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Published May 24, 2019. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
If you love whole wheat bread, then be sure to check out this Spelt flour bread recipe that uses a natural sourdough starter to help it rise.
Natural bread baking seems to be a dying art, even I haven’t had time to make as much as I’d like to. Making bread is a time labor of love. I say time labor because the physical part of bread baking is not bad at all, it’s the fermentation and rising time that takes so long. If you are serious about bread baking and are interested in how to make bread the way our ancestors did it, with 3 ingredients, then this Spelt flour bread recipe is for you.
Homemade bread like this Spelt flour recipe, and at professional bakeshops, it takes time. In fact, it takes about 30 hours or so from the time you feed your starter to being able to taste the bread the next day. Be sure to check out how to make a sourdough starter so you can follow along with this recipe.
What Is Spelt Flour
Spelt flour is simply a relative to modern-day wheat. It’s a whole grain using the bran, germ, and endosperm and is usually stone ground.
It was brought to the US in the early 1800s and was later replaced in the 19th century with what we know today as modern-day wheat. Spelt is loaded with fiber and great to grow in the Midwest because it can withstand cold climates. It has a slightly sweet and nutty flavor and is seriously amazing in bread baking, which is why I used it in this recipe.
It’s my hope that we can get back to using some of these old-world whole grain wheat flours that are so filled with nutrients. For some reason, people want white flour, but since that carries only the endosperm, we are missing out on all of the nutrients a whole grain like Spelt has to offer. Note: Spelt flour is not gluten-free flour.
Spelt Flour Uses: In addition to making bread, Spelt flour can be used as breading’s, in pasta, or even in baked sweet goods like cakes or cupcakes. It’s a very versatile whole grain and would be perfect in a myriad of cooking and baking occasions.
How To Make It
- Step 1: Feed your levain starter at 7 am and let it sit in a warm place for 8 to 8 ½ hours.
- Step2: Mix your flours and water and go through the 25 minutes autolyse process, see note below.
- Step 3: Add in your levain starter and work it into the dough by squeezing and folding. Cover and let rest in a warm place.
- Step 4: Every 20 minutes for 80 minutes stretch and fold the dough over 6 to 8 times. Cover and let rest.
- Step 5: Let the dough rise covered in a warm place for up to 16 hours but no less than 10 hours. The dough should be tripled in size.
- Step 6: Remove the dough from the container onto a floured surfaced and divide it in half. Form 2 dough balls and place each in a round floured breadbasket, a.k.a a brotform or banneton. Cover and let rest for 3-4 hours.
- Step 7: Preheat a Dutch oven pot in the oven to 500° and let sit for 30 minutes.
- Step 8: Transfer the bread dough to each hot dutch oven and bake for 30 minutes covered and 30 minutes uncovered. The bread should be dark brown.
- Step 9: Cool the bread for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving.
chef notes + tips
- What Is Autolyse: This is the process of mixing your flour with your warm water until combined and let the natural starches and sugars start to work before adding in your levain or yeast. This helps the rising, forming and overall bread-making process.
- Why Is This Recipe Not 100% Whole Grain: A 100% whole grain flour bread makes for a really dense bread, and honestly I don’t like dense bread. I like big fluffy air pockets, a hard-outside crust and tons of rising to my dough. This is definitely just personal opinion and how I like my bread to look, smell and taste. One hundred percent whole-grain flour can absolutely be used and made into bread, however with the naturally fermented levain that I used to help the bread rise has broken down the flours with good bacteria so that I can digest it and pull all the nutrients from them.
More Amazing Bread Recipes
- Homemade Pita Bread Recipe
- Homemade White Bread
- French Boule with Poolish
- Kamut Flour Bread with Biga
Spelt Flour Bread Recipe
- 598 grams 21.1 ounce of Bob’s Red Mill Artisan Bread Flour (4 ¾ cup)
- 322 grams 11.4 ounces of Bob’s Red Mill Spelt Flour (2 ½ cups + 1 tsp)
- 700 grams 25.7 ounces of water 90° to 92° (3 cups + 2 tbsp)
- 25 grams .8 ounces sea salt (1 ½ tbsp)
- 250 grams 8 ounces levain starter (1 cup)
- Mix the flours and water together just until combined in a large plastic container. Cover and let rest for 25 minutes.
- Sprinkle in the salt and add the levain starter and mix thoroughly by squeezing the ingredients together and folding it multiple times. Cover and let rest for 20 minutes.
- Every 20 minutes for 80 minutes fold the dough by stretching and folding over 6 to 8 times.
- Cover and let rest in a warm place for up to 16 hours and no less than 10 hours. The dough should be tripled in size.
- Remove the dough from the container onto a floured surface and cut in half equally.
- Form 2 dough balls and place each into a floured breadbasket. Cover with a towel and let sit in a warm place for 3 ½ to 4 hours.
- Place 2 Dutch oven pots into an oven and preheat to 500° and let sit for 30 minutes.
- Remove the Dutch oven pots and place the dough carefully into each Dutch oven. Cover and bake for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake for another 25 to 30 minutes or until the outside of the bread is dark brown.
- Set on a cooling rack for 30 minutes. Slice and serve.