I have to say I’ve loved baking with spelt ever since the first time I tried it. Spelt has a sweet, nutty flavor and a nutritional profile that is hard to beat, offering more protein than wheat plus a host of fiber, vitamins and minerals. Add all that to a sourdough culture, and you have a combination that’s hard to beat!
This bread has quickly become my favorite sourdough bread, and one of my favorite breads for sandwiches. It makes for a hearty sandwich loaf that’s substantial enough to stand up to toasting for a BLT, but still tender enough for slathering up with butter and eating as-is, or with jelly and peanut butter.
The dough is pretty slack, and needs a loaf pan for support to keep from spreading out. If you have an active sourdough starter you can make it in one day – no overnight sponge or levain is necessary. From start to finish it generally takes 4 to 6 hours to a finished loaf, depending on the strength of your sourdough culture and the temperature of your kitchen or proofing area. The actual hands-on time is more like 15 minutes, and that even allows the time to grind your own flour like I do.
The sweet taste of spelt meets the tangy goodness of sourdough in this recipe. I use a spelt sourdough culture, but you could also use whole wheat or white flour cultures. You can also convert your culture to spelt in a few days time, if you like. That’s how I got mine going initialy, and you can click here for the details on how to do it.
This bread gets a great oven spring. Slashing the bread down the middle right before baking will help keep it from splitting. For a softer crust you can brush the top with a little butter after you take it from the oven. This is an easy to make bread that’s full of whole-grain goodness and nutrition. Who knows, it might just wind up being one of your favorites too!
Spelt Sourdough Sandwich Bread Print This Recipe
adapted from a King Arthur Flour recipe
8 oz sourdough starter (maintained with equal parts flour and water)
3 cups whole grain spelt flour (10.5 oz)
1-1/4 cups unbleached white flour(4.5 oz), divided
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 tbsp honey
1-1/4 tsp salt
1 cup cool water (8 oz)
1. The day before making the bread, feed your starter and make sure you have enough to make the bread and still leave some for maintaining the starter.
2. If your starter is refrigerated, remove it at least an hour before making bread and let it come to room temperature and get active.
3. In a mixing bowl, combine sourdough starter, spelt flour, 1 cup of the unbleached flour, butter, honey, salt, and water. Stir mixture to form a ball.
4. Place dough on work surface and knead for 2 or 3 minutes, adding up to 1/4 cup more unbleached flour as needed. The mixture should quickly become elastic, and remain soft. Be careful about adding too much flour though.
5. Place dough in bowl lightly coated with a little cooking oil or butter. Cover and let rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Dough will not double, but should increase in size by 50%, and indentations should remain when you press your fingers into the dough.
6. Lightly grease an 8-1/2 x 4-1/2-inch loaf pan. This bread needs the support of a pan as it bakes.
7. Remove dough from the bowl and form into a loaf shape, punching down to remove any trapped gasses. Place dough in pan, cover and let rise for 1-1/2 to 3 hours. Dough won’t double, but it should rise slightly above the top of the loaf pan.
8. About 15-20 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 425°F.
9. Right before baking, slash loaf down the center with a sharp knife. This will help keep the loaf from splitting as the dough expands during baking.
10. Put bread in oven. After 10 minutes, reduce heat to 400°F
11. Continue baking for 30-35 minutes more, until golden brown. Bread may be covered in foil near the end if getting too brown. Loaf should register at least 180°F in center.
12. Remove bread from oven and cool on rack 5 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool thoroughly before slicing (if you can wait!). Brush the top of the loaf with a little melted butter for a softer top crust.
Nutrition (per serving): 163 calories, 25 calories from fat, 2.8g total fat, 5.1mg cholesterol, 243.6mg sodium, 43.9mg potassium, 29.8g carbohydrates, 4.1g fiber, 2.9g sugar, 4.5g protein, 5mg calcium, 1.4g saturated fat.