The Fresh Loaf

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Wholemeal Spelt loaf nice but not risen

RB32689's picture

Wholemeal Spelt loaf nice but not risen

I followed this recipe:

The result is pleasant but very small air holes and a flat loaf. I would just like to check that I know the cause.

At step 5 it states Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead the dough firmly for several minutes. I read this to mean that I could use the mixer's dough hook for a few minutes. Would it be likely to have knocked out all the rise that the previous rest had produced?

Would the lack of the second rise be also to do with my use of the ingredients. As  I make more bread than the recipe and do not cook with oil or fat,  this is how I adjusted the ingredients:

1.5k Spelt flour, 1 tsp salt, 9.45g quick yeast, 6.3g honey, 6.3g mollasess, 975ml warm water (no oil)

I followed the timings in the dove recipe but to me they look low because I doubt if  doubled in size at stage 4. I did leave the dough to rise 10min  longer than the recipe suggests to make up for the lack of rise. It is difficult to tell because the dough was in a sloping mixer  bowl and the rise rise was in the centre of the bowl.

I have read many comments that spelt wholemeal bread should not be fully risen before going into the oven. I therefore assumed that the oven would make up for the loss on the second rise. Unfortunately it did not.

I would appreciate comments.








dabrownman's picture

minute kneading. A nice set of gentle stretch and folds to shape the boule would have been so ucmh better and produced a better crumb. The 60% hydration is a bit low even for a stand alone un-suppored spelt bread but the hydration wasn't an issue.

RB32689's picture

Your comments are appreciated.

What do think of the Dove recipe's  timings?

I agree about the water content. In other recipes I have used   almost the same amount of water as flour but the result can be much too loose. I was surprised to see that although there was much less water than I have used in the past the result still rose and was malleable.  I decided to stay with their percentage because of the baker's percentages here:

My previous attempts were to  use the sponge and dough method in the hope I would get a much better tasting loaf,  but I don't think  I have found a good recipe as they did not rise well. I therefore tried out the dove one, which was a lot easier to use.

What is your view on the the sponge and dough wholemeal spelt recipe method?

I found this one but despite the praise from some, the instructions are unintelligible to me. He seems to have an overnight sponge, a flying sponge and a main recipe and not only do I find it very difficult to work out his proportions I do not understand the difference between an overnight sponge and a flying sponge and how all three sections fit into the recipe.

Is the sponge and dough method worth the extra effort for Wholemeal  Spelt? If so can you point me to a good recipe?


dabrownman's picture

sponge is pretty straight forward.  You make a 12 hour overnight sponge at 68% hydration with 100 g of flour and 1 g of instant yeast - since this is a low hydration the Italians would call this a a biga.  The 2nd sponge is made a hour before the dough is mixed.  Since it is at 170% hydration (very high) the French would call this a poolish.  Once the flying poolish, or sponge, collapses you mix the dough.

The idea of doing a preferment for a along time is to bring out more flavor as the yeast works on the flour .  The short wet one also is supposed to bring out flavors that a dry long one doesn't.  You are supposed to end up with a more flavorful bread.  i would make this one over the other ones for that reason alone but I would do it with 2 different SD levains instead

I keep forgetting you are in the UK where the flours are so much weaker than the USA so 60% hydration of the first one would be A OK  - and spelt doesn't like it wet anyway.  You can go with more water to open the crumb but just support it in a basket for proofing or, if really wet, pan it up instead of baking it free style - or call it spelt ciabatta:-)

Mini is right with the salt too (as she usually is)  I would be at 1.8% - 2% salt

Happy spelt baking 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Original recipe has only 0,5% salt  1/2 tsp  (or 2.5g) for 500g flour.   It should have more, at least 1% (5g) and can go higher up to 2% (10g) easily.  Lack or low salt will also produce a lacklustre brick bread. 

One teaspoon (5g) salt for 1.5k flour is even lower than that low salt recipe.  it should be somewhere in the neighbourhood of 24g to 30g of salt.  It makes a difference as salt strengthens protein bonding.  Adding  enough salt is like forcing the little protein molecules to hold hands instead of just standing next to each other to form chains.  

Salt helps control the rate at which the fermentation progresses, in most cases regulating it for more repeatable results.  The linked recipe 1 could be done again and again with the same procedure and ingredients but the slightest variation would magnify to come out different every time.  Variations of a brick.  

I say up the salt and try again.   If you have a little rye flour around try subbing 10% or 20% of the spelt for rye.  The two work well with each other.

Edited  underlined   linked recipe above refers to the Dove link recipe    (crazy how that came out)  I also feel the rise times are off in the Dove's, could be temperature differences.  Watch the dough. 

RB32689's picture

Mini oven

Thank you for your helpful comment and advice. I have some tentative  counter arguments which I am by no means sure of their validity. If you wish to discuss them privately via email please let me know.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Are you saying the salt is correct?   

I had not read your comment posted earlier containing links, the link i mention is the Dove link and I have edited my comment to clarify.  I am making a first response to the recipe ingredients.

1500g flour,  5g salt (sea salt would be less g per tsp)  etc

The water with the 1500g flour comes to 65% as the Dove's is 60%  

Jane Dough's picture
Jane Dough

Breadtopia has a very good and very simple formula for 100% spelt.  I have made it many times and never been disappointed.

As for salt, I have been varying my salt percentages and I have been really surprised at the differences in handling and timing. 


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

to use the Breadtopia recipe.  I also agree with using a sourdough starter instead of quick yeast.

drogon's picture

... and expensive here in the UK.

So that's a basic recipe, 60% hydration. As others have said, the salt is a bit low, even for UK FSA guidelines - which are hard to work out as its based on the baked weight - so 800g of dough will bake to about 700g, so at the 1% baked weight recommendation you need 7g of salt. In practice for home use 10g is fine. (and weigh it, don't spoon it)

Wholemeal - you're not going to get as big as rise using 100% wholemeal either.

Steps 5 and 6 are somewhat old fashioned now - you should gently tip the dough out (using the rounded side of a scraper to help), lightly shape into a boulle, leave to rest for a few moments, then degas, shape into a roll/log and into the tin. Don't try to prove spelt without a tin of basket - it'll flow into a pancake.

I make about 12-14 (sourdough) spelt loaves a week for my customers - my mix is 30% wholemeal to 70% white (and 5% honey, no oil) and I use banetons for the final proof.


victoriamc's picture

Spelt doesnt require as much kneading as regular wheat flour, and although its difficult to over-knead a dough when doing it by hand if you are using an electric mixer with dough hook you can overdo it a bit and damage the gluten, thus resulting in a weak structured, un-risen bread.  With spelt breads I just do a quick 3-4 minutes of hand kneading and I have never kneaded any doughs after the bulk ferment.  I think its possible that the second knead with the dough hook may have broken down the gluten that you had developed in the first knead and bulk ferment.