100% Wholemeal Spelt Sourdough Bread Recipe

 

This is a recipe for a wholemeal spelt sourdough bread using only wholemeal spelt flour and spelt grains. This bread shows that, contrary to popular belief, it’s possible to achieve a very well balanced loaf of wholemeal spelt sourdough bread with a wonderfully aerated crumb held together by a crisp chewy crust.

100 percent wholemeal spelt flour sourdough bread
100% wholemeal spelt flour sourdough bread

A big thanks to Lutz from Plötzblog and Gerd from Ketex.de whose posts have provided the building blocks for this recipe. However, my recipe doesn’t use yeast and relies entirely on the strength of the sourdough rise.

How to make a delicious loaf of wholemeal spelt sourdough

On day 1, prepare the sourdough, spelt grain soaker and water roux as follows.

Sourdough

  • 1 tbsp spelt flour sourdough starter
  • 150g wholemeal spelt flour
  • 150g water

In a medium plastic bowl, combine the ingredients and mix well. Cover with a lid and leave to rise at room temperature for approx. 16 hours.

Spelt grain soaker

  • 100g spelt grains
  • 300g water
  • 12g salt

In a small pot, combine the spelt grains with the salt and pour over the water. Simmer at a low heat until the water has been absorbed (approximately 45 minutes). Cover and keep at room temperature for about 16 hours.

Scalded spelt flour

  • 50g wholegrain spelt flour
  • 150g water

Add the water and flour into a small pot and heat on the hob while stirring continuously until the mixture is a smooth pulp. Cover and keep at room temperature for about 16 hours. Adding the scalded flour will allow to bring more moisture into the loaf.

On day 2, prepare the final dough and get ready to bake!

Final dough and baking the wholemeal spelt loaf

  • 300g sourdough
  • Spelt grain soaker
  • Scalded spelt flour
  • 170g wholemeal spelt flour
  • 50g water

Combine all of the ingredients to form a soft dough and knead carefully for 10 minutes.

Place the dough back into the bowl, cover and leave to rest for 30 minutes.

Give the dough another 10 second knead, shape and place into a baking tin (17cm x 10cm x 10cm).

Wrap in a polythene bag and leave to proof for a few hours. Spelt ferments faster than other flours, so keep an eye on it. I had to slow down the fermentation as I had plans for the day so I placed it in the fridge for a number or hours. In this case, you can just bring the dough back to room temperature before baking, making sure you complete the proofing process.

Preheat the oven to 240°C, bake for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 180°C and bake for a further 35 minutes.

Leave to cool on a wire rack.

Pure wholemeal spelt flour sourdough loaf
Wholemeal spelt flour sourdough loaf with a beautifully moist crumb

How to Make a Spelt Sourdough Starter

 

I’m writing this post for a friend who has been advised to eliminate wheat and rye from her diet in favour of spelt. As a fellow sourdough devotee, I’ve written this quick post on how to make a spelt sourdough starter to help get her new baking routine underway.

First, a few words about the humble spelt…

Evidence suggests that spelt can be tolerated by people with certain wheat intolerances and may be easier to digest. The dietary superiority of spelt may be due to the fact that, unlike modern wheat grains, the spelt plant has not been manipulated to meet manufacturing needs. As an ancient grain, spelt has kept many of its original characteristics; most notably, spelt kernels grow inside a tough outer husk, making the process of de-hulling more difficult for farmers but offering natural protection from insects and disease.

Luckily for #realbread bakers, spelt is one of the easiest flours to start a sourdough culture with and it should only take a few days to have a lively starter ready for baking.

Wholemeal spelt flour sourdough starter
Wholemeal spelt flour sourdough starter

The following instructions for a spelt sourdough starter are from Andrew Whitley’s excellent book Bread Matters.

How to make a spelt sourdough starter

Day 1 and 2

In a medium plastic bowl, combine 50g wholemeal spelt flour and 100g water and mix well. Cover and keep at a warm temperature – mid 20s (°C) if possible – for 2 days.

Day 3

Add 50g wholemeal spelt flour and 50g water to the mixture, mix well, cover and keep at the same warm temperature.

Day 4

Add 50g wholemeal spelt flour and 50g water to the mixture, combine well, cover and keep at the same warm temperature.

You will hopefully have a lively sourdough culture going by day 3, but I’d recommend to complete the four-day-course.

Spelt has attributes similar to regular wheat in bread baking and although the gluten network in spelt is a little bit weaker and less elastic, there is enough of it to produce a loaf of good volume.

Enjoy baking with spelt flour – it’s easy to work with and spelt breads will reward you with a very agreeable sweet and slightly nutty flavour.

Spelt sourdough starter
Wonderfully vigorous wholemeal spelt flour sourdough culture