Category Archives: Yeast Breads

100% Spelt Sourdough Bread

Ancient grains like spelt, leavened with wild yeasts found in sourdough cultures, produce bread that fits on a low FODMAP diet.  Those suffering from IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) or gastrointestinal  (GI) problems after eating processed foods or gluten may actually be reacting to fructans.  Wheat (along with onions) is thought to contribute 95% of the fructans that can cause GI distress. Fructans are carbohydrates that require an enzyme to breakdown. If this enzyme is not available to breakdown the chains of fructose, fructans can cause discomfort.

Spelt is an ancient grain mentioned in the bible as one that can be grown even during a drought. So even though it is a type of wheat, it contians fewer fructans than other varieties of wheat.  The fermentation process that occurs when wild yeasts are used in spelt bread further breakdown any naturally ocurring fructans. The result is a bread that fits well on a low FODMAP diet.

Most spelt bread found in bakeries or grocery stores have only a small amount of spelt flour in them. The rest contain all sorts of grains that do not fit in a low FODMAP diet. Making your own 100% spelt sourdough bread takes just a few special ingredients and only a little hands on time.  Spelt flour is found in most grocery stores or markets that sell specialty flours. I grind my own flour using whole spelt berries from the field or grocery store. It is so amazing for kids and even adults to watch those tiny berries of spelt turn into a flowing river of flour.

4 year old Carson takes his job of holding the cup to catch the freshly ground spelt flour very serious.
Four year-old Carson takes his job of holding the cup to catch the freshly milled spelt very serious.

Spelt has several unique characteristics. Spelt flour absorbs more water than other grains so the dough has a higher hydration and will be slightly stickier than other bread doughs.  Spelt has fewer fructans than other wheat and those are broken down further during the long fermentation period by the bacteria in a sourdough culture.  Refrigerating the dough after it is kneaded is the best way to create the perfect atmosphere for fermentation to take place.

Spelt can be sprouted, rolled like oats or soaked to be used in recipes. For this bread, the spelt is milled into flour and used just like any other flour.

The whole spelt goes into the top of the hopper and can be ground into coarse or fine flour.
The whole spelt grains go into the top of the hopper and can be milled into coarse to very fine flour.

Spelt bread takes a little longer to bake because of the higher level of hydration. The most reliable way to tell when the bread is done is to use a thermometer to determine the internal temperature. Many experts recommend whole grains be baked to 205 degrees but that really depends on how tight the crumb is. This loaf of spelt sourdough was removed from the oven when it reached 200 degrees. The crumb was moist but not doughy.

The internal temperature should be at least 200 degrees for 100% whole grain.
The internal temperature should be at least 200 degrees for 100% whole grain bread.

Spelt bread can be baked in a multitude of shapes. The recipe is perfect for one 9 x 5-inch loaf pan or it can be shaped into two round balls. Slash the top of the loaves to allow for oven spring, that instantaneous  rise when the dough hits the heat of the oven.  The slash in the top of the dough gives a place for the bread to rise.

Spelt bread in loaf pan.
100% whole spelt sourdough bread  can be baked in a loaf pan as well as in a boule shape.  This loaf of bread was slashed down the center to allow for oven rise.

Whole grain breads are known for having a tighter, denser crumb. Several ingredients in this recipe give spelt bread a great flavor and texture. Orange juice contains vitamin C which helps give a good rise to each loaf. Vital wheat gluten is added to give more strength to the cells. The sourdough culture helps increase the keeping quality of the bread. The potato flakes act as a dough conditioner.  All of these together produce a great-tasting loaf.


100% Spelt Sourdough bread has a tight, flavorful crumb.
100% whole wheat bread  typically has a tight,dense crumb like the loaf above. The loaf in the photo below is lighter in texture with a wonderful  crumb. The difference is the addition of orange juice to enhance the texture of the crumb, extra gluten to increase the elasticity of the dough and less salt since too much salt interferes with the proofing of the dough.
Start this 100% spelt sourdough bread with a wild yeast culture that is vigorous. Test by spooning a small amount of culture in a dish of water. If it floats, it is ready to use in bread. If you are unsure if it is ready, just add 1/4 teaspoon of quick acting yeast to the recipe to make sure the bread rises well.
Start this 100% spelt sourdough bread with a wild yeast culture that is vigorous. Test by spooning a small amount of culture (aka starter) in a dish of water. If it floats, it is ready to use in bread. If you are unsure if it is ready, just add 1/4 teaspoon of quick acting yeast to the recipe to make sure the bread rises well. Go ahead and add the 1 cup of starter even if you decide to add a little yeast.

100% Spelt Sourdough Bread

1 cup spelt sourdough starter
3 cups spelt flour
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons orange juice
1/4 cup non-fat dry milk powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons instant potato flakes
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons melted butter

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl, mixing well.  Knead until mixture forms a slightly sticky, smooth dough about 5 to 8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl and turn to bring greased side up. Cover with plastic wrap and store in refrigerator overnight or about 8 to 12 hours.

Form dough into a loaf or two round boules. Place in a greased loaf pan or baking pan.  Cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise for several hours or until almost double in size.

Bake in 375 degree oven for 40 to 45 minutes for loaf shape or until internal temperature reaches 200 degrees.  Two smaller, round boules will bake in about 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool in the pan about 10 minutes and turn out onto a wire rack. Slice and serve warm or store in an airtight container when cool.


Sprouted Wheat Bread

In its simplest form, a loaf of bread is only a bit of flour mixed with water. Other ingredients–yeast, salt, sugar, eggs, fruits, nuts, and various grains–add flavor and variety, but the real secret behind a truly tasty loaf is the loving care that goes into it. According to a British chef, this ingredient is not only the most important, it is also the only one that really matters.

Creativity and experience are also important to this labor of love in which various grains are combined, kneaded, and shaped by hand; the choice of grains and the amount of each used will ultimately determine the bread’s texture. Whole wheat offers a coarse, hearty loaf. Rye makes a heavy, flavorful bread, and oat bran, amaranth, and Ezekiel flour impart their own distinctive flavors.

Most yeast breads require at least a small amount of sugar to feed the yeast and to form a thick, brown crust. Bakeries, however, use diastolic malt instead of sugar for the process. This malt, available at specialty markets and co-op grocery stores, can be made from barley or whole wheat berries. The barley or wheat berries are sprouted, dried, and ground into meal in a blender.

Diastolic malt, rich in enzymes that improve the flavor, the texture, and the appearance of homemade bread, helps to keep the bread fresh longer. Substituted for sugar, the malt adds extra nutrients to bread–in particular, B vitamins. A tablespoon of diastolic malt is enough to produce extra volume for two to four loaves. If more malt is added, the dough will become too sticky and sweet.


Sprouts are easy to make from wheat berries or other seeds. Soak the grains in water overnight in a glass jar; drain. Cover the glass jar with cheesecloth, secured with a rubber band. Turn the jar upside down and set it at an angle to allow air to circulate in and out of the jar. Rinse the sprouts twice a day for several days. Sprouts grown in a warm place will be ready in just a few days. Sprouts sitting in a cool area will take a couple of days longer. As soon as sprouts have started opening up, they can be added to breads. When they start getting their first set of leaves, they are ready to put on sandwiches and on salads.

Proofing Bread in the Microwave

Sometimes if I need a loaf of bread for dinner and did not get it started soon enough, I have a little trick that always speeds up the process. After kneading the dough, place it in a 2-quart glass bowl and microwave for 10 seconds on high. The dough should be just warm to the touch. This will shorten the rising time by about 15 minutes. The bread may not have quite the same yeasty flavor as dough that is rises a little longer at a cooler temperature, but bread straight from the oven is a wonderful thing.


Sprouted Wheat Bread

1 cup milk, scalded and cooled to lukewarm

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup honey or 1 T diastolic malt

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

2 cups bread flour

2 1/2 teaspoons yeast

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

½ cup sprouted wheat berries, coarsely chopped

1) In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients except sprouts and stir until the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased surface, oil your hands, and knead it for 6 to 8 minutes, or until it begins to become smooth and supple. (You may also knead this dough in an electric mixer or food processor, or in a bread machine programmed for “dough” or “manual.”)

2) Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl or large measuring cup, cover it, and allow the dough to rise till puffy though not necessarily doubled in bulk, about 1 to 2 hours, depending on the warmth of your kitchen.

3) Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface, gently knead in sprouted wheat berries. Shape dough into an 8″ log. Place the log in a lightly greased 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pan, cover the pan loosely with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the bread to rise for about 1 to 2 hours, or till almost double.

4) Bake the bread in a preheated 350 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes, tenting it lightly with aluminum foil after 20 minutes to prevent over-browning. The finished loaf will register 190°F on an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center. Cool 10 minutes and remove from pan. Cool completely before storing in a plastic bag or airtight container.

Makes 1 loaf