The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bäcker Süpke's wholegrain spelt bread with whole grains

Reuben Morningchilde's picture
Reuben Morningchilde

Bäcker Süpke's wholegrain spelt bread with whole grains

I have already written about Bäcker Süpke's wholegrain spelt bread with whole grains in my 'other blog'.
But I think the TFL blog would be a much more appropriate place for this recipe.

I've made this bread several times by now, and it always turned out flawlessly. It's nothing I could claim any credit for, but , seeing how charming Meister Süpke is in his comments, I don't really think he'd mind the extra publicity. So I sat down and translated the original recipe, hoping to spread this around the blogosphere a little.

There are only two minor changes I made to the original recipe, apart from the translation, that is.

For one, I shied away from adding the soft, boiled grains to the dough at the very beginning and kneading them for half an hour. I feared they would completely disintegrate and so I decided to add them only for the last ten minutes. And it works very well, the grains remain whole and apparently it makes for something like a double hydration technique, with the dough being able to build up strength before I add the final bits of liquid with the grains.

Also, the original recipe calls for a bit of 'Brotgewürz', bread spices. Which is all very nice, but also entirely undefined as far as I know. So I guessed and used ground caraway and coriander seeds in equal proportions. Which turned out to be one of my luckier guesses lately. Both spices blend pitch perfectly with the taste of the spelt, warming and brightening the taste without being really distinguishable on their own.

This bread has become a constant fixture of our diet, and I can only stress that it is the least 'healthy' tasting whole-grain bread I've ever come across. It never stops to amaze me that it's really brown and not grey, that it's rather sticky than crumbly, open-crumbed and yet perfectly sliceable with a nice but demure crunch to the crust.

Roasted in the oven with just a few drops of honey until the corners start to turn dark, this bread makes a perfect treat on its own, or a great coaster underneath a grillt goat's cheese, or basically anything that needs a solid, earthy partner.

The only thing I am not really happy with is the name, unwieldy as it is. Even in German with its infatuation with endless strings of words it's a rare thing to need 47 letters to name a single bread. But for a bread with such a long list of strong points, I am more than willing to put up with a lot, even this behemoth of a name.


Bäcker Süpke's wholegrain spelt bread with whole grains
(translation and any mistakes are mine)
(makes two 850g loafs)

for the boiled grains
200g spelt grains
400ml water

for the sourdough
340g wholegrain spelt meal
10g ripe sourdough starter
340g warm water

for the soaker
200g wholegrain spelt flour
20g salt
120g water

for the final dough
190g wholegrain spelt flour
7g dry yeast (one sachet)
[EDIT: The original recipe uses 10g presumably fresh yeast, equaling half a sachet dry yeast.]
40g runny honey
1 heaped teaspoon ground caraway
1 heaped teaspoon ground coriander seeds (or more, to taste)

for decoration
rolled spelt, about 2 tablespoons

On the day before baking, bring the grains and the water to boil in a small pot. Cover and leave to simmer gently for about 10 minutes, then take off the flame, stir, and set aside, covered.

Mix all the ingredients for the sourdough until just incorporated. Cover and set aside.

Mix all the ingredients for the soaker until just incorporated. Cover and set aside. Leave all three bowls to ferment overnight in a cool room, but not the fridge, for a minimum of 16 hours.

On the day of baking, combine the sourdough, the soaker and the final ingredients in the bowl of your mixer and knead at lowest speed for twenty(sic) minutes.
I am not kidding. The original recipe says twenty minutes and the dough really needs every second of it. You'll see, in this case it makes all the difference between wet flour and a dough.

Leave to proof for an hour. Deflate the dough and add the boiled, cold grains.
The original recipe says to discard eventually remaining water, but I add it to keep the amount of added water identical each time. Never had much of it left with the grains, anyway.

Knead at low speed for another ten minutes.
That's half an hour kneading all together. Any wheat dough would be a neat rubber ball by now, but here, it just works perfectly.

Pour into a rectangular baking tin lined with non-stick paper. Even the dough and cover loosely with the rolled spelt. Leave to proof in a warm place for about an hour to one hour and a half.
The dough will increase about 20% in volume at most, and when ready will stop springing back if gently poked.

Preheat your oven to 220°C. Bake with steam for the first minutes and immediately reduce temperature to about 160°C. Bake for 100 minutes. Take out and leave to cool on a rack. Rest a day or at least until fully cooled before cutting.

Freezes perfectly well, and tastes especially well toasted.
We usually bake on stock and freeze the sliced  bread, thawing individual slices in the toaster. Talk about two sparrows and one stone.

Some more wise remarks of Bäcker Süpke:

  • Always add all the salt to the soaker. Otherwise, the enzymes of the wholegrain flour will produce harmful byproducts leading to a grumbling stomach.
  • Wholegrain doughs, especially wholegrain spelt doughs, have to be wet - rather add a little more water.
  • Bake long and 'slow' to get all that moisture out of the bread.
  • Always use very little yeast and long final proofs, else you wouldn't get a sliceable bread.
  • Playing with the honey and the spices is a great way of tweaking this recipe!


Shiao-Ping's picture

A great bread and a great recipe indeed.  Thanks for posting this at TFL.  I shall give it a try and report back.


Reuben Morningchilde's picture
Reuben Morningchilde

It is indeed, and I thought it would make for a nice change of pace between all the rather fair sourdoughs. And yes, of course, I'd be very interested if it works out so well on your side of the world as well, and if you and your family like it! Maybe your son will try it grilled with peanut paste as well...^^

Thanks for being my first commenter here on this site.

Shiao-Ping's picture

Last night I started the process.  You said the soaker, the starter and the boiled grains will take min. 16 hours.   Today when they were ready to mix into the final dough, I looked at the ingredient list again and had a second thought on the dry yeast on your list.  I noticed that your proofing time was very short (essentially one hour bulk fermenting and one to one and a half hours proofing) and that you said the dough only rose about 20% at most before bake.  The last time I made 100% spelt bread, I thought it rose more than 100%, and it was a sourdough, no commercial yeast. 

Since you have made this bread many times and always have good results using the formula and procedure you described, I thought why not do some experimenting:  Firstly I didn't use the dry instant yeast as in your ingredient list; secondly, after I combined the boiled grains, I proofed it for 2 hours (or maybe 2 1/2 hours), then I shaped it into a cylinder and placed it into a banneton.  I moved it into the refrigerator to retard overnight.  It's now been 8 or 9 hours, I just had a look and it has risen about 50 - 60 %.  First thing tomorrow morning I will bake it.  We shall see if it works at all.   Thanks.


Reuben Morningchilde's picture
Reuben Morningchilde

Actually, I think it's pretty courageous to go an unproven way, but with your experience you surely are in another league than my humble self, so all the more power to you.

Really looking forward to hear about the results!

Shiao-Ping's picture

Hi Reuben, here they are:   






The flavor is beautiful.  I would not ruin it with peanut butter though, just butter is beautiful for me.

The crumb structure looks very similar to yours.  I do not know if yours is more open than mine as your pictures are small.   I guess this type of bread is very typical of your area, right?  I am normally more used to lighter breads.

Well, one great recipe, I have to say.

Thank you for posting this bread on TFL.




p.s. I used rye grains for the boiled grains (instead of spelt grains), and I used rolled rye instead of rolled oats for the crust.

p.p.s.  I baked at 220 C for 45 minutes; on hindsight, 35 minutes would have been plenty long enough (because bread like this would taste nicer if it is moist).  Yours took a lot longer albeit at a lot lower temperature due to the bake tin.  Mine baked naked in the oven so shouldn't have to be very long.

Reuben Morningchilde's picture
Reuben Morningchilde

Wow, I am genuinely impressed. I really couldn't imagine this working without additional yeast, but look at yours! Really beautiful. (But on the other hand, I hardly expected anything else, coming from you.) I'll try your version next weekend and see if I can get it going.

Thanks for the crumb closeup, the crumb is very similar to mine.

To say this bread is typical for my area of Germany is a little bit of a stretch. You'll find a variant of this in every bakery, true, but not in every household. But on the other hand, hardly any bread here has a more open crumb than this bread, so yes, denser breads generally are typical for German bread. Even 'foreign' breads, like chiabatta and baguette, tend to have denser crumbs than in their respective home countries, or as seen on this site.

Thanks so much for trying this out, and experimenting, and reporting back! You made my day.


Shiao-Ping's picture


p.p.s.  I forgot to mention that I hand-mixed the dough.  You said for yours you gave it 30 minutes mixing time all-up in the bread machine.  Since this bread was an experiment to me, I went all the way to be different.  My hand-mixing was really no kneading at all - after the ingredients were roughly combined (I used a butter knife to do this), I did stretch & folds in the bowl and the stretch & folds were my hand-mixing. 

Salome's picture

Talking about Bäcker Süpke

- I'm a huge fan of his Hamster bread and I'm planning to post the recipe when I'll get to bake it again. It's a whole-grain bread with loads of whole grains. I like Süpke. =)

I am convinced that whole grain breads, when baked well, are utterly delicious and not at all "healthy-tasting" in a negative way!

Reuben Morningchilde's picture
Reuben Morningchilde

As cute as I find the idea of naming a bread after a unique local rodent, it's not really something I like. Too many different grains make the bread tast of anything, but nothing specific, if that makes sense to anyone else but me.

And yes, Bäcker Süpke is really a sweetheart.

Beabarba's picture


I really love Bäcker Süpkes recipes and love also his blog

But a minor comment to your translation: in Germany they usually use fresh yeast. 10 g of instant yeast is too much, take 1 tsp or 0.11 oz instant yeast instead of the 10 g fresh.

Greetings from Germany


Reuben Morningchilde's picture
Reuben Morningchilde

Well, the original recipe does call for a whole sachet of dry yeast, no mistake there.

Also, I have made it with a whole sachet each time, and as sluggishly as the dough rises despite this, I gues it might be problematic to reduce the amount any further.

About the actual weight of the dry yeast, though, please see Richelles comment below.


Beabarba's picture

Hallo reuben,

for me this is the "Original recipe":

There Bäcker Süpke emphasises in his tips: "ganz wenig hefe" = "very few yeast".

He doesn't use "a sachet", just 10 g yeast. This is a sourdough bread, you can bake it without any yeast (with a little longer fermentation time). I think, we all want to make "artisan breads" that means to use only as much yeast as necessary to get the job done.

By the way: also in Germany is one package (one sachet) 7 g, equal to 20 g fresh yeast


Reuben Morningchilde's picture
Reuben Morningchilde

You're right, that is the recipe I was talking of. *scratches head* Apparently I've instinctively written down 'dry yeast' instead of 'yeast' when I transscribed it into my recipe book. Sorry, I'll edit the entry accordingly.

But even despite all this, my dough rises rather slowly, and I personally wouldn't change the way I made it. I don't really if my bread is 'artisanal' or not, whatever this actually entails in the first place. I'm perfectly happy with a bread that tastes good and works reliably every time I make it. Though that should by no means deter you from aiming for higher goals.

If you try this recipe with less or even without any commercial yeast, I'd be very interested in hearing about your findings. Would you be so kind and come back here and leave us a note? Thanks!

Richelle's picture

I think the translation of the yeast is correct, although one sachet over here usually contains 7 grams... up to 10 grams for 2 big loaves doesn't sound like too much to me!


Reuben Morningchilde's picture
Reuben Morningchilde

Thanks for helping me out here, Richelle! As I wrote above, the 'one sachet of dry yeast' comes directly from the original recipe.

As to how much yeast this actually is in grams - I wouldn't bet my life on the 10g, it might just as well be a little more or less. I tried to weigh the content of one sachet on my scale but it is a mechanical, balanced one that I inherited from my grandfather, so it might not be too accurate when it comes to single grams.

But seeing how slowly the dough rises during the final proof, I don't really think it would do any harm to use 10g if 7g is the amount I have used each time so far.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I get a much higher rise with sourdough only than when adding yeast.  I think that once yeast is added, the whole process runs too quickly and the bread suffers.  Giving the dough time to stretch with just sourdough gives the best results  in flavor, rise and texture.


Reuben, have you not tried KOTANYI Brotgewürz?

Reuben Morningchilde's picture
Reuben Morningchilde

I have to admit I've never tried a sourdough only version of this. And I do not have that much experience that I would dare to try it on my own. But with you and Shiao Ping above telling me that it might even work better, I start to believe it might work in my kitchen just as well.

Thanks for the encouragement, Mini!

And about the Brotgewürz - I've never seen this particular brand anywhere here in the shops, and I do not really trust spice mixes as I do not have any control about what they put into them. With pure spices at least, I have my experience and senses to tell me when something is not as it ought to be.
But I'm always curious about new things - do you know anywhere I could get some of it?

Beabarba's picture


you live in Germany, don't you? Brotgewürz is always a mixture of Kümmel (caraway), Koriander (cilantro) and Fenchel (fennel), sometimes also anise. I buy it as whole grains and grind it together with the wheat in my home mill. But it's also availible powdered. You can buy it in "Kräuterläden" or in a "Reformhaus" or "Naturkostladen", it's not so difficult to find.


VerinaYuan's picture

wow the bread looks amzing.....i have been planning to try this recipe for a long time but just got a sourdough starter from a friend so i can start my whole new bread baking experience.

I have a little confused with the sourdough mixture ratio. Is it really 10 gram sourdough starter mixed with 340gram flours and waters? or it has nothing to do with the feeding ratio?

not sure what ripe starter means? is it the starter right out from the fridge? or the starter has just been feed and active so taking 10gram out from there?

Many thanks,