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100% Wholegrain Spelt Loaf (by Julio Hevia)

Think it's impossible to bake a 100% wholegrain loaf without it turning out like a brick? Julio Hevia attempts to prove you wrong.

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This recipe is a slow fermentation loaf for committed home bread makers looking to advance their bread-making skills and knowledge. It takes commitment to produce beautiful loaves like this!


Juio Hevia's 100% Wholemeal Spelt Loaf

"Now… this recipe is not that easy… but I’m sure you will be able to make a very good loaf with the steps below! – Spelt is one of the most difficult grains to work with. Spelt rises very fast in the fermentation, BUT it goes down very quickly also. So the whole process should be quick and “clean”. It is wholegrain, and our mind identifies that with…”oohhh another brick!”. But you will see that this wholemeal bread is amazing in texture and taste. Let’s go for it!!"

Sourdough Starter(already on the go, or start a week in advance)

You will need a mature sourdough starter for this recipe. Julio uses an active rye/spelt sourdough starter which has been allowed to develop for at least 5-6 days to begin.

How to Make Rye Starter

How to Make a Wheat/Spelt Starter

Or use any sourdough starter recipe from a good baking book, for those of you who have a copy of “Crust” by Richard Bertinet, he has a recipe on p47.

Day 1: Levain

The day before, we need to prepare the pre-ferment or the levain. Mix the ingredients below and leave them in a bowl covered with cling film at room temperature for at least 7 hours.

60 gr. Organic Wholemeal Spelt flour
60 gr. H2O
30 gr. Starter (rye/spelt)

The preferment should be ready in about 6 - 8 hours. It depends on the room temperature where the preferment is located.

Day 2: Final dough

500 gr. Organic Wholemeal Spelt flour
310 gr. H2O
150 gr. Levain (100% hydration) --> 30% of the total amount of flour.
10 gr. Sea salt
40 gr. Fresh Orange Juice*

*  No, No, No – I haven’t become mad! Yes, orange Juice – Orange Juice is the highest content of Vitamin C in the citric family. Why do you want to put Vitamin C in bread? – Well, if you check the ingredients for a lot of products in regards with pastry/bakery in the supermarket, you could see “Ascorbic Acid” (That is basically Vitamin C), but I don’t want to use any chemicals! Even though the regulations say that Ascorbic Acid can be added for organic products, I would rather use orange juice or even better…Kiwi juice (Higher content in Vitamin C).

Why do you want Vitamin C in the dough? The dough is more elastic. The dough can handle higher hydration level - (The higher level, the less compact the crumb is). The volume of the loaf is better. These three reasons above are examples of why it can be good to use it when you are handling wholemeal loaves.


  1. Mix very well the water, levain and the flour and leave the dough for 1 hour autolysis.
  2. Once the hour has passed then add the salt and the Orange juice - make a series of turns every 45 minutes during 1 and 1/2 hours.
  3. Now…When I said that the process has to be quick, it is because it has to be quick!
  4. Once the 2.30 hours (1 autolysis + 1 1/2 hr. first fermentation) have passed; form the dough like a boule (ball) and place it on the basket/banneton for 45 minutes covered again.
  5. At the same time, start heating the oven at maximum temperature, put a tray on the bottom line in the oven for water and put another tray / stone / bricks for the bread in the middle of the oven.
  6. After the 45 minutes passed, you need to score it. It needs to be done fast and not too deep. Once it is scored, you need to put into the hot tray in the middle of the oven. Pour some water in the bottom tray and close the door as quickly as possible. This will give the steam that your loaf needs to spring.

    Juio Hevia's 100% Wholemeal Spelt Loaf (Crumb Shot)

  7. Leave the loaf with this maximum temperature and the water tray for 15 minutes and then remove the tray from the oven and decrease the temperature to 220°C for another 20 minutes,
  8. Then leave it for another 20 to 30 minutes at 190°C. Wholemeal loaves take more time in the oven than non-wholemeal.
  9. After this time take the loaf out of the oven and leave it to cool down. And of course, ENJOY IT!

Added by: Julio Hevia

Tags: Wholemeal Bread Sourdough Spelt WholemealSpelt

Add comment
Initial temperature

It says lower the temperature after 15m - what is the initial temperature? 250C? My oven goes up to 320C..

Sourdoughty 08 June 2014

RE: Initial temperature

Hi, around 270C with fan. Always with a lot of steam. Many thanks, Julio

Julio Hevia 09 June 2014

Too wet!
I am an experienced sour dough baker, but need to eat spelt for its different gluten effects - but this recipe was a disaster! I followed it to the letter at the same time as trying a different recipe to compare it with. When it came to getting it our of my proving basket and slapping it onto my baking stone it spread. 2 minutes later I looked through the oven door and it had literally poured off the stone!

- sulamaye 06 February 2014

RE: Too wet!

Hi Sulamaye, I don't think is a matter of the hydration, I think is a matter of over-proofing. The quality gluten of the Spelt is very poor. I think, your problem was that the gluten was not strong enough to hold the structure of the loaf. I think your room temperature was too high for the 3.15 hrs. Did you try to reduce the hydration?. Many thanks, Julio

Julio Hevia 09 June 2014

Levain 30% of total flour - does this mean I deduct it from the 500g of spelt flour, or add it?

marion keeble - mazburgess@googlemail.com 29 August 2013

Confused Day 1: Levain The day before, we need to prepare the pre-ferment or the levain. Mix the ingredients below and leave them mixed in a bowl cover with a clean film at room temperature for at least 7 hours. 60 gr. Organic Wholemeal Spelt flour 60 gr. H2O 30 gr. Starter (rye/spelt) We are making a starter so when does the 30gr Starter come from?

John Habkirk - squiffy@ms-uk.org 29 November 2013

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