Sunday, 5 February 2012

Spelt Bread Experimentation...

Yesterday I made three loaves of bread but as they turned out, two will be for my stall and one for me. (I know people like things to look homemade but I am annoyed that I didn't split the dough evenly between the three tins, thus causing three sizes: small, medium and large. The medium and large being for sale.)

I have a bread recipe that is created out of 11 separate recipes and I'm happy with it but after chatting to a fellow baker friends, he suggested that if I put less dough in the tin then is would have more space to rise and be of a lighter consistency. So I split the 500g after proving it twice but it was not enough for two loaves. Yesterday, I used a total of 1125g of spelt flour for three loaves and clearly that was not quite enough either. The quest for a multiple batch recipe still continues.

Today - Tuesday 20th September - I have used what's left in my cupboard in an attempt to make two more loaves for my stall. I decide to use 450g flour for each loaf, a total of 900g but I haven't got enough spelt flour so the mixture ends up like this:
620g organic spelt flour
20g plain white flour blend (wheat-free)
260g white self-raising flour (wheat-free)
= 900g in total

I follow the 'best spelt loaf yet' recipe referred to above, as closely as possible just doubling what I need. So here are the ingredients below:
900g flour mixture of spelt & wheat-free flours (see above for amounts)
2 tps salt
6 tbs oil (2 extra virgin, 4 vegetable)
2 tbs honey
2 tbs sesame seeds
2 tbs sunflower seeds
fresh baker's yeast (in cake form)
600ml warm water.

I used fresh baker's yeast (just ask behind the bakery section of a supermarket, e.g. Sainsbury's - it's very cheap, c. 50p for enough for 3-4 loaves.) After researching on the net, I discovered that each 0.6oz (17g)  of the yeast 'cake' is equivalent to one dried 7g sachet. Yesterday I used 4 x 7g sachet to make 3 loaves, so a total of 28g.
28g divided by 4 = 9.33g per loaf. For three loaves today if I multiply that by 3, that equals 18g.
I'd rather they rise more than less because of the different flour blend today, I round that up to 21g. That is 3 x 7g of dried yeast and using the above calculation: 1 x 7g sachet of dried yeast = 17g of baker's fresh yeast.

3 x 7g dried yeast = 3 x 17g of fresh yeast =
21g of dried = 51g of fresh yeast.

Again, I used the net to research HOW to use baker's yeast and found the following:
If you are using it you need to 'test' that the yeast is still 'alive' and will make the bread rise, so you need to carry out a small 'proofing' experiment. Dissolve the yeast into warm water (38 degrees Celsius) and add a pinch of sugar. Leave for 5-10 mins and the solution should bubble and foam. If it doesn't - the yeast will not make the bread rise.
I also found out, very helpfully, that to get water to exactly 38 degree you need to use 300ml boiling water to 600ml cold water and then pour out the amount you need. For today's three loaf batch of dough, I used just over 600ml of 'yeasty water'.

Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and then add the seeds, oil and honey (measure out oil first and then the honey just drips straight off the spoon!) and stir into a mixture. Add the warm water with dissolved yeast in bit by bit combining with a spoon first. When all the flour and liquid is combined, use hands to incorporate all ingredients properly and turn out onto a (wheat-free) floured surface. The dough should not be wet or dry and cracking. I turn it out slightly wetter as when it hits the floured surface and is kneaded then it gets drier naturally. I also keep a jug of warm water to the side and regularly dip hands in it when I kneed. I knead it for 5-7 mins until it resembles the feel of a flabby but soft tummy! It should feel soft and stretchy and should not have any cracks.

Remember to flour the bowl you put it back in to prove (otherwise it sticks) and cover with a warm/damp t-towel (otherwise the top dries into a crust - that then falls off when toasted!) and leave to rise until double the size in a warm place (next to my gas fire on low is great in my house.) This takes about an hour.

When you take it out of the bowl - some of the air will naturally come out - 'knocking back' the dough, so divide the dough exactly between two greased loaf tins and leave to rise for c. 45 mins until the height is about an inch below the desired height. It will needs to bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees for about 35-40 mins. I top mine with barley flakes for aesthetic appeal so add these on top and press lightly into the dough.

The taste is a nutty, seedy loaf that has a complex texture which is light and crunchy when toasted. Perfect with Mum's apple & ginger jam!


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