Sunday, 30 March 2014

Ancient Grain Tartine: Spelt, Einkorn & KAMUT

The Bread of the Month (BOM) for the Artisan Bread Baker’s FB group is Spelt-Wheat Sourdough (modified from a Tartine recipe).

I wanted to make my version exclusively with ancient grains so I substituted Einkorn for the regular whole wheat, and 50/50 all-purpose KAMUT/Spelt flour for the bread flour. I used my Einkorn sourdough starter and mixed it with all-purpose Spelt to create the levain. 

Ancient Grain Tartine

I baked the loaves in a Cast Iron Dutch Oven Combo like the method outlined in Chad Robertson’s book. However, I used a slightly different proofing, scoring and baking technique.

I let the dough retard in the refrigerator for the bulk fermentation and the final proof (after placing the loaves in the banneton baskets). I did this in order to accommodate my schedule over the weekend, but I also wanted to see how it would affect the bread. For the final proof, I placed the loaves seam side up in the proofing baskets and when it was time to bake them, I took the baskets out of the refrigerator, and carefully flipped the loaves over onto a round piece of parchment paper cut to fit the bottom of the combo-baker.

Ancient Grain Tartine

I scored the loaves on the parchment paper and used a pizza peel to transfer them to the hot combo-baker instead of flipping them directly onto the bottom of the baker and scoring them at that time. This proved to be much easier on my arms and reduced the chance of being burned while flipping or scoring the loaves.

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Ancient Grain Tartine

Adapted from Tartine Book No. 3 by Chad Robertson

Makes: 2 Loaves


  • 300 g whole grain spelt flour
  • 300 g all-purpose spelt flour
  • 300 g all-purpose KAMUT flour
  • 150 g Einkorn flour
  • 150 g Refreshed Levain (100% hydration) *
  • 770 g Warm Water (80ºF or 27ºC) **
  • 25 g sea salt
  • 30 g warm water

* You only use 150 g of the refreshed starter in this bread so you’ll have some left over. You can use that as your starter and feed it like you normally would going forward. However, since I used a mixture of Einkorn and spelt, I didn’t plan to keep this mixture as my starter. I used the remaining levain to make sourdough crackers instead.

** The original formula calls for 800g of warm water. If you use regular bread flour and whole wheat flour (instead of ancient grains), you’ll probably need the additional water, but Einkorn and Spelt do not absorb water the same way regular wheat does.


Build your Levain

For the best results, you should start by refreshing, or building your starter. To do this, take 50 g of your favorite starter. I used my Einkorn starter (aka EK) and to that, added 200 g water, 100g all-purpose spelt flour, and 100 g whole grain Einkorn flour. Mix well, cover, and let stand at room temperature overnight (or until bubbly and active). It can take anywhere from 12 – 18 hours.  It took mine about 14 hours.



Mix the Dough:

In a large bowl whisk together the flours.

In a separate bowl combine the refreshed starter and the warm water.

Combine the wet and dry mixtures and mix with your hands or with a Danish dough whisk until no dry bits remain.

Autolyse: Cover and let the dough rest (autolyse) for at least 30 minutes.

After the autolyse, add the salt and 30 g of warm water.

Mix well to incorporate into the dough.Transfer dough to large bowl, and cover for bulk fermentation.

Bulk Rise: During the bulk rise (3 to 4 hours, depending on temperature), fold and turn the dough every 30 minutes for the first 2 ½ hours. To do a fold, scoop the underside of the dough up and stretch it over itself towards you. Rotate the container one-quarter turn and repeat three to four times. Keep dough covered between folding. After 3 hours and six folds, the dough should feel aerated, billowy, and softer. You will see a 20-30 percent increase in volume. If not, continue bulk rising for 30 minutes to 1 hour longer.

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At this point, I retarded my dough in the refrigerator overnight. You can continue with the dividing and shaping and the bench rest if you prefer.

Dividing & Shaping: The next day, or after the bulk rise, turn out the dough onto a clean, un-floured work surface. Lightly flour the top surface of the dough and cut into two pieces. Pre-shape each piece gently into a round by working the dough in a circular motion. Take care to work the dough gently and not de-gas.

Bench Rest: Lightly flour the tops of the rounds, cover with a kitchen towel, and let rest on the work surface for 20-30 minutes. Line two medium baskets or bowls with clean, dry kitchen towels and dust generously with a 50/50 mixture of any wheat and rice flours.

Final Shaping: Refer to the Tartine (Chad Robertson) method for shaping wet dough (here is a helpful video link:, the shaping starts at the 3:09 minute mark)

Final Rise: Transfer the dough to the floured baskets, flipping the dough over so that the seam side is facing up and centered. If you want to coat the loaf in seeds or cracked grain, roll the smooth side of the dough in the coating before transferring it to the floured rising baskets, placing the dough coated-side down, seam-side up. Cover with a clean, dry kitchen towel and let rise at warm room temperature for 3 to 5 hours or overnight in the refrigerator (bake directly from the refrigerator, if using this option).

I opted to place the baskets in the refrigerator overnight. As I mentioned, I wanted to see how they performed with the double retardation in the refrigerator.

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To Bake: Pre-heat the oven to 500F/260C, adjust the oven rack to its lowest position, and place a cast iron Dutch oven, or any other heavy ovenproof pot with a tight-fitting lid into the oven. Pre-heat for at least 30 minutes.

Carefully transfer one dough round into the preheated Dutch oven, tipping it out of the basket into the pot so it is now seam-side down. Score the top of the dough, Cover the pot and return to the oven. After 20 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 450F/230C. Bake another 10 minutes, then carefully remove the lid (a cloud of steam will be released). Continue to bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, until the crust is a deep golden brown.

This is where I deviated from the instructions.  Instead of tipping the loaves directly into the hot Dutch oven bottom, I flipped the loaves onto round parchment paper cut to fit the bottom of the Dutch oven. Then I scored the loaves on the parchment paper and transferred them to the bottom of the Dutch oven using a pizza peel.

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When the loaf is done, turn it out onto a wire rack to cool.

To bake the second loaf, raise the oven temperature to 500F/260C, wipe out the Dutch oven with a dry kitchen towel, and reheat with the lid on for 15 minutes. Repeat the baking procedure as with the first loaf.

Cool completely, then slice, and enjoy!  

I think I may have proofed the loaves a bit too much, but they sure were good.  They were chewy and flavorful due to the sourdough levain.

Ancient Grain Tartine


This was a fun bake.  Thanks to Nancy for choosing and providing the instructions and inspiration for this bread.


Happy Baking!


Friday, 28 March 2014

Five-Grain Loaf with Walnuts & Cranberries

This is not your ordinary multigrain bread.  This 5-grain loaf is made with all-purpose and whole grain spelt four, oat and rye flours and brown rice flour.  Carola, of the Back to the Future, Buddies chose to revisit this bread for the monthly bake for March.

 5-Grain Loaf with Walnuts & Cranberries and Cran-Strawberry Jam

The Bread Baking Babes made a version of this bread back in 2009, but I missed it. I’m glad I got the chance to try it this time. I enjoyed this loaf spread with homemade Cran-Strawberry Jam.  It was delish!

The loaves can be made with all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour, but I wanted to make my version using a good portion of ancient grains so I used Spelt instead.

If you want to make pan loaves instead of hearth loaves and use all-purpose flour instead of Spelt, refer to Carola’s post.

This bread can be baked in a loaf pan, but as I was kneading the dough, I realized that because I had changed the grains and the hydration level of the dough, it would make a wonderful freeform loaf. So that’s what I did. I baked the loaves in a preheated Emile Henry Cloche. The dough was well suited for baking in the cloche.

5-Grain Loaf with Walnuts & Cranberries

This bread is supposed to be about the walnuts, but unfortunately I didn’t have the amount of walnuts called for because I got hungry for a snack one day and ate most of the stash of walnuts I bake with. It made a very tasty snack, but left me with only about 100 grams of walnuts. To compensate, I added 100 grams of dried cranberries and then I added some more. The combination of the walnuts and cranberries, along with the spelt, rye, oats and brown rice flour, made a tasty loaf of bread.

I tried two different scoring methods and a new pattern. I think it’s my new favorite. I used a curved scoring tool, and I really like the way the loaf opened up. I proofed the loaves in lined banneton baskets, and I really like the contrast of the flour design the lined baskets left on the cranberry-colored loaves.


5-Grain Bread with Walnuts & Cranberries

The original loaf is also known as Pane ai Cinque Cereali con Noci

5-Grain Loaf with Walnuts & Cranberries

Makes: 2 Large Loaves

Adapted from: The Italian Baker by Carol Field


  • 125 grams (1 1/4 cups) walnuts, chopped roughly
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) lukewarm water
  • 675 grams water, room temperature *
  • 600 grams all-purpose Spelt flour
  • 125 grams oat flour
  • 125 grams rye flour
  • 125 grams whole grain Spelt flour
  • 125 grams brown rice flour
  • 200 grams dried cranberries


Toast the walnuts. You can toast them in the oven for 10 minutes (400°F/200°C), but I find it easier to toast them in a pan over the stove. Let them cool down and then chop them coarsely with a sharp knife or in a food processor fitted with the steel blade or. Do not grind them finely or you’ll miss out on the walnut crunch.

I mixed the dough by hand since ancient grains, especially Spelt don’t like to be over mixed.

Mixing the Dough

Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water in a large mixing bowl; let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes. Stir in the water.

* I held back some of the water because Spelt doesn’t absorb water the same way that all-purpose flour does. I used about 675 grams of water. If you make this bread using different flour, you might need more water.

Mix the flours, and salt and stir into the dissolved yeast, 1/2 cup at a time stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon or Danish dough whisk. The dough should come together fairly easily.

Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead in the cranberries and walnuts. Sprinkle the dough with additional Spelt flour as needed, and knead for a few minutes.  The dough will still be tacky. Don’t over knead it!  Spelt requires a shorter mixing time due to the fragile proteins.


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First Rise (and retard in refrigerator)

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

The dough had doubled in size, but it was still pretty tacky. So after the first rise, I deflated the dough, folded it into a ball and placed it back in the bowl and recovered it with plastic. I let it retard in the refrigerator overnight. You can try this to add flavor and structure to the dough or continue to the shaping and second rise if you prefer.

If you retard your dough in the refrigerator, the next day, bring the dough to room temperature before shaping.

Shaping and Second Rise (or retard in refrigerator):

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. The dough should be firm and noticeably elastic. If you retarded it in the refrigerator, it shouldn’t be sticky anymore.

Cut the dough in half and shape each piece into an a round boule.  Let the balls rest on the counter for 10 to 15 minutes. Dust two lined banneton baskets with a mixture of spelt/rice flour.  Reshape the dough into tight boules and place seam side up in the baskets. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until fully doubled about an hour to an hour and a half. Or, immediately place the covered baskets in the refrigerator again and let the loaves retard for 5 hours. That’s what I did.


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Preheat the Oven and Bread Baker:

Preheat the oven to 450°F (205°C). with the Emile Henry Cloche, La Cloche,  Dutch Oven or other baking pot on the bottom rack.  Let it preheat for at least 30 minutes before baking the loaves.


Scoring the Loaves:

When you’re ready to bake the loaves (after 5 hours), remove the baskets from the refrigerator and gently turn the loaves out onto a piece of round parchment paper cut to fit the bottom of the Emile Henry Cloche.

Score the loaves using the pattern of your choice. As I mentioned, I used a curved lame and scored 2 different patterns.

You can leave one loaf in the refrigerator and prepare it while the cloche or Dutch oven is getting back up to 450 degrees again, or you can take them both out at the same time.


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When the oven and bread baker have preheated sufficiently, remove the lid and carefully transfer the scored loaf to the bottom of the baker. I used a pizza peel to slide the loaf (on the parchment paper) onto the bottom of the cloche like you would slide it onto a baking stone.  This worked really well for me. I didn’t have to worry about getting burned. 

If you are using a Dutch oven, you can invert the loaf directly into the bottom, just be very careful because it will be really hot.

Place the lid on the baker and bake the loaf for 40 to 45 minutes (or until the bread's internal temperature reaches 200°F - 93°C).  Remove the lid and the parchment paper during the last 10 to 15 minutes of baking to brown the bottoms and sides.

Let the loaves cool completely on a wire rack before slicing and serving.

5-Grain Loaf with Walnuts & Cranberries


I thoroughly enjoyed making and eating this bread.  It is delicious and nutty and makes great toast. Thanks Carola for choosing this bread.


Back to the Future Buddies



Happy Baking!



Monday, 24 March 2014

My Teddy Bear Bread and Dolls

I adore Teddy Bears!  When Carola of Sweet and That’s it announced she was creating a Teddy Parade, I knew I had to make one, but I was hesitant to join in the fun due to my Santa Bread misfires. I had worked so hard on the Santas only to have them disfigured in the oven. I didn’t want that to happen with the Teddy Bear.

Teddy Bear Bread


I used to sew a lot, and I especially liked to make dolls. I had made Teddy Bear Dolls before, but never Teddy Bear Bread.

Here are some of the Teddy Bear Dolls I’ve made. When I created the Teddy Bear Bread, I was thinking about these bears.

 A few of my bears


My son chewed the nose off of his bear when he was little. The poor bear looks a little worse for the wear, but we still love him.

Poor bear without a nose

The more I thought about the Teddy parade, I realized that since I enjoy making bears and baking bread, I just had to incorporate the two crafts.

I decided to give the Teddy Bear Bread a chance. I wasn’t going to let this dough-shaping or doll-shaping dough get the best of me this time. I had a plan.

Teddy Bear Bread Dough


As I mentioned before, when I made the Santa Breads, each of them looked pretty good before I baked them, but unfortunately, they lost their shape during baking. The third Santa was my favorite, and I was really bummed that he got transfigured during the bake cycle.

I knew why it happened. The instructions only allowed for a final proof of about 15 minutes after shaping. At the time, I thought it was rather odd to have such a short proof, but I followed the instructions anyway.

I shouldn’t have second-guessed myself. Since the dough wasn’t allowed to fully proof before baking, it had tremendous oven spring. Generally, you want good oven spring, but not with decorative breads. They need to keep their shape.

Even though Santa Bread #3 ended up looking more like a dog than Santa due to the oven spring, I really enjoyed working with that dough. I decided to use the same dough for the Teddy Bear Bread, but this time, I proofed it longer so it would be fully risen and not lose it’s shape in the oven. My trick worked. 

Teddy Bear Bread


Teddy Bear Bread Recipe

Yield: 1 Bear Bread

Adapted from: Teddy Bear Bread on Taste of Home and Whimsical Santa on the Martha Stewart site


  • 2 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1/2 cup rye flour
  • 2 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. instant dry yeast
  • ~ 7/8 cup warm water (100 degrees F.)
  • 6 raisins
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 T cold water
  • ribbon, optional for decoration


1. Add the flours, salt, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Blend well. Turn the machine to first speed and gradually add the water until the dough comes together. Mix until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

2. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface. Knead by hand until smooth and elastic. Shape the dough into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl.  Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and let it proof until doubled, about 1 hour.

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3. Punch dough down and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 1 large ball, 1 medium ball, 6 small balls and 1 slightly smaller ball for the nose. Adjust the size of the balls according to the shape/size you want.  I had to play around with the sizes a little bit to get the final shape I was looking for.

4. To form bear body, place the large ball in the center of a greased baking sheet or on parchment paper. Place the medium ball above body for head; flatten slightly. Place two small balls on each side of head for ears. Place one small ball in the center of head for nose, and four small balls around body for arms and legs. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.

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5. With a sharp knife or scissors, cut slits for ears, eyes, nose and belly button. Insert raisins into slits. Beat egg and cold water; brush over dough.

6. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to a wire rack to cool. If desired, tie a bow around bear's neck with ribbon.

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teddy-bear-bread_326 Teddy Bear Bread


I had fun with this bread. Thanks to Carola for hosting the Teddy Parade.

Join the Teddy's Parade


Happy Baking!