Saturday, November 21, 2009

spelt bread

Spelt is a species of wheat that was used since the beginning of agriculture itself (~5000 years ago) in the Iberian Peninsula. It was then widely used in Europe in medieval times, and it recently became popular again as a health food. Spelt flour has a somewhat nuttier and slightly sweeter flavor than whole wheat flour. It contains more protein than wheat, and the protein in spelt is easier to digest. It is not gluten free, but some people who are allergic to wheat might be able to digest it.

I bought some spelt flour the other day and was testing it out. It's not such a drastic difference from whole wheat bread, but it is lighter and has a unique flavor that seems ideal for the winter.

I recommend you eat it with goat cheese and pomegranate seeds on top.

1/2 Tbsp active dry yeast
1 cups warm water (105° to 110° F)
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoons sea salt
3 cups spelt flour (use any combination of whole or white spelt)


Combine the yeast, water and honey in a large warm bowl. Let stand for 10 minutes or until the yeast softens. Stir in the butter and salt and 3 cups of the flour. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon. Add the remaining flour in increments until the dough becomes too stiff to stir, then place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Knead for about 6 minutes, adding any remaining flour as necessary, until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. Do not overknead.

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot for about 2 hours or until doubled in bulk.

Grease two 8 ½" x 4 ½" loaf pans. Punch the dough down to deflate it and divide it in half. Form each half into a smooth loaf and place in a prepared pan. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot for about 1 hour or until the dough has risen to the top of the pans.

Preheat the oven to 350° F.

Uncover the risen loaves. Place the pans on a heavy baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes or until the tops are light brown and crusty. Remove from the oven and tap out of the pan into the baking sheet. Turn the oven off and return the breads to the oven to crisp for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.

Recipe by Rebecca Wood.

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