Yeasted Spelt bread

Impetus: Japanese Melonpan 

The reason I decided to learn how to make yeasted bread (other than the fact that it is something on the list of things that I simply must learn), is actually because I hope to one day make Japanese melonpan. In order to make a good melonpan, I decided that I must first understand the basic art and science of working with yeast and dough.

Sliced

Background prep and knowledge: Close to none: Quick breads only, never with yeast. Yeast in the lab only, never in the kitchen When you think about the basic ingredients required (yeast, flour, salt, water, oven), bread making seems like a simple process. But making a good loaf is really a practised art and a precise science. (And I know because working with baker’s yeast happens to be my day job!) I have far from perfected this art, or fully grasped the science, but thanks to some online research (much thanks to The Fresh Loaf , and Baking911), I equipped myself with some basic knowledge to proceed.

Materials and Methods: Basics with a Spelt twist

I started with the most simple but vital of ingredients: a package of active dry yeast. In addition to plain flour though, I also used whole grain Spelt flour. (Yes yes, Spelt is a current favorite of mine. I love the nutty taste.) I also used milk because I wanted to see what it would be like.

1c all purpose flour

1c whole grain Spelt flour

1/2c milk

2t active dry yeast

1t salt

2t sugar

Put yeast in water and let incubate 15 minutes. Mix together the dry and the wet ingredients separately, then mix together.

Add milk as required to form a not-too-wet dough. Knead 8 minutes. Form into a ball and place into bowl. (I did not grease the bowl and the Spelt dough did not stick.)

dough

Cover in plastic wrap. Let rise 75 minutes. (It did not quite double in size, but I think this has to do with the low gluten content of Spelt.)

First Rise

Take out, punch down dough several times. Lay on dough on parchment paper and shape into a loaf. Score with sharp knife. Let rise again for 1hr. (Ooops. I then realized I scored way too early. I should have waited until this second rise was finished and scored just before putting the bread in the oven!)

Scored

Preheat oven to 400F. (I put some containers with water in there but that did not create enough steam. Next time I will try ice cubes or a water spray.) Bake (on parchment, on a cookie sheet) for approximately 30 min (my loaf was quite small, as was the oven I used.)

Take out, cool on a wired rack for 10 min. Slice. Served warm.

Results: You can’t really screw up with bread now, can you?

The top was brown, the bottom not so much, but I knocked on the loaf and it sounded pretty hollow. It was quite light as well, and I think if I had baked it longer the top might have been too brown. (You can see the uneveness of browning due to the way my loaf sat in the oven) There was no glaze on the bread. Next time I might go for a dusting of flour or an egg wash.

Spelt Loaf

Sliced: Not too airy. Dense and chewy, with the distinctive nutty and sweet aroma of Spelt. Time to 100% consumption: 1.5 days. Not bad for a first loaf.

 Spelt bread sliced

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