Try baking with spelt flour using this Simple and Basic Spelt Oatmeal Bread recipe. The nutty flavor of spelt, and the texture and crunch from the oatmeal are such a delicious combination!
A couple of months ago, I was lucky to receive, among others things, a bag of Organic Spelt Flour from a Canadian company called Anita’s Organic Mills as a giveaway winner. Do you join giveaways? I do, and you should. You never know. One day, you are gonna get lucky!
Since I love bread, and I was on the craze of grilled cheese sandwiches, I tried baking with the Spelt Flour and made a bread loaf. I was in love.
The texture, the crisp crust, and the slightly sweet, earthy and nutty flavor of the bread are just amazing.
What is Spelt Flour?
Spelt flour is made of a wheat called Spelt. Like all-purpose flour, Spelt Flour can be whole wheat or white.
In a whole wheat spelt flour, the entire layers of the grain are milled into flour, and therefore contain more nutrients than white flour. You will see specks of brown mixed in with white. White spelt flour, like all-purpose flour, has the outer layer removed for a longer shelf life.
In this recipe, I used whole grain spelt flour.
Spelt Flour vs All-Purpose Flour
- Spelt flour is made of a wheat called spelt, while all-purpose flour is a mixture of wheat of varied gluten strength, in order to make it all-purpose. However, both are almost similar in their nutrient content, with the spelt just being slightly higher in protein and fiber, that is why spelt is regarded as the one flour that is most similar to all-purpose flour.
- Spelt flour, like all-purpose flour, is not gluten-free.
Spelt Flour in Bread Making
- While they are almost similar, spelt flour behaves differently than all-purpose flour when it comes to bread. Although the gluten-making capability is similar, spelt cannot hold the strength of its gluten like all-purpose flour does. Simply put, when you knead a dough made of all-purpose flour, you formed a stretchy web that holds it shape and yields a bouncy, stretchy dough. In spelt, it will form the stretchy web too, but it will break down as you knead longer.
- As a result, The crumbs of a spelt bread are shorter and have no chewy, stringy properties like bread made with the usual all-purpose flour. I don’t mind that though. I find that it is more cake-like and I love it.
- If you would like to somehow offset this property, you can make a bread made with a combination of spelt and all-purpose. My recipe here is 100% spelt whole grain flour, and as I said, I really do not mind the texture of it. You can however make a combination of flours and in fact, I will share a recipe for that as well in the coming weeks.
How to Make Basic Spelt Oatmeal Bread Loaf
In a mixing bowl, combine the warm water, yeast and about a teaspoon of sugar. Let this mixture stand for about 5 minutes or so, or until it is foamy.
Add the remaining sugar, salt and rolled oats. Stir everything together. Let the mixture sit again for 5-8 minutes to re-hydrate the oats.
Add the flour, one cup at a time, stirring well. Once all the flour has been added, the dough will start to take form. Add some of the reserved flour, about a tablespoon at a time, just until the dough is not too wet or sticky for kneading.
The dough has gathered into the center of the bowl, should still be tacky, a bit moist and shaggy, and definitely not dry).
Generously flour a board and your hands with some of the flour. Turn the dough over and knead briefly, dusting with more flour as needed to help with the stickiness.
Make sure not to add so much flour or you will end up with dry dough. Once the dough is smooth, shape it into a ball, and place it in a lightly greased bowl. Allow the dough to rise for one hour.
After the rise, roll out the dough into a rough square, then roll it into a log. Pinch the seams together and place the log seams side down on a parchment-lined 9×5 inch loaf pan. Cover the pan loosely and allow this to rise for 1 hour more.
Lightly brush the surface of the dough with milk. Garnish the top with oats. Bake the bread for 30-35 minutes at 350 F, or until the top is nicely golden. Allow the Spelt bread to cool slightly before slicing.
How to Enjoy Spelt Bread
- This Basic Spelt Oatmeal bread loaf has a nutty, earthy flavor profile. One bite reminds me of walking on a wide-open field of hay, of grass on a hot summer day. The oatmeal imparts a nice texture and adds an earthy, natural flavor to the bread.
- I enjoy this bread by toasting slices of it in cast iron skillet, with a pat butter or non-hydrogenated margarine on both sides. It comes out a bit indulgent, like I have toasted a pound cake but with much less calories. Love it!
- You can also use a toaster. Then just smear the butter afterward. The crisp sides are to die for! This bread is not bouncy, springy soft. It has a sturdy bite and a crisp outer crust. I honestly love everything about it.