Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Project Sourdough: Feeling like a baker, Spelt loaf

Up until now I've been following recipes when I bake. I've tried out a couple of different methods and tweaked things here and there with advice from friends or from watching videos on YouTube. (I've found YouTube is an amazing instruction manual for all sorts of things.) However, it it wasn't in the Bourke St Bakery or River Cottage cookbooks, or on Brydie's blog, I wasn't going to bake it.

Last weekend I had some spelt flour that had been sitting in my cupboard too long and needed using up. No recipe seemed to fit exactly what I wanted to do, so I made one up. I still don't really understand hydration (the ratio of flour to water - I think) or lots of other bread basics, but it seemed to work pretty well.

I was pleased with the final loaf. The wholemeal spelt flour gives a distinctly nutty flavour. The loaf had a firm (but not crunchy) crust. Spelt loaves have a reputation for not rising much. While the loaf wasn't as airy as the barm bread I made, it was certainly lighter than some of my early attempts.

Spelt and wholemeal sourdough, adapted from the River Cottage.

For the sponge:
250g wholemeal spelt flour
350 ml water
3 tbsp starter

For the dough:
300g wholemeal flour
12g salt
1 tbsp olive oil
Rye flour for dusting

Combine all the ingredients for the sponge and leave overnight.

Add the remaining flour and salt and once incorporated into the sponge add the oil. Knead in the machine for ~7mins.

Fold and leave for an hour to prove.

Knock out the air, fold again and leave for another hour.

Shape, place in the bannetton and leave to prove for the final time (about 3 hrs).

Bake with steam on a stone for 30mins.

Not bad for going it alone!


  1. well done. i hope to try one day :-) when are you opening your bakery?

    1. I'll bring you some samples next time we meet. Would love to get your opinion.

  2. i adore sourdough & my bakery in redfern uses all types of different flours that aren't conventional, it's glorious.

    when you open your bakery, let me know.

    1. Do you go to the Wild Cockatoo bakery in Redfern? I went in there when they first opened and the owner was very friendly and gave me some sourdough advice.

  3. Gorgeous loaf. Perfect for a ploughmans....? Add some cheese, a long neck, some pickles and I'd be a very happy camper