046 - Sourdough #20

Spelt White Sourdough
July 9, 2011

After Benedict's previous loaf and my own row of spelt loaves, we both wondered if the dough might benefit from a very short bulk fermentation and an extended retarding period in the fridge. This loaf reflects that (though the extended retarding was longer than intended)

[250W - 250SP - 235LE - 350WA] autolyse 20 min (1840-1900)
[50WA - 10SA] bulk ferment 1 hr, stretch and fold twice (1900-2000)
retard 23:30 (2000-1930)

As always, I used quite hot water to start my dough - the spelt reacted quicker than I thought, as it was quite silky and stretchy even after the first mixing (@1900). At the next two half hour intervals, the dough built even more elasticity and congealed well but did not build any significant tension, it seemed - i.e. it got really smooth and stretchy but not very rubbery. I placed it in a loaf tin after only one hour and skipped the bench rest because I figured it did not have enough tension to hold anyway and planned on a long retarding period. The dough looked surprisingly tense when I transferred it into the loaf tin.

I didn't intend to retard it for almost a full day, but it ended up that way for a few different reasons. I think this was probably a bit too long. I baked it free form after very little shaping since the dough was still cold and quite firm. Made a feeble attempt at long and gorgeous slashes that didn't open up and weren't particularly gorgeous. As usual, baking time was 1:20, and I sprayed the loaf and steamed the oven at the outset.

The taste of this loaf was more or less identical to 040, which used the same ingredient ratios. However, I wasn't able to get the texture that I really wanted out of this. Initially I was disappointed because there wasn't much oven spring and the structure of the crumb wasn't very open (likely due to the over-retardation?) and the slashes not opening up very well. But the more I ate it, the more I enjoyed the moisture and texture of the bread. Not what I wanted, but decent; the crumb was not too dense or chewy and the crust had a really nice and deep flavor. What I can't shake, though, is the strange taste that reminds me of rice flour that I get whenever I bake with spelt. I don't think I've mentioned it in my notes thus far, but it's always been there. Must be the taste of the spelt itself. On my next loaf I'll use less spelt and pay more attention to the fermentation times to see what results I can produce. Back to the books indeed.

Submitted to Yeastspotting


  1. hey Frankie. I'm separated from my sourdough and without a kitchen at the moment. hopefully I'll be back soon.

    Your bread is looking amazing! I sent the "bench-exam" post all over the place, couldn't resist sharing it. Your photos are stunning as always, I can almost smell the bread.

  2. ! i just saw this response just now. lol. i pinterested you to death, so you should be getting some serious eyes. i would love it if you came back!

    listen, im making your spelt loaf. i have some questions: does LE mean levain? does ST mean starter? if so, 150g starter for loaf 040, and 235g levain for loaf 046? Also, do you do your bulk fermentation at room temperature? and do you always use hot water when mixing the dough (wow, im afraid to try that!). i am OBSESSED with #040. all of your breads are amazing. i want to try this first then some of your ryes, and then your country loaves.

    thanks for getting back to me. i hope you are well and baking in someone else's kitchen if you don't have your own yet!

    xo - frankie

    LE levain?
    ST starter?