Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Roman Style Spelt Loaf

I must confess, I have been a little absent in the baking department.  Back at the end of November, OH and I spent a lovely week on the North Pembrokeshire coast in a little village called Newport.  Not only a gorgeous spot on the headland looking back across Newport Sands, it is also a hot spot for foodies.  Some great pubs, restaurants and cafes serving local, mainly organic produce and a super little Farmers Market every Monday morning all provided much tingling of the taste-buds  Thankfully the weather was unseasonably beautiful so allowed much hiking and strolling opportunities to walk off all the yummies.  What it didn't help was allowing us to use the log-burner which I had gone to great lengths to make sure we had.  Too blinking hot!!

Whilst in Pembrokeshire I came across quite a few loaves of bread made with spelt flour.  Not a flour I have used before in bread-making, I thought I would give it a go on our return.  Newport also has a fantastic wholefoods shop, where I purchased some Doves Farm Wholegrain Spelt Flour.  Handily on the back was a recipe for a Roman Style Spelt Loaf.  If you want a relatively quick loaf to make, Spelt is your flour to use.  It requires very little kneading and is pretty quick to prove and rise.  Widely grown since Roman times, it has a nice rustic feel to it. 
This recipe also uses quite a high ratio of water to flour, so has quite a crumpet crumb texture.  In a large bowl mix together 500g spelt flour, 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp quick yeast.  Dissolve 1 tbsp of honey in 400ml of warm water and roughly mix into the flour.  Whilst still craggy add 1 tbsp of olive oil and mix well.  Knead or work the dough for a few minutes then divide between two 1lb loaf tins.  I only have a 2lb loaf tin, so popped the whole mixture in one.

It doesn't look at all like a regular bread dough, more like a solid cake mix, but bare with it.  Cover with a t-towel and allow it to double in size.  The recipe says this will take about 25 minutes.  I found it needed closer to an hour, but will depend on how warm your room is.

Now, I am not adverse to showing off my "failures" as well as "successes".  What the recipe didn't say was to grease the tin well, being it is a very sticky dough.  Hence my first attempt came out like this........

Thankfully the crispy bits on the bottom of the tin were quite tasty!  On the next attempt I used a loaf tin liner that I use for cake baking and the results were much better.

I should add you bake in a pre-heated oven at 200c / 180c fan for 40-45 minutes, until hollow sounding when you tap the bottom.
With the addition of honey, its quite a sweet loaf, so lovely with jam or marmalade and still surprisingly nice with Marmite for breakfast........thankfully.
I will certainly be making this one again, if I need a loaf in a hurry.  Tonight's bread baking was a cupboard rummage loaf, so consisted of white, wholemeal and rye flour.  You never know quite what you're going to get flavour wise.

On the crafting front I have been finishing off my Xmas gifts in time for the weekend, so will post patterns and pictures after the recipients have received them.  Some rather special news is I am now an Auntie to little Eleanor Charlotte, so she shall be getting lots of hand-knit goodies in the New Year, plus I found out the my Grandma's gorgeous Singer sewing machine, shown in an earlier post was manufactured between January to June 1910 in Clydebank.  How cool is that to have that kind of info!!  101 years old and still going strong.

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