Sourdough Spelt

Spelt Sourdough

I have been doing some of my experiements with Spelt flour and decided to do up a Spelt Bread which was mainly from Spelt instead of just adding Spelt to other recipes. I made up a preferment in the evening and left it out at room temperature:

  • 4 cups Whole Spelt Flour – 14 oz
  • 2 cups Spring Whole Wheat flour – 8.4 oz
  • 3 cups water- 24 oz
  • 1 teaspoon Sea Salt –  .3 oz  (to control fermentation)
  • 1 cup vigorous Desem or Whole Wheat starter at 100% hydration – 9 oz

I put this into a large covered container and next morning it was very bubbly. I then poured the premix into my mixer and added:

  • 3 Tablespoon Oil – 1.5 oz
  • 2.5 teaspoons Sea Salt – .7 oz
  • 1 Tablespoon Non-Diastatic Malt syrup – .85 oz
  • 4 cups of bread flour – 18 oz

I mixed the dough for about 2 minutes, but had to take the dough out of the mixer and knead some by hand as the batch wasn’t as large as my usual batches and the dough was wandering around the bowl and not mixing as well as it should. I put the dough back into the mixing bowl and allowed the dough to autolyse for 20 minutes. I then mixed again for another minute. The dough, with the malt included as part of the liquid, was at 65% hydration. The dough felt nice, but I think I would make it at 67% hydration next time, adding a small amount more of water (about 1 oz or 1/8 cup water). I let the dough double, which it did in about 3.5 hours, and then I shaped the loaves. After proofing the loaves for about 2 hours, I baked them at 450 degrees in my usual way, by slashing the loaf, placing it on the hot oven stone,spraying the dough once, covering it with a preheated large roaster lid for 15 minutes. After the 15 minutes, I take off the lid and turn down the oven to 425 degrees and let the bread bake for 15 more minutes, turning once during that time to allow for even browning. The bread is quite delicious. It has a chewy crust and a soft, moist crumb. Here are some pictures:

Spelt Sourdough

Spelt Sourdough

The slashes on the long loaf reminded me that it was time to change the blade!

Here is a picture of the crumb, no nice outside picture, as by the time the bread cooled, the sun had fled:

Spelt Crumb

This recipe made 4 lb 11 ounces of dough, just enough to make two large loaves and give a little piece of dough to smallest daughter to shape into her own loaf, which was cut into and eaten faster than the camera could be whipped out! Spelt has a wonderful mild flavor, which would come to mind if someone said “Old World Flavor”. It is also a soft flour and weighs only 3.5 ounces per cup right after grinding. The flour feels very soft and fluffy. When added to white flours, to bring up the ash content, it seems to make the bread crumb lighter and fluffier. Give it a try, it can be found in most health food and bulk food stores.


Bulk Ferment…again…using San Francisco Starter…

Before I get started with the starter experiment in bulk fermentation, I wanted to let you see a really terrific first Desem loaf by Jeremy Shapiro, an extraordinary baker and chef at : . Spend some time perusing his website, it has much of interest to those who love sourdough and fine cooking.

Basic Sourdough with San Francisco Starter Experiment:

Basic White with SF Starter

In an earlier post, I worked with Austrian Starter and tried a seven hour bulk ferment in a controlled environment, the dough fell apart and was a loss. Then I tried it again and fermented the dough in the same manner for five hours and the bread was not only a success but had a nice mild sour (which was the purpose of this experiment anyway). Then the next logical experiment was to see if I could push the San Francisco Starter further because it is a longer proofing starter and could potentially take the longer bulk ferment with heat. So I made the same Basic White Recipe but substituted a cup of Spelt flour (which I also did with the other experiments) and 1/4 cup of milk powder for a more tender crumb. I then put the dough into a large container with a lid and popped it into my oven which had the baking stone in it to preserve the warmth, and was warmed by keeping the oven light on. I had a thermometer in the oven and kept the door propped open a couple of inches. The heat was just at 80 degrees the whole time. I would have liked to try it at 75 – 78 degrees, because I think that would be better, but I have no way of doing that at this time. Anyway, I had the dough in the warmed oven for seven hours and then took it out and left it at room temperature 70 degrees for another two hours. The dough felt wonderful, was light and full of air foamy bubbles. Here are the pictures of the this batch of bread:

Basic Sourdough with San Francisco Starter

Basic White/Spelt SF

Basic White Sourdough with SF

Basic White with SF

Crumb for the SF White

Crumb picture

Basic White with SF

The bread smells heavenly! The crust was crisp and shattery, and it was sour, but not enough sour! So guess what? I am going to repeat the experiment again and push the San Francisco Starter nine hours in a controlled warm environment. That is the real potential of the San Francisco Starter, its ability to last when other starters begin to break down. I am hoping for a consistantly sour bread with  a dependable  technique. I get breads sour all of the time, but often it is a hit and miss kind of thing. I would like some consistancy. Whole grain breads or breads with a higher ratio of whole grain flours are easy to get a great sour with, the white breads are more difficult to get it with consistancy. When I want a sour loaf, I want it sour! I think adding a little bit of Rye flour would also help that, but I want to push the timing thing first. If you have any suggestions, please offer them, otherwise…stay tuned…

Spelt…I Certainly Do Like It!

 Basic White/Spelt Sourdough

I have been a bit busy and have not posted lately, but that does not mean that I have not been baking sourdough! I did some experiments with bulk fermentation and heat which came out pretty interesting. I also have been working with Spelt flour and have found it to be a terrific addition to my pantry of flours. First off the bulk fermentation. I tried a batch of bulk ferment dough in a controlled 80 degree environment. I had used the Austrian sourdough starter so I had hoped I could push the ferment for at least seven hours….wrong….! I had some dough that was falling apart sticky and the gluten was broken down. It made some pretty flat bread…but it tasted great with a wonderful sour. So I made the same recipe again and kept it at 80 degrees for five hours and the dough turned out wonderful, was very nicely sour and had the rustic, wheaty, dusky flavor of Spelt. I don’t have pictures of the ruined bread because I only baked one loaf, the rest I turned into stretched bread (delightfully sour though, see earlier post below for stretched bread).

Here are some pictures of the bread with Spelt flour, this is just the Basic White Sourdough with some Spelt flour substituted:

Dough ready for slashing 

  Dough Slashed

  Basic White/Spelt Sourdough

Basic White/Spelt Sourdough  

 Basic White/Spelt Sourdough

Basic White/Spelt Sourdough 

  Basic White/Spelt Crumb

This sourdough was mixed, fermented at 80 degrees F for five hours, shaped, refrigerated overnight and not baked until the afternoon of the following day, so it had a long cool proof also. I think it would do better below 80 degrees by a couple of degrees, like around 76 – 78 degrees. I didn’t have much of a way of lowering the temperature though as I had my stone in the oven to keep the warmth even and had the lightbulb on with the door cracked open to acheive the 80 degrees. I need a proofing box. By the way, I am finished moving my site to a new server, so if you see any broken links email me and let me know. Hopefully my site won’t have so much down time now! Tomorrow Feb 20 is the last day to submit your idea for naming my sourdough book. There are a couple of prizes offered, see what is going on at:
Northwest Sourdough Message Board

I am transferring my domain,

I am transferring my domain, so if you can’t see pictures, that is why! Hopefully it won’t take too long.Come back soon!

Happy Baking,Teresa

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