The Fresh Loaf

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Spelt Sourdough Baguettes

Benito's picture

Spelt Sourdough Baguettes

We are having a mediterranean fish stew tonight for dinner and leftovers tomorrow so I decided to bake these spelt sourdough baguettes, which I haven’t done for almost 2 years.  Since I baked them last I’ve made some changes to how I develop the dough.  I now use my Ankarsrum Assistent which I find is as gentle as hand developing dough and I do much more gluten development than I used to.  The idea is that if I develop the gluten more than I used to, the dough should be able to be fermented for a longer time allowing better flavour development.  Where I used to aim for 30-35% total dough rise as the time to bake, I am now aiming for around 60-65%.  I am hoping that the spelt at 9% will allow a nicely open crumb.  I was video recording my scoring, when I knocked my iphone onto one of the unescorted baguettes causing quite the deep dent.

Overnight levain

Built and fermented at 76°F to be ready in 10-12 hours.


Fermentolyse - mix 356 g water with all the levain, salt 10 g and diastatic malt 5.3 g to dissolve, then add AP flour to combine.  Slap and fold x 100 then add hold back water 27 g gradually working in until fully absorbed then slap and fold x 100.


Bulk Fermentation 82*F until aliquot jar shows 20% rise.

Do folds every 30 mins doing 2-3 folds

Could do cold retard at this point for  up to overnight. (Aliquot jar 20% rise)


Divide and pre-shape rest for 15 mins

Use spelt flour for couche

Shape en couche with final proof until aliquot jar shows 60% rise then cold retard shaped baguettes en couche for at least 15 minutes for easier scoring. 


Pre-heat oven 500*F after 30 mins add Silvia towel

Transfer to peel on parchment

Score each baguette and transfer to oven and bake on steel.


Bake with steam pouring 1 cup of boiling water to cast iron skillet dropping temperature to 480*F 

The baguettes are baked with steam for 9 mins.  Decrease the temperature to 450°F and continue to bake with steam for another 4 mins.  The steam equipment is removed venting the oven of steam.  The oven is left at 450ºF but convection is turned on and the baguettes bake for 8 mins rotating them halfway.  The oven temperature is then dropped to 375ºF and the baguettes rotated again if needed and baked for another 3-5 mins to achieve a rich colour crust.


My index of bakes


Benito's picture

I sliced the one that I dropped my iphone onto, you can see an area of density in the crumb that is the result of that.  Otherwise not too shabby and they were great with my fish stew.  I will update my notes above as I changed my baking temperatures to see if I could get a thinner crust.  It worked.

tpassin's picture

Very nice indeed, Benny!  That crumb is what I aspire to but hardly ever get (yet).


Benito's picture

Thank you Tom.  You’ll get there too Tom I’m sure.  It took me a lot of repetitive bakes to get a decent combination of a good crumb and good ears and I still don’t always achieve that.


JonJ's picture

Once again, a Benny dinner party worth attending! What lucky guests.

Beautiful crumb, not sure if it is possible to get better.

As for the crust, is the thinking that in order to get a thinner crust the bake temps should reduce in stages, ending at a low temp?

Finally, I was wondering how long you let the Ankarsrum develop the gluten for? Notes say 100 SLAF, but I assume you don't do that if you're using the Ank.


Benito's picture

Thank you Jon, it was actually just a weeknight dinner for my husband and me so no guests.

Yes my thinking was that most of the oven spring is in the first 9-10 mins so this time I gradually reduced the temperature.  I’ll need to bake them again but I do think it worked well.  Perhaps I could have just dropped to a lower temperature more quickly rather than in stages.  I’ll need to continue to experiment with baking times and temperatures.

As far as Ankarsrum Assistent mixing times, I didn’t time it but I know I did a 5-10 min fermentolyse.  Total mixing time was probably around 15 mins.  But of course I stop the mixer quite a lot to feel the dough and do a windowpane test.  I ended mixing when the dough was moderately to well developed.


Benito's picture

Finished our fish stew and another one of the baguettes.  This one wasn’t bashed by my iPhone and the crumb doesn’t have that dense section in it.  Given how much I developed the gluten this could have tolerated more fermentation.  I may also angle my lame slightly less parallel to the surface of the dough and more perpendicular to the dough and see how the ears are next time.  I also thought that I might increase the hydration on these next time as well.  I have to admit that I’m enjoying making baguettes again.  It reminds me of when we did the baguette community bake.  That was a fun but also frustrating time of incremental improvements and steps back.