The Fresh Loaf

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100% Spelt

justkeepswimming's picture

100% Spelt

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.

Final Dough: 

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. 


HeiHei29er's picture

Really nice oven spring and ear!  That’s a plump looking loaf, and for me, that crumb is perfect!

I use some spelt in one of my recipes, but I’ve never had 100% spelt.  Is it a stronger flavor than 100% WW?

Very nice bake!

justkeepswimming's picture


Spelt has a fairly mild flavor by comparison, though I guess it depends on what kind of WW you compare it to. The hard red winter wheat I am trying to use up has more of a bitter aftertaste, but the hard white spring is very mild. This sprouted spelt is not as mild as the hard white, but close. I haven't tried red fife or some of the others yet. I will once I use up some of what we have, mostly because of storage limitations. (Most homes here don't have basements, and garages are far too hot to store food items most of the year.)


headupinclouds's picture

That looks excellent.  I've wanted to try this one as well.  It is nice to see someone else pull it off.

Benito's picture

Wow Mary, what a lovely sight to see.  Look at the oven spring and gorgeous crumb, so well done.  You must be pleased.  


justkeepswimming's picture

Thanks, Benny! 

And more importantly, it tastes good. ?

George Q's picture
George Q

Hi Mary,

I am pleased that you gave this a chance and you excelled. Once you do this one, you can feel free to use spelt as more than an ingredient, it is the stuff to make bread of. As you know, recipes for spelt go back thousands of years and bakers made spelt bread so you know that it must be able to do many more things than just a flavoring agent. And you are right, spelt has a mild flavor that is distinct from wheat and tastes more nutty and earthy. I use 100% spelt in Hamelman's 5 grain levain bread and use this same levain and it is terrific! I am glad that you all like this. George

edit for clarity