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 up this spelt sourdough starter recipe to help get the 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.
The following guide for a spelt sourdough starter are from Andrew Whitley’s excellent book Bread Matters.
How to make spelt sourdough starter
- 150 g wholemeal spelt flour
- 200 g water
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.
- Add 50g wholemeal spelt flour and 50g water to the mixture, mix well, cover and keep at the same warm temperature.
- 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 spelt sourdough culture going by day 3, but I'd recommend to complete the four-day-course. Your spelt sourdough starter is then ready to work with.
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.