The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Memo's Method with Spelt

ehanner's picture

Memo's Method with Spelt

I made a little detour from my trip with Columbia and thought I would try the method presented by Zolablue as Memo's Brown Bread using Spelt flour in combination with KA AP. I started by deciding to use a 50/50 blend of Spelt/AP flours and all of the ingredients called for in ZB's recreation of her grandmothers recipe. I did make on minor change in that I swapped the Crisco for butter. While putting together dough, it was very sloppy so I started adding more Spelt until it started looking like it might be a medium to slack consistency. I was planning on baking this in a pan so a little slack was ok but I added flour while kneading until it wasn't absolutely sticking to the counter after every time I stopped kneading for 5 seconds. At the very end I added a 1/2 Cup of AP and that was enough. In total I used an additional 2-1/2 cups (2-spelt &1/2 AP) past the formula provided by ZB. I knew from making Memo's with Graham WW that it was going to take quite a bit more additional flour, this time I wanted to document how much.

Here is the list on ingredients

  • 1/4 C warm water
  • 1 envelope Active Dry Yeast (2-1/4teaspoons)
  • 2-1/2 C Potato water luke warm
  • 1 Tblsp salt
  • 3 Tblsp Sugar
  • 1/4 C shortening (butter)
  • 2-1/2 C KA AP flour (if I had first clear I would have used it here)
  • 2-1/2 C Spelt flour
  • Additional 2-1/2 C spelt & AP flour to medium consistency


  • Mix yeast & warm water and set aside
  • Peel and thinly slice small potato and boil in 4C water for 15 minutes. Mash potato in water and simmer until potato is mush (5 min)
  • Pour hot potato water into bowl with butter, salt & sugar and mix let cool to below 105 F.
  • Add yeast mix to water/butter/salt/sugar mix and stir
  • Add 1/2 flour to water mixture and stir thin batter. Add remainder flour and beat by hand or machine.
  • Add additional 2+ C flour to obtain a workable dough and rest for 1/2 hour or more.
  • Fold and knead to develop gluten as necessary adding flour if needed.
  • Place in large oiled bow, cover and let rise for 1-1/2 hours until doubled.
  • Turn onto board, divide into two and ball up, rest for 10 minutes and then form into pans. Cover & let rise for 1-1/2 hours or proof over loaf pans. I did this in coldish oven with light on and a boiling cup of water in oven for 30 minutes.
  • Remove water, slash and turn oven on 350 F for 45 minutes. Rotate at 15 minutes remaining for even baking.
  • Remove from pans and cool on rack.

I did this experiment because I am trying to find interesting ways to use Spelt. I have heard that spelt may be a better flour for diabetics and people who have trouble digesting wheat based breads. While this is a 40% AP blend, it is a step in the right direction I believe. The bread is delicious and as you can see will make a very nice sandwich loaf. It is soft and my daughter who knew not of the ingredients said it was a little sweet. I think the 3 T of sugar could be reduced to 2 and it would be fine. I can't say there is a Spelty like nutty after taste that I noticed in my Columbia mix but it is a good bread that I will make again.


zolablue's picture

Gosh, I have been working my patootie off the past couple days and have not even turned on my computer!  I'm so glad I saw this.  You are so sweet to try this recipe again using spelt. 

Your loaves look awesome!  How does the flavor of the spelt compare to the graham?  I love the graham flour because it has that special sweetness to it.  I really must get this spelt ordered.  I've been dragging my feet and now am going out of town again for a couple days so hopefully when I return I will get 'er done! :o)

Eric, I have to say that I bake bread weekly for my neighbors and often several times a week but once I shared Memo's brown bread I now have one neighbor in particular that thinks it is simply his favorite.  I love that you experimented with the recipe.  Thanks for posting.

xma's picture

Hi Eric, I'm following your footsteps and will try spelt for the first time this weekend. I've noticed that many of the spelt recipes include a sweetener in one form or another.  Do you think it's better that way?  Is spelt sweeter than whole wheat?  I was thinking of doing a basic flour-water-yeast-salt variety, maybe 50-50 spelt to unbleached flour, just to to be able to taste spelt in its purest form but chickening out of 100% on my first try...

ehanner's picture

That's how I started. I wanted to get to know what the flavor was before I changed anything or even if I liked it. I was reading how there was a nutty flavor and how good it tasted. What I found is that for me Spelt is more of a subtle taste. It's a smoother dough that for needs to be used in simple combinations if you want to taste the flavor.

I use malt extract and honey frequently in recipes that have whole grain flours. I try not to add so much that you can taste the sweetener, say 1 T per 2 loaf batch. My understanding is that the sweetener feeds the yeasties and helps the rise.

Good luck on the road to enlightenment in the area of Spelt. It is an ancient grain from the time before the food giants manipulated the plants to improve the efficiency of harvesting.