Simple Spelt Sourdough Bread

OK ok, you’ve seen several recipes for spreads, jams and curds to put on bread. Here is the very carrier, a simple straight forward Spelt Sourdough bread.

I’ve found the recipe in Andrew Whitley’s book: Bread Matters. A very good book if you feel like getting serious about baking your own traditional breads. After baking rye sourdough breads as described by Sandor Ellix Katz with varying results over the past years, this spelt bread seems to work every single time. The other benefit is the short and simple fermentation process here. Normally the making of rye sourdough bread will take three fermentation steps over up to 24 hours. For a good working 100% rye sourdough bread recipe visit my dear friend and colleague’s, Rani Silva, website!
This easy spelt sourdough recipe here only requires a one step fermentation of 12 hours.

Grain millOnce you’ve tried this recipe a few times and have bought the above mentioned book, you might consider the purchase of a grain mill. After years of slogging with a hand-operated Jupiter one, I’m now blessed with a Hawo’s Queen 2 electrical mill. Thanks Mum and Santa! 🙂
The difference it makes to have freshly ground flour for baking sourdough bread is tremendous! Apparently, most of the vital nutrients in grains oxidise and break down very shortly after the milling into flour.

Due to the sourdough fermentation the spelt and its gluten seem to be well digestible even by people like my dear wife, Lydia, who is normally very sensitive to gluten.

For this bread you will require a rye flour sourdough starter. Yes: rye. If you don’t have ‘weird’ friends who keep such a pet in their fridge or your house sitter threw your 300 year old sourdough starter out… (like Lydia managed to do once ;-)), make your own!

It should only take you 4-5 days in a warm spot (28-30°C) in your kitchen. A sourdough starter relies on the wild yeasts present on the grains/flour and in your kitchen environment. Each grain (wheat, spelt, rye, rice, barley…) and locality will develop a different sourdough culture, depending on the yeasts present.

Start with 25 g rye wholemeal flour and 50 g of warm (40°C) water. Stir it well. Keep it in a plastic tub with a simple lid that snaps into place or can easily flip open when pressure builds inside.

Each day add 25 g rye flour and 50 g or warm water, stir and return to its warm spot.

On day 4 your starter should start bubbling and taste lightly sour/fruity.rye sourdough starter

You can start using it in recipes now or keep it in the fridge until you need it. Then pull it out to warm to room temperature and add 1/2 cup or rye flour and 1/2 cup of warm water. Stir it well and wait til it starts bubbling again. This can take 8-12 hours. You are now ready to use your starter in a recipe like the one below by Andrew Whitley.

I suggest you double this recipe and bake two breads at a time. These loaves have a tendency to disappear rather fast. Should you have too much, just slice one loaf after a day or two and freeze it for later toasting and use.

Simple Spelt Sourdough Bread

★★★★★

Prep Time: 12 hours | Cook Time: 40 mins | Servings: 1 loaf | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
80 g Rye Sourdough starter

350 g warm water

500 g stoneground wholmeal flour, Spelt

8 g sea salt

50 g seeds, optional (Sunflower-, Pumpkin-, Sesame-, Poppy seeds…)

Directions:
To make the bread, disperse your refreshed rye sourdough starter and salt with a whisk in the water and then mix in the flour and seeds. Knead to develop the gluten and adjust the moisture so that the dough is very soft.

Sourdough

Any structure that you create by tight moulding will largely subside during a long proof, so do not expect a fine-domed top to a loaf such as this.

Dough before rising

Dough in tins before rising

Place the dough in a greased and flour dusted loaf tin, cover it with a loose plastic bag and leave to rise. Do not put the tin in an especially warm place unless you want to hurry the process along. At an average kitchen temperature of about 20°C, this dough should rise in 10-12 hours. In winter I tend to put it onto the cupboard shelf above the crock pot with our continuous bone broth.

Before baking

The risen dough in the tins

Bake in a hot oven at 230°C, reducing the temperature to 200°C after 10 minutes or so. Bake at 200°C for another 30 min for a total baking time of 40 min.

Freshly baked bread

The finished bread

Since all the flour in this loaf has been fermented for a long period, the crumb will be markedly sticky immediately after baking, so it is better to leave it for a day before cutting it. Its keeping quality, however, is remarkable. Even better, the science suggests that a long rise with lactic acid bacteria from the rye sourdough starter and its unique micro-biom will neutralise almost all the phytic acid present in the wholemeal flour bran, making important minerals such as iron, magnesium, calcium and zinc more available to your body than they would be in an ordinary yeasted wholemeal bread.
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So there you have it! Feel free to post your success stories or accidents below!

Best of Success and Bon Apetit!

Spelt Sourdough Bread

 

Pflaumenmus – good old style German plum jam

Plum tree

Ever wondered what magic your grandma was putting into those jars when you were growing up? I have.
…and never really investigated until now. Living on the opposite side of the world now – where people hang upside down – no written records could be found either. Not that I would have been able to read my grandmother’s old German handwriting.

Plums in stone pot

What helped was this marvellous hande-made stone pot, which Babak imports from Iran. Google came to the rescue when my neighbours plum tree was dumping a ton of fruit on the lawn. Add New Zealand plums, a faint memory of childhood Bliss, a ‘googled’ a.k.a. ‘researched’ German recipe, and a Persian stone pot and voila! There it is: A perfect plum jam/Pflaumenmus that comes very close to Grandma/Oma Lieselotte’s magic!

Plums with spices

Just in case you don’t have a Persian stone pot, get one! Haha! Of course, you can probably use your ‘Roemertopf’, still remembering its 1970’s glorious days. A good old (and boring) baking dish with lid will highly likely do the trick too.
You can get these pots in Auckland, NZ, from the Wise Cicada in Newmarket or Farro Fresh.

Plums with sugar

The original recipe was with brown sugar. I took the freedom to replace it with organic coconut sugar. Have also ramped up the variety of spices. The apricot kernels are there for some bitterness. I remember the highlight of my grandmother’s ‘Pflaumenmus’ always was the whole walnut in each jar. They were delicious when you opened them after they had months to marinate in plum aroma.

Baked plums

If you have fresh (mold free) walnuts, make sure to bake them with the plums to sterilise them. Remember to fish them out temporarily while you puree the plums with your hand mixer! Back in they go afterwards.

Baked plums

Here we go:

Pflaumenmus / German Plum Jam

★★★★★
Prep Time: 3 hours | Cook Time: 2 hours | Servings: 3 liters | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

3 kg plums, really ripe
200 g organic golden sugar
300 g organic coconut sugar
2 T cinnamon
5 cloves, ground
10 cardamom seeds, ground
1/4 t vanilla powder
1 star anise, ground
3 apricot kernels, whole (alternatively use 3 whole walnuts)
1 pinch sea salt

Finished plum jam

Directions:

Clean the plums, half them and remove the stones.
Toss the plums with the sugars and ground spices.
Put into a stone pot or baking dish and let sit for 2-3 hours to release some of the juice.
To save time you could also boil the plums with sugar and spices in a pot to realease the juice.
If using a stone pot put it into your oven, leave the lid off the pot, but in the oven, so it warms up too. With your oven set to Baking or Fan Baking start with 120°C for 20 minutes. Increase the temperature every 20 minutes by 20°C (total 60 min) until you reach 180°C. Now put the lid on your pot and bake (no fan) for another 60 min at 180°C.
This will allow your stone pot to heat up evenly without running the risk of cracking. The fan in the first hour will allow a good portion of water to evaporate, which makes for a thicker jam.
At the end of the baking time carefully lift out your hot stone pot. Place it on a heat resistant and stable surface. Now puree the plums with a stick blender into a smooth consistency. Remember to fish out the whole walnuts before blending – if you use that variation!
Fill the jam into hot rinsed canning jars. Turn the closed jars onto their lids and let cool down. Having the jars cool upside down will increase the percentage of properly sealed jars drastically – especially when using recycled ones.
Will keep in your pantry until discovered by your family.

Cooling jars

Now get yourself a slice of freshly toasted rye sourdough bread or grain-free almond bread with a decent LAYER of butter (wait a bit or your butter will drip!) a spoon… I’m sure you get my drift.

Enjoy!

Pflaumenmus