Sunday, 24 April 2011

No Knead Holiday Spelt Bread with Anise and Olive Oil

This No Knead Holiday Spelt Bread was my contribution to the family Easter dinner. Several members of my family are trying to eat more healthy (and organic whenever possible) so I wanted to bring a healthy bread, but it also had to be delicious. I’ve been really busy with work and trying to get my garden planted this Spring so the bread also had to be fuss-free.

I looked at several recipes but they all seemed to take a little more time than I was willing to devote. I finally decided to go with one of the Healthy Bread in Five Minutes’ breads: Il Bollo, an Italian Challah shaped like a ball. 

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This bread is traditionally served to break the fast for Yom Kippur. I really liked the combination of flavors in this bread; olive oil, anise, vanilla, and lemon, so I decided to adapt it for use with Spelt and create my own holiday bread.


No Knead Holiday Spelt Bread

Adapted from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes Il Bollo by Jeff Hertzberg, M.D., & Zoe Francois

Makes: Two 1-pound Loaves

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  • 1 1/2 cups whole grain Spelt flour
  • 2 3/4 cups white Spelt flour
  • 3/4 tablespoon yeast (or 1 packet)
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon anise seeds, plus additional for sprinkling
  • 1 tablespoon vital wheat gluten 
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 3/8 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest (I used 3/4 teaspoon of lemon zest granules.)
  • Egg wash (1 egg beaten with tablespoon of water) for brushing on the loaf



Whisk together the flours, yeast, salt, anise seeds, lemon zest granules, and vital wheat gluten in a large bowl or in a lidded food container.

Here are the whole grain spelt and white spelt flours.

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This is the rest of the dry ingredients.

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Add the liquid ingredients and mix together without kneading.  I used a Danish dough whisk to incorporate all of the ingredients.

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Cover and allow the dough to rest at room temperature until it rises and collapses, approximately 2 hours.

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Refrigerate the dough in a lidded container and use over the next 5 days. I used it the next day.  This is what the dough looked like after I took it out of the refrigerator.

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On baking day, prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 1-pound piece.  Shape the dough into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go.

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Allow the loaf to rest, loosely covered with plastic wrap, on the prepared pan for 90 minutes.

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Thirty minutes before baking time, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F., with a rack placed in the center of the oven.  Just before baking, use a pastry brush to paint the loaf with egg wash, and then sprinkle the crust lightly with additional anise seeds. Slash the loaf with a 1/4-inch-deep slash into the top, using a serrated bread knife. I made a different slash pattern on my loaves.

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Place the cookie sheet on the stone or on a rack in the center of the oven and bake for about 35 minutes, until browned and firm. My loaves were starting to get really dark due to the egg wash so I covered them with aluminum foil and finished baking them. I used an instant read thermometer to test for doneness. It only took about 25 minutes for the loaves to bake.

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Allow the loaves to cool on a rack before slicing and eating.

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At this point, I wrapped the loaves in a towel and transported them to my mom’s house for dinner.

I got a shot of the bread on my mom’s counter. 

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Then I sliced the loaves and served them.  We went through the first loaf right away so I had the cut the other loaf real quick.

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We had about 20 or so people at the family get together and I believe everyone tried at least one slice of the bread.  Several went back for seconds (and thirds). They all liked the combination of the lemon zest, anise seeds, vanilla, olive oil and the spelt flour. Everyone gave it a “thumbs up”.  

I think we have a keeper.  This bread met the criteria I had established when I was looking for a bread to make for the family get together. It’s healthy, delicious, and easy to make. In fact, there were only a couple of slices left for me to bring home. That’s a good thing.


Thanks for joining me in the bread-baking blog. 

Happy Baking!




About the HBinFive Baking Group
The HBinFive Baking Group, started by Michelle of Big Black Dogs, is baking through all of the breads in the Healthy Bread in Five Minutes book. For more information on the HBinFive baking group, check out BigBlackDog.

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