Thursday, 10 February 2011

Whole Wheat and Spelt Bread

This month, the Mellow Bakers are busy making whole wheat breads. The first one is a light and clean-flavored Whole Wheat Bread made with a 50/50 blend of whole wheat flour and white bread flour.

This whole wheat bread utilizes an overnight pâte fermentée to boost the flavor and improve the texture of the bread. I decided to mix things up a bit and add some spelt flour in addition to the whole wheat flour.  The spelt flour gives it a delicious and nutty flavor. 

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Light Whole Wheat and Spelt Bread

Adapted from Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes by Jeffrey Hamelman

Makes: 2 loaves


Pâte Fermentée

  • 1 3/4 cups bread flour
  • 5/8 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon yeast

Final Dough

  • 2 1/8 cups whole wheat flour (I used home-milled hard red winter wheat)
  • 1 1/2 cups whole grain spelt
  • 1 3/4 cup bread flour
  • 2 cups water approximately (I used a little less than 2 cups because my pâte fermentée was wet instead of stiff)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon yeast
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon honey
  • Pâte fermentée (all of the above)



Sprinkle the yeast over the water, then add the bread flour and salt, and mix just until smooth. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let stand for 12 to 16 hours at about 70ºF.

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After 12 to 16 hours, place all of the ingredients, except the pâte fermentée in the mixing bowl. In a spiral mixer, mix on first speed for 3 minutes in order to incorporate the ingredients. 

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As the dough is coming together, add the pâte fermentée in chunks.  If necessary, correct the hydration by adding water or flour in small amounts.  Keep in mind, the absorption of whole-wheat flour varies considerably.  If the dough seems too dry, don’t hesitate to add more water.  Finish mixing on second speed for 3 minutes.  The dough should be supple and slightly loose, and the gluten should be moderately developed.  As you can see, my pâte fermentée is wet so I didn’t need any additional water.

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Place the dough in a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap.

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Bulk ferment for 2 hours. Fold the dough after 1 hour.

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Divide the dough into 1.5-pound pieces. Preshape lightly into rounds and place on a lightly floured work surface, seams up. Cover the rounds with plastic wrap (or a towel). 

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When the dough has relaxed sufficiently (10 to 15 minutes), shape into loaves. You can bake these loaves freeform if you prefer, but I wanted a light wheat sandwich bread that I could slice easily so I decided to bake them in loaf pans.

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Place the loaves in loaf pans to rise until the dough has just domed over the lid of the pan.

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Bake the loaves in preheated 400ºF for about 40 minutes. The honey contributes color to the bread, so if the loaves are darkening too quickly, lower the oven temperature by 10º or 20º. I turned the oven down to 375ºF after about 20 minutes to keep the loaves from browning too much.

Remove the loaves from the oven and let them cool in the pan for a few minutes, then remove them to the cooling rack.

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Slice and enjoy!  This bread has a slightly chewy texture due to the spelt.  I liked it.

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Thanks for joining me in the Bread Experience bread-baking blog.  I hope you’ll join me again soon.

Happy Baking!


The Mellow Bakers group was started by Paul at Yumarama. We’re baking breads from Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes by Jeffrey Hamelman.

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