The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Whole Grain Loaf Thoughts

JimmySting's picture

Whole Grain Loaf Thoughts

Hi all,

I've attempted to bake this whole grain sourdough loaf the past two weekends. The taste has been great! Hearty with a nice rye taste in background. My problem is that I haven't been seeing good results with my scoring or the oven spring that I want. My first attempt, the loaf exploded on the sides (I thought this was from shyly scoring the bread) and the second time didn't explode on sides, but didn't show much gas release either. (It was by no means flat, the bulk fermentation more than doubled and the second rise after the batard shaping had a decent rise as well) The crumb turned out okay (the second week probably could have stayed a couple minutes longer in over, the slightest moisture at center.)

Scoring marks were a little more than 1/4" deep. No nice expansion of crust. (Used roasting pan steaming technique)


Crumb is not bad. I've also read that spelt is finnicky to deal with. This is my first time using the flour. 

Just looking for some tips or thoughts on how to better handle loaves with spelt (and whole wheat based loaves in general).

isand66's picture

Can you post your formula and technique?  It will be much easier to diagnose your problems knowing more information.

usually if the loaf bursts at the sides it means it is either underproofed and/or you didn't shape the loaf correctly.

By your photos it doesn't look like you scored the loaf at all.  What are you using to score the bread?  There is a great tutorial that David Snyder posted on scoring on this site.

Just do a search and you will find it.

JimmySting's picture

My apologies, the linked recipe does not stand out very well in the orginal post (it looks like regular text).

Overall Formula
Whole wheat flour: 60%
Whole spelt flour: 30%
Whole rye flour: 10%
Water: 75%
Salt: 2%

5% of flour is from starter. I used a 100% hydrated whole wheat starter.

As for scoring, the photos make it look like I didn't score at all (and I would agree), but I wish I had taken a photo after I put it in the oven because I actually felt confident in this scoring than last weekend. I didn't have a razor blade handy, but I used a small very sharp knife and made 3 scores approximately at 1/4".

It is possible I underproofed slightly, but I did perform the poke test and the shaped dough slowly bounced back to about half-way indicating ready for oven.

Janetcook's picture

My experience with 100% spelt is somewhat limited but I do know when I bake 100% spelt loaves I aim to under-proof rather than over-proof and I am very careful with scoring as spelt is very delicate.  If I feel like I have over-proofed at all I do not score and let the dough tear on its own.  I also use less water in the formula as spelt isn't as thirsty as ww.

I find that using a serrated knife on my whole grain loaves works better than a lame/razor blade.

Good Luck,