Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Spelt Crumb Bread

I baked a batch of bread last week using 50% wholegrain spelt 25% white spelt and 25% Strong white flour; excellent flavour of course, nutty and perfectly matched with the slightly sour flavour imparted by using my sourdough starter and a long fermentation. The only issue was the texture of the crumb, it was just that bit too dense for me. When I got down to my last 200g I decided to turn it into breadcrumbs and add it to my next batch of bread, all white sourdough.

For activating the starter
100g of starter from the fridge
100g of Strong white flour
100g of water

For the ferment
All the activated starter
200g of Strong white flour
200g of water

For the final dough
All the ferment
1,000g of Strong white flour
500g of water
200g of breadcrumbs from my Spelt loaf
20g of salt

Activating the starter; take 100g of starter from the fridge, add 100g of Strong white flour and 100g of water, stir well and leave covered for 2 hours.

When the surface is showing some activity, a few bubbles, add the remaining ferment ingredients and mix well to introduce some air. Leave covered for at least 4 to 6 hours, this will depend almost entirely on temperature.

Fig 1
The stage you are looking for, in order to add the main dough ingredients, is when the ferment is at its most active, a surface covered in bubbles and signs of bubbling up and caving back in on itself, forming little "valleys", see Fig 1.

At this point add all of the flour, the breadcrumbs and the water for the main dough but omit the salt. Leave, covered, for 8 hours or so, at which point the dough will have risen well and the gluten will be well developed. Add the salt and knead for a few minutes to ensure even distribution.

Leave the dough, which should be soft but not too sticky, covered, to rise for an hour, tip the dough out onto a floured surface and stretch the dough out  and fold it back up, this develops and strengthens the gluten. Repeat the stretching and folding process another two times at one hourly intervals.

Fig 2
Divide into three and shape into batons, place seam side up on a well floured linen cloth folding the cloth up in between each loaf to separate. leave for an hour then bake in a 220 degree oven for 30 minutes. Slash each loaf before baking, see Fig 2

Fig 3

On reflection I could have added more breadcrumbs to this mix in order to impart more of the original spelt flavour, I have to say though for white bread it certainly has extra flavour.

One of the particularly pleasing things about this batch of bread was just how lofty the loaves were after baking, I have baked enough disappointing "D" shape loaves, flat on the bottom but these loaves rose so well in the baking they were almost entirely round when I cut into them, see Fig 3. I think the secret must be catching the ferment at the optimum time when adding the bulk of the flour, that and not over proving and of course shaping, the more I bake the more I learn how important shaping is to the end result.


  1. You are a genius Tôbi
    Book me in for a week of gluten!
    This looks utterly delicious.
    With home-made gooseberry jam for the breakfast toast: heaven.

  2. I cannot wait anymore... Hagbech now!!