This country boule with spelt and sourdough has a wonderful sourdough flavor and aroma even though it contains a combination of 100% sourdough starter and a small amount of commercial yeast.
If you have an active starter, you can make this bread in just a few hours with very little hands on time. The trick is not to add too much flour. Try to keep the dough sticky but still workable.
If you haven't worked with spelt before, try substituting some of your bread flour (up to 25%) with spelt to see what you think. It definitely adds another dimension to the flavor of the dough and, I think, enhances the sourdough flavor. If you can't find spelt or don't want to add another ingredient to your pantry, you can substitute whole wheat.
Country Boule with Spelt and Sourdough
12.5 ounces active sourdough starter
9.75 ounces lukewarm (100-110 degrees F) water
1/2 tsp instant yeast
1 T sugar
4 ounces whole spelt flour (or whole wheat if you prefer)
12 to 13 ounces bread flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
- Add the starter, water, yeast, sugar, and spelt to the bowl of a stand mixer and stir.
- Add all but about 1/2 C of the bread flour. Add the salt and mix with a large spoon to moisten the flour.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit for about 15 minutes.
- Begin kneading with the dough hook. Add more flour by the tablespoon. The final dough should be fairly sticky so you probably won't need all of the flour.
- Scrape the dough into an oiled bowl or dough rising bucket, cover, and allow to rise until doubled, 1 to 2 hours.
- Lightly flour or oil your work surface and gently scrape the dough out of the bowl/bucket.
- Dust a brotform/banneton with flour, or line a 9 inch bowl with a non-terry dish towel and dust it with flour.
- With wet hands and a wet dough scraper if you have one (keep a bowl of water nearby), shape the dough into boule by folding the sides under to create tension on the top of the dough. Here is a good video demonstration from Peter Reinhart.
- Place the boule, seam side up, into the bowl/brotform, and cover with oiled plastic wrap.
- Let rise for 45 to 90 minutes, until puffy.
- Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F and prepare it for steam (see this post for instructions). Alternatively, you can bake the loaf in a preheated Dutch oven (see this post for instructions).
- When the loaf is ready, turn it out onto a parchment lined peel and slash the top of the loaf with a sharp knife. Place it on the baking stone or in the hot Dutch oven, parchment and all. If you are baking on the stone, add the water to the steam pan and spray the oven with water. If you are baking in the Dutch oven, cover the loaf. Close the oven door and reduce the temperature to 425 degrees F.
- Bake for 20 minutes, and remove the lid to the Dutch oven if you are using it. Bake for another 20 to 35 minutes more, until the bread reaches an internal temperature of 200 to 205 degrees F and is a deep golden brown.
- Cool completely on a wire rack.