Help with spelt bread

Hi Homemakers!

I haven't been posting much of late, we're still settling in to the new house/new routine/new city etc. etc. But I think some of you bake with spelt and I'm hoping I can pick your brains.

We want to make pure spelt bread for DMIL who is mildly wheat intolerant. DH is a pretty good baker with the wheat flour, but we're only just starting with the spelt and I'm hoping we can get some useful tips.

We're baking with brown spelt (about 88% extraction); using what we call a Kenwood, but what I think you guys call a Kitchen Aid, anyway a dough hook attached to a good solid motor; using dried yeast, honey, water, salt; making a sponge first and then giving the dough a good long (like 6 hour) rising. Out of this we got what our friend calls Pirate Bread (you know, what the pirates put into your pocket before they make you walk the plank!).

I know that spelt has less gluten than wheat. Has anyone tried using gluten as an addition? What proportions of water to flour do people use? How long do you kneed it for? What kind of temperature do you bake at?

If anyone has any answers I'd be awful grateful! Or any other useful things to share!

Thanks

Zillah

Forum: 
Gretchen Martini's picture

I use Vita spelt white flour. They say to reduce your liquid by 25% or what I had been doing is adding 25% more flour. But I like reducing the liquid better. For cookies etc where the liquid is only egg and vanilla, then you have to add more flour. Also, vitaspelt says to not mix more than 4.5 minutes because of the delicate nature of the flour. YOu can find more tips on their site, www.vitaspelt.com

hope this helps.

Lynn's picture

Long--VERY long--cool rise == yes. The gluten is probably what your MIL is reacting to, and gluten flour is extracted from wheat.

Lynn Siprelle, Editor

Anhata's picture

Try that first, maybe? Spelt is supposed to make great sourdough bread. Spelt is a bit dry, I like it in things like Spelt Zucchini Bread where there are moist things in there with it. Is she intolerant to sprouted wheat? You could sprout wheat berries, make bulgur flour and bake with that?

Don't know of any good spelt recipes, but earthmama has a friend who makes cakes and muffins with spelt and uses applesauce to moisten them. I don't know that spelt makes such good regular bread.

Anhata
www.familynaturally.com
Your Family's General Store, Naturally

Guest's picture

I am on a food allergy elimination diet right now, but I found that I can tolerate eggs. I tried a spelt/kamut bread recipe from the net and got a large hockey puck. Here's an all-spelt recipe from one of my bread machine cookbooks that rose nicely and had a crunchy tasty crust (Basic Bread cycle setting with dark crust):

2/3 cup water
2/3 cup unsweetened apple juice
2 eggs
1 3/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp packed brown sugar
2 tbsp vegetable oil
4 cups light spelt flour
1/2 cup cornmeal ( I can't have corn, so I used 1/2 cup quick oats)
3/4 tsp bread machine yeast

Variation: For added texture and flavour, add 1/2 cup of flaxseeds or toasted almonds.

Anita Burns's picture

I have a wheat intolerance but not a gluten problem. I use white spelt flour, add extra dopep gluten and use a sourdough starter and let it sit with flour and water for at least two hours. I also use barley malt syrup and lecithin because they strengthen gluten. When I have it, I add a little ascorbic acid because it also strengthens gluten. I found that also adding a little applesauce helps and doesn't change the flavor of the bread. For extra taste, I always add some sesame seeds.

Spelt flour is delicate and the gluten breaks down easily. It requires a light touch. My bread rises beautifully, is light, stretchy enough for sandwiches, hot dog buns, and hamburger buns. I also make a "killer" cinnamon bread.

If anyone would like the exact recipe, email me and I'll be happy to provide it.

id8trak's picture

Hi Zillah,
I actually found a website that sells spelt and spelt flour. It has some great tips on baking with spelt. I've tried it and love the spelt bread! (For those who aren't intolerant, like me) I sometimes enjoy mixing half spelt flour with half white flour. The bread is spongy and moist. (I admit I could eat almost the entire loaf myselft.) The site is www.histakes-spelt.com
Good luck.

And here is the recipe I use: (I'll add it under recipes later)
combine in mixer:
2 1/2 c. water
1/8 c. vegetable oil
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 tablespoon salt
mix well
add
3 c. spelt flour
1 tablespoon yeast
while mixing add 3-4 c. more spelt flour within 3 1/2 minutes to optimize gluten
Knead for total of 10 minutes (in machine and/or by hand)
Grease bowl & top of dough. cover. let dough rise until double. Punch down and let rise until double again. Shape into loaves. Place into greased loaf pans. Let rise in pans until desired size. Bake at 375 degrees F for 30-40 minutes. Makes 2-3 loaves.

gailann's picture

Spelt grain is definitely much harder than whole wheat to make into good bread. The gluten is very sensitive. I have learned to make very good spelt bread most of the time. You just have to developed a feel for the dough. I have a Bosh bread making machine and I always grind my own spelt just prior to making the bread. I usually make 6 loaves at a time. I have made very good spelt bread in my food processor when I want only one or two loaves. I first started making whole wheat bread in the mid 1980's and I finally mastered the best whole grain bread any of us had ever tasted. I then learned that most people are sensitive to the lectins in regular whole wheat. It causes weight gain, allergies and arthritis in so many people, including myself that I turned to Spelt grain and have had excellent luck with this grain as far as health, however, it is more difficult to work with. I would never add more gluten to my recepie as it is full of lectins. Where I used to use regular loaf bread pans to bake the whole wheat dough in, I find it works better to bake the spelt dough in a free form loaf on oiled cookie sheets. You have to be very careful to not let it rise too much or the dough will fall and you will get a very heavy loaf of bread. Don't expect the spelt dough to raise like regular white or whole wheat flour. I use only water, yeast, sea salt, small amount of olive oil and spelt flour in my bread recipe. You need to keep the recipe simple when using spelt. I grind 8 cups of spelt GRAIN, 3-4 Tbl of Saf instant yeast, 1 tsp lemon juice, 1 to 2 Tbl of sea salt and 2 Tbl of raw sugar, 1/4 cup of olive oil and about 3 to 3 1/2 cups of pure water. You need to knead until the dough turns very SMOOTH. Don't let the dough get too warm if you use a machine or food processor or you will spoil the dough. I usually let the Bosh or Kitchen Aid knead for about 15 minutes. I take the dough out of the machine and immediately make into oblong loaves and put on oiled cookie sheets. Cover with a towel or plastic to keep moist. Use olive oil to keep dough from sticking to your working surface and or your hands and don't use flour. It takes only 10 to 20 minutes (depends on how hot the day is) before I put in oven at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. I am going to try to use a wild starter instead of commercial yeast as my next project and I expect it to be a challenge using all spelt flour. Fermented bread is supposed to be so much better for us to digest.

lorrieboettger's picture

Hi Zillah,
This is the recipe that I use at home for spely bread, I think you will like how it comes out. The trick with spelt is not to overknead it. When using wheat flour it is almost impossible to knead "too long", but with spelt flour if you knead too long your finished loaved will come out heavy and crumbly. Remember to add the flour gradually and only use enough that you don't actually stick to everything as you knead. I usually add the last cup or so a bit at a time so I can stop when I think the dough has enough flour.
Hope you like it!

Blessings,
Lorrie
Lorrie@TLCLimited.com

Spelt Bread — by Rebecca Wood
Yield: Two 8 ½" x 4 ½" loaves

For a lighter flavor and texture, use up to 50% white spelt flour. Some people who are sensitive to common wheat are able to enjoy spelt bread.

Note: it is important that you don't over-knead spelt dough.

1 tablespoon active dry yeast
2 cups warm water (105° to 110° F)
3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons melted butter
2 teaspoons sea salt
6 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.

Zillah's picture

Thanks for the advice fellow bakers! Lorrie, I'm going to convert your recipe into English measures (we don't really use cup measurements over here) to get the proportions of flour to water. You cook yours a a much lower temperature than I've been using, but I think your recipe has a higher water content so it wouldn't have the drying out problem we've had. Hmmmm.

Anhata, we've tried keeping a portion of the dough back as a starter for the next loaf, which is kind of the same technique as sourdough if using a different yeast, and things have been much more successful so I think you could be on the right lines there. The last loaf we made had a really nice structure, but the top was too cooked (perhaps we need that lower oven temp?)

Anyway, I'll muse some more and we'll bake some more, but I'm certainly encouraged that it can be done.

I'm going to try spelt banana bread, which would give me a wheat and dairy free cake. I'll let you know how it goes!

I've just noticed that DMIL has a load of raspberries in her freezer so I'm off to look up that spelt raspberry muffin recipe!

Zillah

Lynn's picture

pleez?

Lynn Siprelle, Editor

Lynn's picture

:)

Please post it here or put it in the recipe box!

Lynn Siprelle, Editor

nanasybie's picture

Hello. I read your comment on your recipe for spelt bread. I would please like to try your recipe. I bought some spelt flour from our local health food store because she was out of wheat flour. Thank you very much.

Anita Burns's picture

Good info here. I'd forgotten about it until I received an email notice. I am the editor of The Messenger, at themessenger.info. I am always looking for good food writers. If anyone is interested in writing an article for us about healthy cooking. I would love it. Writer's guidelines are on the site.

Thanks,

Anita

Guest's picture

Your spelt bread sounds like what I'm looking for. I have a friend who's trying spelt in order to loose weight. I've made a bread twice and it falls, no matter how careful I am in moving it, and it also tastes like sawdust. Could I get your recipe to try? I'm trying to avoid regular flour. Thanks!

Betsy

kk's picture

Would love any spelt bread recipes you want to share, especially loaf bread & cinnamon rolls. Thanks!

bigred's picture

[Hi Anita,
I would love your recipe and baking times etc for hot dog,hamburger, cinnamon and regular spelt bread!
thanks
Karen

quote=Anita Burns]I have a wheat intolerance but not a gluten problem. I use white spelt flour, add extra dopep gluten and use a sourdough starter and let it sit with flour and water for at least two hours. I also use barley malt syrup and lecithin because they strengthen gluten. When I have it, I add a little ascorbic acid because it also strengthens gluten. I found that also adding a little applesauce helps and doesn't change the flavor of the bread. For extra taste, I always add some sesame seeds.

Spelt flour is delicate and the gluten breaks down easily. It requires a light touch. My bread rises beautifully, is light, stretchy enough for sandwiches, hot dog buns, and hamburger buns. I also make a "killer" cinnamon bread.

If anyone would like the exact recipe, email me and I'll be happy to provide it.[/quote]

Tulip19's picture

Thanks for your recipe Lorrie, I'm going to try and follow it to the letter. I've tried to bake spelt bread a number of times and I always end up with a hockey puck/brick....

If I've read this blog right, what I should avoid in my new attempt is too much water and too much kneeding right?
My biggest problem, like Zillah, is the rising: in my latest attempt tonight I used dry yeast and followed the recipe on the pack I had to the letter (said leave to rise for 1 hour), even added some oilsoaked sundried tomatos, but it didn't rise at all so after two hours I tried to bake it anyway and tadaaa...another brick.
Will attempt with the new recipe tomorrow, but just in case - do I just wait for the bread to rise even if I don't see anything happening for hours??

[quote=lorrieboettger]Hi Zillah,
This is the recipe that I use at home for spely bread, I think you will like how it comes out. The trick with spelt is not to overknead it. When using wheat flour it is almost impossible to knead "too long", but with spelt flour if you knead too long your finished loaved will come out heavy and crumbly. Remember to add the flour gradually and only use enough that you don't actually stick to everything as you knead. I usually add the last cup or so a bit at a time so I can stop when I think the dough has enough flour.
Hope you like it!

Blessings,
Lorrie
Lorrie@TLCLimited.com

Spelt Bread — by Rebecca Wood
Yield: Two 8 ½" x 4 ½" loaves

For a lighter flavor and texture, use up to 50% white spelt flour. Some people who are sensitive to common wheat are able to enjoy spelt bread.

Note: it is important that you don't over-knead spelt dough.

1 tablespoon active dry yeast
2 cups warm water (105° to 110° F)
3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons melted butter
2 teaspoons sea salt
6 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.[/quote]

Karen Flick's picture

[quote=Anita Burns]I have a wheat intolerance but not a gluten problem. I use white spelt flour, add extra dopep gluten and use a sourdough starter and let it sit with flour and water for at least two hours. I also use barley malt syrup and lecithin because they strengthen gluten. When I have it, I add a little ascorbic acid because it also strengthens gluten. I found that also adding a little applesauce helps and doesn't change the flavor of the bread. For extra taste, I always add some sesame seeds.

Spelt flour is delicate and the gluten breaks down easily. It requires a light touch. My bread rises beautifully, is light, stretchy enough for sandwiches, hot dog buns, and hamburger buns. I also make a "killer" cinnamon bread.

If anyone would like the exact recipe, email me and I'll be happy to provide it.[/quote]

Helle's picture

I would love to have the recipe for your "killer" cinnamon bread!

Wendy Owen's picture

I am having trouble with my bread falling during baking - I would love your recipe with instructions. :) I've been using white spelt and sprouted spelt - even the rhubarb bread I tried fell during baking! I would appreciate any insight you might have - thanks!

aidansmama's picture

Maybe it's an altitude thing, or the fact that I've been using Light Spelt Flour, but I've found that I need to add quite a bit of extra flour to any recipe I make or the dough, batter, etc. is way too moist. I'm also trying to figure out how to get a thinner, more tender crust on my Spelt Bread. In the meantime, my husband just complains. My son, however, loves the Spelt Bread - even when it doesn't turn out perfectly. The loaf I'm doing now is 3/4 Light Spelt (actually probably more like 4/5 because I needed to add extra extra after the first rising), and the rest White All-Purpose Wheat Flour. I also added Parmesan for flavour. We'll see how it turns out.

Ryan's picture

I make a whole-grain spelt sourdough bread as my staple food in my household. I grind the flour myself in a grain mill, so it's 100% extraction. The first mistake I see is the very mention of an electric mixer. Spelt dough shouldn't come in contact with an electric mixer; it's just entirely too harsh. It's like trying to rock a baby to sleep with a paint can shaker. Even regular hand kneading is perhaps too much. The stretch-and-fold method is better suited to spelt.

My bread isn't quite 100% spelt; the sourdough starter is maintained with whole rye flour, which I also grind myself. If you like, I can write out my detailed recipe for you.

Jamie's picture

I would love the recipe - I've never done sourdough and feel a little nervous about it , so lots of tips would be great, too... I'll look forward to it.
-Jamie

Ryan's picture

Well, sourdough's not too hard if you have a strong culture. You can get a culture from carlsfriends.org for just self-addressed stamped envelope.

Once you have your sourdough culture established, watch the video about stretch-and-folding here http://www.breadtopia.com/spelt-bread-recipe. You will need to know that technique. You should also find malted barley flour aka diastatic malt. I put these stages 12 hours apart, but it will depend on the temperature in your house.

Stage 1: Mix 2oz of sourdough starter (100% hydration) with 4 oz of water, 4 oz of flour, and 1/4 tsp of malted barley.
Stage 2: Take the mixture from Stage 1 and add 6 oz water, 8 oz flour, and 1/4 tsp of malted barley.
Stage 3: Dissolve 1/2 oz salt or 0.6 oz Celtic Sea Salt in 7 oz of water. Take the mixture from Stage 2 and add the saltwater, 13 oz of flour, and 1/2 tsp malted barley. Wait an hour and do 3 stretch-and-folds 10-15 minutes apart.
Stage 4: Do another stretch-and-fold to shape and deflate the loaf and place in a greased pan. When it rises enough, bake at 350 F for an hour.

You can also use the recipe in the link I sent you, but I would use 1 tsp malted barley instead of the honey or agave he suggests.

marie louise's picture

i'm very interested in getting as much info as possible including a detailed recipe for spelt bread. i use whilte spelt and sourdough yeast and let it prove in fridge for 48 hours yet the end result is not 100% in that although it's nicely aerated all over it is still heavy. any advice would be greatly appreciated. thanks in advance. [quote=Guest]I make a whole-grain spelt sourdough bread as my staple food in my household. I grind the flour myself in a grain mill, so it's 100% extraction. The first mistake I see is the very mention of an electric mixer. Spelt dough shouldn't come in contact with an electric mixer; it's just entirely too harsh. It's like trying to rock a baby to sleep with a paint can shaker. Even regular hand kneading is perhaps too much. The stretch-and-fold method is better suited to spelt.

My bread isn't quite 100% spelt; the sourdough starter is maintained with whole rye flour, which I also grind myself. If you like, I can write out my detailed recipe for you.[/quote]

Anita Burns's picture

I used spelt flour, combined with whole grain Kamut to make bread when I had a sensitivity to wheat, for years. I no longer have that sensitivity due to diligently taking a formula of pro-biotics and L-Glutamine to reset my digestive track. However, I learned a lot. Spelt has sensitive gluten. Too much kneading breaks it and you have brick bread. Kamut gives the bread a nice, nutty flavor. If you have a gluten intolerance, don't add extra gluten like I did, but use dough conditioners that contain vitamin C, Lecithin, and diastalic malt. It strengthens gluten.

Spelt makes marvelous biscuits, pie crusts, and anything that doesn't want gluten to form. Pie crust is always flaky and biscuits are light.

Many health food stores, I used Vitamin City in Glendora, will special order 50 pound bags of organic white spelt flour.

Bottom line is that Spelt is difficult to work with until you get the hang of it. Then, the bread is more delicious than with regular wheat.

aidansmama's picture

I've been making some progress, but I'm still looking for tips to make my bread's crust thinner & more tender. This is for a conventional-type bread - not sourdough. I don't like the taste of sourdough bread.

I live in Edmonton, Alberta, where the climate is rather dry (especially in the winter), and the elevation is 668 metres (2192 ft) above sea level. Our water here is considered moderately hard at 165 mg/L. I don't know how to compensate for any of this.

Grateful for any help.

JeanneB's picture

I made two loaves last night, using my mother's old faithful recipe and just tweaking it a bit. Great rise, moist, and above all, delicious!
1 cup warm milk
2 tbls coconut oil
1/4 honey
1/2 teas sea salt
Mix these til honey and coconut oil melt.
Add one egg
In bowl, mix
3 cups spelt flour
1/2 cup prairie gold flour
3/4 cup regular all purpose flour (I used what I had and it was great!)
2 tsp yeast
Make a well in center, pour in warm milk/egg mixture.
I used my kitchenaid with the dough hook. About 4-5 minutes. If it is too dry, dribble in a little warm water, a teaspoon or so at a time.
Grease dough, cover and let rise. Took a little over an hour. Punch down, I formed two loaves and rolled them in poppy seeds.. Placed them in a 9x13 cake pan. Let rise another 20-30 minutes. Baked at 375 for 30 minutes. brush loaves with melted butter, carefully, or poppyseeds will fall off. ;-)

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