The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Watery (like batter) Spelt dough

voyager_663rd's picture

Watery (like batter) Spelt dough

I've been trying to find a spelt recipe that prior to baking, the dough looks like dough and not glutinous batter.

I found this one (amts are halved from original recipe):

6 C spelt flour

3 C water

1/3 C oil

1/3 C honey

1T Saf yeast

1T salt

Using Universal plus mixer, after having added all those ingredients, I still had to add another cup and a half of white flour (no more ground spelt at that point) and it was still like very glutinous batter.  I used a ladle and spatula to get it into the loaf pans.


It seems every spelt recipe I try, this is the end result.  I have made white bread for years and never had this problem so I do know how to make bread. 

Is it just spelt or what?  I know you use less water with spelt but this is NOT a substitution (spelt for wheat).  It is a spelt-specific recipe.

Any ideas?

voyager_663rd's picture

This is the link that I used


I did not want to use a starter is why I used (half) that recipe.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

at least the same as its weight.  I would add the flax or bulgar or rolled oats which are good soaker uppers. (and a tad more salt)

But something is amiss...  It should act like a whole wheat.

Do you have any kind of scales?  weigh one cup of spelt flour for us.  Tell us more about the spelt flour too.  Anything on the bag?  Is it possible the salt was forgotten?   Taste the spelt flour... any aftertaste?

How does your dough compare to this you-tube LINK  video?

Red5's picture

Recipes like that are horrible. How can you claim the addition of 1-2 cups of flax or bulgur is "Optional" when either one will have a major affect on the final loaf if no adjustments are made for the water content. Plus the hot water and oil are completely unneccesary. Then there are all the "confessions" at the bottom of the page which confirmed (for me) my initial suspicion that those pictures were not loaves made from 100% whole spelt flour, but a blend with white flour. 

Are you using Whole Spelt like the author claims in the recipe or just spelt flour? Also try it with cold water, and less of it. You can't substitute wheat and spelt as equals, the gluten difference is too much. 

voyager_663rd's picture

I grind my own flour from spelt grain so it is 100% pure.

When I ground it, I used 675 gm of grain (electronic scale).  I would assume that 675 grams of grain = 675 gm of flour. And that measured out to 6 2/3 C whole spelt flour (not white spelt flour which omits the bran).  So I used a bit more spelt flour than the recipe called for and a whole bunch more unbleached white flour.

Salt was not forgotten.


The only thing I can see is that there is too much water.  My recipe has 2:1 of flour/water (I know those "cups" are not equivalent but for a ratio it's ok) but the recipe on thefreshloaf (with a starter) is  roughly 3.3:1 (a lot less water compared to the amt of flour used).  Might that be it?

Bread has not been baked yet (rising now). Previous attempts (diff recipes) gave me a "not too bad" loaf but nothing I'd really be proud of. The dough was always on the super-super-sticky side although always very 'glutinous'.

edit==>after rising for an hour, the pre-baked loaves (2 3/4 loaves--2 are 650gm and one is about 500gm) have doubled in size.  All may not be lost yet.  I'm still at a loss for the quality of the "dough" and I really use that term loosely.

I'll post a pic of the baked loaves so we'll see what's what.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

125g  is what I use often as a cup.  That would by x 6  750g flour.  In this case maybe even 130g per cup 130 x 6 = 780g spelt flour ... 675 + a whole bunch more wheat  (? one cup at 125g) would come up to 800g total flour

If I calculate the water at 238g per cup 714 g and divide by 800g flour I end up with 89% hydration... practically soup.  And that doesn't count what the oil and honey will do.

So from my calculations, the spelt comes up short.  Yes, and water too high.

voyager_663rd's picture

Yup, coincides with my "glutinous batter" description :D  It was approx 1 1/2C more unbleached white flour in addition to the 6 2/3 C spelt.

I looked but I wasn't able to find one:

Is there a spelt bread recipe on site that does NOT use a starter?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

spelt, yeast, honey 

and see what pops up when listing ingredients.   ..or just click on them above...  :) 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

but it still comes out to 85% hydration which is very wet.  much like the video.

Red5's picture

Measure out your flour after it's been ground, do a 50%hydration loaf to start with 2% instant yeast, 2 to 2.5% salt. Add some honey if that sounds good. You are not going to get the type of rise or crumb as you would with a white bread, especially with the whole grain spelt being used as the only flour (adding wheat gluten would improve the volume a bit) but it should be more like the bread you are expecting and taste good. 



voyager_663rd's picture

It's out of the oven.  A bit stuck to the bottom of the pan--nice & "bubbly" air holes seen from the torn part. Never rose any further in the oven though.


This may have turned out after all. Pics when I can cut it (after cooling).  This recipe still needs tweeking (less water) but it may work. 


Now to look for alternatives here. Thanks for the key words.  Sometimes it's difficult to find something without knowing just the right words to use.

voyager_663rd's picture

I'm mostly happy with the end result.  It has the texture of an English muffin.  Not really what you want but at least it's eatable :)  .  Next attempt will use less water.

TY very much for the assistance folks!

First pic shows that it didn't rise at all after the bake--you can take my word on that (same height as the after-rise pre-bake state). Left loaf is the smaller of the 3 raw-dough-wise

And this is the end product.   It's a medium-weight loaf (not a light loaf but has good bubble formation) and with good crumb.  Taste is great so for that I'm thankful.


IN REGARDS TO THE VIDEO: I laughed so hard when I saw that.  My dough was not even close to that condition.  The video dough was (dry) like the Sahara Desert compared to mine.  I can fix it :)

Farzana's picture

I am not by any means an experienced baker.  I have had my breadmaker for a year now and recently just started using it.  With spelt bread (I am sensitive to wheat) I just mix it in there and then let it rise in my oven.  However, this bread is such great texture, no-fail recipe that has worked for me every single time (except the first try).  It is awsome for sandwiches.  My husband AND my two & three year old boys prefer this bread over the whole wheat bread (which I still havent quite mastered yet!).  I hope this helps someone, so here goes:


3 cups whole grain organic spelt flour (scoop with another spoon then level it)

1/2 TSP soya lechin granules (sometimes I omit it)

1 TSP xanthum gum & 1 TSP guar gum

3/4 tsp salt 


1 cup liquid (I use half water, half coconut milk sometimes) 110-115

2 TBSP oil (I use grapeseed)

1 TBSP Sugar, 1 TBSP honey (Sometimes I do honey & molasses)

1/2 tsp ginger powder (you cant taste it, trust me)

2 1/4 tsp instant yeast (dont judge the instant haha)  Also, you could use active I have tried but results and taste are EXACTLY same to me!) 

MIX ALL TOGEATHER, LET IT SIT IN WARM PLACE FOR 10 MIN.  At this piont, I preheat my oven to the lowest setting then turn off once finished preheating (beep goes on)  Leave door closed.   Grease/spray 9x5 loaf pan. 

Then I place everything in my breadmachine to knead.  At this point, I add 1 TBSP lemon juice.  I ONLY KNEAD FOR 3 MINUTES.  Sometimes, i sprinkle some water (usually no more than 1 TBSP, sometimes nothing at all!)

Once kneading finished, using my oily hands i shape.  I do NOT use any flour to shape or roll etc.  I find my bread gets hard this way.  I let it rise in my warm oven for 35 to 40 min, then bake for 30 to 35 minutes. 

I have been making this once or twice a week for I guess about nearly two months now.  Its so soft like store bought bread !!!  I am gonna try to post a picture up if I can figure that out !!   The only thing i wish I can perfect is shaping it. . . the seams sometimes dont want to close no matter how you pinch.  Normally, I wet my fingers a little and it does the trick. 

You will be surprised at how high this bread goes.  Not as high as wheat, but pretty darn close ! 


Happy baking.  This website has given me lots of tips, I wanted to give back something !