The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Weekend O' Spelt

JMonkey's picture

Weekend O' Spelt

I baked quite a bit this weekend, but, though it may seem I did nothing but bake, I really didn't. The nice thing about baking, especially now that I'm using the stretch and fold technique instead of traditional kneading, is that there's actually very little hands-on time required, except for bagels -- I'm sure it would work, but I don't want them to ferment that long before popping them in the fridge. So I still sometimes need to knead.

Saturday morning, we had sourdough whole wheat bagels. This time, though, I used a wet, 100% hydration starter. I think the sourdough tang was more pronounced, but it could very well be that I tasted what I expected to taste.

Later that evening, we had Desem bread. This loaf was not my best. Once again, I put the loaf on a hot stone and put the bell top the cloche over it. Once again, I pinched the edge of the loaf, which gave me a flat, burnt edge and prevented full oven spring. Still, it was tasty and the crumb was relatively open. It went beautifully with the broccoli, red pepper and cheddar chowder. Also, I highly recommend this recipe for baked peas.

That evening, I made two loaves of our weekly sourdough sandwich bread. %&*#$@Qing bread STUCK on me. Well, just one loaf. And it didn't rip in half, it just sort of opened up the side a bit. Salvagable. I knew I wasn't being thorough enough greasing the pan. That'll teach me.

Today, I had to be a bit creative. I was eager to make a recipe for Spelt Focaccia from the King Arthur Flour Whole Grains Baking book. But I also had a meeting directly after church for our environmental committee.

I had a plan.

I packed the biga, all the dry ingredients in a big Tupperware, and a small Tupperware with the wet ingredients. Then, just before the meeting, I mixed it all up. After the meeting was done, I folded it, put it in the back of the wagon, and hauled the dough and my daughter back to the house (it's less than a mile away). Mission accomplished. The topping: roasted onions and olives.

I paired it with a simple salad and cream of asparagus soup.

The focaccia was good, though next time, I'll use plain olives instead of kalamata. Far too salty.

Next week, my folks are up and we're heading to Providence, RI, to try Al Fourno, the birthplace of grilled pizza! I'll report back. (Last week, btw, I visited the Cheese Board in Berkeley, Calif., which makes just one type of pizza every day. A real hole in the wall joint, with a sourdough crust. I loved the place -- we bought a bottle of wine and sat down in one of the six chairs they've got beside the three-man jazz band playing that night. The pizza? Eh. Was OK, but I wasn't wowed.)


bluezebra's picture

Hope you don't mind me popping in to visit you a moment. Loved your info on the spelt baking this weekend and am loving your's and TT's blog about the starters. It's also going to help me to see you doing it. I'm going to finally start mine tomorrow.

Just a thought on the saltiness of the kalamatas for you. You may want to switch olives because  kalamatas are much stronger or more "olivey" than California olives but if you're switching because of salt I have a trick that might work for you.

Soak your olives in water in the fridge, changing the water at least 1x a day or more if possible. At first I drain it about every 4 hours and put new filtered water over them. Then I let them soak for at least 12-24 hours and sometimes more if I need to. That will help reduce the salt. You can taste them and adjust the soak as much as you need. You can actually keep doing that for around 3 days or more if you need to. It's kinda like a Smithfield Salt Cured Ham...

You can also roast them in the oven on a parchment sheet at 325 for about 45 minutes. The whole flavor of the olives change. They are pretty dynamite. We serve them with appetizers all the time. For some reason they don't seem as salty after baking them.

Anyway,  just a couple of thoughts for you!

JMonkey's picture

I did roast these olives at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes, and, you're right, it really does change the flavor in a good way. Still too salty, though, for the focaccia. I'll try your soaking method next time if I can't find regular black olives. Thanks!