Grünkern (green spelt) bread recipe

 

Browsing the local delights of the organic grocery store in my home town in Austria, I picked up a bag of Grünkern. The greenish grains looked pretty and unique on the shelf! Grünkern grains are unripe spelt kernels cultivated predominantly in Southern Germany. Although mainly used for soups and vegetarian burgers, I wanted to incorporate some of this unique green spelt grain in a sourdough Grünkern bread.

Grünkern sourdough
Grünkern sourdough bread

What is Grünkern?

Grünkern (German for ‘green kernel’) is spelt, harvested when green, in the dough stage of ripening, and then dried. Historically, harvesting spelt so early and before it reaches its full ripeness was a reaction to periods of adverse weather, which destroyed crops and resulted in poor harvests. It was a way to prevent crop failure.

Grünkern
Grünkern

The green spelt grains are harvested when the starch isn’t fully developed and the kernels are still soft and juicy at about 50% moisture content. Grains are dried over a beechwood fire or in hot air dryers – right down to a moisture content of 10 to 13%. Once dried, the outer husk is removed. Have a look at gruenkern.de for more information around the harvesting process, then and now.

The dried green spelt kernels smell aromatic and a little bit like fresh hay. The aroma remains uniquely pleasant and hearty when cooked with water, so it became a tradition to harvest a portion of the spelt as Grünkern. Grünkern doesn’t tend to be milled and is typically available as whole grains or chopped grains.

If this sounds similar to another grain, Freekeh, then you are right. Freekeh is also harvested green, then roasted. The difference? Freekeh is made from green unripe durum wheat and dates back to the ancient regions of Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria while Grünkern is made from spelt and is still mainly produced in Germany.

How Grünkern was made

Watch these videos showcasing the Grünkern harvest back in the 1970s in Germany.

Where to buy Grünkern in the UK?

I’ve only seen Grünkern on Amazon in the UK. Unfortunately, other probable places such as Real Foods or Buy Whole Foods Online don’t seem to stock it.

Grünkern bread recipe

This recipe adds Grünkern to a wholemeal spelt sourdough loaf. Adding black treacle enhances the flavours, but you can easily leave out the treacle if you would like to taste the pure Grünkern flavours.

Grünkern bread
Grünkern bread

Ingredients

For the sourdough

For the Grünkern soaker

  • 175g Grünkern
  • 350g water

For the main dough

  • 220g spelt flour
  • 50g water
  • 14g salt
  • 1 tbsp malt extract

How to bake Grünkern bread

Day 1

  • Prepare the sourdough by combining your spelt starter with the spelt flour and water. Mix well in a bowl, cover with a lid and leave to stand at room temperature for 16 – 24 hours.
  • Combine Grünkern and water in a pan, cover and leave to soak overnight.

Day 2

  • Drain the Grünkern and bring to a boil in a pan with 350g water. Simmer over a low heat for about 15 minutes. Drain any remaining water.
  • In a large bowl, combine 440g of the sourdough (the remaining 25g go back into the fridge for your next bake) with the main dough ingredients.
  • Form a dough and knead for 10 minutes.
  • Add the Grünkern to the dough and knead until evenly distributed.
  • Place the dough back into the bowl, cover and leave to rest for 1 hour at room temperature.
  • Prepare a baking tin (23 x 11 x 9.5 cm) by lightly oiling it. I use a silicone brush to do that.
  • Place the dough into the tin and prove for 2 – 4 hours depending on the temperature in your room. The dough should rise visibly, filling the tin to the top.
  • Preheat the oven to 250°C.
  • Place the baking tin on the second layer from bottom up and bake for 15 minutes, then bake for a further 25 minutes at 180°C and a final 10 minutes outside the tin at 180°C.
  • Cool on a wire rack.
Grünkern spelt bread
Grünkern spelt bread

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.

Spelt sourdough bread recipe

Thanks to my grain mill, I can make the spelt bread simply from a bag of spelt grains, milling what I need and leaving the grains for the soaker whole.

On day 1, prepare the sourdough, spelt grain soaker and scalded flour 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

  • 50g spelt grains
  • 250g water
  • 5g 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

In a medium bowl, pour the boiling water over the flour and mix 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

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 sourdough bread
Wholemeal spelt sourdough bread with a beautifully moist crumb

Spelt Sourdough Starter Recipe

 

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

Firstly, 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 flour 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.

Can you use spelt flour for your sourdough starter?

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 sourdough starter
Wholemeal spelt sourdough starter

Making spelt sourdough starter

The following instructions on how to to make spelt sourdough starter are taken from Andrew Whitley’s excellent book Bread Matters.




 

Wholemeal spelt flour sourdough starter
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How to make spelt sourdough starter

Ingredients

  • 150 g wholemeal spelt flour
  • 200 g water

Instructions

  • Day 1 & 2 - 
    In a plastic bowl (with lid), combine 50g wholemeal spelt flour and 100g water and mix well.
    Cover with the lid 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 with the lid and keep at the same warm temperature.
  • Day 4 - 
    Add 50g wholemeal spelt flour and 50g water to the mixture, combine well, cover with the lid 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.

Notes

 
A note on water by Andrew Whitley in his book Do Sourdough – Slow Bread For Busy Lives:
 
“Tap water is treated with chlorine… which isn’t great for the bacteria that we want to nurture. There are two ways to reduce the chlorine threat: leave a jug of water standing overnight and most of the residual chlorine will evaporate; or use still spring water from a bottle. Once a starter is up and running, it will cope with water straight from the tap. Using a little spring water for the first few days will give your starter the best possible chances.”

Spelt sourdough bread

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.

Here are some recipes you may want to try:

Spelt sourdough starter
Wonderfully vigorous wholemeal spelt flour sourdough culture

Potato Bread Recipe with Sourdough (Kartoffelbrot)

 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

We are celebrating here. With potato bread and champagne, great combination, try it!

Potato bread makes use of potatoes to replace some of the wheat flour. The addition of potatoes keeps the bread moist and prevents it from crumbling.

Usually, potato bread recipes use either raw or cooked potatoes. In this recipe, I’ve combined both methods and also included rye flour (my favourite).

Potato bread just out of the oven
Potato bread just out of the oven

Sourdough

  • 15g wheat sourdough starter from the fridge
  • 150g white bread flour
  • 150g water

Mix ingredients in a bowl, cover with cling film and keep at room temperature overnight  – approximately 16 hours.

Wheat Sourdough
Wheat Sourdough

Sponge

  • 100g white bread flour
  • 1oog water
  • 1/2 tsp dry yeast (or 1g fresh yeast)

Mix ingredients in a bowl, cover with cling film and keep at room temperature for 2 hours, then transfer to the fridge for 14 hours.

Wheat Sponge
Wheat Sponge

Final dough

  • 300g wheat sourdough
  • Sponge as above
  • 170g white bread flour
  • 50g spelt flour (or use 220g white bread flour if you don’t have spelt at home)
  • 200g strong rye flour
  • 200g water, lukewarm (cooled down potato cooking water can be used)
  • 70g potato (scrubbed, unpeeled, grated)
  • 70g potato (peeled, boiled, mashed)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
Mashed and Grated Potatoes
Mashed and Grated Potatoes

How to make pototo bread

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, mix together and knead for 12 minutes. It’ll be a little sticky, but the gluten strands make it easy enough to handle.
  2. Cover the dough with the bowl and leave to rest for 30 minutes.
  3. Fold the dough like an envelope – take each corner, fold it to the middle and shape the dough into a ball. Cover the dough again.
  4. Leave to rest for 30 minutes, then flatten and fold again.
  5. Leave to rest for another 30 minutes.
  6. Flatten and fold again, shape into a boule, then place (seam-side up) in a well floured proofing basket.
  7. Cover the proving basket with a polythene bag.
  8. Leave to rest for several hours, depending on the temperature in your kitchen. Alternatively, proof in the fridge overnight.
  9. Preheat the oven to 220°C.
  10. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  11. Carefully turn out the dough onto the baking tray and place in the oven.
  12. Bake for 15 minutes then turn down the temperature to 180°C and bake for a further 40 minutes.
  13. Cool on a wire rack.
Potato bread - Just before baking
Potato bread – Just before baking

Great with Kerrygold butter and honey but potato bread goes well with most toppings.

Also great with this amazing Omelette Arnold Bennett!

Potato bread - Lovely with just butter and honey
Potato bread – Lovely with butter and honey

 

Brown seeded wholemeal bread recipe

 

Looking for a bread recipe full of wholesome goodness? This loaf of brown seeded wholemeal bread is bursting with healthy seeds and kernels. Great for using up the various bits and pieces you might have waiting in your store cupboard!

Brown seeded wholemeal bread
Brown seeded wholemeal bread

Seeded wholemeal bread recipe

Makes one loaf of brown seeded bread.

Day 1 – Prepare sourdough & flaxseed soaker

Sourdough

  • 15g sourdough starter
  • 50g dark rye flour
  • 100g wholemeal flour (wheat or spelt)
  • 150g water
  • Combine these ingredients in a medium bowl, cover and keep at room temperature for approx. 16 hours.

Flaxseed soaker

  • 40g flax seeds (golden or brown)
  • 100g water
  • Combine in a small bowl and cover for approx. 16 hours.

Day 2 – Prepare the toasted seeds & dough

Prepare the toasted seed mix 

  • 3 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 3 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • You can replace some of the above and mix in some rolled oats or poppy seeds or even some chopped nuts, whatever you have available or feel like.
  • Place the seeds in a frying pan (no oil!) and toast the mixed seeds for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, then leave to cool. (Alternatively, you can toast the seed mix in the oven at 150°C).

Prepare the main dough

  • 300g sourdough from day 1
  • Flaxseed soaker from day 1
  • Toasted seed mix (as per the above)
  • 600g wholemeal flour (wheat or spelt)
  • 340g water
  • 13g salt
  • Combine the sourdough, flaxseed soaker, wholemeal flour, water and salt in a large bowl, then knead for 10 minutes. It’s important to get the consistency of the dough right, so make sure it’s not too dry and not too wet. Add some more water if the dough is hard to knead. If in doubt – wetter is better!
  • Add in the toasted seed mix until evenly distributed.
  • Cover and leave to rest in a warm place for ½ hour.
  • Butter a lidded pullman loaf tin, then move the dough from the bowl into the tin. Squash the dough in quite firmly and evenly.
  • Cover the tin with the lid and place in the fridge overnight or approx. 12 – 16 hours.

Day 3 – Bake

Take the pullman loaf tin out of the fridge and  preheat the oven to 190°C for 20 minutes.

  • Brush the top of the dough with water and sprinkle some more sunflower seeds on top.
  • Bake at 190°C for 1 hour. Remove the bread from the tin approx. 15 minutes before the hour is up and put back into the oven – the bread will get a much better crust that way.
  • Remove from the loaf pan, wrap in a clean kitchen towel and leave to cool on a wire rack.

The brown seeded wholemeal loaf is delicious for breakfast and perfect also with salted butter and peppered, smoked mackerel or potato, root vegetable and sour cream soup.

White spelt flour bread recipe

 

Returning from a work trip mid-week, I discovered that pretty much all of our bread stash (fresh and frozen) had been eaten. Noooo! I had to act quickly and this white spelt flour bread recipe was just perfect. If you need a bread-fix quickly, use this simple recipe for a basic white sandwich loaf to help you get by.

Spelt sourdough bread slices
Spelt sourdough bread slices

White spelt flour bread recipe (using yeast)

This recipe uses white spelt flour which I prefer using over plain wheat flour, but it will work with any plain white flour you have at home.

What you’ll need to make the white spelt flour loaf –

  • 500g white spelt flour
  • 280ml lukewarm water
  • 7g salt
  • 7g sachet of dried yeast

How to make the white spelt loaf –

  1. Add all ingredients above into a medium bowl and combine well.
  2. Knead the dough thoroughly and patiently for about 10 minutes (this is the fun part!). The result should be a silky, smooth, elastic dough.
  3. Put the dough back into the bowl and cover with a lid for about an hour or longer until well risen.
  4. Once risen, take the dough out of the bowl and reduce its size again by ‘knocking it back’ (kneading it firmly but briefly to knock the air out).
  5. Shape into a boule and leave on the worktop for 10 minutes to relax the gluten.
  6. Place the dough into a baking tin and cover with a polythene bag to prevent it from drying out.
  7. Let the dough prove at room temperature until it’s doubled in size. This may take an hour in a warm room but longer in a colder room.
  8. Preheat the oven to 220°C about half an hour before baking.
  9. Bake the loaf for 45 minutes.
  10. Cool on a wire rack or wrap in a clean dishtowel if you like a softer crust.

The result –

A great looking white spelt bread loaf –  beautiful with butter and strawberry or raspberry jam in the morning. Great also for soaking up the juices from this amazing autumnal casserole dish.

White spelt flour bread recipe (using sourdough)

If you have more time, I would recommend baking the loaf with sourdough instead of yeast. Replace some of the white flour with wholemeal flour, infuse the dough with nigella seeds and you’ll have an entirely new loaf.

Spelt loaf with nigella seeds
Spelt loaf with nigella seeds

Here’s how to make it.

Ingredients for a spelt sourdough loaf –

  • 50g sourdough starter
  • 250g white spelt flour
  • 250g wholemeal spelt flour
  • 280ml lukewarm water
  • 7g salt
  • 1 tbsp nigella seeds

How to make spelt sourdough bread –

Day 1

Combine the sourdough starter with 100g white spelt flour, 100g wholemeal spelt flour and 200g water. Mix well and cover with a lid. Keep at room temperature for 16 to 24 hours.

Day 2

Take 50g of sourdough out of the bowl to put back into the fridge for future sourdough baking before adding the remaining 150g white spelt flour, 150g wholemeal spelt flour, 80g water and 7g salt into the bowl. Follow steps 2 to 10 below but beware that sourdough may take longer to rise. Just before step 6, sprinkle the nigella seeds into the baking tin before placing the dough on top.