Spelt Bake-Off (title changed from Spelt)

Note inserted on 10 April 2008:
The idea to change this thread to a bake-off was cooked up here. Let's share our experiences with spelt, what works and what doesn't. Teresa has a very helpful thread on her spelt experience. Nowonmai and bushturkey have started blogs...see here and here. Theoreticgal tells about her spelt starter here. There's lots of time for all to join in...20 days and counting. I may bake another loaf or 2.


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Announcing....that spelt has finally arrived on our shores....Bob's Red Mill. It's expensive but I was so thrilled to finally see it here that I bought the lone packet without even glancing at its price. It was the only packet not because many bought it, the shop had only one packet because even they don't know anything about spelt and didn't expect anybody to buy it. I've put in orders for more.

Here's the fully sourdough half plain/half spelt loaf I made last week. I'm toying with the idea of making fully spelt. Shall I?



Thanks for looking.

TP


239 comments

Bobs red mill has great flours, but TP, what is that Pig doing there in place of you?


Jeremy

Isn't he a cutie? Love him...he looks as if he's saying "Gimme Bread!"


TP and Jeremy. You guys have to get together and collaborate on a cook book. TP gorgeous images and Jeremy I have listened to Dieter and now listening to Maggie. Very relaxed and informative.

TP. The bread also looks amazing. That is the photographer in me. Graham

[quote=Graham]TP and Jeremy. You guys have to get together and collaborate on a cook book. TP gorgeous images and Jeremy I have listened to Dieter and now listening to Maggie. Very relaxed and informative.
[/quote]

Graham

Floored me with that comment. Interesting idea. Jeremy's pretty good with his interviews for sure.

As for my pix, thanks. I've admired and enjoyed your journalistic style of photographing all those bakeries. Your love for those bakers and their products shine through.


Coming back to my original post, has anyone been happy making bread with 100% spelt? My memory is fuzzy...I think I 'have' made it before....but there's much going all over that one should stick to the safe side of 50% when using spelt. Eh?

Jeremy....Bob's Red Mill does have a good range of flours but we won't be seeing half of 'em. Can you guys check out this spelt recipe at their site? Says,

"Letting the dough rise for a long time is very important. Again, the
spelt flour does not have nearly the gluten content and the yeast needs
a long time to puff up the spelt dough. Be patient. Baking it before it
has properly risen will result in a hard, dense brick!"


And, that's even with using yeast. I've always been led to believe that one should be careful NOT to overprove as its structure is weaker. Hmm...

TP


TP:

I make a 90% (the missing 10% is the levain) and I agree that shorter fermentation is better with whole spelt, better oven spring and better over all texture.  I ferment the bulk levain for 12-14 hours, do a short 2-3 hours intermediate levain and then make the dough which bulk ferments for about 2 hours.  Shape, rest, pan, prove for about 1.5 hours.  Seems to work.  I find all whole grain doughs unforgiving because when I go over slightly on my timing, the result is less than great.

Tony

Thanks, Tony. Your process sounds like it'll make very good bread. I'll go for it.

TP


TP I though you might be interested in this video of mixing a 65% hydration spelt dough. Like Tony's dough it would probably be 90% spelt due to the sourdough leaven being organic roller-milled wheat flour (white). However the spelt we used was exceptional quality, freshly stone ground organic, 100% extraction flour.

Any way, I had heard about how spelt needed to be mixed fairly dry, but did not really understand it until Thomas from Boonderoo Farm showed me. Wow! I did not add one additional drop of liquid to this dough...and was in disbelief at the way it loosened up.

This film was shot around the middle of 2007. Thank you Thomas for being such an excellent teacher and camera operator.

Very thoughtful of you. I can see how the spelt dough is changing right before my eyes.

My connection has been disgustingly slow the past few days. Took me an hour to load the video. Maybe that's why the other video didn't work for me. Will try it as soon as the internet is kinder to me.



Graham,
Love the video, how long did the mix last? 5 or 10 minutes total? I used spelt in Switzerland, and found it difficult to use in a high hydrated levain, or maybe the hydration of the dough formula I used, and they use white and whole wheat spelt too!
Your gonna have to do a full length video lots of lessons!

Jeremy


Here's my almost 100% spelt....well, the starter's white. Crumb shot will come later. Have to log off now....thunderstorm moving in fast!




TP,


I've used a 100% Rye sourdough reciepe from Reinhardt's Bread Baker's Apprentice.  In a sidebar he suggests replacing the rye with spelt flour.  Seem to remember it working.  I would have started with a wheat levain, but can't remember if I refreshed with Spelt before mixing the dough.


Matthew


I have the book...will look it up.

Any new oven pix?

Cheers
TP



How did it taste TP?  Looks beautiful as always.

Matthew



Not me...the bread. Will cut it in a bit....

I'm also curious to know how the crumb looks as I haven't made bread under 70% hydration for some time. This one is 67%.

Thanks, Matthew. Nice to see you.


The crumb is tight, but it isn't dense. Very tasty. Needs something savoury to complement it. What?




A nice sharp cheese? Or maybe a nutty swiss cheese with a smear of chutney?

BTW a couple new photos over in the oven thread as requested.  Been super doing non oven and non-bread things lately.



Such beautiful artistic looking bread! Hooray! How did you like the taste? Teresa

I thought since this was officially my first full spelt, I wanted to make it special. Actually, the slashes were impromptu; the original idea was to make a circular slash all round the bread...didn't make it past one quarter. Oh well...will try again for the next bread.

Matthew, a shame we don't have any nice cheese. And, I meant to make chutney, have bought 3/4s of the stuff....too many things to do, too little time. I ate it neat, slightly toasted. The rest had it dipped in half-boiled eggs and shoyu. Thumbs up all around. I need a class on bread-tasting. I'm at a loss at how to describe what I tasted. It doesn't seem to be much different from my other wholemeal loaves. :?



not fair on the spelt, i thought we were racing for the first 100% spelt loaf! having successfully (kind of) moved, the baking can begin again! stay tuned for the first pics next week, and let the spelt competition begin!! :)



bugger, it appears your have beaten me to it! and god i wish i could photograph bread (and make it!) as well as you. much practise for me i think!



LOL! Your breads look just great! When taking bread pix, remember to make your bread the star.


Great bread photos TP. You inspired me to have a go with spelt. I used whole meal spelt flour and my white starter so 17% of the total flour content is strong white.





What a slash! Love it!!!! How would you describe the taste of your spelt?


Rebacca Rayner, at Glebe Farm http://www.glebe-flour.co.uk/organicfloursproductpage.html near here grows and mills a white spelt flour. I thought I would try making batards/baguettes.

Whoever said that spelt gets wetter as the dough stands spoke truly. I did my usual long autolyse, mixing just the dough flour and water, and over a few hours it turned from dough to batter.
I conclude it has a high amalyse actvity, and indeed the falling number is very low - below 200. Next time I will take this into account, but the dough was so soft it came out rather rustic.

The texture was not as open as I expected. I retarded it overnight, which may have been a mistake and it may be overproved. Advise welcome.















I like the slashes on the right, Jack. Must have been tricky to score a wet(tish) dough.


[quote=jacklang]..over a few hours it turned from dough to batter...[/quote]
at me its long chewed chewing gum ;)
Don't overkneed!
Spelt doesn't like long kneading turns, the window between well done and noddle soup is very small.

It was kidding me, now I add ascorbic acid, always.
German "Isernhager" research centre recommands 0,008%, I take one tablespoon acerola per kilo. It will stabilize the gluten, compare to wheat its still more weak, but strong enough to handle.
Note:
Presoaked (aurtolyze) the kneading time is very very short.






























white spelt baguettes

edited by TP to show Markus' baguettes in all their glory.

The idea to change this thread to a bake-off was cooked up here. Let's share our experiences with spelt, what works and what doesn't. Teresa has a very helpful thread on her spelt experience. Nowonmai and bushturkey have started blogs...see here and here. Theoreticgal tells about her spelt starter here. There's lots of time for all to join in...20 days and counting. I may bake another loaf or 2.

TP, what are the rules ?  You can't really have a bake-off without some rules. :)

I"m guessing rule #1 for all bakeoffs here is going to be that it has to be all natural leaven, ie. no commercial yeast, right ? 

Can we make loaves with a mix of spelt and bakers flour ?  And what sort of things are we allowed to add - I've got a bag of pure gluten (woohoo, have never used it), and I'll usually add malt and olive oil to a loaf.  Are those all ok ?

Thanks, Celia




*cough* Celia. The discussion on what constitutes sourdough bread is a teeny bit sticky at the moment...so...I wouldn't want to attach any stipulations to this bake-off, except,

Have fun
Anything goes, provided natural leaven is one of the ingredients
Tell what you put inside
We want pix, especially crumb pix


Howzat? That way, I guess, our window of spelt bread discovery will be wider. Mix away!

Suggestions are most welcome, to make future bake-offs more interesting. Y'all think there should be rules? If so, what rules?


Oh good grief.  I didn't realise it was quite that passionate a debate.

Ok, I like your rules, TP.  Suits us amateur bakers. :)

And I'm happy to stick to a "no commercial yeast" rule.  I know from a prior discussion with Graham that that's his preference...




i'm back! after a long hyatis, it appears i have come back just in time for the competition:) I'm going to try for a bit of a different approach - I've been building my spelt starter, and am going to make a spelt fruit bread....lets hope it works! an TP...any hints or tips you can give me about photography i would really appreciate!


[quote=celia]Oh good grief.  I didn't realise it was quite that passionate a debate.

Ok, I like your rules, TP.  Suits us amateur bakers. :)

And I'm happy to stick to a "no commercial yeast" rule.  I know from a prior discussion with Graham that that's his preference...


[/quote]

Hopefully, it won't be only us amateur bakers playing in this bake-off. We'd love the company of professionals too...a chance to rub shoulders.:)


[quote=nowonmai]i'm back! after a long hyatis, it appears i have come back just in time for the competition:) I'm going to try for a bit of a different approach - I've been building my spelt starter, and am going to make a spelt fruit bread....lets hope it works! an TP...any hints or tips you can give me about photography i would really appreciate!
[/quote]

Glad you can join in the bake-off (not a competition at all). I'm in the midst of a cake job at the moment...but, for food photography, here's an excellent site. I haven't had the time to follow past the 2nd lesson, but it should teach you ALL, I mean ALL you  need to know. Can't wait to see your fruited spelt.


[quote=TeckPoh]
*cough* Celia. The discussion on what constitutes sourdough bread is a teeny bit sticky at the moment...so...I wouldn't want to put any stipulations to this bake-off, except,

Suggestions are most welcome, to make future bake-offs more interesting. Y'all think there should be rules? If so, what rules?
[/quote]

Why don't you conduct a poll![img]http://sourdough.com.au/modules/smileys/packs/example/wink.png[/img]
Reaching for a baguette.....!!!!!!!!!!}:)


What spelt, bageutte?
TWO. The more overproved the better!


may not be enough time for me to contribute an entry. I've got a busy holiday schedule for two weeks.[img]http://forum.flylife.com.au/images/XP/icon_smile_big.gif[/img]
[quote=Fire Beard]Great bread photos TP. You inspired me to have a go with spelt. I used whole meal spelt flour and my white starter so 17% of the total flour content is strong white.



[/quote]

Have you got an internal phoptograph?

That's a nice looking loaf, well done.

I haven't even baked with spelt, yet. I'm afraid I'm a bit behind the eight ball on this.

___________________

TP, how close to colour true is your spelt picture?








[quote=Danubian]
___________________

TP, how close to colour true is your spelt picture?

[/quote]

The crumb pix colour is pretty close. I forgot to say I added around 20g molasses. The full bread was taken at the patio during a very yellow sunset. I liked the colours so I intensified the hue a little.

Hah! A very busy holiday schedule indeed! Allow me to do some number crunching here.

20 open days of bake-off - 14 days of holiday glee = 6 possible days of baking

Well?


I'll do my best, it may take more time but I'll definitely try some spelt, soonish.

Molasses? thought something was different.

Not! ;) Besides, they push arms (or rather hands), not twist....

Thank you for your kind cooperation, Boris.
*withdrawing baguette......*

But seriously, people...should the bake-off have a deadline? I was thinking, sure, we can say the bake-off for the month is for such-and-such bread, but late-comers should be welcomed to join in when they can. What do you think?


Will molasses be considered worthy of sourdough I mean will it change things in terms of purity?
I will give the spelt a go as well, look up some formula, perhaps a 60/40 rye/spelt formula? Should I cut back say 10 or 15 % on h20, TP?


Jeremy

P.S. short kneads and folds too?

Goodness, there's nothing like a little competition to really get the board chatter up.. ;-)

I really have to get up to speed, haven't read anything on spelt yet.  Will start with the blogs.  I'm planning a mixed loaf - probably spelt with white bakers flour, unless Graham's flour proves too gorgeous when it arrives next week.  Can you tell I'm excited about getting new flour ? Funny story, I tried to convince my husband Pete that it was far, far more economical if we were to buy the flour by the tonne.  Given we go through 12.5kg every fortnight at the moment, I figured it would only take us 3 and a bit years to get through a tonne. He just rooooolled his eyes...  :)



[quote=TeckPoh]
But seriously, people...should the bake-off have a deadline? I was thinking, sure, we can say the bake-off for the month is for such-and-such bread, but late-comers should be welcomed to join in when they can. What do you think?
[/quote]

Well, I think a deadline's important, otherwise some of us won't get around to it until June. :)

What about you have a deadline, so that each month you can set a new challenge ?  Obviously the thread will stay open, so people can keep posting their spelt breads even after the end of the month.  And since it's really "show and tell" (as those of us with kids would call it) rather than a contest (after all, who would judge?), it doesn't matter if people post pictures after the bake-off "closes".

Really looking forward to this, thanks TP !



[quote=celia]
Well, I think a deadline's important, otherwise some of us won't get around to it until June. :)

What about you have a deadline, so that each month you can set a new challenge ?  Obviously the thread will stay open, so people can keep posting their spelt breads even after the end of the month.  And since it's really "show and tell" (as those of us with kids would call it) rather than a contest (after all, who would judge?), it doesn't matter if people post pictures after the bake-off "closes".

[/quote]

That's what I meant, Celia. You say it better than I. :)

That's it, then. Get baking, girls and boys. I'm refreshing some starter now....


[quote=Jeremy]Will molasses be considered worthy of sourdough I mean will it change things in terms of purity?
I will give the spelt a go as well, look up some formula, perhaps a 60/40 rye/spelt formula? Should I cut back say 10 or 15 % on h20, TP?


Jeremy

P.S. short kneads and folds too?
[/quote]

Don't ask me! I'm not the expert nor have I notched up enough spelt breads under my belt. I'm glad for this thread to learn.

On hydration, my full spelt was 67% and I was thinking perhaps I could have been more comfortable with less as it felt rather wet. On the kneading, I did only 2 short kneads, and 1 KnF.

TP

P.S. You don't look like the puritan type, Jeremy. I need the iron, calcium and potassium from the molasses.;)


I get mine from bananas actually!:P
I have been digging around for some German formulas and found one, with oats and spelt!


Jeremy