I envy mothers who disingenuously exclaim ‘I have such problems with my childrens’ eating habits: they just can’t get enough caviar/oysters/organic broccoli…’. Obviously when I say envy, I mean it in a thoroughly irascible, need-to-suppress-violent-urges sort of way. My son is passionate about bread (he’s partial to ketchup too actually, but I don’t think we really need to go there ;-)). He’s been besotted with bread since his first teeth appeared and his enthusiasiam shows no signs of abating. This spelt bread meets with his approval and believe me, he’s something of an expert in the matter.
Spelt is a tasty and healthy alternative to wheat and has a delicate nutty flavour. It’s actually an ancient grain that has come back into favour as more and more people have problems digesting wheat. Spelt has a tough outer husk, meaning that it can protect itself from attack and making it a very suitable candidate for pesticide-free production. Not only does it have more vitamins and minerals than wheat flour, it also has a higher protein content. Although spelt contains gluten, it is in a more fragile form and therefore easier to digest than wheat gluten, which is why people with a wheat intolerance are often able to eat spelt flour.
Ingredients (makes one small loaf)
250g spelt flour
5g active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
150ml lukewarm water
Begin by diluting the yeast in a few drops of water. Add to the flour and salt and then add the lukewarm water. Add the olive oil and mix well with a wooden spoon and then either knead by hand or mechanically for about ten minutes, until the mixture becomes like plastic. Leave to rise in a warm (25-35°C), draft-free place, covered with a damp tea towel for 45 minutes. The dough should double in volume. Knead again and shape into the desired form. Place on greaseproof paper, cover with the damp tea towel and leave to rise again for about 1h 15 minutes. Transfer to a lightly oiled baking tray and bake in a hot (225°C) preheated oven for 30 minutes.