Of course they are wonderful warm from the oven with butter, but my favorite way to have them is to slice them in half, toast them, and top them with a fried egg and bacon.
The flavor is similar to whole wheat sourdough, but not quite as strong. The texture is tender and fluffy, but the flavor is still hearty.
Spelt is an ancient wheat with a lovely nutty flavor. It can be blended with modern wheat to add elasticity to the dough. It can also be sifted first to remove some of the bran for the same reason.
These rolls are mostly whole spelt, with the only modern wheat coming from the sourdough starter.
I actually milled the spelt myself from whole spelt kernels with this gadget, a Mockmill. Pretty cool, right? It made it really easy to mill just enough grain to add to the bread. What's even nicer is that it attaches to your KitchenAid, and the milled grains drop right into the bowl. (Disclosure: I received one from the manufacturer, all opinions are my own). The flour had quite a bit of texture, kind of like stone ground whole wheat. If you'd like to learn more, here's a link to their website. Of course, it's available on Amazon.
It was a busy weekend when I made these rolls, so I didn't bother setting up a couche for supporting these rolls, and pretty much crossed my fingers that they would rise in the oven... and they did! Picture me turning on my oven light after 15 minutes of baking, seeing that the rolls had risen, and doing the happy dance and shriek.
I've made bread with spelt before, but never with this high of a percentage. I highly recommend starting with this Spelt and Whole Wheat Sourdough or this Basic Country Loaf with Spelt. When you get brave, give this Spelt and Einkorn Sourdough with Caramelized Onions a try. They are all delicious!
Or.. just go for it and make these rolls! They are actually really easy.
Bread geek talk alert.....
This bread requires a 75 percent hydration starter. If your starter has a different hydration percentage, you can easily feed a small amount of it a couple of times with 75 percent water to 100 percent flour to create enough starter to bake this bread. You can also adjust the flour and water in the final dough to create the same flour to water ratio in the final dough.
Timeline: Prepare the dough the evening before baking day. Start around 6 pm.
Whole Spelt Rolls with Sourdough StarterMakes about 16 rolls
1000 grams whole spelt flour
775 grams water
200 grams 75 percent hydration active sourdough starter
22 grams salt
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together the spelt and the water. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest for 40 minutes.
- Add the salt and the starter, and knead on low with the dough hook for 5 minutes and then on medium low for 5 minutes more, until it comes together.
- Cover the dough with plastic wrap, and let it ferment for 80 minutes, stretching and folding it at 40 minutes and 80 minutes.
- Cover the dough container with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours. The dough should increase in size by 50 percent or so.
- Remove the container from the refrigerator and cut the dough into about 16 pieces, weighing about 175 to 200 grams each.
- Shape each piece into a ball, cover, and let rest for about 20 minutes.
- Shape each piece into a batard or small boule, and place them on two parchment lined baking sheets. Let rise, covered with towels or oiled plastic wrap for 2 to 3 hours.
- Preheat your oven, equipped with a baking stone and a steam pan, to 450 degrees F.
- Bring a cup of water to a boil.
- Slash the rolls on one of the sheet pans, place it on the oven rack, and pour the water into the steam pan. Close the oven door, and bake for 25 minutes.
- Remove the baking sheet, add the next pan after slashing the rolls, add more water to the steam pan, and bake for 25 minutes.
- Cool the rolls on a wire rack.
This recipe is from my dear friend Ralph Nieboer of Breadworks. He's amazing.