My typical bread baking “schedule” usually looks something like a rollercoaster: bake bread, eat bread, eat bread, no more bread, buy bread, don’t like bread, bake bread again. Sometimes I just don’t feel like making bread, other times life has been way too full and I’ve been mucking around in the kitchen baking up all kinds of other things!
Of course I had to tinker around with this recipe until it was just right. It required a few tries and eating through some totally edible, but just not quite right loaves of bread.
No matter what each week throws my way, I’m always happier getting my hands into the dough, smelling the house fill when the scent of bread baking and eating my own bread (usually slathered with jam, lets be honest).
White Spelt Bread
- 50 g organic whole spelt flour fine grind if available
- 350 g organic all purpose, unbleached spelt flour (also called white spelt flour)
- 1 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp instant yeast
- 300 ml room temperature water
- 1 tbsp local honey
In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, salt and yeast. In another bowl or measuring cup, mix together the water and honey until combined. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and, using a wooden spoon or spatula, mix until the dough comes together then use your hands to gently mix the dough until completely incorporated and it sticks to your fingers. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature until the surface is dotted with bubbles and the dough is 1 1/2 to 2 times in size (7-8 hours depending on your room temperature).
When the first rise is complete, place your heavy cast iron pot with lid into the oven and pre-heat the oven and the pot to 475 degrees F. Position the rack in the lower third of the oven. The pot need to pre-heat for at least 30 minutes.
Generously dust a work surface with flour. Use a bowl scraper or rubber spatula to scrape the dough out of the bowl in one piece. Using lightly floured hands gently pat the dough out into a rectangle. With your dough spatula (or a large flipper) fold one short side of the dough into the middle and then fold the other short side on top. Then fold the dough in half the other direction. Dust lightly with flour, cover with plastic and let rest for 5 minutes. While you are waiting, line a medium sized bowl with parchment paper, using your fist to push the paper down into the bowl and your other hand to crease the paper around the inside and top edge of the bowl.
Repeat the folding process outlined above a second time, let the dough rest for 5 minutes and the repeat folding process a third time. With water moistened hands, lift the dough and place into the parchment lined bowl seam side down. Cover with plastic and place on the counter next to the stove for 20 minutes for the second rise. To test if the dough is ready, press, do not poke, the tip of one floured finger quickly and lightly, about half an inch, slightly off center, into the crown of the dough (area of maximum expansion). If the indentation remains but springs back slightly, the dough is ready for the oven. If the dent fills in, give the dough another 5-10 minutes to rise and re-test.
Remove the plastic covering from your bread dough. Using heat resistant pot holders, carefully remove the pot from the oven and remove the lid. Using both hands, lift the dough out of the bowl by holding all corners of the parchment paper and lower it into the pot. The edges of the parchment paper will brown, but will be just fine in the hot oven.
Working quickly dust the top of the bread with flour using a small sieve (optional). Use a sharp pair of scissors to make 3-4 shallow cuts at a 45 degree angle along the center line of the dough to assist in "oven spring". Cover the pot with the lid and put it back into the oven. Reduce the heat to 450 degrees F and bake for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, remove the lid and place a large baking sheet or tin foil on the rack underneath the pot and continue baking for another 10 minutes until the bread is a lovely chestnut color but not burnt. Use a heatproof spatula or pot holders to carefully lift the bread out of the hot pot and place it on a rack to cool thoroughly. If you have an instant read thermometer, the bread is done when the internal temperature is 190-200 degrees F.
1. Use a kitchen scale to measure the flour, seeds and water instead of cup measurements, it is far more accurate!
2. Unless you will consume all the bread within 2-3 days, cut it in half after it has cooled. Keep one half at room temperature and put the other half in the freezer. When you are ready for another half loaf, run it quickly under water to moisten the outside crust and place in pre-heated 350 degree F oven. Bake for 8 minutes or until the crust is hard to the touch, remove and let it finish thawing in the center. It will taste like freshly baked bread!