Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sourdough Spelt Country Loaf

I am knee deep in dough. I fear my wife will be staging an intervention soon. Enjoy it while it lasts, folks.

This is my first time working with spelt flour since I made a wheat intolerant friend some spelt pizza about ten years ago. I remember having some issues handling the pizza dough back then and this was similar. The dough argued with me when I tried to shape it, complaining that it had a lower gluten content and therefore was not required to sit up straight like a proper dough. After slapping it around a bit we compromised and agreed that a slight slouch was acceptable.

Notice that the crumb is making a face that says, "How COULD you?"

It has a lovely earthy flavor with a mild sourdough tang. Crackly crust and soft, cool crumb.

20g sourdough starter
40g whole spelt flour
40g lukewarm water

Final Dough
100g levain
100g whole spelt flour
360g bread flour
335g cold water
10g salt

Here are the days/times I did everything so you can see how it works out day to day.

Monday at 7pm - Mix the levain. In a separate container mix the flours and water for the final dough. Cover the levain and leave it at room temp. Cover the dough and put it in the refrigerator.

Tuesday at 7am, 12 hours later - Mix the levain, the salt and the dough together until well incorporated. Wait 30 minutes, then turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled surface. Clean the dough bits out from your work bowl and lightly oil it. Fold the dough onto it's self four times to get a square. Put it back in the bowl seam side down. Wait 30 more minutes then gently turn the dough out onto one hand and with the other hand fold the dough over once and then a second time with the first hand and put it back into the bowl. Repeat this last step every 30 minutes for about two and a half hours or until the dough has gained about a third in volume.

Tuesday at about 10am, 3 hours later - When the dough has gained a third or so in volume, cover it and put it in the fridge.

Wednesday at 7am, 21 hours later - Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into two. (If you want one large boule, skip this step.) Let the dough rest for 30 minutes. Shape each loaf into a round, wait 10 minutes, then shape into bâtards. Place the dough in proofing baskets, seam side up, or support them with rolled up and floured tea towels. Let proof for about one hour, depending on the temperature of the room. Preheat the oven with a pizza stone or a covered cast iron pot in it to 500F.

Wednesday at about 8:45-9am, 2 hours later - Place the dough onto a pizza peel or parchment paper and put into the oven, either on a stone with added steam, or a cast iron pot. Turn oven down to 475. Bake for 20 minutes with steam and another 15 without. Turn off the oven and leave the door cracked for 15 minutes. Let cool completely before slicing.

Submitted to YeastSpotting


  1. Thanks for the formula your bread looks amazing! I have been trying to get the greatest possible "holes" into the crumb but I don't have a baking stone yet, I wonder whether it'll make a big difference...
    I'll have to try your recipe soon, thanks for sharing!

  2. Thanks for the comment! The stone will probably help some, but actually all these loves were baked without a stone since I'm on the road and don't have all my gear. Getting that holey "open crumb" comes from having a pretty wet dough, like in this formula, and also from handling the dough very gently, especially during shaping. You really don't want to "de-gass" it at all. Good luck and let me know how it goes!

  3. I forgot to add a link to my bread blog :-)
    After my bulk ferment, even if it's up to 4 hours at room temp (20°C), the dough is usually not really full of bubbles compared to some videos I've seen on youtube (the back home bakery for instance). Nowadays my kitchen is even colder. Maybe I should up the preferment %.

  4. Great blog Wouter, thanks for sharing! You might also mess around with cold retarding the dough overnight during bulk fermentation, that seems to give me bigger air pockets than when it;s just at room temp for a shorter time.

  5. Replies
    1. Thanks again! I've just been puttering around your blog and WOW! Such beautiful baking and writing. I can't believe I'm just now finding it. I'll be over there often.

  6. Hi Ryan, this is a loaf to brag about and maybe sing about? I love it, you could get lost in all the holes.

  7. Thanks Connie! I like to let the bread do the singing when I bake, don't want to mix work and pleasure you know...