BreadAlison Lambert


BreadAlison Lambert

I love to experiment with any ingredients and flour is no exception.  At Taste Naure, they have a great selection of organic products and you can get as much or as little as you like.  One of my favourite breads is a good loaf of spelt and with a sick family and a pot of freshly made chicken and corn soup simmering away i thought it the perfect accompaniment.

makes 1 large family loaf

300g wholemeal spelt flour (i used sprouting-spelt flour)
200g strong white bread flour1 heaped tsp fine sea salt
7g packet of instant dried yeast or 15g fresh yeast
350ml water

Put the two flours in a large bowl and add the salt. Stir in the yeast. (If you are using fresh yeast, crumble it into the water and stir to dissolve it.) Pour the water into the flour. Stir to a soft dough then tip out on to a floured board.

The dough will be quite sticky at this stage, but keep kneading it for a good eight or nine minutes. This sounds a long time, but it shouldn't be hard work. If it is, then you are probably kneading too hard. I knead firmly but gently, working the dough with my hands, pushing it flat with my palms then folding the far edge back into the dough. As you knead, the dough will become drier and tighter. It will feel alive.

Shape the dough into a ball and put it back into the floured bowl. Cover with a warm, damp cloth and leave in a warm place for about an hour, until it is roughly twice its original volume. I have tried almost every room in the house for this and find the work surface at the side of the fire, or in a hot water cupboard gets the quickest results, but even at ordinary room temperature it should be up in an hour or so.

Dough proving
Shape into one large full round loaf then bring the side furthest away from you down towards the centre press firmly with your fingers, making the ends narrower than the centre. Place onto a lightly floured baking sheet. Dust generously with flour and leave in a warm place, covered by a tea towel, for 30 minutes or so until your loaf  have risen once more.

Set the oven at 240C. Bake the loaves for 15-20 minutes, turn down the heat to 190C and continue to cook until your bread is crisp and dark outside and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom
(approx another 10-20 minutes).  Remove and cool on a wire rack.