Easy-to-make spelt loaf

This is the most delicious bread I have baked in my life, ever – and the fastest.

Spelt bread has three great things going for it:

1. Wheat-sensitive types like myself find spelt easier-to-digest

2. Because it is spelt, you can get away with no-kneading because, as Rose Prince says in her recipe for white spelt, “Spelt, an ancient wheat grain, reacts quickly to yeast”.

3. It tastes fantastic – the crust was seed-crunchy and the inside was moist and held together.

My leading characters:

Thank you to Julia for real-time baking advice, the recipe and the loaf we ate

while watching Life In The Fast Lane, about the 1990s M11 road protest.

Julia says you have to use real yeast to make it taste so good, and I did.

See Yeast ** further down for more info including using dried yeast.

Ingredients

1lb 2oz/ 500g spelt flour

½ tsp sea salt

2oz/ 50g pumpkin seeds

2oz/ 50g sunflower seeds

2oz/ 50g linseeds or sesame seeds

17floz/ 500ml warm water

15-20g fresh yeast with 1 teaspoon of honey

a slosh of olive oil (or any oil)

Method after Julia

Add the fresh yeast and honey (1 teaspoon) to the warm water and leave it somewhere warm for 10 minutes to activate the yeast. Feel it gently fizz in your face as you peer into the jug – smells like beer brewing.

Mix the ingredients above – flour + salt + seeds + oil (and anything else such as chilli for a devilish spicyness) – in a large mixing bowl, adding the yeast/water last.

Grease two loaf tins with oil and scatter seeds to line.

Size of tins? One 2lb tin and one 1lb tin did the job for me but you can improvise.

Pour in the mixture and leave it to rise in the tins

- about 30 minutes rising-time.

If you leave it longer, dough-mixture might collapse.

Bake in an oven pre-heated to Gas Mark 6 / 200C / 400F  for 30 minutes.

Turn out and eat as soon as it cools.

(The recipe does tell you to return the loaf to oven for 5 minutes after removing it from tin but this did not seem necessary).

Yeast

It’s exciting – a living organism.

If using dried yeast see Xanthe Clay‘s recipe – which is even faster as there is no need to wait for dough-mixture to rise in the tin (although dried yeast does have additives).

How much fresh yeast to use? Rose Prince says use 7g (1/4oz) of fresh yeast for making a white spelt loaf. Julia says use about 15g.

By mistake I used 42g. Read on.

My yeast story

In my ignorance I used the entire packet of organic fresh yeast instead of a third as Julia recommended.

It got very dramatic as the dough-mixture rose and rose and spilled over the loaf tin.

Domestic-slut that I am

I scooped the spilled mixture and slopped it into another greased loaf tin.

And let the mixture(s) rise again.

They behaved quite well this time, rising just-so – see pic below.

The bread was delicious and non-yeasty – maybe because the wholemeal spelt flour was strong enough to take the accidental extra yeast.

The moral of the tale?

You can make mistakes while cooking…

So to recap.

This spelt bread does not need kneading

making it fast to bake

Plus so damn delicious it’s also fast to partake.

42 responses to “Easy-to-make spelt loaf

  1. Hi Elisabeth,

    Sounds scrummy! I made a spelt and rye loaf at my mum’s over Easter and they said it was very good. Unfortunately I left forgetting to taste it! I do ‘cheat’ and use a breadmaker for my spelt loaves, cos it’s so easy. Just chuck it all in and leave it for 3 hours for scrummy bread! But I’m sure this recipe will produce something much more special so I’m going to give it a try when I’ve found some fresh yeast.

    Sue xx

  2. Hi Sue, lovely to hear from you.

    Yes, please this recipe is worth trying.

    I am knocked out by it.

    I have an aversion to baking bread because I did it too much in the 1980s – but this recipe has got me going again.

    It really is easy – and took an hour.

    (not quite three minutes as billed by the Telegraph!)

    Let us know how you get on!

    Elisabeth

  3. thanx
    Cevahirin Ulviye Söylediği komik sözler

  4. Thanks Forumadresi

    I do not speak Turkish but thank goodness for web translations eh!

    Was it a random visit or for real?

  5. Will try this one. If you go on to Dove’s farm web site, they have a spelt loaf called something like “Roman army spelt bread”
    It is also very easy, and quite delicious.
    Also, an awful lot of modern cookery writers reproduce Doris Grant’s loaf (called, not unsurprisingly, The Grant Loaf) which has been re-hashed by Darina Allen – dead easy to make.

    • Hi Helen

      Thanks for reminder about Doris Grant’s loaf.

      Doris Grant is a real food hero.

      She famously said: “If you love your husbands, keep them away from white bread . . .If you don’t love them, cyanide is quicker but bleached bread is just as certain, and no questions asked.”

      Her Doris Grant loaf is reproduced on the BBC 4 website

      Doris Grant Loaf

      A super simple, no-knead loaf invented by Mrs Grant in the 1940’s. Add a handful of seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, poppy or a mix) to the dough to accentuate the deliciously nutty flavour.

      Ingredients
      1lb/450g strong wholemeal or spelt flour
      1 tsp brown sugar or honey
      ½ sachet easy-blend or easy-bake yeast
      2 tsp salt
      1 tbsp olive oil or melted butter

      Method
      Mix the flour with the sugar or honey, yeast and 2 tsp salt. Stir in the oil or butter and 3/4pt/420ml water to make loose, sticky dough.

      Scrape the dough into a greased 1lb/450g loaf tin.

      Cover loosely with oiled cling film; leave in a warm place for 30 minutes (until dough has risen by a third).

      Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/gas mark 7.

      Bake for half an hour. Slip out of the tin and check that the base sounds hollow when tapped (if not, give it another 5-10 minutes). Cool on a rack.
      Copyright Doris Grant

      On the same website, I found the original 3-minute spelt loaf recipe reproduced by Rose Prince – note it is for fast-acting yeast so indeed so need to let it rise…

      Three-minute Spelt Bread from the The New English Table: Over 200 Recipes That Will Not Cost The Earth by by Rose Prince published by Fourth Estate Ltd, ISBN-10: 0007250932
      ISBN-13: 978-0007250936

      Making spelt bread is completely different from making conventional wheat bread. The grain reacts aggressively to yeast, and does not have to be mixed, let alone kneaded, for more than a minute. There is also no need to let it rise.

      This recipe is from Sibille Wilkinson, whose husband, Andrew, grows organic spelt and mills flour on their Northumberland farm. It really does take just three minutes to prepare.

      Ingredients
      500g/1lb 2oz spelt flour

      10g/1/4oz fast-action dried yeast

      ½ teaspoon sea salt

      55g/2oz sunflower seeds

      55g/2oz sesame seeds**

      55g/2oz linseeds

      500ml/18fl oz warm water

      Method
      Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, adding the water last. Mix well, and then turn the dough into a greased 900g/2lb loaf tin. Put in the oven immediately and bake for 1 hour, until the loaf has risen, lifts out of the tin easily, and sounds hollow when tapped underneath. Take the loaf out of the tin, and then put it back in the oven for 5–10 minutes to crisp up the sides and base. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.
      Copyright Sibille Wilkinson

      Happy baking, Helen and let me know how you get on.

      I am still experimenting to find optimum amount of fresh yeast!

      42g does it for 500g of spelt wholemeal flour – but can I use less, I ask myself?

      Elisabeth

  6. Hi Elizabeth,

    many thanks for this – will try it, tho’ I always find dried yeast easier to work with. bought some balchre watermill organic yeast online this week, so will let you know how it works! I’ve been using Nigel Slater’s spelt rolls recipe recently which worked a treat.

    by the way, I’m in charge of the Grofun plot this wknd while Nadia’s away, so do come say hello!

    James

  7. Now I’m cross and wish I’d read your blog earlier today. I made my first spelt loaf today and kneaded it for ages! As you know I use spelt flour for most of my baking but hadn’t actually made bread with it before now. The bread also had chilli, chocolate and lime in it and was totally delicious. Haven’t blogged about it yet, but will do in the next day or so.

    • I can’t believe I am ahead of you on that one, Choclette, as I see YOU as the queen of the baking.

      Thanks for all your support on the green activism side.

      Elisabeth

  8. Thanks Elisabeth especially for giving me the good fortune to taste the results of so much inspired cooking and writing.

    I consider myself a connoisseur of bread after a lifetime of wage slavery and office lunch sandwiches. This is an inspiring loaf with a lovely body and tasty crust.

    Keep up the love, baking bread is next to godliness, the staff of life!

  9. I heard nutritional yeast has lots of B12 and is better than ordinary yeast?
    Also, are you going to explore the raw food revolution? Am into it!
    You need a dehydrator. I’ve ordered one off amazon.com, it will be there when you are!

  10. Hi Phils – v impressed with dehydrator and look forward to being introduced.

    Great feature about raw food in summer 2010 issue of The Source – just proofing it now! Will bring a copy with me.

  11. I love spelt flour as well and have made the switch from regular wheat recently. Have you ever tried sourdough? I’m about to try it again soon, just on day 2 of the starter! I tried it a few years ago and wasn’t thrilled with the results but have a different recipe this time around… anyway, great blog, glad I found you!

  12. I am a novice at making bread. Recently bought a breadmaker and would very much like to make similar as Tesco’s Spelt and Sunflower bloomer (deliciously addicted). Can someone please provide the recipe to be cooked in a breadmaker. Thanks so much. Regards Suzy

  13. I received this lovely comment by email. I especially loved the last line about “not being bland”:

    Dear Elisabeth,

    I’ve just discovered you and your blog.

    Health and digestion are unreliable and after a diet of rice cakes for years I was delighted to read your recipe for Spelt bread which I made yesterday. I put in some old walnuts and other nuts and too much liquid but it survived and came out looking ‘ normal’. My husband loves the taste but next time I shall pay more attention to the amount of liquid. Had toast this morning for breakfast! Thank you for bringing some normality into my life!! In the past I tried using Spelt in the same way one uses strong bread flour. Disaster! For years back in the 70s and 80s I made my own bread until health deserted me. At some point I hope to make the marmalade. Hopefully you may have more helpful recipes.

    You write with passion and conviction, nothing bland about what you do. Thank you for caring the way you do.

  14. Hello Elisabeth,

    I found your lovely blog whilst searching for a spelt bread recipe that uses fresh yeast. Yours was delicious, I love the addition of all the seeds.

    I agree with you Sharpham Park flour has the best flavour…I love it, but can’t always get it and so had to use Dove Farm spelt flour this time. It still worked really well and I’m using your recipe all the time now. I’ve just baked up a kilo batch. I still have to try out Choclette’s suggestion of adding lime, chilli and chocolate…it sounds wonderful…

    • Hi Debby

      Many thanks for your great feedback on this recipe.

      Very heartening! It’s good to know what works.

      I visited your blog and was fascinated to read your review of a favourite author, Barbara Kingsolver’s, The Lacuna (written with recipes too – I did not know that).

      Great review that quickens my desire to read it.

  15. Hi,just found your blog while looking for a spelt bread recipe. Using Dove Farm white spelt today and just added sesame seeds as the last loaf tasted a bit boring. Am so pleased its in loafs others are recommending as was worrying that the seeds should have just been put on top.its in the oven now so and i too use the bread maker to mix it for convenience and but find it dont cook as well as in the oven. Great blog,lots of ideas.

  16. Surely there is too much water in your spelt bread recipe? Usually there is about two thirds water to flour not equal amounts. Before I try this can you please confirm water quantity please.

    Thanks

  17. Just found out today I am wheat and dairy intolerant and have spent an hour looking for easy bread recipes. This looks good, I will try it n the morning after my non wheat and dairy shop arrives. Thanks Elisabeth.

  18. Laraine Jones-Hunt

    I made spelt bread today and was pleased with the texture and taste but thought it could be lighter in texture. I made up a recipe using oatmeal, ground flaxseed, honey, dried yeast, water and spelt. Treated it like bread dough but found that not as successful as I would have liked… didn’t rise as high as ordinary bread does. Stumbled on your site while searching recipes and can see that I should not have let it rise first and then put in pans to rise again. This must have caused the loaves to fall. I gather you must be somewhere in the UK. I am a Canadian trying to translate products into things I know… 1. what is ‘white spelt’? I use stone ground organic spelt flour which resembles whole wheat.
    2. Is linseed the same as flax?
    3 Where can I find the roll recipe? We enjoy hamburgers during BBQ season and would like to make some spelt buns/rolls for them.
    Looking forward to your response…

    • Hi Laraine

      Thanks for your questions. Yes, I am UK-based.

      1. Here is a link explaining nutritional differences between stoneground spelt flour that you are using and white spelt flour. Basically, there is less gluten in white spelt, and more fibre and protein in stoneground. I prefer stoneground spelt flour.

      2. Yes, linseed is the same name for flax.

      3. And here is a recipe for spelt rolls (with ideas about filling them scrummily, too) from the UK’s much loved food writer, Nigel Slater. Back in the early-1990s, I wrote to Nigel as a punter about one of his pancake recipes, and he replied by post with a handwritten letter. I was impressed.

      Good luck and do let us know how you get on!

      Elisabeth

  19. Oh dear, I have the hand of death when it comes to bread. This recipe seemed simple enough, but I have got a dough-brick again. I bought fresh yeast from the health food store, recommended by a friend who makes great bread and set it going with honey and warm water: but after half an hour there was not much happening, just the odd bubble. I made up the mix, then I left the dough to rise in the tin for 30 minutes. At the end of the time, it had just about doubled in size, but when I baked it, again for 30 minutes, it had actually reduced a bit and the result is mostly warm dough. It is not inedible, but I wouldn’t give it to anyone else to eat.

    I wish I wasn’t the sort of idiot who can’t accept failure and just give up. I want to do it right just ONCE! Please help

    • Don’t give up, Mizo!

      What kind of oven have you got?

      What kind of flour do you use?

      If I can’t help, I advise finding someone who can bake bread (like your friend!) and ask to bake beside him/her.

      My other idea is to go to a baking bread workshop and I can recommend some really good ones if you tell me what area you are in.

      And finally (again): Don’t give up! Love, Elisabeth

      • Frankie Blake

        Hi I have tried it and mine was a brick too. I have an Aga but it just didn’t rise – I always use the quick dried yeast which works for all my other loaves.

        Date: Tue, 21 May 2013 15:57:42 +0000 To: frankie_blake@hotmail.co.uk

      • Hi Frankie – thanks for that.

        Fresh yeast needs to be on top form to work, whereas dried yeast is more forgiving.

        Yes, definitely sounds like it is worth experimenting with dried yeast instead of fresh yeast.

  20. OK, I won’t

    Valor Vanette ’70s gas

    Wessex Mill

    I applied to go to the Richard Swift day course in Ludlow, about 20 miles north of here but it is booked up way into the future…

    OK, I promise not to give up

  21. Hi Mizo

    I am wondering if the Valor Vanette ’70s gas does not get hot enough? It needs to be medium-hot, equivalent to Gas Mark 6.

    The Campaign for Real Bread lists some Ludlow contacts.

    Price the Bakers run bread making courses.

    So does Ludlow College.

    I think the best way to learn is to cook with someone, or watch them cook.

    There are some great videos at YouTube that might help. Search around until you find one that you like.

    Here’s one to start with – it does not even use an oven!

  22. Thank you for that. I will persevere. You may be right about the oven, though I am still baffled that the yeast/honey/water mix didn’t step up to the plate – I put my ear quite close, but it was more cloudy millpond than tonic-water fizz. Couldn’t hear a thing; and then it didn’t quite make double its size while rising. That’s before it went anywhere near the ancient oven…

    Well. I shall book for a course; then try your recipe again, as I much prefer spelt these days

    Dutch Oven, ay? Worth a try…

    Thanks

  23. Hmnnnn “more cloudy millpond than tonic-water fizz” you say? Not a thing could be heard? It does sound suspect. Maybe it was the yeast, indeed.

    Fresh yeast can be tricky if not super-fresh. Try with dried yeast? Xanthe Clay says: 2 sachets/10g fast-acting dried yeast.

    Could be worth another experiment…

  24. Hello!
    I just wanted to leave some feedback for the Three Minute Spelt loaf, and to say how absolutely fantastic the bread is.
    As is my usual thing, I made a half size quantity first i.e. a 1lb loaf which turned out perfectly formed and gloriously risen. My alterations; I added 2 teaspoons of Demerara sugar and1 level teaspoon of salt to the dry ingredients and a tablespoon of oil to the water.
    I couldn’t believe how good it tasted and the quality of the finished loaf for one that is proved only once! I am gluten/wheat intolerant and haven’t enjoyed a slice of bread for a long time, as much as I did my first slice of this loaf. And the best bit… no after effects! Fabulous! So its all true what they say about Spelt :-)
    I now have some other ideas for this flour too… maybe pasta, pizza, scones and pastry. Wooohoo!
    Chrissie
    P.S. I’d like to add a picture but not sure how to do it.

  25. Pingback: Spelt bread made with fresh yeast | Cookware Store

  26. I am getting very excited about making this loaf this weekend and have almost got all the ingredients except the yeast which I’m getting this evening. My only question is how much honey to use? I’m assuming c. 15g of yeast is ok but should I then add honey to that when its in the water?

    This will be my first loaf of bread so forgive what may be an obvious question.

  27. Hi James

    Thanks for your question.

    The honey (or sugar) is there to activate the yeast (rather than add taste) so a teaspoon will do the trick.

    I have now added it in to the recipe and thanks for bringing its absence to my attention. I am sorry for my belated reply and just emailed you.

    Hope bread baking is going well, Elisabeth

  28. I have just have just left the dough to rise for 30 minutes but nothing had happened. Is there anything I can do to salvage the bread?? I used 320g of fresh yeast in honey and warm water but it didn’t fizz at all. Please help, as I love spelt bread!

    • Hi KC

      My best advice is do not give up!

      I think the fact that the yeast in warm water and honey did not fizz is significant.

      Sounds as if the yeast did not activate.

      Fresh yeast needs to be properly fresh to work. It is a subtle beast.

      I would suggest having another go, either with an entirely new lot of fresh yeast, or with dried yeast (which is more reliable).

      Did you bake the non-risen loaf? I wonder how it turned out? It may have risen sufficiently to taste good.

      I hope you do feel encouraged to try again – your perseverance will be rewarded, I believe.

      Best wishes, Elisabeth

  29. sorry that should be 20g!

  30. Elisabeth
    Thank you for getting back to me. I activated the rest of the fresh yeast with a cup of warm water and this time it activated. I added it to my dough, which was now a bit too wet so I added some buckwheat flour as I had used all my spelt. I didn’t rise that much, but I baked it anyway and it is edible.
    I bake spelt loaves all the time as it is my favourite and easier to digest than most, but it was my first time with fresh yeast. I will keep trying!
    Love your website.
    KC

  31. Hi KC

    Delighted to hear that the fresh yeast activated this time. I like the sound of your creative additions such as buckwheat flour to dry out the wet dough.

    Although the dough did not rise spectacularly, very happy to hear it was edible. And I am sure it was nourishing with all those super ingredients, and tasty too.

    Next time you have another go (so happy to hear you will keep trying!) put the dough in a warm-ish place for its 30 minutes rising time.

    Appreciate you saying you like my blog – thank you so much.

    Elisabeth

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