The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

spelt question

droidman's picture
droidman

spelt question

I made a spelt sourdough this weekend.


The formula was at approximately 75% hydration. For flour, I used 50% whole spelt and 50% VitaSpelt.


I mixed it up, then did a series of 4 stretches and folds spaced around 20 minutes apart.


Let it rise for four hours, then retarded in fridge.


This morning, put it on the counter to wake up. After a couple hours, formed the sticky dough into boules and put in 2 lb bannetons.


When I turned the bannetons onto my peel, the dough flattened out almost instantaneously.


The resulting bread has great flavor and a pretty decent crumb, but it just doesn't have that nice dome shape I'm looking for. More like a discus at the summer Olympics.


My question is this: can I correct this with more stretching and folding. I would prefer not to go the route of decreasing the hydration.


Thanks.

Elagins's picture
Elagins

first, although spelt is a wheat variant, its gluten is far more fragile than that of standard triticum flours, so it's more likely to collapse into your discus.


second, given spelt's delicate structure, 75% hydration will only accentuate the slackness/weakness of the gluten.


third, the above circumstances, combined with the relatively high percentage of spelt that you used in your dough makes the result you got virtually inevitable. 


if you're going to stay with that level of hydration, you're probably better off reducing the spelt to no more than 40%; i think 33% is a good percentage.


alternatively, reduce the hydration to the 60-65% range and let the dough rest, as you have, overnight in order to encourage gluten formation via autolysis.


also, without knowing what kind of wheat flour you used, i'd go with the highest-protein flour you can find -- ideally GM All Trumps or KA Sir Lancelot.


Stan Ginsberg
www.nybakers.com

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

what is VitaSpelt?


what do you mean by whole spelt? Did you purchase commercial spelt flour or did you mill your own flour from spelt grain?


Are you trying to make a 100% spelt flour loaf?


===========================


I'm asking because I have some references that may be useful for you, but I don't quite understand what you're aiming for.


The recipe  your're using or a link to the recipe would be helpful. Photos of your bake would be a major plus.


===========================


PPS - what country are you in? I ask b/c my (possibly useful) references are geared for the USA


 

droidman's picture
droidman

Vita Spelt is white spelt flour. Like regular bread flour, only milled from spelt. The other half of the flour was Bob's Red Mill whole spelt flour.


Looking at the formula, I guess I should have said 67% hydration. I get confused over whether hydration is percentage of total flour or total dough weight.


White Spelt Flour 50%
Whole Spelt Flour 50%
Water 67%
Agave Syrup 7%
Salt 2%
mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

Just for informational purposes, VitaSpelt is, more or less, just a brand name. There are whole grain, and white flours available under the VitaSpelt label.

LeadDog's picture
LeadDog

I make Spelt bread on a regular basis.  I'm not going to say I have mastered it or have any great insights to working with Spelt.  This week I made a 100% Spelt loaf that was 62% hydration by water and 2% hydration by Olive oil.  I grind my own Spelt flour so it is 100% whole Spelt and the sourdough starter has a tiny bit of wheat in it but almost 100% Spelt.  What I remember reading about Spelt is that it is very fragile and easy to over knead.  The other thing to remember about Spelt is that it takes less hydration to make a loaf that is like a wheat loaf.  Do you think your agave syrup added to the hydration?  I don't do stretch and folds because I'm afraid of the dough breaking down.  I'm slowly experimenting with the Hydration so the next time I make a loaf it will be increased by another 2% hydration.  Would you mind giving the weights of what you put into the loaf so we can be sure of the hydration?  I think it would help make sure that hydration is or isn't the problem.  Here is a picture of my 100% Spelt loaf from yesterday.  It is possible to make really good bread from Spelt.


100% Spelt


http://oakflatsourdough.homeunix.com

droidman's picture
droidman

I love the flavor of this bread. Just want a little better shape. I'm willing to forgo the good shape, if that's what it takes. You are correct that I forgot to use the agave syrup in my hydration calculation. If I assume that the agave is 90% liquid, I end up with 82% hydration. And, given what you say about spelt's taking less hydration, this one was really "wet". It did not feel any slacker than my white wheat sourdoughs.


So, do you stretch and fold your spelt doughs at all? Just mix and let it rise? I'm curious.


All I know is that, appearance-wise, your photo shows the loaf I'm trying to make.

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

Do you have a "pot" you can try baking it in?

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

Using a pot is a great idea!


Check out the pot(s) that MiniOven used for her 100% rye (which is a featured bread on the home page of TFL). Just click on the photo of MiniOven's rye bread or use this link to go to her blog...


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/15736/mini039s-favorite-rye-ratio


Baking in a heavy pot with a lid often helps the rise with breads that have a high percent of flour with weaker gluten.

LeadDog's picture
LeadDog

No I don't stretch and fold my Spelt dough.  When I'm mixing it I watch it carefully as I have heard it is easy to over knead the dough and it will go all slack.  When I see that the dough has developed I turn it out into an oiled bowl.  I do work it around in the bowl until it makes a nice ball.  That is covered and left alone until it starts to rise a little bit.  The dough then was taken from that and shaped so that it would fit into the banneton where it finishes rising.  The dough does rise and keeps its shape when I turn it out of the banneton.  I still expect a disaster but so far this is working.


 

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

Leaddog,


Was your loaf baked freeform, or in a pot?


Thanks.

LeadDog's picture
LeadDog

Freeform, a dutch oven would work really well as I have done wheat and rye breads in one.  My dutch oven would make a loaf that is twice the size of the Spelt loaf and that is to big for me.

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

this is a recipe for 100% wholemeal spelt with poolish posted to TFL by donyeokl on October 1, 2006 - http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/1299/supermarket-whole-wheat-bread#comment-3938  May be of some help to you, even though it's not precisely what you're trying to achieve.


Here's the photo of donyeokl's loaf 


The other reference I thought might be useful was an article in the quarterly newsletter that the San Francisco Baking Institute used to publish. It is more general and I'm not sure that it wouldn't just repeat what you already know, but if I can find the right newsletter I'll post the direct link. If you want to look yourself, the link to a list of all their newsletters is http://www.sfbi.com/newsletter.html


That's all the help I can give you, but with LeadDog's help, I bet you can reach your goal.


 

LeadDog's picture
LeadDog

All kinds of tips about Spelt on this thread from Sourdough.com


http://sourdough.com/forum/topic/1049

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

I can't believe I read the entire thread - it is packed with information.


Thanks for posting it.

LeadDog's picture
LeadDog

I think I have read that whole thread at least twice.  There are links also posted in the thread that are good to read too.  There are just so many things about Spelt that are different than wheat that you have to be aware of or you don't end up with the bread that you want.  I can tell that Spelt bread tastes great and is well worth the effort.

shuttervector's picture
shuttervector

Thanks for your advice, Stan,


I made a loaf of spelt bread this weekend, getting up at 4 am to preheat my oven and the same flattening occured. I also had a terrible time getting it out of the banneton even though I made a special trip to the Japanese grocery store to buy rice flower. The crumb on my loaf looked good but it was no more than two inches high, like a souvenir from the Olympics. I had followed a recipe precisely and it did include four stretch and folds and resting on the counter for 16 hours with no refrigeration. Maybe, I need a different recipe. The hydration including agave (2 TBS) was 68% with 1/4 cup starter and 100% splet.


I would like clarification though on using the pot/cloche. It seems there is a variation of techniques with some folks saying only heat the dome cover, others saying put the cold cloche into the hot oven, and still others saying soak in water and put the whole thing in and then preheat. I am sort of confused. I like the idea of only putting the dome in and fussing with the dough outside of the danger, "oh, I burned my hand again" region.


Best wishes,


Dorothy, shuttervector@gmail.com


 

possum-liz's picture
possum-liz

I make a couple of big batches of 100% sourdough spelt bread a month by hand. I thought I had my recipe pretty near perfect with about 65% hydration using a short mix, a couple short bouts of kneading and some stretch and folds. BUT recently I got flour imported from Canada instead of our local Aussie spelt. One bag was impossible to make bread from, I just couldn't get any gluten development and the dough had a very unusual consistency (almost like scone dough). The last imported flour was better but I'm still trying to figure out how to get the same quality of loaf.


Has anyone else had similar problems?


Liz

droidman's picture
droidman

Well, I made some adjustments to the formula as follows:


 



  • Adjusted liquids for a hydration of 66% instead of 82%

  • Added diastatic malt powder 0.5% of flour weight

  • Resulting dough was dense enough to knead (but I didnt!).

  • Mixed for less than 4 minutes, then let rise for around 4 hours.

  • Retarded in fridge for around 36hours (I would have done half that, but my schedule was hectic)

  • Warmed up for a couple hours, then formed and placed in bannetons. Let rise in banneton for around 4 hours, until dough nearly filled banneton and passed the poke test. 


 


Resulting bread was a bit dark, nearly burnt because of how long it took to get to 205 (because of the density of the dough). Crumb was dense and compressed, as well as gummy (the malt powder?). Flavor, as ever, great. 


Will try again this coming weekend at 75% hydration and no malt added.

droidman's picture
droidman

Raised the hydration to 75%. Mixed by hand for less than four minutes. Dropped the diastatic malt.


End result didn't hold it's shape as well as the 66%, but it was less discus-like than the 82%, and the flavor and crumb rocked the house. 


This is the formula I'm going to run with. Thanks to all for your excellent advice.