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.

 

{ 531 comments… read them below or add one }

jmancan January 4, 2010 at 6:25 pm

Hey Eric,

I made this over the weekend but turned into a doorstop. I guess is my sourdough starter wasn’t as active as I thought. Maybe I should have followed an instant yeast version since my kids don’t enjoy the sour taste anyway. Is there a rule of thumb to covert a recipe w/ sourdough starter with instant yeast?

JManCan

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John December 16, 2009 at 12:10 pm

Eric,
I just baked my first loaf of this bread… delicious!
I followed the instructions pretty much to the letter except I don’t have a sourdough starter (yet?) so I used 1/2 tsp instant yeast. I also don’t have a proofing basket (yet?) so I used a generously floured towel in a spaghetti colander – hence the heavy coating of flour on the loaf. It was a little tricky tipping it into the Römertopf but the bread survived.
The crumb was a little tighter than in your picture but the bread is eminently edible and best of all my daughter who isn’t a big fan of whole wheat loved it too.
Love your website and all the videos – they really set your site apart and make it so easy for us novices to visualize and follow your instruction.
Thanks
John

[img]DSCN4716.JPG[/img][img]DSCN4719.JPG[/img]

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Fir Suidema December 9, 2009 at 6:43 am

Eric,
Thanks fot this easy recipy.
Here in Amsterdam, the Netherlands I have to put the oven on 200 to 220 and leave the tit on all the time.
Also I just needed less water like 315 grams for the best result.
Now I’m hooked to spelt and bought a 25 KG bag direct at the windmill near Amsterdam.
Keep up the good work.

[img]spelt.jpg[/img]

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Ed December 3, 2009 at 11:59 pm

Hi Joe,
Tried your flour substiution but kept the water at 1.5 cups.
Great results.
Thanks

[img]SpeltJoeFoust200912-3.JPG[/img]

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Moriah November 18, 2009 at 9:41 am

Joe: Send a pic of that beautiful bread. We’d love to see it.

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Joe Foust November 18, 2009 at 8:43 am

Just wanted to add a note to thank you for the wonderful instruction videos. I am 68 years old and have baked a loaf or two in my time but never really had success with sourdough until I found your site. I am particularly fond of the spelt recipe. I found that substituting 2 cups of white spelt flour and changing the water amount to 1 and 2/3 cups works really well. I use the Romertopf 109 and proof in a loaf pan with oiled parchment paper. This smaller clay baker forces the dough up into a beautiful loaf. I also leave the lid on the full baking time. My oven is a large gas convection type so I lowered the temp to 425 degrees. Works beautifully every time. Thanks again. I will be ordering some more baking stuff from you soon.

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Wil November 16, 2009 at 1:34 pm

Ginette,
I wouldn’t go so far as saying you would get better results with either your bread making or starter vigor. There are just too many variables. You may experience better starter management with a ww starter that is kept in the fridge. Using part rye may help in giving your starter a different sourness characteristic. I have never had a ww starter kept in the fridge go bad but I have heard that ww, over time, can go bad because of more oils in the grain. Eric has talked about this. I personally have never had this to happen. Maybe because I keep a small quantity and it is frequently renewed. Above all, keep doing what works for you. There are as many ways as there are followers of Eric’s great site.

Wil

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Ginette November 16, 2009 at 11:08 am

I see…. Since September I have been using a purely spelt starter. I store it in the fridge during the weekm, and Friday morning take it out to get it ready for making bread Friday night. It has been working fine. You mean I could get even better results by keeping the fridge starter as ww/rye?

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Wil November 16, 2009 at 7:55 am

Hi Debra,

Half the time I bake whole wheat bread and half the time rye. I’ve been making sourdough starters and bread since a trip years ago to Alaska. Over the years, after a lot of reading about sourdough starters and personal experience, I learned that a whole wheat flour generally keeps better, at least for me, than regular white flour. White flour is ok and makes a nice starter, bread flour gets “gummy” and in one of my books it advised not to use bread flour, so I don’t. Another tip I picked up along the way, I don’t remember when or where, rye flour helps with sourness, especially in baking. Some of the old sourdough bakers would always use 1/4 cup of rye flour when making their SD bread. So, I just keep a whole wheat starter that a few years ago I started adding rye flour to and somewhere along the way just made it 50/50.

Ginette,

I just use my regular ww/rye starter, out of the refrigerator and use spelt flour for three feedings /doubling. I think Eric mentioned one time this is not a “purist” way of doing it. Start out with very little of your starter, say a tablespoon or less, to about 1/2 cup of spelt and water, let it work and double, discard half and add spelt and water again. You will have a nice spelt starter. Take a look back through the post and even try a spelt poolish. That does great as well.

Wil

Wil

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Ginette November 15, 2009 at 1:07 pm

You make spelt starter from scratch each time? from pineapple juice? or you keep a rye or white flour starter in the fridge and use spelt flour a couple of times to let it double just before making bread?

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Debra November 14, 2009 at 10:12 am

Wil,
Why do you use 50/50 rye and www to feed your starter. Why not just use all rye?

Just wondering,
Debra

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Debra November 14, 2009 at 10:07 am

I hope I’m not asking something that you have answered, but what is the minimum time that you recommend for the dough to proof between the last “stretch and fold” until you put the dough into a proofing basket? I want to start my bread in the early morning and cook it in the evening.

Thanks,
Debra

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eliz November 14, 2009 at 9:05 am

I also think my dough is too wet — it is very hard to handle – sticks to my hands when I am putting it in the casserole dish and totally deflates…maybe I will add a touch more flour next time.

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eliz November 14, 2009 at 9:03 am

Wow thanks so much what a help — I think one of my starters the other day wasn’t good, even though it looked and smelled OK I made 5 loaves of hockey pucks but one of the spelt loaves turned out beautiful — I had taken the starter out and it doubled 8 hrs later, then used it…..The hockey pucks taste great but you know — flat and too dense.

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Wil November 13, 2009 at 1:27 pm

Eliz, after reading my response, it was not very clear even to me. What I tried to say was yes, you should be able to take your starter made on Sunday and use it right out of the refrigerator the following Sunday. You may not have to take the starter out a day ahead of time to let it double prior to using. I say “May Not” because it will depend on your starter vigor and conditions. Try both ways and use the method that works best for you. Like Eric said, you kind of get into a routine that works best. BTW, when I make Spelt bread, I use a freshly made and working Spelt starter. I don’t keep Spelt starter for more than a week in the refrigerator.

Wil

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Wil November 13, 2009 at 10:12 am

Hi Eliz,

My bread day is normally Friday to Friday and that is what I do. However, yes there is a however, I may be able to do this 2 or 3 times. After the 1st week, I keep an eye on the starter’s vigor (still has lot of bubbles) and how much it rises in the container after it has been fed and put back in the refrigerator a couple of days (mine will almost double). If it looks like it has slowed down and I think I am going to bake in a day or so, I take the stater out of the refrigerator, take 1/2 out, replace the amount I discard with flour and water, let sit on the counter for about an hour and then put it back in the refrigerator. Mine will double, in fact almost overflow my container by the next morning. I can use it that day then or wait a week and it will still do a great job.

Wil

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eliz November 12, 2009 at 4:34 pm

Thanks for the feedback Wil and Eric. I am just trying to do what will work best –so you are saying you can feed it on one Sunday and come back the following Sunday, take 1/4 c out of the fridge and start mixing away. I do not need to take the starter out a day ahead or feed it and let it double before cooking with it?

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Breadtopia November 11, 2009 at 10:14 pm

Hi Eliz,

I handle my sourdough the same as Wil most of the time. There’s quite a bit of latitude on what works so what usually ends up happening is you find a routine for managing your starter that’s compatible with your baking habits.

My mention of the 2 cups of sourdough recipe is so long ago, I can’t remember exactly which one it is. I just know it was from Ed Wood’s book Classic Sourdoughs where a bunch of his recipes call for 2 cups starter. That was about 9 favorite recipes ago. ;)

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Wil November 11, 2009 at 11:35 am

eliz,

I have not had any problem with my starter that has been fed within the past week, and immediately returned to the refrigerator after using. On baking day, I remove the starter, take a quarter cup out for my bread. I return a quarter cup of flour (I use 50/50 rye and www) and same amount of water to my starter container and put it back in the refrigerator until I use it again the following week. I find there is no need to let the starter come to room temperature before using. You will be mixing it with room temperature water so that is plenty. Plus, I usually put my bread dough in the refrigerator as well until I am ready to bake. The starter continues to feed and proof your bread, just at a very much slower rate. Hope this helps. Wil

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eliz November 8, 2009 at 8:40 pm

So sorry if you have answered this in the past but I have searched and cannot find it. I have 4 new starters that I have had going now for about 1 month and still I am not clear what to do the day of the baking. I bake once a week, so usually once a week I refresh the starter and that is going fine. But if I want to bake on Sunday for a no knead recipe would this be a sequence to follow? Feed the starter Friday night and leave it out for 2 – 3 hours then refrigerate overnight. Saturday, take the starter out of the refrigerator in the morning and leave it at room temperature for 8 hours. Make up the recipe as described in the video.

Also which recipe calls for 2 cups of starter? You mention it in your video on sourdough management as a favorite which I have watched at least 3 times to try and get the above question answered. Thanks for the GREAT website and FREE advice!!

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Breadtopia November 6, 2009 at 5:49 am

Thanks for the clarification, Didier. I found Crust shortly after my previous post and figured that might be it. Will definitely check it out.

My take on soaking a clay baker is that it’s most desirable when cooking things other than bread but that there’s nothing like the oven spring and crust development that comes from dropping your bread dough in an already toasty hot Romertopf or Cloche. Of course by the time you’ve preheated one, any moisture from soaking would be gone. It’s just a personal preference thing as many prefer the “cold start” method.

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didier tissot November 5, 2009 at 1:51 pm

Hi again, Eric,
To answer your question:
Richard Bertinet has 2 books that I know of in English, the croissant instructions are in the other one,”Crust” starting on page 116. “Crust” is the one where he really concentrates on sourdough and also gives these croissant instructions with photos. You also get a a dvd demonstrating this lifting and folding technique. Once I got the hang of it, I have stopped using the typical “squash and stretch” method of kneading bread. His method is, I find, just a better method – you get silky soft dough, full of air, and as I say you can handle very wet dough this way.
Anyway, give it a try!
Finally, I must thank you now for the idea of baking in a clay baker – I had only ever used a (small) container for 100% rye breads, which need to be in something. Well, following your excellent videos I have bought a Romertopf, ( have not seen La Cloche in Europe, funnily enough).
So I have now baked your 100% spelt sourdough in it and the results were even better than with the cast iron Creuset. Just as a point of interest, the Romertopf instructions scared me into soaking it as they insist it will crack otherwise. The bread took nearly 1 hour to bake, but it was delicious. I think there might be something in the idea of the steam from the soaking making a really good loaf.

So, thanks again for your fantastic site, it’s a real inspiration. Very Best Wishes!

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Breadtopia November 4, 2009 at 9:04 pm

Thank you, Lee Ann!

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Breadtopia November 4, 2009 at 9:02 pm

Hi Didier,

Thanks for the info on Richard Bertinet’s book (and your nice comments). Is that the one entitled Dough? The reviews are glowing and it does indeed sound excellent.

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Lee Ann November 3, 2009 at 8:28 am

Wow, thanks again Eric!

I made this spelt sourdough recipe, and you were so right about the marvelous taste- it is my new favorite bread!!! This one will be on the Thanksgiving table.

I don’t know if you remember me but I made my first loaf of bread using your no-knead technique .. I’ve been using the technique a lot since then, my family is always clamoring for the bread, which they say is the best they ever had!

So, thanks again! I just ordered a Romertopf clay baker from you, I will enjoy the oval shape in addition to the other two bakers.

Best regards, Lee Ann

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Didier Tissot October 25, 2009 at 4:42 pm

Hi,

A few comments from overseas, if I may:
1. Your pineapple-juice and spelt starter is the most reliable and vigourous I have ever used.
2. Your folded, un-kneaded spelt sourdough loaf is really excellent.
3. I baked it in a round Creuset lined with parchment paper, this worked just fine.
4. You should definitely check out ( and then perhaps demonstrate for your fans?) Richard Bertinet’s lifting and folding techinhique which enables you to work with really, really wet dough and produce fantastic French bread.
5. Richard Bertinet’s book will definitely also solve you croissant problems! – his photos of cutting and shaping the dough are really excellent and fool-proof.
6. Just to let you know you have the best bread-making site on the net – many thanks for the hard work you obviously devote to it.

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Debra October 22, 2009 at 11:23 am

Okay that makes sense. I just made a loaf of SD using your recipe and am THRILLED!!! It tastes soooooo yummy! My daughter and I have already eaten a half a loaf!! I have made SD bread a number of times using spelt and the kneading method…none of them turned out so nicely nor tasted nearly as good.

I have also found that rye makes the best starter. I made my starter from scratch using rye but began to feed it with soft white whole wheat and noticed that it didn’t do so well. Yesterday, I did an experiment where I put a half a cup of healthy rye starter in two different jars and feed one with rye flour/water and the other with Soft white whole wheat/water. I was amazed at the difference. The rye more than doubled with large bubbles but the wheat flour never even doubled and had very small bubbles.

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Breadtopia October 22, 2009 at 8:57 am

Hi Debra,

Thanks!

You can mix everything up together in order to create 4 loaves (quadruple the recipe). If you have a large enough bowl, you could do the stretch and folds in the bowl and proof it overnight just like the video. The next morning divide the dough as gently as possible and shape into your four balls of dough and into the proofing baskets.

If you don’t have a big enough bowl to accommodate all that dough at once and also account for the rise, it seems you’d have to separate into 2 or 4 bowls right after mixing all the ingredients at the beginning.

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Debra October 21, 2009 at 4:49 pm

LOVE your website!!!!!!!! My question: I usually make four loves of whole wheat bread at a time. Do you think I could quadruple your recipe and make 4 loaves at a time? I’m mostly concerned about the pulling aspect. Thanks in advance. Debra

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Breadtopia September 27, 2009 at 11:19 am

Hi Brenda,

That’s like asking me which of my children I love the most. :)
Seriously though, they all produce the same great results but in different sizes and shapes. Of all the Romertopfs I opted to add the Romertopf 111 to the Breadtopia store because I think it’s the idea size for bread. It will handle a smallish (1 lb) loaf up to about a 3 lb loaf.

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Brenda September 27, 2009 at 10:23 am

Hi Eric, I was wondering which you prefer the La cloche or the Romertopf ? Also could you tell me the best size Romertopf for bread.
Thanks

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Breadtopia September 22, 2009 at 7:28 pm

That’s great Mary Lee. Glad to hear it.

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Mary Lee September 22, 2009 at 10:56 am

Hi to all

I’m overjoyed at the results of my first SD Spelt loaf. I don’t own a baker, clay or otherwise, so I used a heavy 9″x5″ metal loaf pan. After about twenty mninutes baking @450, the bread looked plenty dark so Icovered it with a foil tent, reduced the oven temp to 375 and baked for about another 10-15 minutes (sorry to say I can’t remember exactly but it registered 200 on instant read thermometer.) The crumb is lovely but a little dense; I think because the dough was maybe a little too wet but the best part is that the crust is very chewy and the bread has a great tangy taste. Thanks for this recipe, Eric. It’s my new everyday loaf.

Mary Lee Toledo, Ohio

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Breadtopia September 9, 2009 at 5:26 am

Hi Paul,

I think you have the right ideas. But isn’t 210 C only 410 F? Can you get your oven to 450 F? Also, I preheat my Romertopf or cloche for 30-35 minutes which should prevent sticking by itself, but using parchment paper is a good solution too.

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Paul (London, UK) September 1, 2009 at 7:22 am

A ramble about my first spelt sourdough experience (with some questions):

Although I have baked with spelt and have baked sourdough loaves I’d never done the two at once . . . I also hadn’t tried the no-knead method before.

I finally found a calico-lined bread basket the perfect shape and size to work with the Romertopf I bought a couple of months ago.

I converted some of my home-grown starter to spelt flour over the course of a few weeks.

I started the process yesterday lunchtime and after the stretch and folds put the covered bowl in a slightly opened insulated picnic coolbox with a picnic box ice pack as it is quite warm here and I didn’t want the dough to over-prove.

This morning it had risen nicely and I shaped and plopped it in the basket (fabric coated with quite a lot of rice flour) for about 90 mins overall. If anything I’d say the dough was a bit too soft when I put it in the basket – the tautening of the sides of the loaf didn’t really happen.

Meanwhile I got my fan oven up to 210c and warmed the Romertopf for about 20 minutes.

The dough turned out of the basket into the baker very easily (perhaps a little too sloppy?)

Once the bread went in it needed about 50 mins to get the core up to 190F on my meat roasting thermometer (not a fancy electronic thing like Eric has).

The rise wasn’t as great as I’d hoped – perhaps I was being optimistic with 20 minutes for the baker to come to temperature?

The loaf stuck badly to the base of the baker – I wonder whether I should put a rectangle of baking parchment over the ridges in the base of the vessel next time? Might this also be indication of it not being hot enough when the dough went in?

I impatiently waited for the loaf (minus its bottom which stayed in the baker) to cool.

The verdict: Although a bit flat, the loaf has a nice open crumb, in terms of taste the lovely nuttiness of spelt was there in bucketloads but I think the sourness was a bit overdone and there was more of a vinegar tang than gentle sourness. The crust was good but slicing was a bit tricky as it tended to crumble somewhat.

Q: Are some starters more sour than others? Does it have anything to do with the long stay in the cooled coolbox?

Unless you can give me any other pointers next time I intend to:

- make the dough with a little less water
- start process in the evening and not refrigerate during the first rise
- heat the Romertopf for longer
- slip a “sling” of baking parchment into the baker for the dough to sit on

Thanks for your very informative and inspiring site, Eric. Isn’t sourdough baking one of the most satisfying things to do? Keep up the good work!

Paul

[img]speltsourdoughpic2.jpg[/img]

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Kristine August 31, 2009 at 3:01 pm

Liebe Sabine, Your rolls look absolutely scrumptious. Have dough proofing now and will bake some in the morning.

Kristine

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Sabine August 31, 2009 at 10:54 am

Here are a couple of photographs of my latest spelt sourdough bread. I divided the dough into individual rolls and added a variety of seeds, Parmesan cheese, as well as a few chili flakes for color. It baked for 40 minutes in a dutch oven. The rolls can be easily pulled apart. I will take it to a party with garlic herb butter!

[img]IMG_4344.jpg[/img][img]IMG_4348.JPG[/img]

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Hans Krijnen August 28, 2009 at 11:11 am

Yesterday i made the dough again and it’s just a great crunchy crust. without the modifications i think it would be to sweet for me i am not a sweet tooth. I think next time i just leave the sweetner out, and see how this works. And for Ginette just make the recipe as above just replace some honey for oil.

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Breadtopia August 28, 2009 at 5:23 am

I’m wondering what would happen if you just made pizza out of this recipe with no modifications other that rolling it out as you would when making pizza.

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Ginette Andress August 25, 2009 at 7:10 pm

Do you have any recipes to make pizza dough with spelt? I have difficulty digesting wheat.
Thanks

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Hans Krijnen August 16, 2009 at 7:31 pm

Hello All of you bread geeks
I just made Pizza with the whole spelt Sourdough recipe I change it just a little, i used 1/3 of the sweetner and added 2/3 of olive oil.
I made the dough a day ahead and put it in the fridge overnight. I took it out 2 hours before i had to make the pizza. I flatten the dough and streched like any other dough baked it on the stone at 525 F for about 7-8 minutes.
Sorry no pics.

A newbe
Hans Krijnen

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Kristine August 15, 2009 at 8:16 am

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0QM7GtRvPU&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fgermanyfood.wordpress.com%2F2007%2F07%2F31%2Fhow-to-make-homemade-bratwurst%2F&feature=player_embedded#t=87

Liebe Sabine,

Making Bratwurst or any other sausage is NOT difficult if you have the right tools. ( I do it for fun and the KUDOS and it’s so LECKER with the homemade bread.) Hope that Eric won’t mind..that this post is OFF SUBJECT.) In the video, the author uses a hand meat-grinder, which is cumbersome and very slow. You probably still have your Kitchen-Aid machine. Just purchase the grinder attachment and a tube….it’s much more efficient . We use our grinder a lot for Gehacktes (Beef Tar-Tar. ) The seasonings and the hog casings are available on line as well. I buy my pork butt @ Sams for $ 1.30 p/lb. Make sure that it has plenty of fat on it. If you are interested, I will send you the other links.

Liebe Gruesse, Kristine

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Sabine August 14, 2009 at 3:43 pm

Liebe Kristine,

I hope the bread turns out for you too. Yes, I am from Darmstadt (moved here in 1998) and miss German bread a great deal. I have often had success kneading dough with the KitchenAid mixer or kneading by hand but this “no need to knead” bread is wonderfully easy. Home-made Bratwurst! Wow, that sounds difficult. Haven’t tried anything like that yet.

Liebe Grüße and let me know how the bread turns out. –Sabine

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Kristine August 14, 2009 at 1:15 pm

Liebe Sabine,

I gather from your name and the fact that you have purchased bread from a German bakery, that in fact, you are German or perhaps a second generation German. I am a German immigrant ( 1950 @ age:12 )and have missed the fragrant and chewy texture of German bread , until I discovered Eric and his NKB. I now bake it twice a week. We have visited Germany many times since then, but homemade tastes so much better. Just took two loaves out of the oven, but in a couple of days, I will try your recipe. Oh, I just started making own Bratwurst. I ordered the hog casings and seasonings on line.

Danke Schoen !!! Kristine Nickel

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Sabine August 14, 2009 at 12:09 pm

Hi Eric,

Thank you so much for this wonderful web site and the great recipes. I baked several of the NKB variations and they were all winners, but my absolute favorite is the spelt bread. Since I don’t have a sourdough starter at the moment, I changed it a bit and combined the NKB from Cook’s Illustrated with your spelt bread recipe and it turned out like a bread I would buy in a German bakery (the stuff I dream about but cannot get anywhere here in rural East Texas). The spelt flour I bought is from Bob’s Red Mill and comes in 24 oz packages, so rather than having a bit of flour left over, I dumped the whole bag into a mixing bowl, added 1/2 t of commercial yeast, 2 t of salt, 2 T of honey, 1 T of red wine vinegar, 1/2 c of beer, and 1 1/2 c of water. Mixed it according to your instructions, left it sitting at room temperature (approx. 75 degrees) for 12 hours, shaped it, let it rise for 45 minutes, heated a dutch oven on a pizza stone in the grill, and baked it for 45 minutes. The result: a loaf that is as big as Texas, fragrant, and delicious! Thank you!

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Breadtopia August 13, 2009 at 1:21 pm

Ah, yes, I should have read it that way in the first place. Spelt is just very low in gluten so that’s why the flattening out. If you want to stick with the healthy, low gluten flours, and can find some Kamut flour (or mill the Kamut berries), a mix of 60% spelt and 40% Kumut gives a better rise. The flours complement each other well.

I’m not sure why the drying out. Sourdough leavens usually perform better that way than commercial yeast. Unless you’re keeping in the oven a little longer than necessary.

Others will know a lot more about this than me.

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Cathie August 13, 2009 at 12:57 pm

Hi Eric,

I wasn’t clear in my post. I’m wondering what you think about doing 1/2 white spelt and 1/2 whole grain spelt. When I did all white spelt it was a gloppy mess and I had to add A LOT of extra flour. The bread tasted good but was very flat and it dried out quickly. As always, I will continue experimenting, but any guidance will be appreciated. Thanks again.

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Breadtopia August 12, 2009 at 10:47 pm

Hi Wendy,

Then second part of the above reply was directed towards you. I just forgot to add your name in there.

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Breadtopia August 12, 2009 at 10:43 pm

Hi Cathie,

I would certainly experiment with adding the various ingredients to the all spelt recipe but it’s always a challenge getting any largely whole grain bread to come out very light. Going half and half with while flour will lighten in up a lot but then you’ve got the gluten to content with.

The sour thing varies a lot. Both longer proofing times and cooler temperatures promote more sour, so if you’re trying to reduce the sour, maybe find a warmer place to proof the dough. In the oven with just the light bulb on can work well. Then you just have to be prepared to bake sooner as that will obviously speed things up quite a bit.

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Wendy August 10, 2009 at 5:01 pm

Hi Eric,

I just wanted to say that you have a great website, I’ve baked your no-knead sourdough variation and now your whole spelt sourdough. I think I underproved the loaf a bit, since even with the dough deflating a bit after I took it out of my proofing basket, it had great oven spring in the oven. It tastes great but came out particularly sour (which I like), I was wondering if your loafs come out very sour as well? The room temp was around 68 degrees.

Thanks again for a great site!
Wendy

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