Bread and I have a troubled past. Not only does it wreak havoc on my stomach, my “little of this, little of that” cooking style does not agree with precision baking. But it’s hard to call yourself a self-taught chef if you can’t make a decent loaf of bread, so this is something I need to figure out.
Hoping to find a happy medium with learning techniques and not killing my stomach (especially after my birthday gluten binge), I decided to try making Spelt Bread. Spelt flour is perfect for me because it is a low gluten flour that my belly is fully capable of tolerating. It also has wonderful earthy and sweet flavors that make for great toast or pancakes!
This time I took the recipe directly off the back of the Arrowhead Mill’s spelt flour package. I swapped out maple syrup for honey and olive oil for vegetable oil. Everything was going beautifully until it was time for the bread to rise. I didn’t proof my yeast (oops!) and thus started to develop a different kind of pit in my tummy.
After reading a few posts on Chowhound, there were two possible reasons the bread wasn’t rising: my yeast was dead or my yeast was cold. Since we keep the temperature in the cabin at a balmy (yeah right) 65°F during the day, I thought I’d try the cold route first. So, I set my bread pan on the floor by our electric wall heater and 30 minutes later held my breath as I peeked under the dishtowel.
To my surprise, the yeast was back! And rising fast!
The yeast continued to rise and a few hours later we had homemade bread! While it was tasty, I did have a few questions that I thought I’d ask the community:
- Why was my bread so dense?
- What temperature is “warm” water? I used lukewarm (didn’t even use a thermometer), but later read that it needed to be able 100°F.
Spelt Bread Adapted from Arrowhead Mills
Makes 1 loaf
You will need:
~ .25 oz dry active yeast
~ 1 cup warm water
~ 2 tbsp maple syrup
~ 2 tbsp olive oil
~ 1 tsp sea salt
~ 3 ½ cups spelt flour
Combine water, maple syrup, and oil in a large bowl. Dissolve yeast in water mixture. Add salt and 1 ½ cups spelt flour and beat for 3 to 4 minutes. Cover bowl with a damp dishtowel and let rest (in a warm place!) for 30 minutes or until the bread has doubled in size.
Fold in remaining 2 cups of spelt four and transfer dough to a kneading board. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes until all of the spelt flour has been mixed in and the dough is smooth. Add flour if needed to prevent the dough from sticking to your hands. Place dough in an oiled bread pan. Cover pan with a damp cloth and let sit (again in a warm place) for another 30 minutes until the dough has doubled.
While dough is rising, preheat oven to 350°F. Bake bread for 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack. Smoother with butter, jelly, or cheese!