Spelt Bread Whipped into Submission (BBB May 2013)

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BBB: Let's Get Baking summary: recipe for Whipped Spelt Bread; a Bread Baking Babes project; submission for YeastSpotting; (click on images to see larger views and more photos)

Bread Baking Babes (BBB) May 2013

Are machines really saving us that much labour? (As usual, I have gone overboard with my BBB post. You might want to get a cup of tea before reading on.)

Spelt Bread This month, Ilva (Lucullian Delights) chose the BBBabes’ challenge, cracking the whip and calling the BBBabes back into line. She decreed that there would be no more stuffing or filling.

It was back to basics for us. With just flour, water, salt and yeast. But not just any kind of flour – we were instructed to go back to basics there too, by using spelt flour, milled from the ancient grain Triticum spelta related to wheat (Triticum aestivum).

But then Ilva added that we would need to use our electric mixers. What? Back to basics with an electric mixer?? Not to mention: what electric mixer?

Let’s see now. The first electric mixer was introduced for the home kitchen sometime in the 20th century.

Question: how long have people been making bread?

Yes, we do have a handheld blender with a whip attachment. And we also have an ancient handheld electric cake mixer. But I’m terrified of the carnage (at my expense) if I break either of those. It just wouldn’t do to disturb the peace of our lovely neighbourhood by having sirens blaring and yellow “crime scene” tape suddenly being wrapped around our house.

BBB Whipped Bread diary:

3 April 2013, 09:11 When this says to whisk at high speed, I’m assuming it’s referring to an electric mixer. Which I don’t have. The idea of whisking by hand at high speed is making me very tired. And I haven’t even got the whisk out yet!

Having said that, I’ve been experimenting with hand-kneading wet dough and I suspect that the Richard Bertinet method of hand-kneading brioche might be the answer. (I haven’t yet had the nerve to try this kneading method on the croc. The memory of the croc’s gaping maw with its mocking grin haunts me too much.)

7 May 2013, 18:11 Yikes!! It’s almost the middle of May!

I found myself seriously considering skipping the May bread because of the instruction “Mix the dough at high speed using a whisk until the dough no longer sticks to the sides and bottom of the bowl.” and the words “like the Croc” – even though this bread dough is allegedly not like the terrifying Croc.

But, I’ve given myself The Talk and have seen the light. With Lien’s voice echoing in my head that we’re here because we want to challenge ourselves into making something we wouldn’t normally make, I will brave the wilds of our local health food and take out a second mortgage on the house to buy the required amount of spelt flour. :stomp:

And I’m scared. I’ll be doing the whipping by hand. Wish me luck!

Because I will be making this by hand, I asked if I was correct that I should probably knead the dough after mixing it and that the dough is basically kneaded after being whipped by the machine.

The reply:yes, you only whip it good in the evening. Don’t you even have a hand mixer? […] Or are you more of the mediaeval strain?
 
-Ilva, BBB May kitchen host

Hmmm. I guess we are Mediaeval. We use our French whisk to whip cream – it’s faster and way less noisy than the Braun hand blender.

I suppose I could use the whip attachment for our Braun handblender but I’m not sure that it’s strong enough to be whipping bread dough. I think there is a whipping cream attachment for our food processor too – also pretty sure that it’s not strong enough for bread dough. (One of the times that I attempted to tame the croc, I managed to break the shaft on our food processor.)

We also have a really ancient hand-held electric mixer but again, I’m not sure it’s strong enough to be whipping bread dough either. Even if the dough IS slack, which at 80% hydration isn’t all that slack.

Yes, I think I will be Bertinet kneading.

12 May 2013, 14:30 Tanna told me not to be scared.

I believe Babes can do anything.
 
-Tanna, fearless BBB

Of course, she’s right. There’s nothing to fear. Maybe a whisk would work.

I’m still scared though. The BBBabes can do anything. It’s the “anythingness” that is disturbing me; ie: will my bread end up being anything like bread? :lalala:

14 May 2013 09:40 I know I SAID I was going to be mixing this on Sunday and baking it yesterday. I bought the flour (it’s expensive, isn’t it?) at the health food store.

Well, here’s a big surprise (heh.heh. not really); the flour is still in its bag. I know everyone said not to be afraid. But all this talk of balloon whisks and K hooks and just the mention of the croc (even though they keep saying it’s nothing like the croc) sent me over the edge.

10:22 Fingers crossed that I’ll see the amazing gluten strands that Tanna talked about on her bread. I’ll also try to pay attention to the oven temperatures. (Reading?? Comprehending??? BBBabes are so demanding.) :stomp:

20:30 It’s mixed. It turned out that it wasn’t too hard at all. I used the big bell whisk to mix the flours before dumping them into the yeasted water. Then I switched to a wooden spoon. There is NO way that any whisk would work on this dough.

I Bertinet-kneaded it and put it back into the UNwashed (eeeeeeek!!!) bowl (at least I wasn’t being disobedient by refusing to oil the bowl. Who knows what the BBBabes might have done? After all, they all have whips out this month!), covered it and let it sit on the counter for about 20 minutes then into the fridge it went.

15 May 2013 07:40 I just took the bowl out of the fridge. It hasn’t even budged. No rising at all. PHooey!!

12:31 At last! It appears to be rising. Maybe we’ll have something a little lighter than a doorstop after all.

Spelt Bread 16:27 I shaped the bread about half an hour ago. It was really easy to manipulate and Wow! I can’t get over the gluten strands. Tanna did say they were there but I didn’t expect them to be so dramatic. I’m hoping that you can get a sense of the definition from the photo.

18:40 Baked in the nick of time, just before I have to leave. Yay! It’s not a doorstop! It’s not a doorstop! (I think.)

Spelt Bread No, it’s definitely not a doorstop. It was surprisingly light in weight. While there wasn’t a dramatic amount of oven spring, it still filled out nicely, baking to a beautiful deep golden brown. The added bonus was the lovely moist but not too moist crumb.

I love it when the holes in the crumb are shiny like this!

And it’s beautiful! And it’s good! And it makes great toast

Thank you, Ilva!

Here is the BBB May 2013: Whipped Bread recipe. And here is what I did to it:

Whipped BBB Spelt Bread
adapted from a recipe in “Home Baked: Nordic Recipes and Techniques for Organic Bread and Pastry” by Hanne Risgaard

makes one loaf

  • 1.6gm (0.5 tsp) active dry yeast ¹
  • 400gm water at 90F ²
  • 360gm organic spelt flour
  • 60gm unbleached all-purpose wheat flour
  • 80gm 100% whole wheat flour ³
  • 10gm Kosher salt
  • sesame seeds, optional
  1. Mixing In the evening of the day before you will be baking the bread, pour the 90F water into a largish mixing bowl. (why 90F??) Whisk in yeast until it has dissolved.
  2. In another bowl, whisk the flours and salt together to remove any lumps. Dump in the flour mixture into the yeasted water and stir together with a wooden spoon until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
  3. kneading: 4 Use a rubber scraper to blob the dough out onto the UNfloured board. Do the unprecedented and leave the mixing bowl unwashed and sitting on the counter. Try not to have a fit that you’re skipping over the usual step.
  4. Using both hands on either side of the dough and thumbs resting on the top in the center, lift it up and flip it over in the air before plopping it back down on the board. Fold the dough in half away from you as you plop the dough down. Keep repeating until the dough is smooth. Every so often, use the dough scraper to clean the board. Stretching the dough is desired on the turns. But this won’t start happening right away. (Please look at this video for clarification.)
  5. Put the kneaded dough back into the (Gleeeeps!!) UNwashed mixing bowl. Cover it with a plate and leave it on the counter for about 20 minutes.
  6. watching and waiting: Early the next morning bring the bowl out of the fridge and have a conniption that the dough hasn’t moved one iota. Put the cold bowl into the oven with only the light turned on and hope that a miracle will occur.
  7. After much longer than you thought it would be, notice that the dough has indeed doubled. Take a moment to dance a little jig. Then gently turn the dough out onto a floured board. Scatter a small dusting of all-purpose flour over the dough. Cut the dough into two pieces. Twist the pieces together, taking care not to disturb the bubbles. Put the twisted loaves onto a parchment papered peel. Cover with a clean tea towel followed by a plastic grocery bag and leave the shaped loaf in a no-draft area to rise to double.
  8. With the baking stone on the middle shelf, preheat the oven to 425F. 5
  9. baking: Just before putting the loaf in the oven, use a spray bottle to generously cover the top of the loaf. 6 As you’re spraying, suddenly decided to sprinkle on a few sesame seeds and spray the loaf one more time for good measure. Transfer the loaf (along with the parchment paper, onto the hot stone.
  10. After 5 minutes of baking at 425, lower the heat to 375F and bake the loaf for 20-30 minutes more until it is golden and the internal temperature is around 105F. Turn the loaf around once half way through baking, to account for uneven oven heat.
  11. Put the baked loaf on a footed rack to allow it to cool completely before cutting into it. (It’s still baking inside!) 7

Notes:

1.) Yeast: The BBB recipe calls for 5 gm of fresh yeast. If you are using fresh yeast rather than dry, rub the yeast into the flour before adding the water and salt.
Because it’s not easy to find fresh yeast here, I used Rose Levy Beranbaum’s formula:

To convert recipes calling for fresh compressed yeast to instant yeast; Use 0.32 times the weight; or, for 1 packed tablespoon (21 grams) fresh yeast, use 2 teaspoons [6.4gm] instant yeast.
 
-Rose Levy Beranbaum, “The Bread Bible”, p.562

And then to add to the confusion, I also used my sister’s handy javascript converter and came up with the following:

To replace 10gm fresh yeast, use between 1.60 and 6.50 grams (1/2 tsp and 2 tsp) active dry yeast
 
handy javascript yeast measurement converter

Wheeee!!! (Isn’t measuring fun?)

2.) Water: Please do not use water from the hot water tap. Instead, heat the water in a kettle or microwave. To create lukewarm water, add cold water until it is the correct temperature of 90F (32C). (If you are allergic to using a thermometer, you can do the baby bottle test on the back of your wrist.) Please note that before the yeast is added, the water temperature must be BELOW 120F (49C) because yeast begins to die when the temperature is higher than 120F.

3.) Flours The BBB recipe calls for sifted spelt flour and whole grain spelt flour. I had every intention of using the complete amount of regular spelt flour but didn’t quite get enough. Hence the small amount of unbleached all-purpose. Also, when I was at the healthfood store, I was lazy and didn’t even try to find whole grain spelt flour and simply substituted with 100% whole wheat flour that we always have in the cupboard.

4.) Kneading: The BBB recipe calls for mixing the dough with an electric mixer, saying to Mix the dough at high speed using a whisk until the dough no longer sticks to the sides and bottom of the bowl. But being the Luddite that I am, I decided to the time-honoured method of using my hands to develop the dough.

5.) Oven Temperature The BBB recipe calls for the bread to be baked at 475 for the first 5 minutes and then at 410F for the final 20-30 minutes. We know from experience that the bread would burn on the outside if we did this in our oven.

6.) Spraying The BBB recipe calls for spraying water onto the walls of the oven just before putting the bread in. I just can’t do that. Our ancient electric oven might object too strenuously. I hate the thought of the glass on the door breaking too. I’ve discovered that liberally spraying the bread itself just before putting it in the oven does virtually the same thing.

7.) But I LIKE warm bread just out of the oven!! N.B. Of course you will want to serve warm hot cross buns. Reheat them after they have cooled completely. (They are still baking when they first come out of the oven!) To reheat any UNsliced bread, turn the oven to 450F for 5 minutes or so. Turn the oven OFF. Put the bread in the hot oven for ten minutes.

Spelt Bread I just can’t get over those strands! They’re amazing.

Oh yes. One more thing. Did I need the machine? No. Mixing and hand-kneading really was a breeze. I urge you to give it a try. If I can do it, anyone can.

Bread Baking Babes

Ilva (Lucullian Delights) the host of May 2013’s Bread Baking Babes’ task. She wrote:

This time we are back to basics, a loaf of good bread, simple but with difference, this one you don’t knead but you whip! And you whip it good! It’s from a bread book by the Danish baker Hanne Risgaard and it is called Home Baked: Nordic Recipes and Techniques for Organic Bread and Pastry. I have made several breads and cakes out of and they have all been good. I made this bread months ago and we liked it a lot, it has a great crust and texture. The dough is soft/wet but not soft like the Croc, it is much easier to work with. She uses spelt flour, both sifted and whole-spelt but I used only sifted spelt flour and then normal wholewheat flour. If you can find spelt flour use it because it has a nice flavour, if not you can try some other flour that absorbs water more or less to the same degree. The spelt flour I find here is similar to AP flour.

We know that you too will WANT to whip this bread into shape!! To receive a Baking Buddy Badge to display on your site: bake whipped bread in the next couple of weeks and post about it (we love to see how your bread turns out AND hear what you think about it – what you didn’t like and/or what you liked) before the 27 May 2013. If you do not have a blog, no problem; you can also post your picture(s) to Flickr (or any other photo sharing site) and record your thoughts about the bread there. Please remember to email the Kitchen of the Month to say that your post is up.

For complete details about this month’s recipe, the BBB and how to become a BBBuddy, please read:

Please take a look at the other BBBabes’ May bread:

YeastSpotting
Yeastspotting - every Friday (wordle.net image)

Each week, Susan (Wild Yeast) compiles a list of many bread-specific recipes from across the web. For complete details on how to be included in the YeastSpotting round up, please read the following:

 


Spelt Bread (BBB)

 

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  • Oh I love all of your notes and “dicsussion”. Always informative and….entertaining! Your bread is beautiful and perfect and I did love the texture of this bread. I used my old crappy hand mixer and I could tell that this could even have been mixed with a wooden spoon. So fast, so easy and great results. I do like your twist topped with seeds. This was a fun bread to make and a fun and easy challenge. And a keeper!

    Yay. Thank you for your kind words, Jamie. I’m relieved to hear that I’m not the only one entertained (it’s so embarrassing when I’m the only one laughing at my jokes). It’s probably hard to believe but I actually do pare away some of my verbosity before hitting the “publish” button. And definitely, this bread is really really easy to mix and knead by hand. I would never attempt it with a machine! -Elizabeth

  • Oh my oh my… what a gorgeous real looking loaf you whipped out! That crust looks gooood. I think (after reading all of you) that I challenged the recipe a bit too much by using rye as well as spelt. Or maybe my measurements were off.

    The crust is really good, Karen. We were very pleased with that. But I cannot stop wishing that I had found nice white spelt flour like Ilva had. This bread is very good but think how wonderful it would be if it weren’t quite so “healthy”. -Elizabeth

  • Elizabeth, when will you lay this fear aside? If you keep baking these perfect loaves, why do you still dread some recipes??
    You did a totally wonderful job, love the whole spelt, your crumb in amazing and I applaud you for making this look so wonderful while you had to make this without a electric mixer. Girl, there is no mountain of flour too high for you anymore!

    Ha. That’s the thing about fear, Lien. Mention the words “croc” and “you must use an electric mixer” and my eyes widen and begin to spin. -Elizabeth

  • This does make great toast, doesn’t it? I’m eating a slice right now, as a matter of fact. It’s a bit ironic that I have a good mixer with a whisk attachment, but was just not up to lugging it up the stairs to the kitchen to use it. I don’t think I whipped it as good as it was meant to be whipped, yet it turned out beautifully. Yeast is a wonderful beast. Your loaf looks lovely after all that worrying, Elizabeth.

    I know. I did worry a bit needlessly, didn’t I, Heather? I too had a slice of the bread toasted this morning – UNbuttered! And it was delicious. -Elizabeth

  • Now, why would be be afraid of the croc? It’s such a lovely, er, bread. I’m a bit of a Luddite, as well, although I do have a big KitchenAid – somewhere…. Well done!

    You know, you’re right, Katie. Why WOULD I be afraid of the croc. I should try again, shouldn’t I? Isn’t there as saying “Fourth time lucky” or is it “May the fourth be with you?” :-) -Elizabeth

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  • Beautiful! I love the addition of the sesame seeds!

    Thank you, Natashya! We really liked the sesame seeds too. I was very glad that I tossed them on at the last minute. -Elizabeth

  • Woo, I’m blown away by that perfect twist on your loaf!

    I’m glad somebody else was impressed with those outstanding gluten strands. When I saw those my first thought was how could anybody think spelt is gluten free … my second thought was, they never baked this bread.

    With all the different experiences we had with this one, I’m again impressed with just how forgiving the yeast beast can be.

    I’m wondering if the really well defined strands had something to do with the high hydration, Tanna. Not long ago, I used regular old unbleached all-purpose with a dash of 100% whole wheat to make a very slack doughed bread. When it was time to shape the bread, there were well-defined strands galore. -Elizabeth

  • Oh wow – more of a mini-series than a recipe! We laughed, we cried, we were on the edge of our seats… Fantastic stuff. Glad the bread turned out so beautifully after all that too!