Baking spelt sourdough not successful


Intro: Hi there. I'm Monica and I come from northern Europe though my mom is from Latin America. I grew up baking bread. We didn't often buy bread but baked our own, we baked about every two weeks lots and lots and then we'd freeze it in. It is not common to bake bread where my mother comes from, so I think she learned it from either her mother-in-law (my grandma) or my dad's grandma. Anyway I remember it was just basic, no sourdough, but it was regular white wheat flour and then we'd add the wheat bran to it. Why we did that and not just buy the wholegrain flour to start with, I have no idea, but anyway I baked so often the recipe is engraved in my mind, I can just do it by heart.

Later I started just getting the wholegrain flour to start with. Some years later I decided to try and make sourdough, and I've been making it with rye, baking rye bread. I've never made 100% pure rye bread because I read somewhere that that's not a good idea, it should always be mixed with wheat flour. I don't know if that's true though? Ok, so about the rye sour dough: I just followed a recipe and it would take me 3-4 days to make it. I just made a small batch and what was left I threw out, or it became bad: I'd forget about it and then it would form a hard crust on top with green fungus on it. Yaki! So I better just throw it and make a new one next time. Anyway baking the rye bread with sourdough has never been a problem. It's not been difficult.

So the past few years I've been trying it out a few times with spelt...but now this is the tricky part, I can't seem to get it right. It seems to me that spelt is the most difficult of flours to work with.  Except for this one: I tried a recipe for spelt which did not use a sourdough but something of a starting dough, you first make a dough and let it rest for some hours and then you make a 2nd dough and then mix them. This really worked as long as I followed the recipe exactly. The result was good!

But every time I try to bake with spelt sourdough I can't seem to get it right. I have been successful at making the sourdough, but the result after baking the bread has been not as I wish. Too dense, too dry. I think maybe the problem is that I honestly haven't been sticking to any recipe: I've been using the same recipe for wholegrain bread that I've had in my mind since I was a kid. Maybe not the best way to go about. :-D

But here is something that I've been wondering about, I only recently learned that one can actually put the ready made sourdough in the fridge, when you don't use it too often that is. Now, I've been trying that but it doesn't seem to work. Once I take it out of the fridge it's changed colour (this sourdough that I've been doing this with is made with 100% spelt) . Well it seems to have changed color and besides that separeted: there's a dark colored water floating on top. I've been throwing it out and had to start a new.

The other thing that I was wondering is: I thought the sourdough was made after 4 days, I mean it's bubbly and it smells. But recently I saw on youtube someone saying that it takes about 9 days to make. Or does that depend on the type of flour you're using? Ok, so this is what happened: last week I made a dough baked bread and then I put the sourdough in the fridge. After it had been in the fridge for 2 days I saw the video I just mentioned, and since a friend of mine wanted some of my sourdough I decided to take it out of the fridge and feed it again. Like I already mentioned it had separated, but I decided to just ignore that, I just mixed it with a spoon added some more water and flour to see if it would work. It seemed OK when I checked a couple of hours later. But the following day when I was about to feed it again, it had separated again: the brown water on top and it had lost it's smell (it wasn't smelling anymore) all this time it was out of the fridge. Maybe it didn't like the big temperature difference: I have to say that we've had some really hot days this past week, really hot: I mean between 28C (82,4F) and 35C (95F) indoors, we don't have airco. Could this have affected the sourdough? Anyway I had a feeling it was dead, so I threw it out. I'll have to start a new one again. 



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