16 November 2007


I've been baking bread like a demon. We visited friends in Berlin in the summer of 2005, and they were into making sourdough broetchen for breakfast. The real catalyst in the last month was myself buying a book about making bread in WH Smith. Why buy bread when you can make you own?

I've started with small loaves of organic spelt bread.

Spelt is old-school. It has been found in Stone Age excavations and was mentioned three times in the Book of Ezekiel in the old Testament.

Spelt is different in a number of ways:

Spelt is the forerunner of modern wheat with a unique nutty wheaty flavour. Think of the taste difference between a bland Golden Delicious Apple and a tasty Russet Apple. Then imagine an equivalent difference in flour and you will want to sample the intense wheaty flavour of Spelt.

Spelt contains more protein, fat and fibre than wheat. It also contains special carbohydrates called mucopolysaccharides, which play a decisive role in stimulating the body’s immune system, helping to increase its resistance to infection. Due to Spelt’s high water solubility the grain’s vital substances can, like liquid nutrients, be absorbed quickly by the body.

250g organic spelt flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp fairtrade sugar (I've used brown)
1 tsp yeast
175ml warm water
3 tbsp organic olive oil

What to do:

1. Mix the flour, salt, sugar and yeast together. Carefully measure the water, and add it in. Start kneading the dough for 15 seconds, then, while it's still craggy, add the 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Keep kneading until you have a smooth pliable dough (you might need to add a bit of extra flour, use your discretion).

2. Leave it in a bowl (covered with a cloth) to rise. Wait until it has doubled in size (usually 45 min to an hour).

3. Take the dough, add any ingredients you want to (chopped apricots, sultanas, crushed walnuts) and knead it on a lightly floured surface for a number of minutes.

3. Shape it into a cooking tin (greased), and leave it covered to rise for a 2nd time (for 25 minutes).

4. Bake it in an oven at 225C for 35-40 minutes (cover the bread with foil for the last 15 minutes to prevent overbrowning).

You can find some more spelt recipes here.


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