Homemade Spelt Bread

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For bread lovers out there, the revival of the spelt grain is a very welcome bonus to anyone who finds the process of bread making a chore. It needs less time and attention than strong wheat flour and is easier to work.

This is a basic bread recipe which can be modified to your desire by adding seeds, nuts or dried fruit to make a variety of delicious and nutritious breads. Herbs and spices can also be added to provide interesting flavours.

Ingredients

Method

  1. Prepare two loaf tins by lining them with non-stick baking paper or grease with butter or oil.
  2. Place the flour into a large mixing bowl. Add the yeast, sugar and salt in separate positions at the edge of the bowl.
  3. Make a well in the centre and add the water gradually into it as you stir in the flour to make the dough.
    The oil can be added at the same time or incorporated as you knead the dough on a board.
    The mix will be quite sticky and you can add extra flour to make it more manageable if necessary, but don’t add too much as this will change the density of the bread.
  4. Once the dough is totally mixed, turn it out onto a floured or oiled board and knead for about 5 minutes.
  5. If you are adding nuts or dried fruit they can be introduced towards the latter end of the kneading stage.
  6. Use a scraper to gather up all the pieces that stick to the board.
  7. Divide the dough into two pieces and shape before placing in the prepared loaf tins.
  8. Optional: sprinkle some sesame or sunflower seeds on top of the loaves if desired.
  9. Put the tins of dough into a large inflated plastic bag, allowing space above the tins, and tuck the open end of the bag underneath to keep the air in.
    The bread will rise to almost double its volume after about two hours in a warm kitchen.
  10. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees centigrade (gas 8) and bake the bread at this temperature for about 20 minutes before reducing the heat to 200 for a further 25 minutes.
  11. Turn out onto a cooling rack and cover with a clean tea towel to cool.

Spelt flour has been making a welcome revival over the last few years, and although popular, it does tend to confuse some people.
The most common questions are:

“Is it gluten-free” and “Is it the same as wheat?”

The short answer is no on both accounts.
Spelt is an ancient grain from the same genus as wheat but is a different species. And although it may look like wheat on the outside, it isn’t.

Spelt flour has a nutty and slightly sweet flavour similar to that of whole wheat flour but with none of the bitterness. It also contains more protein than modern wheat. In addition to this, the protein in spelt is easier for a lot of people to digest. Especially for those sensitive to wheat.

And on the subject of digestion, let’s get into that.

Since a lot of people cannot tolerate wheat, spelt is quite the saviour for many. Nevertheless, if you have a gluten intolerance or allergy, please note that spelt does contain gluten. Consequently, this means spelt is not suitable for a gluten-free diet.
You may find spelt sourdough bread is more up your alley. To understand why, have a read of my previous blog:

Spelt bread loaf with avocado
loaf of bread
Spelt sandwich with avocado and sprouts

Bread Suggestions

  • Top off your fresh bread with wilted spinach and a plump poached egg for a wholesome breakfast.
  • Make a sandwich with chunky guacamole and sprouts
  • Toast it after it’s passed it’s best and enjoy with butter or a tasty nut butter.
  • Add walnuts to make this an ideal bread to serve with cheese,
  • Add pitted olives and rosemary to make this a delicious bread for an open sandwich.
    Honestly, the possibilities are endless!
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