Sour-Dough Spelt Bread
First you need a sour-dough culture. Get it from a friend who makes sour-dough, or from a dried culture which you can purchase, for example Health Kultcha.
Like all fermented products, keeping a sour-dough culture takes a little attention because it is a living organism. Once you have your culture growing well, you will need to keep about 2 cups of it in the fridge in a glass container with a close-fitting lid. As needed, or at least once per week, take it out of the fridge, stir well, remove 1 cup of the mixture, then add ½ cup spelt flour and ½ cup water, stir and return to the fridge. If you are making bread, use the 1 cup of culture to start the bread, if you are just feeding the culture, discard the 1 cup or give it to a friend to start their own.
Now for making the bread. It is best to start this in the evening, so it can rise all night, and be ready for the oven first thing in the morning. If your conditions are very ideal, and the ambient temperature is warm, this might happen quicker - it will depend on so many factors; you will have a living relationship with your culture!
1 cup culture from your jar in the fridge.
1 cup water warmed to blood heat
1 cup organic spelt flour
- Mix these three ingredients together, then put aside until mixture bubbles and froths. This will take anything from 15 mins to a couple of hours.
- Then add:
2 teaspoons salt
3 cups - 400 gms, spelt flour
- Stir till it is stretchy, about 5 mins.
- Then add enough additional flour to knead it into a springy, non-sticky dough. Spelt bread does not have such a firm bounce as wheat bread does – that is, it will still be softer than wheat bread. Spelt is quicker to work with than wheat, so don’t be too heavy-handed.
- Place dough in the bread tin, cover with a cloth, and leave to rise till it is just past the top of the tin. For me, this is usually overnight.
- Bake for 15 mins at 210, and for a further 45 minutes at 180 degrees C. In my experience, sour-dough bread takes longer to cook than yeast-raised bread.
- Pop it out of the tin, check that the bottom sounds REALLY hollow when tapped, and cool - if indeed you can wait that long!
Although spelt is not gluten free, the sour-dough fermenting process pre-digests it so that it is much more absorbable and does not provoke typical intolerance reactions. Nevertheless, monitor you own response.