The Fresh Loaf

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Spelt help

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JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

Spelt help

I grind my own flour and regularly make whole wheat breads at about 85-90% hydration to get an open crumb - not as open as with white flour, of course, but holey enough for me.

Anyway, I bought 6 pounds of spelt berries a couple of weeks ago and started up a spelt sourdough starter. I made a round loaf of 50-50 whole wheat / whole spelt at 85% hydration. Lovely crumb, lovely flavor. Big ole pancake of a loaf. It spread out something awful in the oven.

I've previously made a sourdough sandwich loaf with 50-50 whole wheat - whole spelt at 80% hydration, and it turned out great. A bit less of a rise than 100% wheat, but still acceptable, and the flavor was really nice. Tangy and nutty. But the loaf also had butter, milk and some honey in it, which could have made a difference, I suppose. The round was just flour, water, salt and starter.

I developed both the round and the sandwich loaf using the stretch and fold method described by Mike Avery (i.e., mix until all is hydrated, rest for an hour, then fold ever 45 minutes or so). I folded three times.

I see several possibilities for why the loaf spread:

1) I've read that spelt doesn't absorb as much water as wheat. Perhaps I added too much water?
2) I've also read that spelt's gluten is more fragile than wheat. But, as I said, the pan loaf rose just fine.
3) Perhaps I didn't develop the dough well enough? (again, though, the pan loaf was fine)
4) Maybe my shaping needs help. I was trying to be as gentle as possible, so maybe I was a bit too gentle.

Anyway, if anyone has any experience working with whole spelt and has tips and pointers, I'd be most appreciative.

jane's picture
jane

I did play with spelt flour after whole wheat flour experiments; I only use 76 ~ 77% hydration for my spelt bread. The spelt flour that I use was store bought so I can not give you any suggestion about home grind flour. The method that I use is the same old methods that I apply for my whole wheat sourdough. I just felt in love with spelt after eating my first loaf of spelt sourdough. I will post my picture in Image Gallery.

 

Jane

tattooedtonka's picture
tattooedtonka

After seeing different posts of yours I looked up a spelt site.  Kinda plain, www.spelt.com . It had a couple neat little nuggets of information about spelts history, with a couple interesting links.

But I was curious as to what your finished Spelt breads taste like.  I can find info all day googling types of spelt and such, but it doesnt tell me taste..

I thought you had mentioned before that you like it because it is a little sweeter.  Or maybe I dreamed that part, I dont know.

But could you enlighten me as to your take on the flavor of spelt bread vs. say white or wheat.

I will be sure to keep watching this thread to see what folks have to say to you for tips.  I can always use tips.

TT

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

I find that spelt makes the loaf taste as if I've added some sort of nut flour, like pecan or almond. It's also a bit sweeter than wheat to me.

Jane, does that sound right to you?

jane's picture
jane

JMonkey,

You are right.

No wonder my housemate love them so much.

 

Jane

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

Jane's posted her photo of her 100% spelt sourdough. THIS is what I'm looking for from my bread ... but have been unable to achieve. Yet.

Here's a link to her photo in the gallery.

Very impressive.

pumpkinpapa's picture
pumpkinpapa

I use 25% less water in spelt every time, and my starter can be either stiff or wet. Also I get pretty much the same results from either whole or sifted. You must let the spelt flour rest more too.

I do my multi grain with up to 50% spelt and a 100% sourdough spelt and both work well. The 100% won't rise, just like 100% rye but it will spread quickly unfortunately.

I don't have success with the stretch and fold with spelt, I prefer to knead a lot rather than stretch and fold so it could be just me.

Did you preheat both breads equally? Any other differences? The dairy would make a difference, whenever I use Kefir milk I tend not to have pancake loaves (except when I make kefir pancakes).

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

That much spelt in the recipe tells me it'll need to be baked in a form because the gluten is lower.  Try baking in a casserole or a frying pan (no handle) with a nice curve on the lower edges. Careful not to use too big of a form so it rises up and not out. Mini Oven

helend's picture
helend

I only bake with spelt or rye. All my spelt is stoneground from a farm and I use both wholemeal and white unbleached. Over the years I have learnt to use just a little less liquid (or a little more spelt) for anything and turn out cakes, pastries, danish and bread without difficulty.

This is one of my few freeform lrecipes - 100% wholemeal spelt with walnuts - I add water "by feel" so have no idea of hydration but it usually rises well if kneaded to a silky dough with no "tacky" feel.

 

Spelt gluten IS weaker and even a stiffish dough with good surface tension can be unreliable as to spread - although dinner roll sized pieces of dough do OK

 

My advice:

work the final dough to get good surface tension and shape into a tight, tall boule.

reduce your % hydration

BUT generally go with a tin, form, bannaton or baguette tin

PS Spelt is wonderfully nutty even without added extras! And seriously good for diabetics!

Helen :)

 

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Helend,

Is the mention of using Spelt being good for diabetics due to the lower carbs in Spelt? I'm mildly diabetic myself and haven't really paid much attention to the effects of various types of flours on blood sugar, but maybe I should. Can you enlighten me on this?

Thanks,

Eric

helend's picture
helend

Hi Eric

Sorry not to reply sooner but have been busy so only just found your query about spelt and diabetes.

I did a lot of research when first diagnosed with an auto-immune condition which, amongst other things, gave me type 2 diabetes and spelt featured regularly as a "good" grain.

The main point (I think) is that wholegrain spelt is more easily digested (it is more water soluble) than ordinary wheat and it is usually processed in small quanitities rather than on a mass commercial basis so is more likely to be fresh.

I found these comments also amongst my notes

  • lowered maganese levels have been associated with the onset of type II diabetes and a diabetics deteriorating condition over time - spelt is high in manganese
  • spelt carbs are more slowly digested than wheat
  • like oats, spelt fibre is more water soluble (cholesterol lowering?)
  • a comparison for 1/4 cup wholegrains NOTE calories, fat, carbs are relatively low for spelt (sorry the table format doesn't work)
Grain Calories Fat Carbs Fiber Protein
Amaranth 170 2g 29g 3g 7g
Barley 176 0.5g 38g 7.8g 5g
Brown Rice 171 1.25g 36 1.5g 3.75g
Millet 150 1.5g 34g 2g 5g
Oats 77 1g 13g 2g 3g
Quinoa 140 1g 29g 6g 6g
Spelt 50 0.5g 13g 3.5g 2g
Wheat 140 0g 29g 6g 5g
  • spelt is richer in B vitamins and crude fibre than wheat. It also contains special carbs (mucopolysaccharides), which are important for blood clotting and also stimulate the body's immune system ... spelt contains more cystine, isoleucine, leucine, methionine and neurotransmitters, phenylalanine and tryptophan than modern wheats.

Thses were from a while ago and I can't remember all the details of the websites etc I used but the following link has some basic info:

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=143

Hope this is of interest

Helen

 

 

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Thank you Helen, I appreciate all the time and effort you put into your post for me. It looks like this would be helpful for anyone but especially a diabetic. It's been a concern for me that I shouldn't be consuming so many carbs "testing" my french breads. I'll have to start playing with Spelt to see what tastes good.

Would you have a suggestion for a formula that would be a good place to get me hooked on this?

Thanks again,

Eric

xma's picture
xma

Hi Eric (and Helen), we meet again here.  In another thread (100% spelt sourdough) I just asked for a tried-and-tested recipe of spelt bread and advice on how to go about it.  Helen has actually given her recipe (see 'Trouble in Rye Flour City'), with rye in it, but I want to go about it with one variable at a time--I'm a total stranger to spelt and my curiousity has been piqued.  So if you come across a good one, please share.  Thanks!

weavershouse's picture
weavershouse

I didn't know there was such a thing but found it today at my health food store in the bulk foods. Tonight I'm going to mix up a batch of JMonkey's waffle recipe (adapted, I think, from KAF) using this flour.  I also bought some organic spelt berries to grind for flour. Any hints on how fine I should grind it and any new conclusions on letting the flour age or not?                                                                               weavershouse

weavershouse's picture
weavershouse

Today, as I said, I bought spelt berries to grind. I just noticed my receipt said HULLED spelt berries. Is that right? Is HULLED what I want for flour? And do you grind yours very fine? And do you let the flour age or not? I guess there's more than one question there! Thanks.                                                    weavershouse

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

Yes, I believe that hulled just means that they've taken the outer husk off. Spelt has a very tough husk, which is good in that it naturally protects it very well from pests, but also makes it a pain in the neck to remove.

Since I've got a WonderMill, I don't have much choice about the coarseness of my flour. It's always fine or very fine. And I haven't been aging my flour, but maybe I should. I'm going to grind flour over this weekend for the following weekend, and see how it performs.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

just like you don't want buckwheat hulls.   Hulled means without. Yeah, I know, goofy language. Mini Oven

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

Have you tried aging the spelt flour (already suggested, I think)

What about using a soaker for the spelt? I usually do this with home milled wheat flour - softens the bran so it interferes less with gluten development. (You'd have to play with hydration) 

helend's picture
helend

What is aging? I have only come across one throw away comment on another flour and health site and it was anti-aging??

Thanks Helen

weavershouse's picture
weavershouse

Thanks for the answers. I'm ready to give it a go. I've used spelt flour several times but this will be the first time I grind my own. If anyone knows of a good book about grinding grains at home I'd love to hear about it. I have Flour Power but it talks more about why we should eat whole grains but not much about the hows of the different grains. I already know why I want to use whole grains. I read that semolina is cream of wheat. Anyone ever try it?                              weavershouse

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

I don't know of any good book on home milling grain.

This is the only forum I've ever found with regular posters who routinely mill their own grain at home. I've milled my own flours for over 20 years and I've picked up a lot of excellent tips. I think it is your best resource - far better than books!

Be prepared to experiment...

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

or Semolina is also good in bread but it absorbs lots of moisture.  Use it all the time, can also be added cooked as well.  Would not use it alone but add other flours as well to the dough.  Mini Oven

maggie664's picture
maggie664

Helen et al,
I might have missed it, but have you come across the G.I. value for spelt?
This thread is very interesting. M

Susan's picture
Susan

Wholemeal Spelt Bread is 88, based on White Bread at 100.

Susan from San Diego

P.S. You might enjoy this site: http://www.whfoods.com/

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Susan I took a quick look at the whfoods.com site. Very interesting and full of great info on nutrition. I'm still trying to get my bearings on what to do about improving nutritional intake in our home in some organised fashion. I think this will help.

Thanks,

Eric

Susan's picture
Susan

http://www.nutritiondata.com/

Susan from San Diego

maggie664's picture
maggie664

Thank you for that. I'm interested because my husband has the metabolic syndrome and has to keep an eye on his blood sugars (and levels of other biochemical components). I am following through this spelt flour (have yet to find whether and where it is available in NZ). Mixing it with barley flour would certainly lower the G.I). M

maggie664's picture
maggie664

Eric,
Spelt flour is probably recommended over some other flours eg white flour and wholemeal flour because of its lower Glycaemic Index value i.e less insulin is released to metabolise the ensuing glucose following the digestion of the spelt carbohydrates. People with Type 2 Diabetes have less insulin receptors on their cells to allow insulin entry into the cells, so their blood insulin levels tend to rise - and hyperinsulinaemia, as it is called, causes other problems down the track. There is a lot or research being done, especially in Australia, assessing the G.I value of mixed foods and one suggestion is that by adding barley flour ( has a very low G.I) to other bread flours will bring the G.I. value down even further; which means less unused insulin would be present in the blood. As I have mentioned earlier, we are keeping an eye on my husband's blood sugar levels (and choleserol too) and if the former keep rising, this modified bread mixture wil be used for our daily bread.There has been some mention that an average G.I. of a mixed diet is a reasonable aim for all of us as diabetes is appearing in alarming frequency especially in countries where people are adopting the Western type of diet. The G I. value is rated against 100, and as Helen pointed out; white flour is 100 and spelt flour 88. I'll have to look up what barley flour is. Incidently, pure maple syrup has a much lower G.I. than brown sugar so my husband uses that on his oatmeal breakfast. (in NZ we call it porridge and I am a non-starter!)

maggie664's picture
maggie664

I agree with Sue from San Diego, Eric; this is an excellent website for factual nutrition educatiion, especially learning about the G.I values . Maggie664 ( NZ
Registered Dietitian)

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Maggie664, thank you for stepping up with professional advice. Now that I have mentioned this to a few friends I'm surprised to discover how many people have been told to limit wheat bread due it being hard to digest.

Thanks again for your post.

Eric