Joy oh joy! Since going (more or less) gluten-free, I’ve really missed eating the occasional slice of bread slathered with butter. I’ve tried various gluten-free breads and can’t say I’ve enjoyed the taste or texture of any of them. So, when I discovered that I could tolerate spelt flour (which, while it contains gluten, is more easily digested than wheat gluten), I’ve been keeping an eye out for spelt bread recipes.
So far I’ve found and made a really good Spelt Focaccia recipe. Then, just the other day, I discovered this Spelt Bread Loaf recipe on Taste.com.au which combines both white and wholemeal spelt and incorporates linseeds (flaxseeds) and rolled oats. Well, folks… I tried it out and I’m here to tell you it’s a real cracker. A lovely high loaf, with a beautiful tender crumb and ultra-crunchy crust. It also slices incredibly well, though I’d recommend using a fine serrated knife rather than a regular bread knife with the exaggerated serrated edge, which tends to tear it a bit.
While it wasn’t really a ‘biggie’, I did have an issue with my loaf ‘tearing’ on one side as it rose in the oven (as you can see from my photo). I’ve read up on it and apparently this ‘blow out’ happens when the proteins in the bread dry out too quickly. The solution, if you want to avoid this scenario, is to create some moisture in the oven while the bread is cooking. It’s suggested that you place a tray in the bottom of the oven when you turn the oven on, then at the point you place the bread in to bake, throw some ice-cubes into the tray – the ice quickly evaporates and creates a good level of humidity inside the oven. Another suggestion, which is aimed at controlling the rise more evenly, is to slash the top of the bread with a razor (shallow slashes at an angle are recommended) just as it goes into the oven. I’ll probably try both suggestions next time around. *Later: I’ve now made this loaf many times, and haven’t had any further issues with uneven rising. I did try the slash and the ice-cube suggestions, but found this made no perceptible difference anyway.
In the meantime, I’m super thrilled to have found this great recipe and it means I can enjoy a delicious slice of bread now and then. By the way, it freezes really well and toasts up beautifully! Enjoy!
SPELT BREAD LOAF
Makes one loaf (about 18 thin slices)
Ingredients: (This recipe uses metric measurements – click here for Unit Converter)
- 7g sachet dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon caster sugar
- 1 1/2 cups warm water* (see note below)
- 1 1/2 cups wholemeal spelt flour
- 1 1/2 cups white spelt flour
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons linseeds (flaxseeds), divided
- 2 tablespoons traditional rolled oats (or barley flakes), divided
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoons milk
- Place yeast, sugar and warm water in a jug. Whisk vigorously with a fork to dissolve yeast. Stand in a warm place for 10 minutes or until frothy.
- Sift flours into a large bowl. Stir in salt, 1 1/2 tablespoons linseeds, 1 tablespoon rolled oats, yeast mixture and olive oil. Mix to form a soft dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic (spelt dough needs much less kneading time than wheat dough, and should feel tackier than wheat dough). Place in a large, lightly greased bowl. Cover. Set set aside in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
- Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F). Lightly grease a 6cm-deep, 10cm x 20cm (base) loaf pan. Combine remaining linseeds and oats in a bowl and set aside.
- Using your fist, punch dough down and knead briefly until smooth. Shape into a log and place in prepared pan. Cover with lightly greased plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm place for 30 to 40 minutes or until dough has almost doubled in size (you can over-proof spelt dough, so don’t be tempted to wait any longer).
- Brush top with milk. Sprinkle with linseed & oat mixture. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until dark golden and hollow-sounding when tapped. Turn onto a wire rack to cool.
Note: *Many recipe reviewers (including myself) found the dough to be very wet and had to add quite a bit of extra flour to make it workable. I suggest you use 1-1/4 cups of water instead of 1-1/2 cups to start with, and see how you go. If, once you’ve brought the dough together, you find that it is too dry, simply add as much of the extra quarter cup of water as needed.
Food Photography Info: Canon 550D (EOS Rebel T2i); Sigma 30mm 1.4 DC ‘Art’ lens / Natural lighting