Updated: Apr 12, 2020
I've got a new bread recipe for you. One that will make you change your mind about what you consider a daunting task best left for the pros. I've got to warn you though - its good looks might make your diners doubt you baked it; beautifully tanned, easy to slice and with just the right chewiness, this loaf is everyones friend.
The best for toast and sandwiches and, unlike my previous seedy loaf, not free from gluten which - unless you are a coeliac or gluten intolerant - is not a bad thing, specially because the flour we are using is a gentler and less artificially modified grain
It's made with spelt which is a close relative to common wheat but easier to digest, with a higher protein content and a greater sources of nutrients.
I use both white and wholemeal spelt flours in the recipe, to get a not so dense loaf but still full of goodness and flavour. There are also a good amount of seeds and yogurt (yeah) to give a tender and very slight sour taste that good artisan bread has.
Theres not much hands on time on this bread apart from the measuring and the quick mixing. The trick lies on the long fermentation. You'll notice the dough is super wet and sticky, but fear not! You'll get the nicest moist and tender loaf, crunchy on the outside and easy to slice. There is a minimum amount of yeast as the long proving allows the yeast to develop slowly but effectively.
The recipe is adapted from the book Homegrown Kitchen by Nicola Galloway which I love.
This recipe makes 1 (800g aprox) loaf and keeps for 5 days or so wrapped in cloth.
250 g wholemeal spelt flour
160g white spelt flour
80 g cooked or sprouted grains (rye, wheat, porridge oats, quinoa, rice, buckwheat) ... I used cooked rolled oats
75g sunflower and /or pumpkin seeds
45g whole flaxseeds
1 1/2 tsp unrefined sea or rock salt
1/4 tsp active dried yeast
325g warm filtered water (about 40ºC)
85g natural yoghurt (dairy or coconut), milk kefir or cultured whey is good to use too... I used soured probiotic yoghurt and my bread turned out really nice.
Combine the dry ingredients (including yeast) in a bowl and whisk to mix well and aerate. Pour in warm water and yogurt or kefir or whey if using. Mix thoroughly for a minute either with your hand or a silicon spatula; the mixture will be runny and sticky.
Cover the bowl to prevent the dough drying out and leave to rise in a warm place for 4 - 6 hours until it has risen by about a third, you will see it's bubblier than at the beginning. It is important to keep it in a warm place as yeast thrive under warm conditions.
Grease a bread tin (I use a 2lb one ). Fold the dough over itself several times, then scoop the dough into the tin and smooth the top. Wrap loosely in a plastic bag, pinching the top to leave space for it to rise and put in the fridge for the night. I normally mix the dough at around 5pm, leave to rise till 10pm, scoop in the tin and leave in the fridge to be ready to bake in the morning.
Take the bread out of the fridge an hour before you are ready to bake. The bread will be sufficiently risen (normally for me, goes right to the top of the tin), preheat the oven to 240ºC. Remove the bread form the bag and place in the oven, turning the heat down to 220ºC just after you've shut the door and bake for 40 minutes.
Once the bread is done - it should sound hollow when tapped and have a golden and crunchy crust - if not, place the loaf – without the tin – back in the oven for another 10 minutes to brown.
Tip the bread out of the tin and cool on a rack, waiting till it has completely cooled down before slicing. Store in a bread bin or if you go though a loaf quickly, like in my house, store it in the fridge. Consume within 5 days.