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100 % whole spelt sourdough fermentation time

PaulaZ's picture

100 % whole spelt sourdough fermentation time


I am fairly new to sourdough baking (I started about a month ago), but I am really eager to learn as much as I can about it. I am just amazed by all the health benefits of sourdough bread and it has really impacted my daily routine a lot. I have a good sourdough starter (100 %rye, 80%hydration) that I received from my friend. Now, because of all the health benefits of spelt, I actually would like to bake mostly spelt sourdough breads, and preferably wholegrain. I have baked four breads so far, of which two have turned out nicely with a decent oven spring (I bake with a dutch oven). But the two other ones were flat, and had no open crumb. I am trying to figure out, what made my bread flat. I read that they could be either overproofed or underproofed. I know that there a millions of reasons what may have been the reasons for not having an ovenspring, and I read that especially temperature is crucial for all of it, so my guess is that the bread was underproofed because I have a very cold kitchen.

The breads that came out flat called for different recipes, but I just want to refer to one of those recipes here, because this is a whole spelt, and I would really like to bake this right. The recipe called for 530 whole spelt flour, 350 gr of water, 3 tbs honey, 1/4 cup of starter and 10 gr of salt from breadtopia I did exactly what was asked for. And I left the dough on the counter over night, about 12h. I have a very cold kitchen though, about 17C or even a bit colder. The dough did not really rise a lot, but I still shaped it and put it in the proofing basket for another 3 hours, the bread flattened out once I put it in the dutch oven. My guess is that my kitchen is just too cold and it needed longer time to ferment? I was just afraid to overferment it, because I read that spelt is fermenting quicker. Do you think I should increase the amount of starter because of my cold kitchen or should I just leave it to ferment longer?

I would very much appreciate your expertise or any kind of suggestions on this. Thank you, Paula

semolina_man's picture

I use whole spelt, mainly in combination with AP white wheat, and whole rye.  Proportions vary from 30-50% whole spelt, with the other two flours making up the balance. 


One thing to be aware of with spelt, is its significantly lower strength relative to wheat and rye flours.   This should be immediately apparent upon mixing and forming.   This can contribute to "flat" results. 


Additionally, the steps you listed above seem to have resulted in an over fermented dough.