Spelt Bread

I feel a bit sheepish admitting that despite years of baking and hanging around my fabulous-bread-baking mother, I had never made bread until a couple months ago. We’re trying to figure out if my girlfriend has a food intolerance (is it wheat? Gluten? Yeast? A product of her blood-type? Stay tuned!) and I’m finding the non-wheat bread available to us kind of sucks. My mother had a recipe for spelt-oat bread and here we are!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups warm soy milk
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp yeast
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup plain apple sauce at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups fine oat flakes
  • about 5-6 cups of spelt flour (and have more on hand in cause you need it)

Directions

  1. If your oven has a proofing function, turn it on. If you have an old, very simple oven like mine, preheat it to the lowest temperature (mine is 170 degrees F) and then turn it off (you will be letting the bread rise in the oven and it’s too warm if you keep it on). If you want to make loaves, put parchment paper in two bread or loaf pans. If you want to make buns, put parchment paper on two baking sheets.
  2. Warm the soy milk to body temperature (lukewarm). Add yeast and stir well. Let sit for 5-10 minutes in order for it to start to bubble and foam.
  3. Add oil, sugar and applesauce to soy milk/yeast mixture. Mix well with a wisk or fork. Add oak flakes and mix again.
  4. Add a cup of flour and the salt. Continue to add the flour a cup at a time, mixing to incorporate. When the mixture gets too stiff to stir with a fork, you will need to knead the dough with your hands. Knead for 10 minutes at least, adding flour a handful at a time until the dough is smooth and pliable. It should develop a nice elasticity.
  5. Place the dough in a lightly floured bowl, cover with plastic and a damp tea towel, and let rise in the oven until double in bulk (1-1 1/2 hours).
  6. Knead dough again, shape into two loaves or 12 buns, and put into loaf pans or on a baking sheet, depending on what you want to make. Dust tops with a bit of flour, cover with parchment paper and tea towel and let them rise in a warm place until double in bulk (1-1 1/2 hours).
  7. Bake buns at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes; bake loaves at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes, then reduce head to 350 degrees F and bake for an additional 30-40 minutes. The test for “doneness” is that when you take the bun or loaf out of the pan and tap the bottom, it should sound hollow.

An additional note on kneading from my mother: if you knead the dough firmly and very thoroughly during the first kneading, giving it a good, gentle work-out, it will rise more quickly. Sluggish rising means not enough kneading and/or not enough warmth in the rise stage.

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