385g white spelt
100g whole meal spelt
12g fine sea salt or pink salt
290g bottled water
plus brown rice flour, extra of both spelt flours, and bottled water, enough to activate starter and to flour the working surface
Remove starter from fridge about 22-23 hours before wanting to bake. This is providing room temperature is between 17-21C (62-70F) degrees during the entire time of the process. Measure out 1/2C starter into bowl. Add 1/4C each of white spelt and water, stir, cover and let sit for about 3 hours. Mine never has any bubbles but yours might, this could just be my starter’s weird personality! After about 3 hours, add 1/2C each of white spelt and water, stir, cover, and leave for about 4 hours.
At around the 4-5 hour mark (my starter still has NO bubbles) add the 385g white spelt, 100g whole meal spelt and the salt and water so the starter. Mix together with a plastic spatula or hands, cover and leave for 30-40 minutes. After the waiting period, put mixture into the bowl in which you intend leaving it to raise overnight. Perform eight light stretch and folds by grabbing one side of the dough, stretching as far as it will go without breaking, then fold back over the dough in the bowl. Rotate the bowl 1/4 to the right or left and do this seven more times. Takes less than a minute. Cover the bowl and leave to prove overnight. This phase of the prove will take from 9 or 10 to possibly 13 hours to reach the stage at which you can form the loaf.
To form the loaf, pour the mixture onto a surface that has been well covered with whole meal spelt and brown rice flour. Fold the top edge toward the middle in two or three bits, then the bottom edge, then fold in half taking the bottom edge toward the top making certain to press them together well. (if in doubt about this method, see Celia’s video demonstration here) Turn loaf so that the folded edges are underneath and place it onto a piece of silicon baking paper. I set the timer for 50 minutes, in case I forget how long it has been raising. Letting the loaf over-prove is a guarantee of a poor oven spring, and therefor a more dense loaf. I found out the hard way. You only want the loaf to raise about half again as large as it starts, maybe a tiny bit more but that is all.
When the timer goes off, start heating the oven to maximum heat, in my fan forced oven that is 250C. This will take around 15-20 minutes, depending on your oven and by this time the loaf should be ready to bake, but again, it will vary depending on room temperature (see below for my secret weapon*)
Before transferring loaf to the covered roasting pan, mist lightly with water, then slash down the middle. Transfer to roaster, cover, turn oven temp down to 220C and then put the roaster in the oven for 20 minutes. Set a timer! When the 20 minutes is up, reduce oven temp to 200, open the oven and remove the roaster lid to allow the loaf to brown. This size loaf and my oven takes another 18 minutes to achieve the burnish I like. Your oven may take a bit longer or you may like a different finish, so make your own choices here.
You must allow the loaf to cool for at least an hour after baking, before slicing. I know it’s hard, but put on your big girl panties and do it.
*My Secret Weapon: I have found that in the cooler and somewhat unpredictable winter weather here, the proving stage and the loaf raising stages can be quite varied. Our house is not centrally heated. So, I pull out one of my rice filled heat bags and warm them for a minute in the microwave and then place it under the bowl or the baking tray holding the dough or the loaf. It is a gentle heat and helps things along at a steadier pace, similar to the warmer room in the summer.