The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Spelt sourdough

pumpkinpapa's picture

Spelt sourdough

I created a delicious spelt starter at the beginning of February and made some great loaves from it recently.


The one on the left was a 50/50 organic AP with organic light spelt flour (I can only afford 2.5 kg bags of spelt and ran out) while the one on the right is a 100% light spelt loaf. Both were excellent! The kids liked the 50/50 while I found the 100% to be exactly like pumpernickel in texture, great spread with peanut butter or pb/banana/honey!

I used Sourdolady's recipe for starter but reduced all liquids by 25%, otherwise too much liquid and the starter never matures. After a week the starter was active, not as much as white or rye, and definitely not as volatile as whole wheat, but it was bubbly and produced a pleasant aroma. You can use either whole or light spelt with no loss of nutrients as they are contained in the germ not in the bran as in wheat.

I used the basic sourdough recipe as given in Peter Reinharts BBA but with 25% less water again:


4 ounces spelt starter, 4.5 ounces spelt flour, 0.75 to 1.5 ounces water

Final dough:

20.25 ounces spelt flour, 0.5 ounce Celtic sea salt, 9 to 10.5 ounces lukewarm water 

Kneading took about 20 minutes, but my house is cool these days which affects proofs immensely as well. However unlike all my sourdough experiences (save for yeats spiked variations), this spelt sourdough had far faster and greater second proofing results than wheat or rye starter.

This is going to be my main bread, and if the kids continue to enjoy it then I should experiment with spelt cinnamon buns soon too. 


Christina's picture

Congratulations on the success of your starter. 

I have seen recipes for spelt flour but I never had it around, nor did I remember to look for it at the store.  What does the finished bread taste like with spelt opposed to ww flour?


bwraith's picture

I just saw your post about having the experience that your miches were too sour before. It sounds like this one came out better. Mine seem to come out more like yours, and I think it has to do with using less red wheat in the starter phases and using somewhat shorter fermentations. Curious what you think about all that. Congrats on getting a nice result. It's a recipe I want to try.

pumpkinpapa's picture

I have been experiencing cool weather in the house and have been using overly long fermentations to get the dough to rise to what I want.

Now I have a spot set aside where the temp is about 80 F constantly so I'll try it again with either the white or the WW starter.

I'll let you know the results. 

Squid's picture

Christina, that spelt bread looks really good. My mom is gluten intolerant so she bakes solely with spelt flour. Was the 100% sourdough spelt crumbly? That's been my mom's biggest challenge.

OTOH, I've read some promising studies stating that sourdough wheat breads with long fermentation periods tends to be tolerated by celiacs.

I might try both and see how she likes/tolerates them.

pumpkinpapa's picture

The flavour of Spelt is a bit nutty, and the texture is definitely crumbly. Not that it falls apart, it holds like german pumpernickel. I am eating a couple slices right now from a frozen loaf and it is just as good as the freshly baked loaf. I am making Struan today with 1/3 spelt so I'll report on findings with it.

I regularly use spelt in pizza dough, usually 25 to 30% and in pancake batter at 50% and the kids eat up both fine.  

I need to use my starter more for pizza, pancakes etc. but I always do these at short notice. Perhaps when friends come over. 

Christina's picture

There are recipes where you mix everything (the flour and yeast through the wet ingredients) and leave it overnight in the fridge until you cook it, which makes me wonder if you could use your starter in it.   Here's the recipe if yo want to try it out:

2 1/4 cups flour (I use a wide variety, from ww, cornmeal, buckwheat...)

1/2 t salt 

2 T sugar 

2 1/2 t instant yeast

Combine dry ingredients in bowl

1 3/4 cups milk

2 eggs

1/3 cup oil 

Combine liquids.

Make a well in the dry ingredients, pour in milk mixture and stir swiftly.  A few lumps will remain.

Cover, refridgerate overnight.

(This recipe is for waffles and I'm not sure how it'll cook as pancakes)