Friday, 31 May 2013

Honey Graham Oatmeal Spelt Bread


The Twelve Loaves’ Baking Group has been celebrating its one year anniversary this month. I’m still playing catch up from being out of the country so I’m getting this post in just under the wire.

The group decided to celebrate the event by allowing us to make our favorite bread. That’s an easy one!  My family’s favorite bread by far is Oatmeal Bread. There’s just something so comforting about it.

Making this bread brought back fond memories. Oatmeal bread was one of the first breads I learned to make in my bread machine oh so many years ago. My sons still request it.



This time, instead of making the bread in the bread machine, I made it completely by hand; no mixer, or bread machine, just a Danish dough whisk.

I took the characteristics of the oatmeal bread we know and love, and enhanced it by using spelt and graham flours. This updated version is nutty and chewy and full of whole grain flavor. 


Honey Graham Oatmeal Spelt Bread

Makes: 1 Loaf

Adapted from Honey Graham Oatmeal Bread


  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose Spelt flour
  • 3/4 cup Graham flour
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 1/3 cups warm milk (I used almond milk)
  • Extra oats for sprinkling on top of loaf, if desired



1) Mix the dry ingredients (flours, oats, yeast and salt) together in a large mixing bowl.



2) Incorporate the wet ingredients and mix thoroughly but gently using a large wooden spoon or a Danish dough whisk.



3) Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead it gently for a few minutes until you have a workable dough.



4) Place the dough in a clean, greased bowl and cover it with plastic wrap.



5) Let the dough bulk ferment for about an hour, or until doubled in size.



6) Remove the dough to a lightly floured surface and gently pat it into a rectangle shape to fit the size of your bread pan.  I used a 9” x 5” nonstick bread pan.



7) Starting from the short end, roll the dough up jelly roll style.



8) Place the dough seam side down in a bread pan sprayed with olive oil or other baking spray.



9) Spray the top of the loaf lightly with water and sprinkle additional oats, if desired. Cover the loaf with plastic wrap and let it proof for 30 –45 minutes or until it crests about 1” to 2” over the rim of the pan.



10) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

If desired, score the loaf with 3 diagonal slashes using a lame or serrated knife.



11) Bake the bread in a preheated 350°F oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 200°F or the dough sounds “hollow” when you thump the top of it. If the bread appears to be browning too quickly, tent it with aluminum foil for the final 10 minutes of baking.



12) Remove the bread from the pan to a cooling rack and let it cool before slicing and serving.


This bread has been Yeastspotted.

My oldest son is staying with me right now so the timing was just right to make this homey bread. This is a healthier version of the oatmeal bread he grew up eating.  It’s a little bit denser and chewier, but delicious nonetheless.


Happy Baking!


Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Spelt and Rye Pizza for Company


This month’s Bread Baking Day is hosted by Ninive from Ninivepices - Music, Dreams and more. The theme for BBD #59 is Bread for Company – Brot als Begleitung. What a great theme!  I think almost any bread would be good for company, but one of my favorites is Pizza. It’s an easy, self-contained meal that’s a breeze to make and tastes so good. What’s not to like about that?

Spelt has become one of my favorite grains to work with and pizza is one of my favorite dishes so putting the two together seemed like the natural way to enjoy a tasty and healthy meal.

I made pizza for company twice this month. The first time was on Mother’s Day Weekend when I got together with my mom and sisters to celebrate. For this event, I made a Spelt-only version because my mom enjoys ancient grains.

I brought the dough (along with my pizza peel, cutter and baking stone) to my mom’s house and my sisters brought the toppings and salad ingredients. My oldest sister likes ground beef on her pizza, so we topped one pizza with ground beef and onions and lot’s of mozzarella and feta cheese. The other pizza was topped with green and red peppers, red onions and more cheese.  I didn’t take a photo but we enjoyed them both.

The second time I made this pizza, I changed it up a bit to include some rye flour. My oldest son and I enjoyed this version topped with pepperoni, onions, peppers, mozzarella and feta cheese. I rolled the pizza dough really thin because my first taste testers (mom and sisters), determined that this dough tastes better crispy and thin, sort of like a whole wheat cracker with yummy toppings on it.



Spelt and Rye Pizza Dough

Makes: 2 Pizzas

Adapted from: Spelt Healthy! by Marsha Cosentino, M.A.


  • 1/2 tablespoon instant dry yeast *
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 - 2 1/4 cups Whole Grain Spelt flour, additional for sprinkling
  • 3/4 cup Whole Grain Rye flour
  • Scant teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Pizza sauce (I used Spicy Pizza Sauce)
  • Your choice of toppings

* I used less yeast than the original recipe called for because I let it bulk ferment for a couple of hours instead of the original 30 to 40 minutes to develop the flavor.  1/2 tablespoon may still have been a bit much. I think 2 teaspoons would probably do the trick.


1) Mixing the Dough

In a large bowl, whisk together the rye flour and 1/2 the spelt flour and yeast. Add the warm water and mix well using a Danish dough whisk or a large wooden spoon.  Add the oil, salt and the rest of the flour in 1/2 cup increments and work the dough until it is manageable.  You can use a stand mixer to mix the dough, just make sure you use the lowest setting with a dough hook and only mix for about 90 seconds.  With spelt, you want to make sure it’s not over mixed.


2) Kneading the Dough

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead it gently to form a smooth dough. Sprinkle additional spelt flour over it as necessary.  Form the dough into a ball.  Place it in a clean bowl greased with olive oil.  I just washed out the same bowl and reused it.



3) Bulk Fermentation

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place, about 70–75 degrees F., for 2 –3 hours.  Or, if you’re short on time, let it proof in a draft-free place, at 80-85 degrees F. until doubled in size, about 30-45 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready by inserting a finger into to the top of the dough.  If an indentation remains when you remove your finger, the dough is ready to use.


4) Shaping the Pizzas

Gently deflate, then remove the dough from the bowl using a rubber spatula. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured or oiled surface and divide it into two pieces. Shape each piece into a round ball and place them onto separate pieces of parchment paper sprayed with olive oil. Cover the dough balls with plastic wrap and let them rest for 15 minutes while you get the toppings together.



5) Preparing the Pizzas for Baking

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F. with a baking stone on the bottom rack. Let the stone preheat in the oven for at least 30 minutes.

Using greased fingers, spread out the dough into a round, oval or rectangular shape, depending on the size of your parchment paper and baking stone. I used my rectangular baking stone so I shaped my pizzas to fit it.



6) Baking the Pizzas

Brush the dough with olive oil and parbake each pizza for a minute or so before adding the toppings. This will keep it from getting soggy on the bottom. Add your favorite sauce and toppings, then bake the pizza until the cheese is melted.  I rolled my dough really thin so it burned in a couple of places, but it still tasted great.  We just broke off the burned spots.


7) Cool the Pizza, Slice and Enjoy!

Let the pizza cool for a few minutes, then slice and enjoy.



I enjoyed participating in Bread Baking Day #59 – Bread for Company.  Thanks to Ninive for hosting the event and for Zorro for creating this monthly baking

Bread Baking Day # 59 - Bread for company (last day of submission June 1st)


Happy Baking!


Sunday, 26 May 2013

A Mountain of Whipped Bread


The bread of the month for the Bread Baking Babes is Whipped Bread. As I was making this bread, the song Whip It! by Devo kept running through my head. I danced around the kitchen, as I normally do while I’m baking, all the while thinking about how to “Whip It! Whip It Good!” as the song goes.

I must’ve whipped it too good because once the bread was baked, it became a heap of bread. At first, it looked like a monster, sort of like Nessy of Loch Ness.

After further review, I decided it reminded me of the mountains near Loch Ness. I recently visited Scotland so the mountains and scenery are still fresh in my mind. We didn’t see Nessy while we were there so I couldn’t really say whether it looks like the Loch Ness Monster or not, but I bet she would love a bite of this bread.

The ruins of Urquhart Castle in Scotland is what I was thinking about when I removed the baked bread from the oven. The mountains in the background provide a magnificent backdrop.



Urquhart Castle was built around 1230. Although it stands peaceful now, the history of the castle is filled with bloodshed. I love history, and the current caretakers of the castle (members of Historic Scotland) recreated the story really well. It was all rather surreal to me.

The English and Scottish fought back and forth for the ownership of the castle and during that time, it was restructured, rearranged and finally blown up (by government troops) during the Jacobite uprising in 1692. Such a travesty, but it remains a very beautiful and inspiring ruin in the Highlands.



The day we visited the castle, it was sunny one minute, then windy and rainy the next. It even hailed a little bit while we were walking around the inside of the ruins. The grey clouds in the background provided a dreamlike back drop for this ancient castle.



Because the weather was so unpredictable, I carried three jackets with me most of the time, along with gloves, and a backpack so I could switch out clothing when it got too cold or hot. In this photo, I am standing in one of the kitchens of the castle clothed in all three jackets. The wind is wreaking havoc on my hair, but a photo of the baker in the kitchen of the castle was a must. Of the two kitchens in the castle, this was the older one.



Here is the milling room showing the milling stones. They grew their own wheat, barley and corn for bread and ale. That’s my kind of place except for the whole Lordship/Serfdom thing.



You may not think this bread looks like the Scottish Highlands, but as the Scottish Highlands are a mound of beauty, so is this mound of bread.



Here is another view of the mountains just to set the stage. Can you see it now?



The host for this month’s BBB is Ilva of Lucilian Delights. I used the Whipped Bread formula on Ilva’s blog, but halved the ingredients to make just one loaf. I don’t normally use fresh yeast because it’s hard to find so I substituted instant dry yeast (ratio 3:1 fresh to dry yeast). I don’t have a heavy-duty stand mixer with a bubble whisk so I used a Danish dough whisk to mix the dough, but mostly I just used my hands to do the folds and turns like you would for Ciabatta. 

View the fold and turn process.

Although my bread turned out looking more like a mountain than a loaf of bread, we really enjoyed this bread as I’m sure the original inhabitants of Urquhart Castle did theirs.



As other bakers have commented, this bread is similar to Ciabatta, but rather than being shaped like a slipper, this bread is supposed to be twisted. I actually twisted two pieces together, but the dough wrestled free and created its own unique shape. But, hey! It had some great holes.



When my son tried this bread, he described it as having a deeper flavor than normal wheat. I agree, it has a delicious and nutty flavor due to the spelt flour.



As usual, I enjoyed baking with the Bread Baking Babes. I wasn’t able to bake with them the last several months due to my schedule so this was a simple bread to ease me back into the flow.


Happy Baking!


Monday, 20 May 2013

Sourdough Spelt Brownies

The Sourdough Surprise for May is brownies. You want to know something funny?  I don’t think I’ve ever made homemade brownies before. Can you believe it?  We’ve always just used the boxed mix to make them. I know, I know.  What’s up with that! 

I have another confession. I’m a milk chocolate fan. However, it’s not really good for you with all the sugar and other artificial ingredients so I try to limit my intake of it. I like dark chocolate when it’s mixed with other ingredients to cut down on the bitter taste, and it’s definitely better for you, but I’ve always preferred milk chocolate.

These Sourdough Brownies are made with the ancient grain Spelt. My whole grain Spelt levain was the only starter that was ready to be used so I decided to find out how it would do in this recipe. It did just fine. In addition to using the Spelt levain instead of a regular sourdough starter, I adjusted the bittersweet chocolate/cocoa powder ratio because I didn’t have quite enough bittersweet chocolate.



These brownies have a very pronounced dark chocolate flavor as you can imagine. They are a little bit tangy from the sourdough, and since this recipe uses less sugar, the bitter chocolate flavor shines through.  If you’re a fan of dark chocolate, then you will probably like these. I’m learning to like them. I definitely plan to make brownies again using dark chocolate, but I think I prefer a little more sugar. Next time, I might swirl some raspberry or strawberry jam through the middle to help balance out the dark chocolate flavor.


Sourdough Spelt Brownies

I adapted my recipe from Jenni of the Gingered Whisk’s Mega Chocolate Sourdough Brownies. Jenni adapted her recipe from Susan of Wild Yeast’s Sourdough Brownies.


  • 235 g bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 226 grams unsalted butter, cut into pieces (~2 sticks)
  • 200 grams sugar
  • 6 grams (1 tsp) salt
  • 8.4 grams (2 tsp) vanilla extract
  • 3 whole eggs, room temperature
  • 105 grams cocoa powder
  • 220 grams mature 100% hydration sourdough starter



Preheat oven to 325 F.

Line a metal 9x13 pan with parchment paper and coat the paper in butter (if you leave some hanging over the long 13" edges, it makes it really easy to lift the brownies out of the pan!).

In a double broiler, saucepan, or the microwave, melt the chocolate, cocoa powder, and butter. Stir it often so it does not burn.  I didn’t read the instructions all of the way before I started (you never do that, right!) so I melted all of the chocolate together rather than sifting the cocoa over the mix after whisking in the sugar and vanilla. You can follow my instructions below or use the original recipe referred to above.



Pour the melted chocolate/butter into a large bowl. Whisk in the sugar, salt and vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking to combine each addition. Add the starter and stir gently until it is completely incorporated.

Turn the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.



Cool in the pan 20 minutes (if you can), then lift the parchment paper out and allow to cool the rest of the way on a wire rack.


When the brownies are completely cooled, cut into squares and enjoy!


This was a challenge for me taste wise, but I figured it was time I learned how to make homemade brownies with real dark (bitter) chocolate and sourdough to boot.

Update on my taste test: These brownies seem to improve with age. The sourdough gives them better keeping quality so even though it’s been several days since I made them, they’re not dry.  I actually like them better.


Happy Baking!



I enjoyed baking along with the Sourdough Surprises baking group. 

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Let’s chat about Whole Wheat Crackers

Hello and welcome! Are you’re wondering where in the world the Bread Experience has been? I’ve been to London to visit the Queen… well, not exactly, but I have been to London, and I did see Buckingham Palace, as well as other parts of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. I’m back in the States, but today I’ve jumped on the band, I mean Grain Mill Wagon to talk about baking with freshly-milled grains.

I’m continuing my discussion on baking homemade crackers. It’s seems that the cracker bug that hit me several weeks ago didn’t go away while I was in the UK. I’ve been busy making crackers ever since I got back.

I particularly like these Whole Wheat Crackers with Cardamom and Sesame Seeds. They have just a hint of cardamom to give the crackers a slightly peppery, spicy flavor.



I’d love for you to join me so head on over to the Grain Mill Wagon to learn how to make these Whole Wheat Crackers.

Be sure to come back in the next couple of days to learn about my travels in the UK. I’ll be sharing some lovely photos of the countryside and my adventures with my son. I’ll even throw some bread in the mix here and there.

Happy Baking!