Thursday, January 19, 2012

Spelt and Sourdough

A lot of time when the urge to bake with the sourdough starter hits I just make something pretty simple...flour, water, salt, sourdough starter, maybe some flax seed or whole wheat flour for variety.

Sometimes I get slightly more creative like this last time. I wanted to cook up some Irish steel cut oats and use them in the dough but the tin was almost empty. Looking in the pantry I found the spelt flakes which I add to the muesli when the package seems to have too much in the way of dried fruits and not enough grain. I've never made bread dough with cooked spelt flakes but I know that Astrid, fellow Bread Baking Babe over at Paulchens Foodblog loves spelt and adds it to most of her bread, so that's what I did.

We are finally getting rain after a long dry spell this winter. Winter is usually the season when we get most of our rain for the year, so this is very welcome rain. It does mean that much of the house is chilly, so the bread gets to rise near the new stove in the livingroom.

The rest of the bread beyond the spelt was still pretty simple: bread and whole wheat flour, salt, water, dry yeast and a bit of honey. I made enough dough for two loaves. One was in a smaller pan and it rose higher. I gave that one to Grandma Loyce since she loves freshly baked bread but says she doesn't have the bread making gene. The other has been enjoyed as toast and it does make a fantastic toast!

Spelt and Sourdough Bread

1/4 cup spelt flakes, cooked for 3 minutes in 3/4 cup water in the microwave, then cooled to tepid
1 cup sourdough starter
1/2 cup warm water
1 tablespoon honey
3 cups bread flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt

Whisk the sourdough starter, water, honey and cooled cooked spelt together in the bowl of a stand mixer.

Mix the bread flour, whole wheat flour, yeast and salt together in another bowl.
Using paddle attachment, mix 1 cup of the flour mixture into the wet mixture in the stand mixer bowl. I used a clean hand with my fingers spread, but you could use the paddle attachment or a wooden spoon. Let sit for 10 minutes. Repeat with another cup of the flour mixture. Let sit again for 10 minutes.

Using the dough hook, incorporate two more cups of the flour mixture by 1/2 cups until a soft dough forms. If needed, use more bread flour, a tablespoon at a time, to make a dough that cleans the side of the mixer bowl. Knead with the mixer and/or by hand for 8 - 10 minutes until dough is elastic and somewhat smooth.

Place dough in oiled bowl; turn dough to oil other side. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.

Punch dough down and turn out onto a floured board. Knead lightly a few times to release trapped air. Divide dough in half. Shape each half into a loaf shape and put into a loaf pan. Cover and let rise until almost to the top of the pans, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. about 15 minutes before bread is ready to bake.

Cut slashes in the top of the loaf, if desired, and bake in preheated oven for about an hour, until top of bread is golden brown and loaf sounds hollow when bottom is tapped. Cool on a wire rack for at least 45 minutes before slicing. Makes 2 loaves.

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