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Sourdough Spelt Loaf


500g Shipton Mill White Spelt flour

120g wheat leven (50/50 flour/water)

270g tepid water

10g salt


Measure flour leven and water in a bowl, mix till combined then turn out onto a lightly oiled surface and knead for a minute or two.

Lightly oil the bowl and place the dough in the bowl and cover, (I use cling film) leave for half an hour.

Turn dough on to the table and add the salt and knead again for a minute or two.

Spelt dough does not need to be worked as long as wheat dough as it is far more delicate and will start to tear if overworked.

Return to bowl for another half an hour.

Turn onto the table and stretch the dough out into a long sausage shape, then pull and stretch gently without tearing until it is as thin as you can get it. Then fold it over several times trapping air in the folds. return to the bowl for another half an hour and repeat this twice more.

Then leave the dough in the bowl until almost doubled in size, depending on the temperature of your kitchen this could be two hours or longer.

Turn out onto the table again and shape roughly into one large or two smaller balls, cover and leave for 20 minutes. Then shape again making sure to form a good tension over the surface of the dough by turning and tucking it under itself. Place in well floured bannetons (I use rice flour), cover with an oiled piece of cling film and leave to prove for a further two plus hours until almost double in size, BUT, be careful not to overprove spelt as it will prove faster than wheat and catch you out. It should have a bit of spring when you poke it with a wet finger.

Turn out onto a well floured peel, slash the top with a lame or razor blade (I find a good deep slash makes for a better rise) and slide onto a preheated baking stone in the hot oven, around 220-230°C. I use an Aga and put my loaf on the roasting oven floor. I bake my loaves for around 20 minutes, I used to check them for doneness with a temperature probe (93°C plus) but find I can judge by eye now. Smaller ones usually take around 18 minutes.

I often make this loaf with a mixture of white and wholemeal spelt, it works the same but needs a little more water.