The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

100% Spelt Sourdough

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jane's picture
May 29, 2007 - 8:53am -- jane

 Picture of spelt dough after finished kneading

Picture of spelt dough after finished kneading

I apply the same method that I use for my whole wheat sourdough bread. I reduce my hydration to 76~77%. I knead a bit shorter this time (8minutes) but I did increase my mixer (DLX) speed. Different mixer may need different timing. I want to post this picture for quite some time but I’m quite scare because I’m quite new in bread baking(~6 months) so there are a lot of questions that I can not answer/don’t know the answer when somebody asked me. I’m apologizing for that. Do hope others can help.

Individual practice may be vary

Jane

 

 

Edit to add picture( the picture is quite blurry).

Comments

JMonkey's picture
Submitted by JMonkey on

Jane, you're amazing. The crumb structure you achieve from your whole-grain breads is just astonishing!

mountaindog's picture
Submitted by mountaindog on

Ditto, Jane, I don't know how you do it, you make it look so easy...that is really beautiful crumb.

Squid's picture
Submitted by Squid on

That's unreal sourdough bread! I'd eat spelt bread if I could make it airy like yours. My mom makes spelt with yeast and it always seems so dense and dry to me.

jane's picture
Submitted by jane on

Thanks JM and MD. I really would like to thank both of you. I read your posts here at the beginning of the year when I started baking bread. Both of your post really motivate me a lots. Of course all the wonderful people here too. Super thank to floydm who create this website.

  

JM, you may want to try to use whiter starter first then you can work on the formula by gradually increase the amount of spelt flour or other flour in the starter. That is what I have been doing so far, at least you get the feel of the dough consistency. I use preheated oven for my breads for now, I will use cold oven later in summer. I almost forgot to tell you, retard the bread help a lot during shaping (the dough is easy to handle).

  

Katie, thanks. I almost end up in NC for job not too far from your place.

  

Bluezebra, I bake the picture loaf (above) a little too long (first trial – 100% spelt), taste wise just like JM described before. Not dense at all (lighter than ww bread that I baked), quite airier (compare to ww bread), a little dry because I bake too long (a little less moist than ww bread). I think spelt bread not quite like 100% white bread; the flavor in spelt bread is amazing.

  

Susan, I have a friend that is attending UCSD now. No secret at all I just modify my plain old ww sourdough bread recipe by adjusting hydration in my dough. I always use Peter Reinhart’s windowpane test to check my dough. It works for all my breads so far (I haven’t got to Rye bread yet). I will insert my windowpane test picture next time.

  

Squid, I did share the same thought as you when I sliced my bread. I did buy dense spelt bread from my farmer market before; I knew what you are talking about. Actually the bread that I bought even had less flavor on it as well as way to dry for my taste too (I ate the bread on the spot).

  

Lastly, I did try folding method but failed badly like JMonkey. I would like to hear from people who had success using folding method for this bread. Please post your result, I think it will be great help for a lot people.

I believe everybody can bake a real good bread, practice is the real key to the success, I had a lot of failure before I can really bake a recent loaf of bread.

 

 

 

pumpkinpapa's picture
Submitted by pumpkinpapa on

Jane that is some crumb you have in your spelt loaves! I'm really impressed, much more holey than my 100% spelt sourdough. I'm curious as to what type of spelt you use, is it whole or sifted?

jane's picture
Submitted by jane on

Pumpkinpapa, 

 

I use Arrowhead Mills organic spelt flour. I think my spelt flour is whole but quite fine. I also think maybe I use mixer to knead my dough in order to get lighter loaf (???). I use folding method to prepare my ww dough last time; I can tell the texture was quite different than usual.

 

You bread also look really good. I start with 50% spelt flour before get into 100%, your first trial for 100% spelt sourdough was really impress.

 

Jane

xma's picture
Submitted by xma on

With all these exchanges about spelt I'm getting more and more curious about it.  I don't think I've tasted spelt bread before.  Could someone please post a complete recipe that has been tested?  Jane? I know I've seen a photo somewhere, not sure if it was from Floyd, but I can't find it again.  I'm also wondering if spelt should be treated like rye, or more like whole wheat? 

I'm also confused about hydration needs of spelt.  I've read several times that spelt needs less water, but with Jane's 76-77%, I would think that's contrary to, was it helend(?), who said she uses 25% less water for spelt.

I'm a total stranger to spelt so any advice on how to go about it would be appreciated, i.e., do I go 50% first? Thanks! 

jane's picture
Submitted by jane on

Hello xma,

 

I did get curious about spelt flour a few years ago but I never attempt to bake bread with spelt till recently. Here is my ww sourdough (just reduce the overall hydration to 76-77%).

I can not comment on reducing hydration for spelt bread since I never attempt before and right now I do feel comfortable handling wet dough, so I just keep this method for now. When you do try 76-77% hydration for spelt, please retard the dough in fridge then take them out next day to give them a couple folds before final shaping. Yes, I do treat spelt flour likes whole wheat flour. I just flew back from London, I did get a copy of Andrew Whitley book’s (Bread Matters), and here is the quote (page 87):

 

"One of the ‘covered’ wheats – i.e. those whose husk does not fall off during threshing – spelt is the best known ‘alternative’ source of flour, particularly for people who feel they cannot tolerate standard wheat. Science does not support the theory that spelt is ‘better’ because it is an ancient precursor of wheat, untainted by intensive plant breeding. However, there is no doubt that many people find spelt easier to digest and this is surely reason enough to give it a try. It is generally higher in protein than common wheat, with the proviso that protein levels for all types of wheat are dependent on cropping conditions.

Spelt flour is available usually as wholemeal, though a white version is now beginning to appear. It looks and performs much like ordinary wheat flour, though it tends to have a slightly weaker gluten than the strongest breadmaking wheats. It can have a bitter aftertaste, which may be simply a consequence of oxidation in flour that has been stored for too long. Wholemeal spelt has lively populations of natural yeasts and bacteria and produces a vigorous culture in a shorter time than ordinary wheat flour”

 

 PS: Are you using folding method?

 

Jane

xma's picture
Submitted by xma on

Thank you, Jane. Yes I use folding method. I have some questions regarding the recipe. First, do you stretch and fold during bulk fermentation, or only after the 6-hour bulk fermentation? Secondly, I thought the 12-minute mixing time quite long and I don't have Laurel's book, so do you mix on lowest speed for 12 minutes?  Thirdly, I got scared by the thought of using 40% starter. I do not like sour bread; I like it very mild, so I'm wondering about that. Lastly, in your experience, would you recommend I try 100% spelt right away? I find the idea intimidating, so I'm thinking if I should try, say, 50% spelt first. But if you think this will compromise what you say is the 'amazing' flavor of spelt, please let me know. Sorry for all the questions, but really, thanks a lot!

jane's picture
Submitted by jane on

Here is the recipe for 76% hydration:Spelt flour 1000g, Spelt starter (100%hydration) 400g, Water 712g, Salt 24g

I thought my starter is only around 20% not 40%??? Yes, I do use stretch and fold during bulk fermentation after 8~10 hours for my spelt (actually it really depends on my timetable). My mixer also mix a little bit longer than other mixer (I use DLX not KA) for my dough. This time I reduced my mixing time to 8 minutes, I did mention in my post above. I do highly recommend start with 50% spelt flour than increase spelt flour slowly. I did quick answering for now and sorry if I missed something.

 

Jane

xma's picture
Submitted by xma on

Hi Jane, perhaps I should ask you to explain how you prepare the starter.  I think that will clarify the percentages. Thanks.

jane's picture
Submitted by jane on

Day 1

 

In the morning:

20g starter at 100% hydration (equal quantities of flour and water) 60g spelt flour 60g water

Total 140g

***(My original starter is from spelt)

 

At night before bed:

140g (morning refreshment) 140g spelt flour 140g water

Total 420g

***(Extra 20g is for next time)

 

Day 2

Mixing/Kneading, Retarding

 

Day 3

Stretch and fold, Shaping, Proving, Baking

 

That is what I always do before using my starter in bread dough (refresh twice) and I think it really depends on individual. Put the starter in cooler place since spelt starter are quite active. You may need to adjust the overall hydration and please start in small batch, I failed badly before but I hope you never give up(I learned a lot through my failure). I hope this help and sorry for my poor english.

Jane

xma's picture
Submitted by xma on

Thank you so much for explaining how you prepare your starter.  Now it makes perfect sense!  You actually build up your starter from 2% sourdough, then build it up twice--first with a 1:3:3 ratio then 1:1:1--to achieve your 40% pre-fermented flour. 

I hope the store where I get my whole grains has spelt in stock.  I'll go there tomorrow afternoon so I can try your bread this weekend.  I can't wait to find out the taste of spelt.  I'll go for the 50% spelt as you suggested.

There is no need to apologize for your English; I understand you perfectly, and that's what counts! :)  Thanks a lot once more.  If I am able to get spelt, I'll let you know how it turns out!

jane's picture
Submitted by jane on

I normally use a starter at 15%~20% of dough weight (not baker’s percentage) when converting a non sourdough recipe. For ww and spelt sourdough, I use a little less than 20% (dough weight) because I’m too lazy to calculate the exact quantity.

Do try use the windowpane test to test you dough, I think I get break through with my ww bread when I started to use the test. The dough will tear a little but the edge is quite smooth (I dunno how to describe the whole thing) but do try different kneading time and I’m sure you will get the general idea.  I hope everything turn out great for you. Here is my email, if you have problem.

xma's picture
Submitted by xma on

Hi Jane, I'm sad to say I wasn't able to get spelt last week as I planned, but this week I definitely will. I even called the store to make sure they have it in stock. Anyway, I'm just wondering--have you ever tried spelt using instant yeast instead of sourdough? I'm just thinking I want to try spelt for the first time in its simplest form, without the complexity of anything else in it. Any recommendations would be appreciated. :)

jane's picture
Submitted by jane on

It’s ok, where do you live? I can send you some if you still can not find spelt flour in your area. Please let me know. I didn’t try any recipe using instant yeast yet; I don’t think I can give you any suggestion for now. I think someone in this forum provide some sort of instant yeast recipe maybe you can try them out. I agree with you, I like thing in the simplest form too in order to taste their flavor. I did try white spelt flour last week, I don’t really like them that much (kind like missing something), I even paid more for the white stuff too. I think white spelt act more like AP flour, I did test the flour on others stuff like muffins and cake recipe, they turned out fine. I’m working half way through Dan Lepard book right now and he has one crispbread recipe that use either spelt flour or whole wheat flour, I really like them and maybe you can use your extra spelt flour for the crispbread (no yeast require). If you need the recipe please email me. 

Jane

swifty's picture
Submitted by swifty on

It looks like your dough was really wet. How did you handle it?


How did you get it to hold its shape with a 76%hydration?


Every time I have tried to use a wet dough recipe, it way too wet to handle.