The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

I've come to the conclusion...

Abe's picture
Abe

I've come to the conclusion...

That with 100% spelt sourdough bread one should...

1: go high hydration.

2: low inoculation with a long ferment.

3: forget perfect shaping with an open crumb and a freestanding loaf but rather take the ferment to the outer limits and make it a pan loaf. 100% whole spelt will never give a crumb like bread flour will and at high hydration it'll struggle for height. For great taste the ferment should be adventurous. Don't stick to the, for arguments sake, 30% risen at the bulk ferment stage. Go beyond like "breaking the mould" (as it were) and building the strength back up with the folds and shaping. As if you've over proofed so you're reshaping the dough. 

Don't think of it as over fermented but rather over proofed! Over fermented and all is over. But over proofed and it can be reshaped! So it'll feel week after the first 6 hours and two hours after adding the seeds but with the folds you'll feel the strength build back up again. 

My latest throw together bread: 

  • 400g whole spelt flour
  • 300g water
  • 8g salt
  • 40g whole rye starter @ 70% hydration
  • Mixed seeds... Sunflower, Pumpkin, Flaxseed and Sesame

1: 12pm mix the dough

2: 6pm add the mixed seeds and fold a few times to build dough strength and disperse seeds

3: 8pm fold a few times and shape into loaf

4: 9pm bake

The dough after each rest does feel like the gluten is very weak but the folds do build up the strength. So wet your hands and carefully fold the dough going round the bowl till it's stronger. It'll knock the air out but not to worry. 

Within ten minutes of this dough in the oven I got the most amazing aroma. What's more this bread was completely no fuss! It's not what you'd call artisanal as a boule with an ear but this one small loaf smells like a bakery with a dozen loaves in the oven. 

Danni3ll3's picture
Danni3ll3

Where are the pictures? Sounds intriguing. 

Abe's picture
Abe

As it's just a pan loaf. It is cooling so I'll be trying it tomorrow and will post a picture of the crumb. I was so impressed with the smell while it was baking though. It's gotta be good! More tomorrow :)

Abe's picture
Abe

Lovely tasting. And with all those seeds toasted and dipped in olive oil really brings the best out of this bread. 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

benefits from a longer "wet time" or soaking?

Abe's picture
Abe

Spelt can take high hydration but needs time! Up till now I've been going lower hydration aiming for height and better handling but the resulting loaves are always too dense. 

It's interesting that after the bulk ferment the dough feels weak but with folds the strength returns. So not being afraid with being more adventurous in the bulk ferment helps. Getting more out of the ferment time. 

...and this baked up very well, photo now attached, with a lovely taste. This bread while baking had the best aroma. 

DesigningWoman's picture
DesigningWoman

Great color, lovely, even crumb, and delicious taste. Sounds like a good start to that day!

Enjoy it... 

Abe's picture
Abe

Biggest mistake is trying to get spelt to behave like ordinary wheat flour. And it's 100% wholegrain too. Just had some toasted with olive oil. Delicious. 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Did you use your Lekue for this? IMO, the crumb, thickness of the crust, and shape of the bread is very nice.

Did you toast and/or soak the seeds? I have had good luck using certain seeds without a soaker. There were no noticeable ill affects that I could detect.

This is something I would like to eat... Stellar job!

Dan

Abe's picture
Abe

As this loaf was born to be made in a loaf pan I decided the lekue would be better. Some support and better steaming. 

It is a very flavoursome loaf and I enjoy a 100% spelt loaf, but it's less forgiving, so when it comes out like this it's a pleasure.

I didn't soak the seeds. Had some to use up so added them in as an after thought. 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

The Lekue really has a place in the baker’s arsenal, especially when you need the support. I haven’t used mine enough.

Please do your best to describe the condition and feel of the dough when you put it in the Lekue. Could you hold it in your hands or was it closer to thick batter?

Just placed an order for some spelt berries...

Dan

Abe's picture
Abe

It's very good. I like freestanding loaves as I don't think the lekue allows the dough to bloom enough unlike a Dutch Oven. Unless the dough is small enough that it doesn't fill the lekue. But using a lekue in place of a loaf pan for breads that need support I think it's a step up. 

The dough is fine to hold in your hands once you've done the pre-shape folds. But as with the bulk ferment it does become less manageable once when it rises. It does take on a spongy more wet feel to it. But hey, it's in the lekue so close the clasp and it's got enough support for a decent bloom :) 

Watch that final proof. It does move fast and have the oven ready so it can go in after an hour. Even if it over proofs a tad don't worry. Cover the ends of the lekue with foil and bake for 20 minutes at 230°C (446°F) then carefully! remove the foil and bake for a further 15-20 minutes. If you wish remove the bread from the lekue and return it to the oven for a nice finish - about 5 minutes. Careful as the lekue gets very hot. 

I bought already ground flour so can't tell you about adjustments for grinding your own grain. 

Remember Dan that it's a lot warmer where you live. Take that into consideration! Perhaps use cold water and find a cooler spot. The top of my loaf appeared over proofed but the crumb was just right. 

leslieruf's picture
leslieruf

love the addition of the seeds.  I love that you. just added the seeds, and despite spelts challenges you have a great loaf!

Leslie

Abe's picture
Abe

Seeds are great in breads. Especially pumpkin and sesame. Spelt is a bit tricky and 100% whole spelt even more so. This off the cuff recipe turned out better than my planned ones. 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

just as the taste begins to bloom on the tongue.  I'm always going for taste first and that usually means a multigrain.  For some reason single grain breads just don't make it to the highest level of taste if you are a baking apprentice 2nd class like our expert taster around here - Lucy - who is addicted to pumpernickel.   Even rye bread is better with 20% wheat in it though:-)  Yours has to be tasty just the same since when know what a lousy baking apprentice Lucy really is!  She does eat anything that hits the floor though.  Nice all the way around Abe!

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Abe, you are most definitely an adventurous baker! Your spelt bread inspired me. Up until this point I only used small portions of whole splet to increase extensibility. But reading about the smell of spelt baking and also the resulting flavor it got the best of me :-)

I planned to bake a 100% whole spelt by followwing Eric’s (Breadtopia) method anf formula. I weighed out what I thought was more than enough spelt grain and started milling. The first thing I noticed was how different spelt mills compared to wheat. The grainsseemed softer than wheat but the milling took more time. When I looked at the finished product I noticed a decent amount of brown peices, maybe bran or maybe hulls. I’m not sure. But when I tasted them, they were difficult to break down by chewing. My best description would be that of peanut skins (not shells). At any rate I ran the flour through a #50 sieve and extracted about 83%. Since the extraction culled out more than expected, I opted to use 12% KA Sir Lancelot (14% protein) flour to make up the needed amount. I did use the cull for levain and dusting of the banneton. So 88% ground spelt and 12% high protein BF.

Since the dough had very little strength I choose an oblong clay baker to support the dough while baking in the oven. The spelt has a unique flavor, but next time (maybe tonight) I plan to ramp that up with seeds.

Since this is my first spelt bake, I didn’t know what to expect. 

Thanks for the inspiration, Abe!

Dan

Oh! I did put the dough in the freeezer for about 20 minutes before shaping and also before turning the dough out into the clay baker. I think that worked well considering the slack dough.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I am wondering if this next spelt bake could share a larger portion of bread flour and still maintain the spelt flavor. I plan to add seeds and I am contemplating a 123 ratio. 

What are your thoughts? Pros and cons?

Danny

DesigningWoman's picture
DesigningWoman

pretty amazing! Crust, color, crumb (lacey, you know ;-)) -- and an ear, maybe! Aside from your strong flour, did you add anything else to help your dough?

I've only ever used spelt in the honeyed spelt and oat loaf, which I've been thinking of revisiting. What did the dough feel like during mixing and bulk? I think you should be very proud. Is this one you'll keep, or will you be giving this away, too?

Leave it to Abe to dream up some very cool loaves!

Enjoy it!

Carole

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

The dough never showed elasticity. It bulk fermented overnight at about 75F so it was very proofy in the morning. I decided to put the dough in the freezer for a while to make handling the dough a little nicer.

I didn’t add anything else. The small amount of bread flour was used because I didn’t mill enough spelt. Next bake I may go 50/50 though. If the spelt flavor comes through I see no need to make things more difficult. I’ll just have to try and see.

Everything about the loaf turned out well, IMO. But I want to up the flavor with seeds next time.

Abe used his LEKUE, I used a CLAY BAKER. Both of these vessels help a great deal to confine the loaf’s shape during baking. 

I may bake another tomorrow so the neighbors will get to enjoy the spoils :-)

Dan

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

crumb,just like a honey comb....Looks great Dan!

Abe's picture
Abe

Wow what a crumb. And home milled spelt as well. You've gone from never doing such a high percentage spelt to milling the spelt which I do believe makes it behave a bit differently (although I've never done so myself) to producing a lovely bake.

I'd be very proud of a bake like that. I think you've got it nailed. Throw in the seeds and voilà :)

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

combination of seeds! I dared to do an oated porridge and I think using seeds in a loaf it my next adventure! Probably not a 100% spelt though...not quite as brave as that! :D Kat

Abe's picture
Abe

Spelt is lovely. Just do away with the notion that it'll behave like normal wheat, appreciate the grain for what it is in its own right and never show fear (dough smells fear). What's the worst that can happen? You throw it in a loaf pan and bake it. I'm sure it'll be tasty. 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

See THIS POST for the details. I bake a 50/50 whole spelt with many seeds, using the “123” ratios and a long room temp ferment.

Dan