Thursday, 4 August 2011

Spelt sourdough

Spelt sourdough by flimbag
Spelt sourdough, a photo by flimbag on Flickr.

This was a peculiar stuff to work with. That challah recipe claimed it would feel like modelling clay to work with. It didn't.

This 20% spelt dough, on the other hand, felt just like modelling clay. I'd left the shaped loaf in the fridge for a long overnight prove, and when I got to it in the morning, I could see big air bubbles appearing before my eyes, just below the skin of the loaf.

Then, when I tried to slash the loaf, I began to see just how wet the dough was below the skin. I started to lose control of my loaf during the slashing, so I gave up before I'd finished and slammed it in the oven.

It seemed to behave fine once it was in the oven. Completely predictable. I've just taken it out, so I've no idea what the flavour or the crumb are like. I made this one 20% spelt, 80% white so I could get some sense of what the spelt flavour was like, without producing a heavy, inedible loaf. I've seen pictures of 100% spelt loaves and they don't look that appetizing.

This one does look appetizing -- albeit somewhat lopsided. I'll post more when I've cut it and know about the crumb and the flavour.

On tasting, I found this a bit disappointing. Perhaps it's because spelt is an acquired taste, but I didn't find it an improvement on either my white loaves or my wholemeal loaves. Also, the loaf seemed to dry out and stale very rapidly, which was a surprise because I didn't bake it especially long or hot.

I'll try spelt again -- perhaps with wholemeal or rye -- but I'm not holding out a lot of hope for it. Obviously, there's a reason we use the flour we use most -- it's tastiest. Unless you've got some kind of gluten allergy, I don't see any reason to be messing with this stuff.

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