The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

improving my spelt/white sourdough

andykg's picture

improving my spelt/white sourdough

No matter what I do my bread flattens out a bit too much. maybe its me but Id like a bit more height to the loaf. Im very happy with the crumb size as I prefer a closer crumb and use slightly lower hydration. My yeasted bread comes out fine so I think im ok with the final shaping now.

my recipe is using 350g strong white 100g wholegrain spelt and a 100g rye starter. 300ml water 70% hydration, 10g salt.

bulk ferment at 78/80f in oven with light on.

mix everything to shaggy dough

Autolyse for 30 mins

six folds followed by 30 mins rest, repeat a further 3 times.

leave another 1h 30 - nicely risen and bubbles on top, jiggly when moved.

gently preshape, leave for 30

final shape, a light knocking back to get desired crumb,

fridge retard for 14 hours.

bake at 230 using steel and cloche then a further 25 at 190

Maybe its my shaping but Ive tried a few variations and its always comes out similar.

Do I need a shorter retard? a longer cooler bulk? less starter? a super special final shape for spelt!

any ideas would be good.

GlennM's picture

The last two times I shortened the bulk to about 30% rise and shaped it, left it for maybe 20 minutes and into the fridge for maybe 14 hours.  This seems to be making a big difference  

Your loaf does look good with great crumb!  

andykg's picture

thanks, yes i think i might shorten the bulk a little, maybe 30 minutes and see what that does

naturaleigh's picture

I think you have a very nice looking crumb there!  It seems like your recipe is good as well.  I would be pretty careful during the second shaping, to preserve that air. 

The main thing that jumps out at me though is your cooking temps.  Make sure that you are pre-heating your oven, steel and cloche at around 260C/500F for at least 30 minutes (if not a good hour), and that you are baking with a lid at 475 to 500F for the first 20-25 minutes, then you can knock the temp back to around 246-232C/475-450F with the lid off for the last 20 minutes or so of baking.  These times usually work for me, but for a slightly larger loaf at 500g flour weight, so you might have to adjust down for your slightly smaller loaf.  Getting the oven and all the associated baking implements screaming hot for the beginning of your bake is super important in getting good oven spring.  Based on the color of your crust, I think you baked at too low a temp and possible for not long enough.  That being said, it looks like you made a very lovely loaf of bread with excellent crumb!

andykg's picture

thanks for your comments.

I preheat the steel and cloche for at least 30 minutes at full temperature. The cooking guide was from when I used to bake just using steam so i will definitely look into that. Might try the standard 450 for 20 mins then uncovered for another 20

andykg's picture

ive tried a few variations with quite different results. I normally mix all ingredients and rest so do a fermentalyses for 30 mins so instead tried a true autolyse for 2 hours before mixing salt and starter, that ended up creating a Frisbee loaf.

The best result so far is dropping the starter down, rather than 100g ive tried 60 grams so far which worked well and I didnt need to adjust any fermenting times. 

Next one is going to be 50g starter and see what happens. I think between 45-50g will be the sweet spot. Then I can start upping the spelt to a 50/50 blend