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.

The weekday fruit loaf

Building on my recipe for making sourdough during the week, this post is about applying that method to a spiced fruit loaf, with raisins and sultanas. There’s something very satisfying about being able to get home from work, through this loaf in the oven, and have fresh fruit bread ready for breakfast the next morning. 

  

If you’re an early riser, you could even leave the dough overnight in the fridge after shaping and bake in the morning, just remember it needs about an hour on a wire rack to cool before slicing…

  

Mixed Spice

  • 1 tbsp ground allspice
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon 
  • 1 tbsp ground nutmeg 
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground ginger 

Weekday fruit loaf – makes one loaf

  • 15g mixed spice (above)
  • 500g strong white flour
  • 330g water
  • 45g white starter 
  • 80g sultanas
  • 80g raisins
  1. For full timings see the previous post about baking sourdough on a week night.
  2. Combine all of the ingredients, including the fruit, in a large bowl. Mix well and autolyse for 15 minutes.
  3. Stretch/fold the dough, rest for 15 minutes, and repeat this step another 4 times.
  4. Shape the dough into a ball and place into a lightly oiled bowl. Bulk ferment at room temperature overnight.
  5. Shape the dough into a boule, rest for 15 minutes, then reshape. Do this a couple of times then place into a well floured banneton.
  6. Proof either at room temperature for 3 hours, or in a plastic bag in the fridge for 8 hours. 
  7. Preheat the oven to 230C with a cast-iron lidded pot (Dutch oven) on the middle shelf. 
  8. Turn dough out onto a floured peel, slash, and carefully place into the preheated Dutch oven. Bake for 15 minutes with the lid on, and 15 with the lid off.
  9. Cool on a wire rack for at least an hour before slicing.