I have been meaning for aaages to try baking with spelt flour, it is low in gluten, high in protein and supposedly very good for you, but I had trouble finding any where I live. I managed to get some whilst visiting my parents ( Waitrose sell all the interesting things…) and decided that my first foray into baking with spelt should be bread. I made a basic loaf of bread but added honey for a bit of sweetness and flavour, all of the ingredients in this loaf are ones that would have been used in ancient times, I quite like the thought of eating something that people would have been eating thousands of years ago.
Spelt flour has a lower gluten content than conventional flours so takes longer to knead properly, make sure that you knead the dough for at least ten minutes. It also has a tendency to spread outwards when baked so it is best to bake it in a tin, which it tends to stick to, so make sure that you grease and line it.
The loaf is well-flavoured and easy slicing with a slight nuttiness from the spelt flour and a mild honey flavour and sweetness. it goes wonderfully with cheese or soup or simply drizzled with a little more honey. It also keeps quite well and was still soft and good to eat several days after I baked it
Honey Spelt Bread
- 500g (4 cups + 2tbsp) wholemeal spelt flour plus extra for dusting
- 10g (3tsp) fast action yeast
- 10g (1tsp) salt
- 60g (1/8 cup + 1tbsp) runny honey
- 350ml (1 + 1/2 cups) lukewarm water
Tip the flour into a large mixing bowl, add the yeast to one side and the salt and honey to the other, pour in three quarters of the water and begin to mix into a shaggy dough. Add more water, a little at a time until you have picked up all of the flour from the sides of the bowl and you have a soft, slightly sticky dough. You my not need to use all of the water or you may need a little more.
Tip the dough out onto an un-floured surface (coat the work surface with a little olive oil if you find the dough sticks too much) and knead for at least ten minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl, cover, and leave to rise until at least doubled in size, 1-2 hours.
Grease and line a 1kg loaf tin with baking parchment. Tip the risen dough out onto a lightly floured surface and fold inwards a couple of times until all the air is knocked out. Flatten the dough out slightly into a rectangle then roll it up into an oblong. Place the dough in the prepared tin, making sure that the join is underneath.
Put the tin inside a clean plastic bag, making sure that there is plenty of room between the tin and the bag for the dough to rise, and leave to prove for about 1 hour until the dough is doubled in size and springs back quickly if you prod it lightly with a finger. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/gas mark 7 and put a roasting tray in the bottom to heat up.
Once the dough has proved, put the kettle on. Dust the top of the the dough with a little flour and use a sharp knife to cut several diagonal slashes across the top. Fill the roasting tray with hot water to create steam (this helps to keep the crust soft) and put the dough in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes or until cooked through, if you tip the loaf out of the tin and tap on the base it should sound hollow. Cover with tin foil if it starts to colour too quickly. Place on a wire rack to cool.