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Spelt with sun-dried tomatoes

Fearing that a loaf made totally from Spelt Wholemeal flour might turn out to be rather dense I was hesitant to give it a try. However, allowing the mixer some extra minutes to work the dough plus adding some sourdough starter to the mix, seems to have made the difference. Using a loaf tin offers some support to the dough in its second proving and the end result is a loaf with excellent taste and texture. Creating a moist atmosphere in the oven before putting in the loaf seems to encourage a bit of ‘oven spring’. This recipe adds sun-dried tomatoes and some fennel seeds to enrich things. Another way of varying things is to reduce the Spelt to 400g and mix it with either 100g of Three Malts & Sunflower Brown Flour or 100g of Seeded White Organic Flour Using a sharp bread knife, it’s possible to cut thin slices which provide a tasty basis for lunchtime sandwiches. Now I just need to order some more Spelt Flour…

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500g Organic Spelt Wholemeal Flour (407)
10g fine salt
10g fennel seed
300 ml warm water
I tbsp olive oil
7g active dried yeast
Ladleful of Sourdough starter

To be added before putting into the oven
Sun-dried tomatoes
Sesame seeds

Preparation method

Stage 1
Put 500g Organic Spelt Wholemeal Flour in the mixing bowl of a food mixer, and then add the salt, the fennel seed, olive oil and a ladleful of active sourdough starter.

In a separate bowl stir a teaspoon of sugar into 300 ml of warm water and then stir in the dried yeast powder and allow it to come to life.

Mix the yeasty water with the flour and, using a dough hook, mix the ingredients together at a low speed. Depending on the power of the mixer, it is good to let the mixer continue for a few minutes longer than might normally be needed for other kinds of flour. (In this case I let the mixer work the dough for 7 minutes instead of 3 or 4).

Turn the dough out on to an oiled baking board/work surface. Put a little olive oil on your hands and gently deflate the dough. Cut up some sun-dried tomatoes and place them around the dough. Then shape the dough and tomato mix into a round before putting it into a clean, oiled bowl; and it probably helps to make sure that the bowl is warmed. Cover the bowl with cling film (or a stretchy plastic cover) and leave the dough to double in size. In a warm-ish kitchen this will probably take about 45 minutes.

Stage 2
Grease a medium size loaf tin with some olive oil.

After proving the dough, turn it out onto your work surface and shape it into a rectangle. Then fold over one third towards the centre and then fold the other end of the rectangle over towards the centre. Then working from the top, roll the dough up tightly towards you and mould it into a loaf shape with the seam at the bottom. Place in the greased loaf tin.

Cover the tray with its dough with a plastic bag and leave to rise for another 30 minutes.

While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 2500C

Stage 3
If possible, about 5 minutes before putting the loaf in the oven, pour some boiling water into a baking tray/roasting tin in the bottom of the oven (having put the baking tray/roasting tin in place before turning the oven on).

Before putting the bread in the oven, it is good to slash the top of the loaf with a knife or a razor blade.

If possible as you’re putting the bread into the oven spray some more water into the oven, to help create some steam

Stage 4 Baking

• Bake at 2500C for 10 minutes

• Turn oven down to 2000C and allow to bake for another 30 minutes

• Check if it’s baked all the way through by turning the loaf out of the tin and tapping the bottom of the loaf to see if it sounds hollow. If it still sounds a bit ‘soft’ then put back into the oven for another 3-4 minutes.

• Leave to cool on a rack and wait until the loaf has cooled before seeking to cut it and eat it.

Added by: Peter Stevenson

Tags: Bread Spelt Savouries

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