Spelt Sourdough

Now that I’ve started to get into a comfortable rhythm of selling bread at work each Monday, my standard recipe is becoming very smooth and well practised. So, to mix things up a bit and keep them interesting, I have been using our own bread as an experiment.

 

The finished loaf, coated in rye flakes
 
This week, I decided that following on from the high hydration sunflower and pumpkin seed loaf, I would push the hydration even further and try spelt flour again. I have made spelt sourdough before, but never with a dough this wet – 80% hydration.

  
Initially, the dough was very slack- a result of both the high hydration and the different quality of spelt. On the second day, whilst shaping, the dough did hold briefly but quickly spread out. When it came out of the banneton, it practically poured out, resulting in a fold in the dough that trapped some flour inside. Ultimately, however, the dough sprang up fantastically in the oven, and came out beautifully.

Excellent oven spring, despite the accidental dough-folding

Spelt sourdough – makes one loaf

  • 500g organic spelt flour
  • 400g water
  • 45g starter 
  • 10g salt
  • spelt or rye flakes to coat
  1. Mix together all of the ingredients. Autolyse for 15 minutes. Do a stretch/fold, rest for 15 minutes, and repeat. Repeat this process until you have kneaded 5 times.
  2. Oil a bowl and shape the dough into a rough ball. Roll the dough around in the oil, and bulk ferment overnight at room temperature in the bowl, covered with cling film. 
  3. In the morning, tip the dough out onto the bench and shape. Take a third of the dough, stretch it and fold it into the middle, and then rotate 90 degrees. Repeat this four times (for pictures, see this previous post). Using two cupped hands, turn the dough and shape into a ball. Rest for 15 minutes, then repeat the ball shaping.
  4. Mist the dough with water if it is a little dry, and roll in the spelt flakes. Place into floured bannetons and proof for 3-4 hours until risen.
  5. Preheat oven to 230C with a Dutch oven on the middle shelf. Turn out the dough onto a floured peel, score, and bake on the Dutch oven for 15 minutes with the lid on, 15 minutes lid off.
  6. Cool on a wire rack for one hour before slicing.

Sunflower and pumpkin seed sourdough 

Toasted pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds give this sourdough loaf an added layer of flavour, making it a perfect sandwich bread. Despite the high hydration, the crumb is fairly dense and moist and the crust light and crisp. 

sunflower_pumpkin
The finished sunflower and pumpkin seed loaf
 
You could also substitute half of the white flour in this recipe for wholemeal, which would give an ever stronger flavoured, if more dense, finished loaf.

The recipe uses the long overnight bulk ferment that I have been using recently to make my bulk bakes for sale at work, and the small amount of starter means that it is the flavour of the seeds, not the sourdough culture, that shines through.

Sunflower and pumpkin seed sourdough – makes one loaf

  • 500g strong white flour
  • 45g white starter @ 130% hydration 
  • 390g water
  • 10g salt
  • 100g sunflower seeds, toasted
  • 100g pumpkin seeds, toasted
  1. Mix together all of the ingredients except the seeds. Autolyse for 15 minutes. Do a stretch/fold, rest for 15 minutes, and repeat.
  2. Add the seeds after the rest and stretch/fold the dough until they are incorporated. Rest again for 15 minutes, then repeat the knead once more.
  3. Oil a bowl and shape the dough into a rough ball. Roll the dough around in the oil, and bulk ferment overnight at room temperature in the bowl, covered with cling film. 
  4. In the morning, tip the dough out onto the bench and shape. Take a third of the dough, stretch it and fold it into the middle, and then rotate 90 degrees. Repeat this four times (for pictures, see this previous post). Using two cupped hands, turn the dough and shape into a ball. Rest for 15 minutes, then repeat the ball shaping.
  5. Place into floured bannetons and proof for 3-4 hours until risen.
  6. Preheat oven to 230C with a Dutch oven on the middle shelf. Turn out the dough onto a floured peel, score, and bake on the Dutch oven for 15 minutes with the lid on, 15 minutes lid off.
  7. Cool on a wire rack for one hour before slicing.
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Corn Bread

This is a little different from my normal posts, but when we had a meal of slow cooked pork and it suggested serving with corn bread I thought it would be a good excuse to try out a new recipe.

This recipe is based on the one in Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. I’ve left out the crispy bacon, as I thought it would probably be overkill with the slow cooked pork, but it would make a good addition. I also halved the original recipe, and have adjusted the amount of sugar and fat: I’ve found that with some of Reinhart’s recipes my tooth isn’t quite as sweet as his.

 

The polenta and buttermilk soaker, made the night before
 
 
The final mix is the consistency of a thick pancake batter
 
The corn bread is delicious- the perfect accompaniment to this rich and sticky pork dish. It is surprisingly light, and the combination of the corn, polenta, and buttermilk gives it a sweetness of its own that I believe too much added sugar and honey would overpower. 

  
Corn Bread – makes one bread, to serve two

  • 150g polenta
  • 240g buttermilk
  • 120g plain flour
  • 10g baking powder 
  • 5g salt
  • 20g granulated sugar
  • 20g brown sugar
  • 2 small eggs, lightly whisked
  • 20g honey
  • 15g butter, melted
  • 240g sweet corn, frozen
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  1. The night before baking, mix the buttermilk and polenta to make a “soaker”. Cover and leave at room temperature.
  2. The day of baking, preheat the oven to 180C. Mix the dry ingredients and wet ingredients, except the oil, in a large bowl.
  3. Heat the oil in a 6in frying pan until very hot. Pour in the batter and swirl around to cover the pan.
  4. Place into the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. If it is browning too much on top, cover loosely with foil. 
  5. Allow the bread to cool in the pan for 15 minutes before slicing.