I made a loaf of sourdough spelt yesterday. I usually have a starter going, but it had been a long time since I baked a loaf of sourdough so I threw it out (it had been in the fridge for a couple of months, unfed) and started over with a new starter. I really don’t eat bread very often and this made a huge loaf, 1/2 of which is already in the freezer wrapped in foil and a zip bag. I never was much of a sandwich person. But I do like some nice cheese with a slice of crusty sourdough bread.
I basically followed Chez Pim’s recipe converting it for spelt. I am on the search for the perfect loaf of spelt sourdough.
Here are my alterations (luckily I have a scale!):
510g spelt flour
2 tsp kosher salt (about 10g)
8.5oz (240g) starter (my starter is 1/2 white spelt and 1/2 whole spelt)
9oz (255g) water
1tbsp molasses (I am out of honey and wanted a darker browning on the crust)
I let it rise for 7 hours as 12 is too long for spelt. The rise time needs to be shorter and the knead time needs to be less than 1/2 too. I then placed my dough in a small colander (not having a banneton – yet) with a well floured towel in it. Next time I need to use 2 times more flour on the towel. The banneton is to help the dough hold it’s shape while rising. Spelt dough seems to go a bit flatter than wheat, so I am willing to try anything for a nice tall loaf. This one is about 3 inches high. Once in my converted banneton, I let it rise again for only 1.5 hours and then dumped the colander and towel directly onto my baking stone. As you can guess from my need to add more flour stated above, some of the dough stuck to the towel. I had to twist the towel to get the dough to separate, but it resulted in a nice little button on the top. I had a cast iron pan on the rack below that had been heating up and threw in about 6 large ice cubes to help create a steamy oven and form a crust. The dough immediately spread out on the baking stone and created it’s own shape. Oh well, perhaps a bit more spelt flour in the dough next time. Spelt is really water soluble and you have to either add 1/4 more spelt or 10-15% less water. Adding more spelt is easier math for me!
I think the molasses worked nicely and gave the loaf a great color and a bit of flavor, not at all any sweetness.
I will definitely use this recipe again, tweaking it again. More flour, 1/2 a batch, use 1/2 whole spelt, honey, or try sorghum or rice malt to boost the loaf and add color. I buy my spelt 25 lbs at a time from Vita Spelt, via my local food co-op. Lucky for me, their office is about 6 miles from my house and so it the co-op.
Starters are our friends! Oh, I forgot to mention that this was/is a great loaf of bread, nice and tangy, moist and not too dense. My starter was only a week old. They just get better with time, as long as you keep feeding them. I used some of the bread to make some croutons and put them on the French Onion soup I made for lunch.