Ardys’s Sourdough Spelt Bread (overnight method)

the joy of toast and butter

the joy of toast and butter

300g starter (100% hydration)

485g white spelt flour

250ml bottled water

10g fine salt

extra whole meal spelt for crust

I do measure everything on the scales!

  • At about 2pm the day before you will bake the bread, remove starter from fridge and measure out 1/2C and feed both it, and the remaining starter 1/4C each flour and 1/4C water, stirring to mix together well, cover and leave starter you are going to feed and use at room temp. (replace the fed and watered remaining starter back into the fridge)
  • At 4.30pm, add a 1/2 C each of spelt flour and water to the starter at room temp. Mix well, cover and let mature until about 8pm, or whenever it is very bubbly and active, thought this is not always obvious, in my experience, so move ahead with the times I’m giving and ‘have faith’.
  • Once it is active save out 300g for the bread making and discard the excess. Add remaining ingredients. All ingredients at room temp, around 21-24c (70-75F). Let sit for about 30 mins at room temp, mix by hand again and transfer to large bowl for the night—leave out at room temp which declines overnight to about 17c (63F) by the following morning. (I only give temps as a guideline so that you have some idea of expectations. If your weather is much warmer you may need to prove the bread in the fridge overnight to slow things down a little)
  • At 6.15am (or thereabouts) turn out the well risen dough onto whole meal floured bench and fold in sides then shape loaf. You only want to knock a little air out of it, but retain quite a bit. It will be very loose and floppy due to high hydration, so just fold and put it onto whole meal floured baking paper on a tray. (I used the whole meal spelt flour on the bench to give a crunchier crust, much as semolina does)
  • I let it raise for between one hour and one hour and fifteen mins, but essentially you want it to have increased by about half its size. Don’t let it double in size or there may not be enough oomph left for the ‘oven spring’. Preheat the oven to 220c (425F), which will allow another 10 mins or so of raising while the oven is heating.
  • (I use a baking stone on the wire rack in my oven because I am not yet using a roasting pan to bake the loaf. When I change over, I will not need the baking stone or the bowl of hot water. If you think you’d like to try using a roasting pan instead of the baking stone etc, and you need more instructions than I have written below, consult Celia’s blog post for instructions writing this recipe, I tried the covered roasting pan method, according to the above link, and I will never go back! The end result was amazing.
  • If you use the covered roasting pan method, the final steps below will vary as follows: 1) Do not place the boiling hot water into the oven, the roaster will keep the loaf moist enough 2) Carefully transfer risen loaf into the bottom of the roaster that has been covered with silicon baking paper or by letting the loaf raise on the paper and just lifting it into the roaster. Spray the loaf lightly with a mist of water, slash with a serrated knife–this helps to control the final rise in the oven, COVER the bread in the roaster with the lid, and place into the oven. Bake at 220c (425F) for 30 minutes, remove the cover and reduce oven temp to 180c (360F) for a further 15 minutes. Times may vary according to your oven. Mine is fan forced.

If you do not use a covered roaster, follow these remaining directions:

  • When oven is nearly preheated, place an oven proof bowl in the bottom of the oven with boiling hot water in it to add humidity to the atmosphere in the oven.
  • When oven is pre-heated mist the top of the loaf with water and slash it with a serrated knife, (or with a razor blade in a holder, made for slashing bread) and put into oven still on the tray but sitting on a baking stone.
  • After 15 mins turned oven down to 180c (350F) and bake for 25-30 mins. or until the bottom sounds hollow when tapped.
  • Cool for an hour on wire rack before slicing. Slicing too soon, tempting though it is, can give the bread a gummy texture.

    More resources if you wish to make your own connection with sourdough bread making: figjamandlimecordial; pleasepasstherecipe; zebbakes