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Demo: Wholemeal (Spelt) Boule

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8 replies to this topic

#1 jackal10

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Posted 07 January 2006 - 11:00 AM

This is a basic sourdough wholemeal boule, but it allows many variations. It is an adaption of my baguette method. I'm making this one from Spelt flour. As it says on the pack, its an ancient low yield wheat variety, that some people find who are intolerant to modern wheats can eat.
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Many commercial breads are made using a "no time" method (high intensity mixing, short proof times), and the method has fallen into disrepute among artisan bakers. However, as Dan Lepard points out, the original intentions were sound, even if commercial pressures have degraded the loaf.
Here the gluten is developed by high-intensity mixing of a low protein flour (with some Vitamin C), high levels of pre-ferment, allowing very short or no bulk fermentation. Flavour is developed with an overnight retardation, as well as a ripe preferement. The acid in the starter will also degrade the gluten, making it hard to handle unless cold. Its well suited for wholemeal loaves, since they tend to be low gluten.

Spelt Boule:
Total flour: 600g
Total water: 450g
Hydration: 75%


100g Flour (I used white)
100g Water
Tbs starter (or 1/4 tsp yeast)
Ferment at 30C for 24 hours (very ripe)

All the pre-ferment
500g Flour (Spelt, but can be wholmeal) (84%)
350g water (58%)
10g salt (1.6%)

Whizz together in a powerful food processor for THREE MINUTES.
Turn out (a little oil helps), shape, put into bannetons and retard overnight.
Prove for 4 hours at 30C, then bake.

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#2 K8memphis

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Posted 07 January 2006 - 07:42 PM

That's so awesome! Thanks so much for doing this for us all!!!

#3 Swisskaese

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Posted 08 January 2006 - 07:18 AM

Looks interesting Jack. I have never tried bread made with spelt flour. How different is the taste from whole wheat? Is it a heavy bread?

#4 Abra

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Posted 08 January 2006 - 11:12 AM

I find it hilarious that a bread that takes more than 48 hours is billed as "no time!" Nonetheless, it looks good, and easy to make. Thanks, Jack.

#5 jackal10

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Posted 08 January 2006 - 02:41 PM

Next day, after overnight in the fridge.
A confession. I took it out of the fridge and left it for 4 hours to warm up. Then we had an unexpected visitor, so I did not get to bake it. No problem - sourdough moves slowly - so back in the fridge for 7 hours or so. Baked from cold. Much easier to handle soft fragile dough cold.

On the peel; slashed with a J
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In the oven and 40 minutes later.
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The oven spring has rather blown out the J. Note the fine bubbles in the crust from the retardation; texture is light. The long period in the fridge gives a good taste of the grain.
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Texture with and without flash. The intensive mixing gives a fine open web.
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Goes well with chunky chicken soup
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You can use the same recipe but with ordinary wholemeal bread flour. Many variations: add flavours, top with seeds, different shapes etc.

#6 Tepee

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 07:01 PM

Using this spelt flour, I followed Jack's recipe. However, I don't have a powerful food processor, so I used my Kenwood chef instead. To compensate, I thought I'd mix it for 15 minutes...the dough was quite hot at the end. Hmm... Well, here's the bread, not quite light textured like Jack's, mine is moderately dense. Flavor's excellent, though.

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Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

#7 Dom W

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Posted 25 January 2006 - 05:35 PM


I don't know whether other people have had this experience, but my food processor (a good quality domestic model) had a fit of pique trying to process this dough for three minutes.
After a minute and a half it ground to a halt, and I thought that I had burned out the motor. Thankfully I hadn't, and giving it a bit of a break, and stirring the dough a bit I convinced the processor to give me another thirty seconds or so.
Your food processor must have more stamina.

You also mentioned vitamin C in your post, and include it in your baguette a l'ancienne recipe, but it isn't in the spelt boule recipe. I have read Dan Lepard talking about adding vitamin C or orange juice to wholemeal loaves, and wondered whether this had been omitted from your recipe.
I added 5g of Vitamin C.
Dough is in the fridge, I'll post a picture of the end product.


#8 jackal10

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Posted 26 January 2006 - 01:21 AM

I use a professional grade robo coupe food processor, but even that struggles. You need a motor rated about 300W/kg of dough, and a blade that can spin at 500rpm or better. I have also used a professional spiral mixer on fast, You need to mix the dough until it starts sticking again after the "pickup" phase.
You were right to add the Vitamin C. It oxidises an enzyme that otherwise weakens the gluten.

#9 Dom W

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Posted 28 January 2006 - 04:14 PM


Here is a picture of the finished loaf (toasted). I used wholewheat rather than spelt flour.

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It ended up more of a frisbee than a boule (looks like Tepee had a similar experience).
It is a fairly moist crumb (probably needed longer in the oven), and not as light as yours. I suspect that I didn't get either the intensity or duration of mixing from my food processor that you managed to.
Nevertheless it has great flavour. The long retardation (in fact mine was in the fridge for 36 hours) gives it a great sour flavour.

If you were to hand mix it, would you still add the vitamin C? Can you get the lightness and air holes in a 100% wholemeal loaf that is hand-mixed?