My cottage is old, with thick walls and high ceilings, in the summer its wonderfully cool to the extent that during this August’s heatwave I found myself leaving the cottage dressed for a crisp spring day and would have to instantly turn on my heels once hit with the wall of baking heat and remove a few layers before attempting to start the day again. Where this is glorious during the longer days of the year it’s also pretty damn Baltic come the winter.
I have an open fire in the living room and a wood burner in the dining room, on cold days like today when I’m working from home I’ll get the fire lit as soon as I’m up and about and work from my laptop next to the hearth. Today was one of those days and not one to waste a “day fire” I decided to bake some bread and use the heat to help the dough rise.
I’ve never made a spelt loaf before but had a bag of flour kicking about in the pantry. I had to pop to Tescos to pick up cat food so went and spoke nicely to the bakers who kindly gave me a big block of fresh yeast “we only measure by handfuls, one or two?”.
I’m now a convert to spelt, the loaf is rich and nutty which works so well with the sweet aromatic honey plus, its almost got the texture of soda bread which I adore. Yep from now on this is the loaf for me. It’s not a sandwich loaf though this one, it’s definitely one for spreading with butter and jam or marmite with a nice cup of tea, preferably whilst still warm from the oven.
Spelt loaf recipe:
- 500g wholemeal spelt flour (I just guessed half of the bag of flour)
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 400ml warm water
- a chunk of fresh yeast the size of two match boxes (I don’t have scales)
- 2 tablespoons runny honey
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- Put flour into a big bowl, put salt on one side, make a well in the centre.
- Crumble the yeast into the water and stir until dissolved. Pour in the well, add the honey and oil and mix with a spoon.
- I keep the dough in the big ceramic bowl and just knead with one hand for 2 minutes then lift the dough out, oil the bowl, put the dough back in, cover with cling and sit it in front of the fire for half an hour.
- After 30 mins I knock it back, dust it with more flour then put it into a lightly oiled loaf tin. Cover with a layer of cling then back in front of the fire for another 30 mins.
- Preheat oven to 200C. Sprinkle more flour over the top of the dough then put in the oven for about 50 minutes or until cooked through out.
I scoffed about half the loaf instantly with salted butter and some homemade quince and vanilla jam. Laziest loaf ever.