Lately I have been working on a rather small baking reportoire. There is the occasional crusty ciabatta and then we have .... these awesome spelt loaves with hint of sourdough and honey. I've baked this bread so much lately that I'm starting to wonder if everyone is getting a bit tired of it.
It has a high proportion of whole spelt flour as well as some white and some whole wheat. But why not just spelt? Well, I've experimented making it just with spelt flour, and then I've tried with a combination of different flours and I think I've landed on a winner. Because 100% spelt can become a bit heavy and lacking in flavor I think. But with some white and some whole wheat, the flavor is still distinguished and the texture is relatively light.
I've also come to realize lately that you can have the best of both worlds when it comes to sourdough breads. Baking with sourdough doesn't have to mean that you completely rely on it, you can use it in addition to yeast. That's a pretty cool notion in my world. I mean, in the past I always divided my breads into yeast and into sourdough. However sometimes my sourdough loaves fell short because the sourdough wasn't quite ripe enough or I didn't properly follow each step as carefully as I've should have. But... once I realized that you can add some ripe (or not perfectly ripe) sourdough and yeast and never have to doubt the outcome, or be on top of the dough as much, then a whole new world opened up in a way.
So now, I really see no reason to not add some sourdough. After all, it adds flavor, complexity and the loaves stay fresher for longer. Plus, if you use it in conjunction with yeast, then you can grab some right out of the fridge that you fed a couple of days ago, and still receive the benefits, without having to fuss over it too much, or plan too carefully in advance.
So in other words: this loaf is awesome. It's a good excuse to play around with spelt flour and you can make it with or without sourdough (and it's great to bake if you're trying to get a sourdough going and you want to use it, but you're still not completely confident in its rising abilities.)
This bread also contains a fair amount of sweetness (6 tbsp for two loaves) which I almost think is necessary when you're making breads containing a high percentage of whole spelt or whole wheat - otherwise it just seems like something is missing. However, when I first started to bake this bread I used all honey. Although after making this a couple of times I realized that 6 tbsp of honey is a lot, and I went through my jar way too quickly. So I did a bit of experimentation and replaced 3 tbsp with sugar and kept 3 tbsp of honey. I really don't think you can tell the difference, so unless you're serious about cutting out refined sugar (although 3 tbsp for two loaves isn't a whole lot), I suggest you use both honey and sugar. I should also mention that this bread isn't sweet in the sweet-sweet way. It only has a hint of sweetness which improves the overall flavor immensely and comes out especially well when toasted.
So there you have it. I usually give one loaf away, and slice and freeze the other. That way we always have some on hand for toast or sandwiches.
I kind of feel like I should widen my baking reportoire soon, however this bread is so good and so versatile (and I love that it contains such a high amount of spelt), that I really don't see any reason to do so, at least not anytime soon. A good go-to bread in other words which you certainly can play around with and try different kinds of flours with.
Recipe with cost and calorie information of Spelt, Honey & Sourdough Loaves is available at The Culinary Review.