I got this recipe from the River Cottage Bread Handbook. It’s a great book and has made bread making for me extremely manageable, and instead of thinking that bread is too complicated for me to make it shows that it all just takes some practice and I have learned to let go and not expect everything I make to be perfect every time.
My first two loaves were not a complete disaster but to begin with I thought they were terrible and was annoyed with myself for skipping some very important steps. They actually tasted fine but I decided I would try and stick to the steps next time. I found using a 1kg bag of flour a little too overwhelming for me so I halved the ingredients. So here it is….
To Make 1 Medium sized Loaf
500g Wholemeal Spelt Flour
5g Powdered Dry Yeast – I use 1tsp
10g Fine Salt – 2tsp
300ml Warm Water – Warm is important for the yeast to do its thing
1/2 tbsp Sunflower oil – Although I sometimes accidentally put in more.
One Stage Method
Mix the ingredients together in a large bowl. I combine the dry ingredients first and then add the water and mix with one hand.
Knead your dough on a lightly floured surface. If your not sure how to knead dough then check out Youtube.com but simply you push the dough away from you with the ball of one hand and then fold it onto itself and then turn it 90 Degrees and do the same again for about 15 minutes or until the dough bounces back when you poke it. Alternatively you can put it in your Stand mixer with the dough hook attachment and on a slow speed it will knead it for you. It may creep up your dough hook so keep an eye on it. I just stopped my mixed and took the dough off the hook and started it up again.
Prove Shape your dough into a ball and place it into a clean bowl, cover with a tea towel and then put it in a black bag. This allows the yeast to ferment.
Deflate This is exactly as it sounds. poke the risen dough to get all the air out and the leave to prove for the second time.
I left my dough for quite a while (overnight) and it baked up just fine so don’t panic if you think you might be leaving it too long.
Shape your loaf/loaves. Whatever shape you like, I used a loaf tin and this is a good plan with spelt bread because it doesn’t hold its shape particularly well. And at this point it would be an idea to put your oven on at 250 degrees Centigrade.
The river cottage recipe says to leave the dough to prove for a Third time but if like me you want your bread in the oven I would skip this step. I think the more it proves the better the bread but I was on a tight schedule.
Slash the tops with a sharp kitchen knife or not. You choose. Its done if not in a loaf tin usually.
Bake For the amounts I used 30 -40 mins is just right and I also turned the oven down to 200 Degrees after I put my loaf in.
Leave to Cool Trust me here. If you cut your loaf before it has fully cooled you will let the steam out and it will become doughy and dense. I know its tempting to eat hot bread but I learnt the hard way and had a doughy loaf to eat as a result.
And that is it. I have only written this down as I have made it and so don’t think its the only way. Its the way that works for me.
And here is the finished loaf!