There is a long stretch of sunshine reaching towards me as I write this, spreading warmth and light across the room, making it almost too warm to continue wearing the thickly woven sweater I put on earlier today against the morning chill. If I crane my neck I can just see the tips of the barely purple crocuses blooming beneath our plum tree. I can sense that even the plum tree, deep in what still looks like Winter hibernation, is reaching towards the sun, getting ready to burst forth as we slowly march towards Spring.
We have already been out there more than once, my little girl and I, pulling weeds from the garden beds (while she stuff fistfuls of dirt in her pockets), moving blueberry bushes before they bud (while she finds and carefully relocates worms) and dreaming about all the edible delights we are going to plant this year (I’m sure she is dreaming about cherry tomatoes as she could not get enough of them last Summer).
While we wait for Spring to finally arrive, I’ve been using up the flours I have stashed in the back of my fridge including the last of my whole spelt flour that I’ve probably had a little too long. It will be easy to use it up now that I’ve finally gotten around to making this whole grain spelt no knead bread though!
This recipe is very similar to the first post on my blog, Spelt Flour No Knead Bread, with a few exceptions. This loaf is made with 100% whole grain spelt flour which makes it denser, heartier, nuttier in flavour and super delicious. I have increased the size of the loaf a little and the proportion of water to flour is higher since whole grain spelt flour needs more moisture.
Since making that first loaf, I have acquired a few more baking tools too, including banneton baskets and a lame so I’ve included instructions for using them below (of course a bowl and pair of sharp scissors works just as well).
If you liked this recipe you are going to love these ones!
Whole Grain Spelt No Knead Bread
- 500 g organic whole spelt flour
- 1 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp instant yeast
- 400 ml room temperature water assuming room temperature of 21 degrees Celsius
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and yeast. In a measuring cup, measure out the water. Add the water to the dry ingredients and mix the dough until it is completely incorporated and it sticks to your fingers. Cover the bowl with a clean dish towel and let the dough rest for 20 minutes so the flour can absorb the water. After the rest, stretch and fold the dough by grabbing a piece of it from the outside edge then gently lift and fold that piece of dough over to the other side. Continue around the dough in a clock-wise fashion until the dough has tightened.
Cover the bowl again and let it sit at room temperature until the surface is dotted with bubbles and the dough has doubled in size (approximately 7-8 hours depending on your room temperature, see note 1)
When the first rise is complete, place your heavy cast iron pot and lid into the oven and pre-heat the oven to 475 degrees F. Position the rack in the lower third of the oven. The pot needs to pre-heat for at least 30 minutes.
Lightly dust a work surface with flour. Use a 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. 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, gently cover with the kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let rest for 5 minutes. While you are waiting, lightly flour a banneton basket or crumple a square piece of parchment paper, flatten it out again and line a medium sized bowl with it. Use your fist to push the paper down into the bowl and your other hand to smooth the creases of the paper around the inside and top edge of the bowl. Repeat the folding process outlined above a second time or shape into a boule.
With lightly floured hands, lift the dough and place it seam side up in the banneton basket or seam side down in the parchment lined bowl. Cover 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. 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 pot from the oven and remove the lid.
If using a banneton basket, place a square piece of parchment paper on the counter and gently flip the dough on to it. Score the dough using a lame (or 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". Lift the dough by holding the corners of the parchment paper and lower it into the pot.
If using a bowl, first lift the dough out of the bowl by holding all corners of the parchment paper and lower it into the pot. Then use a lame and score the dough (or 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 continue baking for another 10 minutes until the bread is a lovely chestnut brown. Remove from the oven, 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.
- I am assuming a room temperature of 21 degrees C here. If your room temperature is higher your dough will take less time to rise, if you room temperature is lower your dough will take more time to rise. At this point you can also place the covered dough in the fridge to slow down the fermentation process. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap or a plastic bag and large rubber band before placing in the fridge. Bring the dough back to room temperature and ensure it has doubled in size and the surface is dotted with bubble before continuing.
- Unless you will consume all the bread within 2-3 days, cut it in half after it has completely cooled and store one half in the freezer. When you are ready for another half loaf, use your hands to moisten the entire outside with water and place in pre-heated 350F 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!