The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sourdough Spelt with Flax Seeds

Sam Fromartz's picture
Sam Fromartz

Sourdough Spelt with Flax Seeds

I just posted this recipe over at my blog ChewsWise, where I give much longer description. But I thought bakers here would be interested. This recipe makes two large batards or boules.

70 grams stiff starter
80 grams water
60 grams organic white bread flour
60 grams organic spelt flour

Flax Seed Soaker
1/2 cup (85 grams) organic flax seeds
75 grams water to barely cover the seeds

Final Dough
250 grams sourdough
Flax seed soaker
280 organic white bread flour
280 organic spelt flour
400 grams water
14 grams coarse sea salt

1. Mix starter, cover and let sit overnight (8-12 hours) at room temperature of about 75 F degrees. Pour the flax seeds into a separate bowl and just barely cover with water. 

2. Combine the starter and water in a bowl and mix it up with a wooden spoon or spatula until combined. Add the flours and using a plastic bench scraper, spoon or mixer with dough hook, mix the dough until all the lumps of flour are gone. This will take about 2 minutes. Cover and let rest for 20 minutes.

3. Add salt and mix on a slow speed, about 4 minutes. Add the flax seed soaker and using your hands or the mixer, continue mixing until the seeds are evenly distributed. 

4. Form into a ball and place in a clean, oiled bowl and cover for the first rise. Fold at 50 minute intervals. Total rise is 2.5 hours. 

5. Turn the dough out on a lightly floured counter, divide in two and form into rough batards or boules. Let rest for 15 minutes, then finish shaping the loaves. 

6. The final rise should take 90 minutes. Or, to build up the flavor of the loaf, cover the loaves then let them sit for 30 minutes before putting them in the refrigerator in a closed plastic bag. (I use Ziploc Big Bags ). Retard the loaves for 8-12 hours,.

7. Turn the oven to 460 F with a baking stone in the middle of the oven and a rimmed sheet pan on the bottom. Preheat for at least one hour. 

8. When ready to bake, slash the loaf in a square pattern with a bread knife or blade, then place in the oven on the heated stone. (Batards can be slashed lengthwise). Pour 2/3 cup of water into the sheet pan and close the door. Bake for 30 minutes. Turn down the oven to 420 F and keep baking for another 15 minutes. Check the loaf. It is done when you rasp it on the bottom with your knuckle and it makes a distinct hollow sound. If not yet done, turn down oven to 400 F and keep baking for 10 minutes. Then turn off the oven, open the door slightly and let the loaf sit for another 10 minutes. Repeat with the second loaf.




wally's picture

Where are you getting your flax seeds locally?  I notice that your levain is 270g but you're only using 250 g in the final mix.  I assume you've held back 20g as your starter for future bakes but wanted to bring it up to avoid possible confusion over quantities.


Sam Fromartz's picture
Sam Fromartz

Yes, I hold back some for future sourdough production, also just to make sure I have enough. I buy flax seeds at my natural foods store. Whole Foods has several brands, MOM's has them as does YES! Organic Market in the DC region.

dmsnyder's picture

I've never used spelt expect in smaller proportions. At 50%, does it give a distinctive flavor? If so, can you describe it?



Sam Fromartz's picture
Sam Fromartz

It's kind of nutty and far more mild than whole wheat flour. In the future I might try this bread with 25% spelt, 25% barley, 50% white. Although I didn't add any sweetener, I'm sure a bit of honey would work well too. But this bread is a winner. Even my young daughter, who prefers baguettes, loved it. The crust is exquisite. It just toasts wonderfully.

txfarmer's picture

I have been curious about baking with spelt for a while now, this may be the post that "push me over the edge" and go get some spelt. I have some barley on hand too. Thanks for sharing!

Sam Fromartz's picture
Sam Fromartz

It takes a long time to bake, I imagine because of the moisture level. But my method for gradually reducing the oven temp works well.

SylviaH's picture

Thanks for sharing and I have added this lovely boule to my to do list...beautiful crumb shot!


M2's picture

I'm changing my original post as this recipe is no longer on my to do list.  It has been moved to my "to keep" list ;)

I've just given it a try.  This is a winning recipe and I'm very happy with the result.  I gave a loaf to my friend and she finished half of it by lunch time.  What a wonderful recipe which includes 50% of spelt, one of my favorite flour!

Thanks Sam!


Sam Fromartz's picture
Sam Fromartz

Michelle, Nice open crumb, I think you used a more gentle shaping hand than I did on mine. I'm trying it again today, but with all white sourdough starter (didn't refresh with the spelt flour in the starter so will add more to final dough). Best, Sam

M2's picture

Thanks Sam!  The dough was soft enough that I was able to use the slap and fold method...and when I slapped, I slapped it quite hard so I could pull back and fold.  It was quite a workout, not gentle at all :) but it was fun.

The bread looks, smells and tastes great.  Great recipe.


bnom's picture

This is my first time with spelt and loved the results!  Delicious bread with tender chewy texture.  Mildly sour.  Dough was easy to work with.  Thanks Sam!


bread basket's picture
bread basket

Just discovered your formula: it worked out great. I love adding soaked flax seeds to my bread. I think it gives the bread a great toasting quality. I will try also the longer fermentation in the fridge and with WW, so see how the flavor changes. I am away from home right now, so I don't have access to a mill. As soon as I will be home I will use my freshly milled spelt. Curious what difference that will make.