Monday, 9 September 2013

Seeded Semolina Spelt Tartine

I saw a beautiful photo of a Tartine bread the other day on Facebook. It was made with Spelt and white flour.

It’s been awhile since I’ve made bread using the Tartine method and this photo inspired me to try it again. This time, I made Semolina Bread, but substituted all-purpose Spelt for the all-purpose white flour and adapted the method to suit my schedule and starter.



I used a different method for creating the leaven than what is outlined in the Tartine Bread book.  If you’re maintaining a starter of 50/50 all-purpose/whole wheat flours, the method in the book works well because you discard a portion,  then feed what’s left.  You’ll only use half of the leaven in the bread and then what’s left over you’ll maintain as the mother starter going forward.

I don’t maintain a 50/50 starter and I didn’t want to end up with unused leaven so I started with a tablespoon of mature starter and added a mixture of bread flour/whole grain spelt flour to make the leaven. This method worked out well.

The dough is 80% hydration which means the amount of water (800 grams) is 80 percent of the weight of the total flour (1000 grams). It was tricky to work with. The dough also includes a good bit of seeds in addition to the flour, but even after the seeds were incorporated, the dough was still really wet. To keep from adding too much additional flour, I ended up placing the dough in the refrigerator twice, once during the bulk fermentation and again after the loaves had been placed in the banneton (proofing) baskets. This affected the oven spring, but the loaf had a delicious texture and flavor.


Seeded Semolina Spelt Loaf

Inspired by Corinne’s Tartine loaf on FB

Adapted from:Tartine Bread by Chad Robertson


  • 1 tablespoon mature starter (I used this one)
  • 100 grams warm water
  • 50 grams bread flour
  • 50 grams whole grain Spelt


Final Dough:

Ingredients Quantity Baker’s Percentage
Leaven 200 grams 20
Water (80 degrees F.) 750 grams, 50 grams 80
Semolina Flour 700 grams 70
All-Purpose Spelt Flour 300 grams 30
Fennel Seeds 75 grams 7.5
Sesame Seeds 75 grams 7.5
Sea Salt 20 grams 2
Mixed seeds for top –
I used a mixture of sesame seeds & poppy seeds
200 grams



Making the Leaven:

The evening before you plan to bake the bread, take 1 tablespoon of starter and mix it with 100 grams warm water.  Stir in 50 grams bread flour and 50 grams whole grain Spelt flour using a wooden spoon or Danish dough whisk.  Cover the levain with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let it sit on the counter overnight at a cool room temperature (65 degrees F.)

The next day, it should be quite active and the volume should have increased by 20 percent. 

When I saw how bubbly this levain was, I thought it was ready, but decided to do the float test to see if it really was ready.



I dropped a spoonful of the leaven into a container of room temperature water and it sunk.  It wasn’t fully ripened. 



I stirred the spoonful back into the rest of the leaven and let it ripen for another hour.  The 2nd time I tried the float test, it worked.  Now, it was time to make the dough.



Mixing the Dough:

Take 750 grams of the water and pour it into a large mixing bowl. Add the 200 grams of leaven and stir it to disperse. This was fun!  The whole levain floated to the top.  It was definitely ready. 



Add the flours, 700 grams of Semolina and 300 grams all-purpose Spelt and mix thoroughly using a Danish dough whisk or wooden spoon. 

I started mixing the dough using the dough whisk, but then switched to my hands to make sure everything was incorporated. I love the feel of dough made with Semolina.



Scrape down the sides of the bowl using a spatula.  Let the dough rest for 25 to 40 minutes.  Don’t skip this part because the flour starts to absorb the water during the rest which helps develop the gluten.



While the dough is resting, toast the fennel seed and sesame seeds for about 5 minutes in a nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Let the seeds cool, then coarsely grind them using a mortar and pestle.  Add some poppy seeds to the mixture if you like.



After the dough has rested, add the 20 grams of salt and 50 grams of water.  Squeeze the dough between your fingers to incorporate the salt. Mix thoroughly.



Bulk Fermentation:

Transfer the dough to a clean, large container or clear bucket and let the dough bulk ferment for 3 to 4 hours.  This should be done at a temperature between 78 degrees F. to 82 degrees F.



Fold and Turn the Dough:

This dough is not kneaded. To develop the gluten structure, you’ll do a series of turns and folds in the bowl during the bulk fermentation. During the first 2 hours, give the dough one turn every half hour.

To perform a fold and turn, dip your hand in water to keep it from sticking to the dough.  Grab the underside of the dough, stretch it up, and fold it back over the rest of the dough.  Repeat this a few times to make sure you’ve incorporated all of the dough. This is considered 1 turn.

After the 2nd fold and turn, add in the ground fennel and sesame seeds.  Moisten with a little water if necessary.



Use your hands to mix in the seeds.  This is definitely a hands on bread.  It’s fun to squish the dough between your fingers. After the seeds are thoroughly incorporated, continue the fold and turn process every half hour until you reach the third hour, then do the fold and turns more gently. 



By the end of the third hour, the dough should feel more cohesive, but my dough was still pretty slack (I didn’t take a photo of this part) so I covered it back up and placed it in the refrigerator overnight.  You can extend the bulk fermentation at room temperature, but it was getting late and I was ready to get some sleep.


Dividing and Shaping the Loaves

The next day, I removed the dough from the refrigerator and let it warm up to room temperature.  Then I placed the dough on a lightly floured work surface and divided it into two equal pieces using a bench knife.



During this process, you’re supposed to incorporate as little flour as possible and just flour the tops of the top.  I ended up flouring the surface a little bit as well as the tops of the dough. 

Use the bench knife and your hands to form the pieces into rounds.  The tension should start to build.  Let the rounds bench rest on the counter for 20 to 30 minutes. 



Lightly flour the tops of the rounds and cover with a kitchen towel. During the bench rest, make sure there are no drafts that will cool the dough down too much. This meant I had to turn off the fan in my kitchen and it was really hot that day.  The things we do for our bread.



If your dough spreads a lot during the bench rest, this means it needs to be developed further.  Just reshape the rounds again to give them additional structure. I had to reshape mine a couple of times.



Proofing the Loaves:

Place 200 grams of mixed seeds in a shallow pan and have a spray bottle ready for spritzing.  You’ll use this to spray the tops of the loaves before dipping them into the seed mixture.

Shape the loaves into a tight round and dip the tops of the loaves into the seed mixture. To do this, hold one round in one hand and spritz the top of the loaf with water with the other hand.  Then carefully dip the top of the loaf into the seed mixture.

Gently place the loaf seed-side down in a banneton basket that has been dusted with a mixture of white rice flour and all-purpose flour.  Since this dough was so wet, I also used basket liners. I’ve tried this particular bread before without the liners and the dough ended up sticking to the baskets. I did things differently this time and I liked the results.



At this point, you can either let the dough rise at warm room temperature, 75 degrees F. to 80 degrees F., for about 3 to 4 hours before baking or you can retard the dough overnight in the refrigerator, or up to 12 hours.  It was getting late again so I opted to retard the dough overnight.  The slow fermentation will develop a more complex flavor.


Preparing the Loaves for Baking:

The next day, about 20 minutes before you plan to bake the loaves, preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. and place a Dutch oven combo baker on the bottom rack.  You’ll need to remove the middle rack.

If you retarded your dough overnight, take one of the loaves out of the refrigerator.  Leave the other loaf in the refrigerator until you’re ready to bake it.



Dust the top of the loaf in the basket with rice flour.  When the oven reaches the preheated temperature, remove the heated shallow pan from the oven and place it carefully on the stove. It’s best to use heavy oven mitts because it is really hot. Keep the deep part of the combo baker in the oven.

Being very careful not to burn yourself, invert the loaf onto the shallow pan.  Hopefully, it will release easily. Mine did this time. This was the liner after I removed the loaf.  No dough stuck to the sides. Yea!



Scoring the Loaves:

Score the top of the loaf in a square pattern using 4 cuts. Make the cuts at a very low angle, almost horizontal to the dough. It was a little tricky to cut through all of the seeds.  The pan is very hot so be careful not to don’t touch the sides while you’re scoring the loaves.



Baking the Loaves:

Using heavy oven mitts, carefully return the shallow pan (with the loaf in it) to the preheated oven.  Cover it with the deep pan.  Immediately reduce the oven to 450 degrees F.  Bake the loaf for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, open the oven and carefully remove the top pan using oven mitts. The deep pan is fairly heavy, but I’m happy to say that my tennis elbow has gotten stronger so I was able to lift it.

Steam will be released when you remove the top pan. The color of the crust will be pale and shiny. Continue to bake the bread until it is a deeply caramelized color, about 20 to 25 minutes.



Remove the loaf from the oven once it reaches a golden brown color or darker if you prefer.  Use oven mitts and transfer the loaf to a wire rack to cool. The loaf should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.



Baking the 2nd Loaf:

To bake the other loaf, raise the oven temperature back to 500 degrees F.  Wipe out the combo cooker with a kitchen towel and place it back in the oven to reheat for 10 minutes.  Follow the above process to bake the 2nd loaf.


Slice and Enjoy!

This loaf is delicious.  The fennel seed gives it a licorice-type flavor.  It’s chewy and crunchy due to all of the seeds. My friend taste-tested it and he really enjoyed it.



Happy Baking!


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