Monday, September 13, 2010

Back to School Spelt Bread

homemade spelt bread

Okay, so no one around our house actually went back to school last week. Frankly, I actually forgot about back-to-school time until I ventured into the shit-show that was the world last Tuesday. Wow. Grocery shopping at 6:30 PM in the middle of a bucketing thunderstorm on the day after Labour Day is totally not recommended, friends. But I digress.

Whether I'm going back to school or not, there's something about this time of year that feels like a new start. Or at least a transition of some kind. Living in Ontario helps, of course, because of our wildly distinct seasons. Autumn is already in the air, time to start stockpiling tights and cardigans.

The weekends lately have been cold-ish and rainy which was just fine for me seeing as all the tasks on my to-do list have been sewing or baking related. On Saturday I made two loaves of this bread, put on a pot of tea, and turned our gas fireplace on "low" to make sure the room was warm enough for the dough to rise. Oh, and since it is very important to supervise rising dough (it isn't, actually)I needed to sit down beside it by the fire with my tea. And the latest episode of Project Runway cued up on my computer.

homemade spelt bread

This is the most "professional" looking loaf of bread I've ever made. I could tell early on because the dough was easy to work with and smooth and lovely. I used some packaged spelt flour that I bought at the grocery store when I didn't have time to make it to the bulk food place and I wonder if that made the difference. I am a devotee of the bulk bins but sometimes I wonder if some of the items, especially the less popular ones, are just too old to perform properly in a recipe. Regardless of what the individual ingredients did, the finished loaves were beautiful and tasty. And this bread freezes well, so don't be afraid to make a few loves and put one in the freezer for later.

homemade spelt bread

Mostly Spelt Bread

1 cup warm water
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tsp active dry yeast
2 cups light spelt flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil

In a medium sized bowl or measuring cup, mix the warm water with the maple syrup. Add the yeast and set it aside for five minutes to grow.

Mix the flours, oil, and salt in a large bowl (or the bowl of your mixer if you are with KitchenAid) Add yeast mixture and stir until dough forms. Knead it (or leave it in the mixer) until it is a nice, smooth ball of dough. This should take about ten minutes.

Put the dough in an oiled bowl and cover it with a damp tea towel. Set it in a warm place and leave it for 1 1/2 hours. It will double in size.

Work the dough into a short, fat log shape. Put the log in an oiled loaf pan and cover it with the tea towel again. Leave it to rise for another half an hour.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Bake the loaf for about 25 minutes. To check if it is done, take it out of the pan and knock on the bottom. If it sounds hollow, it's done. If your husband stands behind you and says, "Who's there?" every time you knock, just ignore him.

Some (Salsa Related) Notes:

behind the scenes at Rogers Daytime

-It was all-salsa-all-the-time in my life this past weekend. On Friday I was on Rogers Daytime, a local talk show, demonstrating how to make fresh salsa and talking a bit about my blog. If you'd like to watch the clip, it's right here. I usually smile more than that, I promise. I was very focused on cutting those tomatoes!


-And then! Then I went to my friend Katie's house on Sunday so she could give me a great introductory lesson in How Not To Give Yourself Botulism While Preserving Foods. We made a batch of cooked salsa using garden tomatoes (and garden hot peppers and garden cilantro) Because most of my tomatoes still aren't ripe, we made a fairly small batch, but I still took home six jars of lovely salsa to "put up" for the win(ter). Hooray!


This Time Last Year: Really Delicious White Bean Borscht


Leslie said...

Oh, wow, that bread is *pristine*. Congratulations, you've just given me my first cooked-food craving since I embarked on the raw thing. :3 I can only imagine how amazing your kitchen must have smelled...

Jessica said...

The spelt loaf does look very pretty - my first bread success was with spelt (taste-wise, it didn't look like that). I buy from the bulk bins, but I do wonder how they're cleaned and stocked.

Nat said...

You might be right about the bin flour. A former coworker lived in the NWT for a while, she said she didn't bake bread the entire she was up there because the flour was too old and wouldn't rise properly.

That however is a lovely loaf... must get The Man to make me a few baguettes.