Wholemeal Spelt Sourdough Bread Recipe

This recipe will provide 2 large loaves of Wholemeal Spelt Sourdough Bread. I generally slice and freeze them straight after baking - that way, the family will use it as toast, or you can make sandwiches while it's still frozen, which will thaw by lunch time.

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You'll need:

1.2 kg of wholemeal spelt flour



(Advanced Bakers Note: You can very effectively employ the Porridge bread method to this flour. The method shows you how to blanch the flour prior to making dough. It makes lovely, soft and light dough. I suggest blanching half the flour prior to doughmaking, and then introducing the other half of the flour to the blanched mixture. Blanch with very warm or even hot water, using 700 mls of the water measurement below straight up. If you need to use extra water, add this when the other half of the flour is introduced (after the blanched mixture has cooled).)





300 grams of ripe sourdough starter. You can also use the pure spelt recipe for starter too. Shown here is liquid starter, the method I recommended for this recipe. There are adaptations for dry dough method and old dough methods too. Have a look in these sections for recipes to adapt.




700 - 900 mls of warmish water (some spelt flours hold more water than others!)


24 grams of cooking salt


Stop Press: You can get Organic Wholemeal Spelt Flour right here at the SourdoughBaker Shop Ingredients Supply Section. Check out our quality and prices. We have a flat rate of $15 for postage and handling Australia Wide for up to 5kg, can send via Australia Post to most places, and our Bulk Prices (5 kilo packs!) will save you 12% or more on our already very keen prices.





Starter and water mixed

Take almost all the water and pour it into a large bowl or a plastic box (shown in breadmaking utensils). Reserve about 50 mls for later.

Mix through it the ripe sourdough starter, until it's roughly combined, and sprinkle, a bit at a time, the spelt flour, stirring with a wooden or plastic spoon as you go. Stir in a circular motion until a fair amount of the flour is combined with the water, and you have a dry paste. Keep going, a little spelt flour at a time.

You may find that as the dough starts to come together it seems too dry. This is the way that spelt works best - it will come together quite quickly and then, after a few hours, turn soft, so hold back on adding more water, except a little of the reserved water just to help it stay sticky enough to get your kneading action started.



Working through the flour

Spelt is a little bit like rye in the way it feels when you're kneading it - slightly sticky to the touch, and it changes to become very soft after the dough has been rested. That's because it takes a while for spelt to hydrate. If you make it soft in the first place, by the time you use it it will be very soft indeed. The other thing I find with spelt - and again it' s like rye in a general sense - you don't need to work it very hard. Let autolyse do the work for you!



At the point where you have a single piece of dough, which can still be very rough, (next picture) stop kneading.





That's enough for now! The delayed salt method is still the best way of making a dough by hand, and if you've already tried it with any of the recipes from this site, you'll know how workable it is (Follow either link above for more information).








Let the dough rest for an hour or so (don't worry if it's longer - spelt is quite slow to form). Then, spray the rested dough with water, and sprinkle over the salt. Work the salt through the dough until you can't feel it any more.


You will notice that the dough is softer than when you left it earlier - it might possibly be too soft. That's the nature of spelt - it seems to hold water, but when it hydrates it changes in texture. This is less pronounced than when you use white spelt flour, but it will end up softer than you made it. Generally, I make a tight, reasonably hard dough with spelt. If you find, after resting, that the dough feels too soft, now is the time to spray with water, add more flour, then do the salt.


Once you've worked through the salt, you'll notice the dough tighten up and start to look like a proper dough. It can be further developed now, turning gently every half hour or do, just to keep it developing. You'll notice quite a change each time you do this. Don't knead the dough at all, just turn it by pulling the base under the dough a number of times using the outsides of your open palms. What you are doing here is sealing in the pockets of air (actually, it's carbon dioxide, a bi product of the digestion of carbohydrate) which are developing in the leavening process.

First Proof

Now you should have 2 kilos of spelt dough, give or take. Allow this to proof for 3 to 4 hours. It should roughly grow to double the size in this time. Should you need it to hold for longer, just put the whole dough in the fridge and pull it out a couple of hours before you need to work with it. Again, I use my large plastic boxes for this task - not only do they make a great mixing bowl, they also convert to a proofer without doing anything at all.

To tell when the spelt dough is ready, it should be very soft - when you poke it with your finger, you will find that the indent you make will not spring back.

Second Proof

Now divide the dough into two even (one kilo, roughly) chunks. Round them, and return them to your proofing box or covered bowl, remembering to place the seam at the bottom. They will 'intermediate proof' or 'gas' for about an hour. The same thing applies - they are ready when they do not resist a poke from your finger.


Final Proof

Formed, dusted and slashedSimply form the balls of dough into cylinders with the sides of your palms. Place them at either end of your bowl or box, spray with water, and dust with Spelt flour or Semolina flour using a sieve. You can slash them three times diagonally with a paring knife, or in another pattern according to your whim. There is a whole art to slashing, which I will explain in a future article, but for now, trial and error will no doubt be the order of the day.




Oil up two medium sized baking tins and place the dough cylinders into them. The dough should fill the tins about three quarters to the top. This bread will rise quite well, but it's not going to spring in the oven a great deal. It is quite a heavy loaf.




Tins in a boxYou can turn your box upside down and put the tins on top of the inside of the lid. Then place the base of the box over the tins. This is a handy proofer, because it keeps the dough from skinning up without the use of messy moist tea towels as is the usual thing recommended in most bread books! Remember folks, you saw it here first!



Stop Press: These and other useful things are now available on this site, so you can simply buy them here! Visit the SourdoughBaker Shop Utensils and Tools Section to see if we have stock to freight overnight to you.


Filled the tins

Allow them to fully fill the tins, with some of the dough rising in a nice arch 'a bit over the top'...this can take quite a while - I've proofed these in the tins on different occasions for 12 hours or more! In ideal conditions, with a warm.moist environment, probably six hours will be ideal.

When they are ready,  before you turn on your oven, and make sure you read baking techniques and domestic ovens by following the links here.


Oven Technique for Wholemeal Spelt Sourdough Bread:

In a general sense, a lower temperature oven (say 160 degrees celsius) for a longer time (an hour to an hour and a half - you really can't overdo it at this temperature, unless your temperature guage is dodgy) will provide a nice, thick crust, which is good for this type of bread.



Sliced wholemeal spelt bread

This wholemeal spelt sourdough recipe will make a beautiful loaf, which is dense and flavoursome. Superb with marmalade, poached eggs, sardines or good old vegemite. If you're after a more 'kid friendly' loaf of spelt sourdough bread, check out the white spelt sourdough recipe.







Other recipes in this site include:

Basic Sourdough Recipe

White Spelt Sourdough Recipe

Basic Sourdough Variation (Baking By Feel)

Wholemeal Sourdough (Old Dough) Recipe

White Sourdough (Old Dough) Recipe

Light Rye Sourdough (Old Dough) Recipe

Medium Rye Sourdough (Old Dough) Recipe

Continental (Semi Leaven) Bread Recipe

Light Wholemeal (Semi Leaven)Bread Recipe

Light Rye (Semi Leaven) Bread Recipe

Please feel free to use this site as a resource for simple sourdough recipes. If you want to learn more about sourdough breadmaking at home, please have a look at some of the many specialist artisan breadmaking books available through this site.

Stop Press: You can get Organic Wholemeal Spelt Flour right here at the SourdoughBaker Shop Ingredients Supply Section. Check out our quality and prices. We have a flat rate of $15 for up to 5 kg for postage and handling Australia Wide, and can send via Australia Post to most places. Our Bulk Prices (see '5 kilo packs') will save you 12% or more on our already very keen prices.

For a complete list of free sourdough recipes in this site as well as links to them, have a look below:

Happy Sourdough Baking!