What's so great about sourdough bread?
Well, many things! Such as easier digestibility, increased nutrition, and even delayed staling.
For more information, you can read about the differences between quick-yeasted and sourdough bread, how sourdough affects gluten intolerance, and whether or not sourdough bread is low glycemic.
Also, check out our Sourdough eCourse for a video demonstration of this recipe!
Spelt Or Whole Wheat?
I have loved working with spelt recently because it yields light, fluffy, and moist baked goods. This recipe makes wonderful sandwich or free-form loaves… Once I get the recipe right, that is. 😉
Working with spelt is very different than working with wheat. You use less of it, for one thing. The dough seems wet — at least compared to wheat flour dough — but if you add more flour, the dough gets hard and the resulting loaf is usually dense and heavy. So, I've learned to resist the urge to add more flour!
Another difference? Spelt gluten is more fragile, so it requires less kneading. In the Bosch mixer, I knead for 6 minutes on speed 2 (newer models) OR 4 to 5 minutes on speed 3 (newer models). For older Bosch models, that corresponds to kneading on speed 2 for 4 to 5 minutes.
For whole hard red wheat, kneading time in the Bosch mixer is 8 to 10 minutes.
About The Sourdough Starter
I keep my starter at a thin, pourable consistency. Because every person's starter is going to be slightly different, be ready to adapt by adjusting flour or water amounts to suit the consistency of your starter. You want smooth, elastic, not sticky, but not dry dough.
Spelt Sourdough Bread
- 3 cups sourdough starter
- 1 cup pure water
- 1 generous tablespoon sea salt, to taste
- 5 to 6 cups organic spelt flour, preferably fresh ground, but allowed to cool to room temperature
- more whole spelt flour and pure water, for feeding the starter
- extra virgin coconut oil OR butter, for oiling
Makes 2 loaves. Easily doubled.
Remove starter from fridge. Feed it equal parts spelt flour and pure water, so that you can take out 3 cups and still leave starter behind, preferably as much as you took out. Let it come to room temperature, about 1 hour.
Combine starter, water and salt in Bosch mixing bowl. Mix on speed 1. Add 4 cups spelt flour. Mix, still on speed 1. Add 1/4 cup more flour at a time, until the dough is springy and pulls away from the sides of the mixing bowl. You are looking for the dough to be a bit gloppy and sticky, but still be warm and smooth. Sometimes when you test the dough it really wants to stick to your finger — make sure it's only mildly sticky. It needs to stick to itself more than you.
If using mixer, increase mixer speed to dough setting (Speed 2 on newer Bosch Universal) and knead for 6 minutes. If using an older Bosch, the speed 2 is like the newer speed 3 — so knead for 4 to 5 minutes and then check dough for good elasticity. Otherwise, knead by hand for 8 to 12 minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic.
Transfer dough to a well-oiled large bowl. Rotate dough around so it gets coated on all sides, top and bottom, with the oil in the bowl. Cover bowl with a damp towel or plastic wrap. Place in the fridge for 12 hours or overnight, until doubled in size. Or place in a warm location in your home (no more than 80 degrees) for 5 to 6 hours, until doubled in size.
Separate dough into 2 portions. Shape loaves and place in oiled loaf pans, or arrange free form on an oiled baking sheet.
For loaf pans: cut into top of each loaf 3 times diagonally with a sharp knife. For free-form loaves: cut an X into the top of each loaf with a sharp knife.
Put pans in a warm place draft-free place to rise, such as near (but not on) the burner that vents the oven’s heat. The rising time here is up to you. I let my loaves double in size and it takes about an hour or two, depending on room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Transfer the pans to the preheated oven. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, until the tops are nicely browned and the loaves sound hollow when tapped. Turn loaves out onto cooling racks. Brush with oil or butter, or cover with a towel to keep crust soft.
Check out our Sourdough eCourse for more information and a video demonstration of this recipe!
Do you prefer whole wheat or spelt flour? Will you try this sourdough bread?
This post was featured in 26 Sourdough Bread Recipes.
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