Spelt sourdough bread

I’ve always been curious about spelt. Spelt (Triticum spelta) is a species of wheat cultivated since approximately 5000 BC. In Greek mythology spelt (ζειά in Greek) was a gift to the Greeks from the goddess Demeter. Being the Greeks a sailing people, spelt got spread all around the Mediterranean sea. During the Bronze Age, spelt was widespread in central and northern Europe (Britain, Germany, Switzerland, etc). Its history is more than enough to make spelt an exciting thing for a baker.

I’ve also read that spelt has a light nutty flavor (interesting!) and that is known for its extreme extensibility. It’s time to try a spelt sourdough loaf. I opted for a 25% spelt flour and 75% T80 flour, as a start.

The ingredients

For the poolish

For the dough

  • 225 gr flour T80 (Manitoba)
  • 115 gr spelt flour (about 25% in weight)
  • 180 ml water (warm)
  • 8 gr salt

The poolish is a batter made by a small amount of sourdough starter, in this case a rye flour starter, water and flour; it is prepared the day before because it needs 10-12 hours to ferment. Put in a bowl the rye sourdough, the water and the flour. Mix with a spoon and cover with cling film. Store it overnight in a warm place. I keep it in the oven.

The morning after you need to add the remaining flours (T80 and spelt), the water (warm water, the temperature is related to the kitchen temperature, if it is winter and the temperature is 18-19 °C, you might need to heat water at 40-45°C). Mix in the stand mixer with the dough hook, for 1-2 minutes at speed 1. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes and then mix for another 4 minutes, at speed 1. Cover the bowl with the cling film and let the dough rest for 30 minutes (autolyse).

At this point you can add the salt and mix the dough by hand. Slap and fold the dough on your working surface for 5-10 minutes, until the gluten network is fully developed. The spelt flour makes the dough less sticky than usual, nice sensation.

Spelt dough

Put the dough in a bowl, cover it with the cling film and put it in the oven (with the oven light on, to keep the oven lightly warm) for 3.5 hours. This is the fermentation phase. The dough will rise (1.5 times the original volume).

After 3.5 hours stretch and fold the dough for three times, at 10 minutes’ interval. Put the dough again in a bowl, covered with the cling film, and let ferment for 1.5 hours more.

Now you can perform the last stretch and fold and then you can put the dough in a banneton or in a bowl for the proofing phase. This phase will last 2 hours.

Spelt sourdough proofing

Put the cast iron pot in the oven and pre-heat the oven for 30-45 minutes at 250°C. Put the dough in the pots, cut the top of the loaf with a bread scoring tool, put the lid on and cook for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove the lid and continue cooking at a lower temperature, 220-230°C, for 25-30 minutes.

When the bread is ready, let it cool completely on a wire cooling rack (1.5 hrs).

Spelt sourdough bread

Spelt sourdough bread crumb

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