The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Improving crumb: all whole-grain spelt bread, slow fermentation

bingggo's picture

Improving crumb: all whole-grain spelt bread, slow fermentation

Hi folks,

What a fantastic site :) Hope to get some tips!

I found this recipe online and have made it many, many times; and enjoy the taste a lot (basically 1100g spelt, 200g rye, 1 l water, 1 tsp dry yeast, 1tsp salt - stirred and left for up to 10 hours then a quick punchdown and bake for an hour at 225 degrees):

However, the crumb looks different from the picture in the recipe - a bit more 'gluey' - and wonder what I could do to improve? Is there a particular factor that would improve it? More milling (I use a Thermomix - 60-90s on speed 9-10 in 220g lots), more yeast, more kneading, more heat, more time? They come out of my electric oven at 90+ degrees on my meat thermometer and I let them cool for hours.

Sometimes I use all spelt, as in this photo's case, but spelt and rye looks similar (click the link for a bigger version).


Mebake's picture

Hi, bingggo and welcome to TFL!

Your crumb shows an underbaked loaf. It could be the yeast being damaged. You may want to avoid adding yeast and salt together at once, as salt inhibits yeast when in direct contact. Try adding yeast at the beginning , and salt later on with the flours.

It could also be the fermentation temperature. Long fermentation favors cooler temperatures, as heat tends to activate star h breaking enzymes, hence the gluey texture. Try aiming for an average of 21-24c dough temperature.


dabrownman's picture

He has been wanting a TFL'er to take up his 100% spelt bread challenge.  Michael does some wonderful things with spelt and you could compare you methods and formulas with his.  Just type mwilson blog in the search box and hit search.

Welcome to TFl

Divine Crust's picture
Divine Crust

I've just come across your post, I hope its still relevant to add a comment. I have quite a lot of experience with spelt and in my opinion, your dough is over fermented. Spelt has a different type of gluten to common wheat and breaks down quite quickly as the dough reaches maturity. Your crumb is compressed and gummy, because the dough has no strength left by the time you come to bake it...hence compressed at the bottom can't even support its own weight. My suggestion is that you give it a shorter bulk rise, only to see a bit of movement, nothing like doubling, and then put it in the tin. Watch it carefully and bake it before it has reached full proof. Bear in mind that freshly milled wholegrain spelt is going to give you the most lively fermentation of any grain.

Choice of proofing temperature should not cause gumminess in itself, its just like the volume on your radio, turn it up or down as it suits you. Obviously everything speeds up when its warmer and slows down when its colder, its the development of the dough that you want to go by. I also disagree with the salt yeast thing, because by the time your dough has risen in the bulk rise, you know your yeast is away and running even if technically the salt inhibited the yeast in the first place, it can only have added a few minutes onto the total fermentation time!

Anyway, hope that helps