Patience and Spelt Sourdough

Twelve days, I think, since I first got the sourdough starter going and today, finally the baking day arrived.

I’ll be so pleased to store the starter in the fridge tomorrow; as exciting as it has been, the getting up early, washing tea towels, sterilizing jars, using bags of flour and the constant slight yeasty smell are things I won’t miss about the past week or so.

I’m going to split and feed the starter tomorrow and give half to my friend A and keep the other half in the fridge until next weekend when I’ll refresh it on Saturday ready to bake on Sunday.

And it’ll have to be Sunday baking from now on as it literally has been an all day job (or afternoon, I didn’t get up until lunchtime ish…. Bank Holiday…. joy!)

My top tips for baking this bread are; firstly, don’t plan on eating a nice chicken sandwich for lunch as I did….. you’ll be lucky to enjoy one before the day is out this is an all day business; and secondly, make a big pot of tea before you start and keep it covered with a tea cosy….. you’ll thank yourself in between each stage :)

I’ve had a bag of spelt flour knocking about for a while waiting for its opportunity to shine and since I’ve used up all the wholemeal wheat flour today was its day…… spelt is a cousin of wheat that used to be used much more than it is today, it is apparently kinder on the human digestive system than wheat and much more robust as grows anywhere, but it takes much longer to get to harvest (only one harvest a year) so it fell out of favour in our efficiency and profit mad world. Recently however it’s been coming back into favour and The Hairy Bikers said that they had recently heard it referred to as the Kiera Knightley of cereals :) ….. I’m not sure about that, but I do like the idea that it’s easier to digest…. it is however about a pound more per bag than organic wholemeal….. I’ll let you know if I think it’s worth the bit extra.

I used this recipe…. http://www.shipton-mill.com/the-bakery/recipes/article-328/100-wholemeal-wheat-sourdough-bread/    as I had used their directions for the starter, obviously I used spelt rather than wheat flour and I also used a bit less flour (as I didn’t quite have enough) so I used less water too.

I surprisingly loved the 10 minutes kneading, very cathartic. I’m definitely not a natural at handling dough, but hopefully with practice I’ll get better.

This is the dough before the second rise.

And after hours and hours, I watched Bee Movie and got on with my current crochet….. lovely afternoon, but I really had to stop myself from taking off the cover to check on the rise :)

but it worked! A lovely rise, I was so pleased…..

And here they are! The finished loaves…. I’m hoping they’ve had long enough in the oven and properly cooked in the middle. Thirteen days of preparation have gone into these little fellas, so fingers crossed I’ve baked them right.

It says in the recipe to leave the loaves for 12 hours after baking before eating….. I may have shown the patience of a saint in making these fellas, but I think I’ve been stretched to my limit and I’ll be enjoying that chicken sandwich before the night’s out :)

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