really excited about this, and yours is the best sourdough spelt recipe I have found. So very thankful for your generosity in all that you share!

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Maxina September 1, 2013 at 1:40 pm

My first attempt at Spelt sourdough! A little adjustment for temperature/time needed but I think it looks great!

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Maxina September 1, 2013 at 1:43 pm

Sorry the photo turned out upside down…..the iPad did it!

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Breadtopia September 1, 2013 at 3:26 pm

Looks great even upside down!

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blumie August 14, 2013 at 9:08 pm

can i make this into challah or it needs to be in a covered dish?
@baker beanie where is melbourne is terra madre?

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Baker Beanie August 24, 2013 at 8:08 am

Hey blumie,
Terra Madre is at 104 High St Northcote, a few doors down from Westgarth Cinema.
See their website terramadre.com.au
It’s one of the best organic wholefood stores I’ve come across in Melbourne
Best Wishes
bb

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Anthea Cook August 10, 2013 at 9:15 pm

Hi thanks so much for the recipe! This is my first sourdough loaf ever so I was very pleased. It was a bit more sour than I really like – I’ll read up on how to adjust that. Made in Adelaide, South Australia.

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Cheryl November 11, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Wow that looks great Anthea!

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Cathy July 14, 2013 at 8:39 am

I’ve made about 5 loaves of spelt bread now — it’s fantastic! I am about to make some of the dough into buns. I’m not sure about oven temperature for these but am trying it at 375 F for about 15 min. I’ll let you know how this comes out.

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Breadtopia July 2, 2013 at 6:26 am

Great looking loaf, Baker Beanie. I wouldn’t hesitate to add seeds on or in it. I don’t think you’d muck it up at all. Just take a guess at the types and quantities of seeds.

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Baker Beanie July 2, 2013 at 5:59 am

Eric,
thank you so much for the wonderful clear instructions.
And to everyone for their helpful feedback.
I started making this bread in about April this year and haven’t looked back.
It has worked every time!
Most loaves, I include about 50-75g rye flour, as I like the flavour and it’s slightly cheaper than spelt flour.
Anyone in Melbourne? Terra Madre sell bulk flour- 5kg org wholemeal spelt flour currently costs $20AUD- the cheapest I’ve found.
I bake my loaves in a glass Pyrex dish with a lid.
Heat it up for the last 5 minutes of the oven warming & cook it at 220˙C with fan.
Brown rice flour helps prevent sticking and give a great crunch.
Even my husband has started getting in on the act.
We compare loaves.
Now we eat about 3 loaves a week for the price of one.
I’d like to try some seeds in or on this but am reluctant to muck it up.
Any suggestions?
Kind Wishes,
BB

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piazzi July 2, 2013 at 5:48 pm

First off, why reluctant? It is through experimentation and flops that we learn the best things of life, no?

as for seeds, although my main loaf is a mix of whole grain rye, whole grain barley, whole grain red fife and white flour in equal proportion, I cannot see why using spelt would make a huge difference

I have been adding 1 cup of chopped raw pumpkin and sunflower seeds loaf after loaf — just make sure the dough has the consistency you want before you let it rest for the first proof – that means you may need to adjust with water or flour to get the consistency right

sometimes I substitute some seems with chopped nuts

most seeds and nuts do not absorb a lot of water

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