Spelt has a nutty and slightly sweet flavour, similar to that of whole-wheat flour
This week we are looking at alternative bread recipes using one of the oldest grains, spelt.
For those of you who have not worked with yeast before, why not throw caution to the wind and give it a go! I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much fun it is!
Spelt flour has enjoyed a revival in the last few years but the grain has been cultivated for centuries. Spelt looks very similar to wheat in appearance, but it has a much harder outer shell before it has been milled. It has a nutty and slightly sweet flavour, similar to that of whole-wheat flour. Spelt does contain some gluten but the gluten in spelt flour is a little unusual - unlike wheat flour, which is quite resilient and often needs a long kneading time to strengthen its gluten and give the bread structure, the gluten in spelt flour breaks down fairly easily. This means that it is important not to over mix it, or risk having a crumbly texture.
One of the reasons spelt is popular is that it is said to be more digestible than wheat and richer in nutrients. It is easy to substitute it into many wheat recipes; where you will get to enjoy the flavour of spelt without compromising the texture of your baked goods.
Due to its recent resurgence, you are likely to see spelt flour in the baking section of your supermarket or in your local health shop.
500g of white spelt flour or wholegrain spelt flour (I use Dove Farm organic wholegrain spelt flour)
1 teaspoon of salt
7g sachet of quick yeast
1 teaspoon of sugar
300ml of warm water
15ml of vegetable oil
* Pre-heat the oven to 220ºc (200ºc fan oven). In a large bowl mix together the flour, salt, quick yeast and sugar. Add the water and lightly mix it into the flour. While the dough is still lumpy add the oil and knead well until it feels smooth and pliable. Leave the dough covered with a tea towel, in a warm, draught free place, for it to double in size. (This should take about an hour).
* Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead the dough for several minutes. Shape the dough and put it into an oiled 1kg/2lb bread tin.
* Cover with a clean tea towel and leave dough to rise for about 25 minutes in a warm place. Bake in a preheated oven 35 or 40 minutes. Once baked, the bread should be a deep, golden colour and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Remove and cool on a wire rack.