After enjoying a few days away, I’m glad to be home and do some baking. This one has been on my list for a while – 100% spelt, based on this recipe. I think I’m finally starting to see progress in my ability to apply the various things I have learned over the last 6 months.
Tweaks I made:
I found this flour at our local Sprouts, which prompted me to finally try this bake. It was actually cheaper than buying spelt berries and milling my own, which is unusual for me. (Usually the whole grains I find are less costly than milled flour, and they last better.) I scaled the levain build so it was enough for this bake, rather than making enough to put in the frig for another bake the way George does. I am only keeping 1 starter right now, and not a very big one at that. George mentioned his bread fermented really quickly, and I wondered if it was because he only used 6 gm of salt, so I increased salt to 7 gm. And I’m not sure what dark honey is…. I had some buckwheat honey that’s dark, so I used that. It had started to crystalize, so after I weighed it out, I heated/used some of the recipe water and stirred it into the honey. After a few minutes, the crystals melted and it was good to go.
Details of my bake:
Day 1, evening – Begin 2 stage levain build, at 66% hydration:
Spelt 30 gm
Water 20 gm
Starter 15 gm (I used my 100% hydration starter). Mix well and knead into a smooth ball of dough. Ferment overnight (I left mine on the counter).
Day 2 – continue levain build:
Spelt 30 gm
Water 20 gm
Levain from day 1 (65 gm)
Mix well and knead into a smooth ball of dough. Ferment 3-4 hours or until active. Mine nearly tripled in 3 hours (kitchen temp 74-75F) > stirred down and it nearly doubled over the next hour.
Levain 115 gm
Sprouted spelt flour, 388 gm
Water 263 gm (I added an additional 25 gm for this flour, the dough was pretty dry)
Dark honey 10 gm
Mix everything except salt. Knead 10 minutes. I added the additional 25 gm water here, dough improved and was smooth and elastic. Dough covered and rested 45 min.
After rest, salt added and mixed well. Performed 4 coil folds, 20 min. apart. Dough covered and placed inside microwave “proofing box” (it eliminates drafts from the air conditioning) for 3.5 hours (from time salt was added). Dough temp 79F. Aliquot rose about 80%, and dough was approaching ‘jiggly’. Not as jello-like as some, but per the comments in George’s thread it is easy to over-ferment this dough. Shaped dough into a batard, placed into banneton dusted with rice flour, banneton into a plastic bag and placed in frig overnight (13 hours in frig). Frig temp (measured liquid already in frig) 37F.
Day 3 – bake day:
Banneton out of frig and on counter while oven preheated to 450F. (I misread George’s instructions, he used a convection oven and mine is not, should have preheated to 475F. It worked anyway…)
After oven preheated, dough turned out > scored > baked covered at 450F for 30 min. Oven temp lowered to 425 and baked at 425 for 10 min (still covered). Cover removed and baked additional 10 min at 425F.
It may have fermented a tad too long, but it turned out much better than I expected. We had some with lunch today, and my husband loved it! He always enjoys fresh bread, but for some reason this one really tickled his taste buds. I will play with the fermentation a bit to improve the crumb (I think I can coax it into a little more open crumb), but this one will go into my regular rotation.