Hi, Eric - I am planning on making this spelt bread this weekend (with some seeds & nuts, and possibly raisins). I have a bottle of delicious boiled apple cider (a.k.a. apple molasses) and am wondering if you think I could use it in place of some of the honey/agave or if you think it would be overpowering. I was thinking I could use 50/50 honey/boiled cider. Any thoughts on this are appreciated. Thank you for your wonderful recipes and videos.
1st attempt and not sure what’s up but it seems to need at least another cup if not 1 1/2 cups water! As written the dough isn’t really even dough it is so dry… Adding the extra water seems to work just fine though
Eric, How much bread machine yeast could I use to replace the sourdough in this recipe? I am anxious to make this bread, and never made sourdough before! thanks in advance.
I don’t know. Never tried it. Are you planning on using a bread machine to make the bread or just using bread machine yeast?
Thanks Eric, just the yeast…
Bread machine yeast, assuming it’s fresh and viable, is typically quite vigorous. It acts way faster than sourdough starter and much much less of it is required to get good oven spring. I would probably try using only about a 1/2 teaspoon of bread machine yeast at first, give the dough enough time to rise, and see how it goes. I can’t even begin to guess how long “enough time” is going to be. You just have to plan your life around the proofing so you can roughly monitor it and be around when the dough is ready for the next step.
It is a nice recipe. I’m Dutch, so I love a hard crust. I didn’t have a sourdough starter, so I made a sponge with regular yeast for overnight rising. The next morning I finished making the dough and followed your instructions. Except I didn’t have a proofing basket. So I proofed it in the ceramic bowl I used for the baking. Since you put a lot of flour in that basket, I guess it prevented the bread from sticking to the baking dish. My bread came out nice, but it was totally stuck to the baking dish, should I have added a good flour dusting before baking?
A well floured tea towel draped in the bowl can function similarly to a cloth lined proofing basket. It can be a little clumsy when it comes to inverting the dough onto your baking surface, as the cloth may fall out along with the dough, but ultimately this usually works better than not using a towel at all.
I made this last night and into the morning. I decided to do a all-rye loaf at the same time because I hate to heat up the oven for just one loaf.
I used the same proportions for the whole dark rye flour as for the spelt. The rye was a dryer dough for sure. Live and learn. I also used AP starter in both. No stretch and folds for the rye. Three s&f at 20 min intervals for the spelt.
I heated the oven to 500’ because I was on autopilot and forgot the recipe said 450, but dropped the temp when it was time to put the bread in and I remembered.
450 30 min lid on
450 8 min lid off rye, lid on spelt (cookie sheet under rye which was in cast iron)
450 8 more min lid off spelt
Spelt on left, rye on right. Can’t wait to serve the rye with cream cheese and salmon. I have no idea what spelt tastes like so I have no specific plans for it yet.
This one has been great in the clay baker. At this point, it’s safe to say that the spelt bread is one of my family’s favorites. Thank you!
Hi! Greetings from the Netherlands.
I’ve been baking bread for over 10 years now, allways using spelt and sourdough and very wet dough (not unlike the one in this recipe) in molds, But I allways ended up with an unelastic bread with a so-so crust (because I just put it in molds and let it rise). I read sometimes about methods for improving (using more heat for rising and steam in the oven) but never really got into that.
So I tried this recipe with an improvised Romertopf, in my Gas oven and my own trusty spelt wholemeal and sourdough and it came out Superb!!! Wow I never knew that a few stretch and folds made such a difference. I guess that kneeding the dough more doesn’t help because it more likely destroys the gluten strands than builds them.
Thanks for this recipe, will try more of em!
Hi, I have a Romertopf Clay baker, but I’ve always been told you have to soak it first before cooking in it, or it could shatter. You used it dry. How long have you been using it this way?
Many years of heavy usage. Since I preheat it before putting the dough in to bake, any water from soaking would evaporate away by the time it was fully preheated. So I don’t bother. Doing it this way doesn’t increase the risk of cracking.
For the first time this week, I made this loaf without adding any honey. That was actually a nice change, and I’m not sure why I’d never tried it. I was surprised how much of a difference just the honey seems to make in the final flavor and color of the bread. But even prior to baking, the dough itself felt different during the rounds of stretch and fold.
I have a newbie question here about leaving honey out of the Whole Spelt Sourdough recipe. Does leaving the honey out make the dough less sticky and easier to handle?
We’re finding that our spelt dough is sticking to our hands more than we expected.
Perhaps surprisingly, no, I don’t recall thinking that the dough was any less sticky. The biggest difference was in the final flavor of the loaf (more on the tangy/sour side), as well as in the caramelization of the crust. With honey, there’s noticeably better caramelization during the baking, so I’d recommend keeping it in the recipe.
What’s the surrounding temperature where you’re doing the mixing and stretching? I guess it’s possible that if it’s really cool (i.e., under 70–71F), the dough may need a little more time to rest prior to performing the stretch and fold. One hour of resting is normally good for getting the dough thoroughly hydrated and ready to handle, but it should be determined on the basis of stuff like the temperature where you’re actually making the bread.
Something else to consider with sticking is to wet your hands a bit before picking up the dough. I’ve found that to be very effective. Also, at least when I was just starting, I remember feeling like dough was really sticky – but I had less of an issue with it when I consciously began handling the dough gently yet “decisively,” for whatever that’s worth. It almost seems like treating it too warily leads to more of a mess.
I hope that helps, at least somewhat!
Greetings, Phillip –
Thank you for the great information. It’s encouraging to know that you had a similar experience with the sticky dough at the beginning. I tried wet hands and lightly floured hands and the dough still seemed to be sticky. Your point about learning how to handle the dough – “gently yet ‘decisively’” – makes a lot of sense. I think my inexperienced brain expected the dough to handle differently.
You must have ESP because your estimate of the temperature is right on the money. The galley was right in the 70-71° F range when we were stretching the dough. We allowed the dough to rest for an hour after mixing, and then went into the stretch and fold every 15 minutes routine. I think we’ll try 30-minute intervals between stretches and see how that changes things.
Thanks again for the help AND for the great starter!
My main question (read below for background) is, I finally received a wonderful Brod and Taylor bread proofer for a present, in my attempt to achieve a decent loaf with this recipe.
Can someone guide me on a more accurate temperature and time to use for first and second rise, (rather than just, leave overnight to rise, then proof in morning for 1-1.5 hours,) so that I can actually consistently produce a tasty well-risen loaf? TIA!!!
I have been making this recipe on and off for the past few years! with no consistent results Because I stubbornly only want whole grain sourdough bread. Can anyone help me achieve better results? Every so often it comes out ok but most of the time not. Today my starter was definitely healthy, but I think I may have let it rise too long on this particularly hot day (finished making it about 1pm and by 6 or 7pm it had risen a LOT! I guessed at that point I had waited too long but just went ahead and shaped for the final proof. What should I have done instead at that point? Punch down and let rise again? Waited longer for the final proof? (It was maybe an hour, but then I got no oven spring )
…Sometimes my starter is perhaps not the best, most of the time I still can’t figure out the timing thing, no matter how many tricks I read up on, how to tell when it is ready etc!
I’ve become a fan of your sourdough spelt bread, and have begun to vary it with flax seeds, pickled jalapenos and gouda. Your rye bread with orange is also excellent. I put in a little coffee and cocoa as well.