Friday, February 6, 2009

Spelt Bread

"The smell of good bread baking, like the sound of lightly flowing water, is indescribable in its evocation of innocence and delight."
The Art of Eating, M. F. K. Fisher, (1908-1992)

You will always find Spelt bread in our house.  Spelt flour is one of the grains I buy for our family's consumption.   We do just about everything we once did with wheat flour with spelt flour.  It is highly nutritious and wonderful for baking.  We find it easy to digest and, as we aim for a diet low in gluten, spelt suits us well in our bid for a healthier diet.  Sadly supply is not keeping up with demand and I am not always able to purchase it from my suppliers - Goodies and Grains or the market's Mega Health shop.   I have recently found this very well-priced supplier in Bellingen NSW so if you live near there give it a go.   My sister says she can purchase spelt for a reasonable price also in Brisbane.   Much of our Spelt Flour is supplied from Canada but I am glad to read that we are working to optimise the quality and yield of spelt under production in south east Australia.  Wholemeal Spelt seems to be more available currently, however my Generous Gentleman says white (or a combination of White and Wholemeal) bakes a better loaf of bread.  The loaf you see here is 100% wholemeal.  

My husband bakes bread for our family about every 4 to 5 days.  He has worked for a couple of years on this recipe to perfect it.  It's now very much enjoyed predominantly by himself and our two girls.  

Now, to make the bread.

First of all you'll need to activate the yeast.  Stir 3 teaspoons of dried yeast in 1 cup of warm water and let it sit while you prepare the dry ingredients.

Prepare the flour by sifting 4 cups of wholemeal or white spelt flour with 1 teaspoon of Xanthum Gum.  (Some say you can substitute Guar Gum but we haven't tried this.)  It is there to bind the bread.

Prepare the wet ingredients by placing the following into the bread pan from your Bread Maker in this order:
1 to 1 ½ cups water (depending on which type of flour you are using.  Wholemeal needs more water than white).
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon sea salt

Add the flour to the breadpan.  Add the yeast combination to the pan, then set it to work.

Bake it on a Rapid or Quick Bread setting.  Being low in gluten, spelt does not need as much time to knead and rise.

You may need to change a few things here to suit your own breadmaker, they are all a bit different.  We use a Breville Bread Master Big Loaf Model No. BB380.

Our loaf is quite a dense one which is lovely for toast.  Who can resist, however, the softness of bread and crispy crust once it is directly removed from the breadmaker.  Certainly not my two little girls.

If you don't have a bread maker I have just stumbled across this recipe for a simple spelt loaf from a favourite local supplier of organic grains Four Leaf Milling in Tarlee, Clare Valley, South Australia.  I will be picking up some of their spelt next time we pass by and also searching to see what their supply of Spelt Flour is like here in Adelaide.  They have a "Where to Buy" feature on their home page which will assist you in buying their wonderful products in your state.  They also make spelt flakes, spelt bran as well as spelt flour.  Also some yummy millet flakes and fabulous baby rice, millet and porridge etc.  OK now I am raving, but really the taste is just so fresh I can't go past it.  I grew up with a family farm nearby, I know the flavour of grains nibbled directly from the plant (albeit wheat and barley predominantly), these products take me down memory lane.

All the best with your spelt bread baking.  Please pop back here briefly to comment and let me know.


mandy said...

I stopped by to see how your recipe goal was coming (from Our Creative Community...)
Is this a part of it? I'd love to link this on the blog! Let me know.

Cee said...

Yes Mandy this is my first post to add to my collection. It has been on on my mind to add for a long time and the goals of Our Creative Community spurred me on.

It'll be great to have it linked on the blog.

Next week I'll have something of my own creation and also something sweet but healthy!

I am really enjoying the community created and going to blogs I never would have visited without being part of this. Great job Mandy!

Toby said...

Wow, not on my diet, but looks great! I'm gonna have to give it a shot.

Cee said...

I hope you enjoy it Toby.

Grace =) said...

Hi Cee!

I find it very interesting that you choose to eat a diet low in gluten. I have family members that have Celiac disease and most of us are gluten intolerant. Are there health risks involved in eating gluten even if you are not allergic?
Thanks for sharing your lovely, healthy recipes!

Grace :)

Cee said...

Hi Grace

We do have food sensitivities in our family and while noone has been diagnosed with Ceoliac Disease we definitely feel a lot better eating low gluten. Our Dr recommended this practice for our first daughter, my husband decided it would be best for all of us, further on our health practitioner found gluten intolerances in all three of us and since our second daughter was born we continue our healthy practices. Many health practitioners suggest that most people are intolerant to gluten in some level.

It is easier to digest food which does not contain gluten and we have certainly found that in practice. It is also a much healthier practice to eat food which is organic (as our Spelt flour is) and also less refined which is why I prefer wholemeal.

So I will be interested to see how things go further down the track with health issues. Generally when one goes to a health practitioner they recommend you eat less gluten so we have made it part of our practice. There is a lot of Irritable Bowel Syndrome around the place and I believe finding the right foods for you will help this also.

Intolerances are different to allergies also. I think if many people changed and refined their diet they would find that their tolerance to gluten wasn't as good as they once thought. It is amazing how our systems change and respond once good food is consumed.

Trust this answers your query Grace.

See you again soon

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