I got my recipe for a sour dough spelt loaf largely from this book which I purchased at the Red Beard Bakery in Trentham. I also found a big bag of wholemeal spelt flour there, but you don’t need to travel all that way as it’s easy to buy spelt flour in Melbourne.

I was delighted when one of my first spelt loaves looked very like the one on the cover.

Since then I’ve amended the original recipe a little, merging it with the method I use for my regular sour dough loaves, as described here. The spelt loaf has a lovely nutty flavour. Here’s my recipe.

Leaven
40g starter (the book says it should be a mature starter, which means its been out of the fridge for a day or two, but I do mine straight from the fridge)
30g water (the book says at 30 degrees, but I don’t worry about temperature at all – cold or warm doesn’t make much difference to me)
15g white bread flour
15g wholegrain spelt flour
Mix together in a small bowl, cover with gladwrap and leave on the kitchen bench overnight.

Dough
400g water (I do use tepid water for this)
350g white bread flour
150g wholemeal spelt flour
10g salt

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the leaven in the water (doesn’t have to be fully mixed in). Add the flour and mix with a spatula to form a shaggy dough. Leave for an hour, covered with gladwrap.

After an hour sprinkle the salt over the dough and pinch it in – use your thumb and forefinger, and do it a few times until you feel the dough tighten.
Leave to rest for half an hour, covered with gladwrap.

After half an hour fold the dough. Take hold of it on one side and stretch it out and fold it over into the middle of the bowl, turn the bowl and do the same again; do this four or five times around the bowl i.e. 16 or 20 folds.

Here’s a picture of the dough after this first fold

Leave it to rest for half an hour. During this time it will spread out back to the sides of the bowl. It should look like this.

Repeat the folding process; again four or five times around the four sides of the bowl; 16 or 20 folds in total. And it should look like this – a bit smoother and tighter in the middle of the bowl.

After resting for another half an hour, repeat the folding process again. The dough should be getting tighter and silkier after each fold. After the third fold and follow up resting period it should look like this.

Now flour the bench – use plenty of flour to avoid the dough sticking.

Pull dough gently from the bowl and onto the bench.

Use the bread scraper to gently move around like the steering wheel of a car. This tightens the dough. Now turn it over.

Leave the dough to settle on the bench for half an hour. While it’s resting prepare the proofing basket with a tea towel.

Use plenty of flour to avoid the loaf sticking to the tea towel during the proofing process.

After it has rested for half an hour on the bench, fold the dough. Left side into the middle, right side into the middle, topside down, bottom side up. Then pull each corner into the middle – two top corners, two bottom corners. You should have a round shaped dough to then place in the proofing basket, folds facing up.

Fold the tea towel loosely over the top of the dough and place in the fridge over night.

Next morning, put a dutch oven, lid on, into a cold oven. Turn the temperature up to the highest it will go – mine goes to 260 degrees celsius. When the temperature is reached, take the dough out of the fridge and place into the dutch oven upside down so that the folds are on the bottom. Quickly score the top of the dough; using a baker’s blade cut at an angle four short lines in the middle of the loaf to make an incomplete square. This lets the dough ‘burst’ and the bread expand as it cooks. Place in the oven, lid on, and cook on the highest heat for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, without looking inside the dutch oven, reduce the temperature to 230 degrees for a further 10 minutes. After 10 minutes remove the lid of the dutch oven and cook for a further 10 to 15 minutes.

Take the bread out of the dutch oven and place on a cake wrack to cool.

 

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