Welcome to day 2 of the #7days7breads challenge. Wow, we’ve had so much fun yesterday already and today we are going to attempt a new technique. Remember, I will be there every day to guide you through the recipes, share my tips and hints and at the end you can share your results on social media using #7days7breads to win amazing prizes. I am also on Facebook every day live to show you how to master each recipe and technique at home with hardly any effort. All recipes are designed to be easy to follow and at the end you can enjoy a freshly baked loaf at home.
Today’s recipe will be a totally different technique from yesterday. We will attempt to make a super fluffy spelt loaf at home using whole spelt grain. If you have never milled your own grains to make flour with the Thermomix you will be in for a treat tomorrow. Don’t worry though if you cannot get spelt grains anywhere, we can easily just use wholemeal spelt flour for the recipe. I will show you how to make a wet dough that is essentially only proved once rather than twice and does not need to be shaped. I love this technique because it requires minimal effort and is great if you are not up for using your hands to get into the shaping process. Spelt bread is different in terms of texture, taste and appearance in comparison with the usual wheat flour. Although spelt is still a type of wheat, it is an ancient type of wheat that has been around for a very long time, not having been bred selectively like wheat and therefore containing more nutrients and flavour to the high-yielding strong white bread flour. I sometimes prefer the taste because it is deeper and just more juicy. You will see the difference between what we have done on day 1 and today. It’s amazing how flour can be so variable.
What you will learn:
- How to mill your own flour
- how to make a wet dough
- using a loaf tin for baking bread
- proving in a loaf tin
- how to make bread spice
- How to adapt a recipe to add seeds or use different flour etc.
Day 2: Proving in a tin
Now you have learned how to prove bread in a bread proving basket, I will teach you how to prove bread in a loaf tin and only prove once rather than twice. Doughs with darker flours and darker grains such as spelt and rye create a slightly more sticky and sloppy dough which you can barely handle with your hands. It is quite wet in comparison with the high in gluten wheat dough that we have made yesterday and contains less gluten which therefore results in a less structural mass that is more gluey rather than soft and springy. For that reason we immediately tip the finished dough that was kneaded or mixed into the loaf tin that we will also use for baking. I use a spatula to remove the dough and use it to smooth the surface a little before dusting with flour.
Proving in a loaf tin is great for beginners because you can clearly see once your bread has risen enough and is ready to be baked. I use a little flour to dust the top of the dough once it is in the loaf tin and then cover with a shower cap or cling film and leave it to rise. When I look at it a little later I can clearly see that the flour on top has cracked and that shows me that the loaf is done and has risen enough to push the flour away at the top. That’s how you can tell when your loaf is ready for baking. You can use any type of loaf tin for baking as long as you chose the right size. I use a 2-pound loaf tin and you can get yours here.
Top Tips for better results
- Dust the top of the dough with flour generously to identify easily when the loaf has proved enough. If you use a little flour to cover the dough you can kill two flies with one trap. Firstly, you prevent the dough from drying at the top and secondly it helps you identify quickly when the dough has risen enough and is ready to be baked. Once the flour has cracks at the top and you can clearly see the dough through it, you know it is ready.
- Mix in some bread spice to make your bread more juicy and flavoursome. You can make your own bread spice in the Thermomix in seconds and depending on how much you like the taste of some freshly ground coriander, caraway, fennel and aniseed, you can add as much as you like.
- Use a lot of water to create a nice rising effect during the first half of baking. The steam you add in the oven will create an immediate surge in the bread and it will rise quickly and build a beautiful crust. I do that by using water spray and I spray it on the sides of the oven chamber, not directly onto the bread, in a quick motion as much as I can for about 20-30 seconds. I still spray while I am closing the door and then immediately shut the door to let as little steam escape as possible. Makes a world of a difference.
An extra task
Apart from learning how to make yeasted bread, we will also start a fresh sourdough starter at home and learn all about sourdough bread baking in the last few days of the challenge. For now I will explain to you how to make your own starter and everyday at the same time we will feed it. In my Facebook live tutorial I will explain exactly what it is all about so that you get the most out of it.
Sourdough starter Day 2:
Your starter may have gained a tiny bit of aroma overnight and smell slightly sweet. Don’t worry if not much has happened yet, it may take a little more time. That’s absolutely fine. Remove the lid from the jar and place it on top of the mixing bowl. Measure 50g light rye flour and 50g tap water. If your tap water is not suitable then use bottled water instead. Mix it with your finger until the mixture resembles a thick paste that is slightly creamier than yesterday. Place the lid ajar and leave at room temperature for 24 hours again. We will revisit it tomorrow.
(This is what it should look like after you have mixed it)
- 500g spelt grain (or 500g wholemeal spelt flour)
- optional: 100g mixed seeds (pumpkin, sunflower etc.)
- 1 Tbsp dry active yeast (or 30g fresh yeast)
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 30g balsamic vinegar
- 450g water
- 1 tsp bread spice (optional, or 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, 1/2 tsp caraway seeds)
- 1 tsp dark brown sugar
- Prepare a 2-pound loaf tin by lining it with greaseproof paper. Set aside.
- Place 250g spelt grain in the mixing bowl. Blitz 40 Sec. / Speed 10. Transfer into a bowl and set aside.
- Place the remaining 250g spelt grain in the mixing bowl. Blitz 1 Min. / Speed 10. Add the milled spelt, mixed seeds (if using), yeast, salt, balsamic vinegar, water, bread spice and sugar and knead 3 Min. / Kneading Function.
- Pour the dough into the prepared loaf tin, dust with flour and cover with a shower cap or cling film. Leave to rise for 45 minutes – 1 hour.
- Ten minutes before you want to bake the bread switch on the oven to 220°C / 200°C Fan / Gas Mark 8. Uncover the loaf and place the loaf in the oven. Spray the oven chamber with water all over and bake for 50 minutes – 1 hour until the bread sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from the loaf tin and place on a wire cooling rack. Leave to cool entirely before slicing.