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Sourdough bread is a great alternative when wanting a healthier bread.  If you haven’t read my article on sourdough bread, you can read it here:  A Healthy Bread That Is Good For You!  I have always loved an authentic sourdough loaf.  A true sourdough loaf is made with wild yeast, or a sourdough starter.  If you haven’t read my post on how to start a sourdough starter, you can do that here:  How To Start Your Own Sourdough Starter.  This loaf of bread has 4 ingredients, that is it!  It is super easy to make but does take some time to ferment.  This dough actually ferments for 19 hours.  Don’t let that scare you…the whole process will take you 10 minutes of prep time and the rest of the time the dough just sits there getting better and tastier.


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There are several things that you will need to get started.  It is a good idea to have a digital scale to measure your ingredients but is not absolutely necessary.  I do my best to show you how to utilize what you have in your kitchen so you don’t have to buy any special equipment.  I use a dutch oven to cook my bread in.  Often times people will cook sourdough in a La Cloche, but I find it just as easy to use a dutch oven.  Another item that is often used when cooking sourdough bread is a proofing basket or a round brotform (pictured at bottom of post) .  Again, I just use what I have in my kitchen.  You can make a proofing basket by using a colander  lined with a thin towel (not a thick towel).  You might want to purchase a danish dough whisk, but a slotted spoon works as well.  See the bottom of this post to see where you can purchase these items.  I have pictures showing you all of this.  This recipe was modified from Breadtopia, a great website that teaches us all how to make a better loaf of sourdough!  So lets get started.


The first thing you need to do is measure out 350 grams (1 1/2 cup) of filtered water (at room temperature).  Place water into a ceramic bowl, not metal.  Stir in 3 tablespoons of honey.  If using raw honey, melt the honey on low heat until it turns into a liquid.

Mix Honey and Water Together


Add 1/4 cup of sourdough starter (learn how to make your own sourdough starter here) to the water mixture and mix well.  Your sourdough starter should look like this.

Active Starter                   Active Starter


Add 1/4 cup of this starter to the water mixture and stir well.

Add Starter                   Stir Well


In another bowl, measure out 530 grams (about 5 cups fluffed) of 100% whole spelt flour. Add 10 grams (1 1/2 tsp) of unrefined sea salt and stir.  Please note, you need to use whole spelt flour, other flours will not work with this recipe.

530 grams of spelt flour                   10 grams of salt or 1 1/2 tsp salt


Mix the flour mixture in with the water mixture.  Stir with a slotted spoon until well combined.  The dough will be a wet dough.

Mix dry and wet ingredients                   Wet Dough Will Form


Cover with plastic and store in a warm place for 1 hour.

Cover with plastic


After 1 hour, dust your hands and the top of the dough with flour.  Pick up the dough and stretch and then fold the dough.  Stretch once again in the opposite direction.  Place back into bowl and cover with plastic for another 1/2 hour.  After a half hour do a second stretch and fold in both directions.  Put back in bowl and cover with plastic for another half hour.  After a half hour do a final (third) stretch and fold in both directions.  Place the dough back into the bowl and cover with plastic and allow it to sit overnight.  I usually start this whole process at 3:30 pm and bake it the next morning at 9:30 am.

Stretching the dough                   Fold the dough


In the morning you will need a wood cutting board, a colander and light dish towel.

equipment needed


This is what your dough will look like in the  morning.  Yours might rise a bit more, it all depends on the weather and how warm your kitchen is.  It was cooler in my kitchen, so it didn’t rise as much, but don’t let that alarm you, it will still rise as it proofs and cooks.

Dough the next morning


Flour the cutting board, hands, the dish towel in the colander and the top of the dough with rice flour.  Gently scrape the dough out of the bowl and place it onto the cutting board.  Pull the sides up and pinch the dough at the top.  Place dough into the lined colander and cover with plastic and allow the dough to rise for another hour and a half.

Pull the dough up and pinch up top                   Place the dough into the lined colander


In a 400º-450º F oven(temperature might vary depending on your oven, 450ºF was to hot for me,  I cooked mine in a 400º F oven) preheat a dutch oven with lid on for the last half hour that the dough is rising.  Pull the very hot dutch oven out of the oven and gently transfer the dough into the hot dutch oven by flipping the dough gently out of the colander.  Put the lid back on and return to oven and bake for 35 minutes.  After 35 minutes remove the lid and allow to bake for 10 additional minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 195º-200º F.

dutch oven                   Place dough into hot dutch oven


Remove bread from dutch oven and allow the bread to cool  for 1 hour before serving. Serve with some grass fed butter and enjoy!




How To Make A “Real” Sourdough Spelt Loaf
Prep time
Cook time
Nutrition Info: Calories: 143.8 Fat: 1.0g Carbohydrates: 28.5g Protein: 4.1g
Serves: 20 pieces
  • 530 grams (5 fluffed cups) spelt flour
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 350 grams (1½ cup) water
  • 10 grams (1½ tsp) unrefined sea salt
  • ¼ cup sourdough starter, see recipe
  1. See Instructions in this post
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 piece

This post is featured on Monday Mania 3/19/12

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69 thoughts on “How To Make A “Real” Sourdough Spelt Loaf”

  1. Catherine Garbus says:

    yay getting some spelt flour this weekend

  2. Sara Jo Poff says:

    Awesome! Thank you!

  3. Linda Tasker Kuyper says:


  4. Linda Tasker Kuyper says:


  5. Linda Tasker Kuyper says:


  6. Catherine Garbus says:

    got my flour so i will be starting on my starter i have been wanting to bake this bread for so long .

  7. Whole Lifestyle Nutrition says:

    tomorrow I am posting sourdough pancakes and you will be able to make the pancakes straight from the starter…you will love them, more reasons to make a sourdough starter :)

  8. Ulrike Scott says:

    After day 4, is the “daily feeding” referring to the Oranjuice/flour adding or the 1/4 cup water and flour? I just did day 4…

  9. Whole Lifestyle Nutrition says:

    At day 4 Ulrike you switch to water and flour and you will no longer use Orange juice anymore…Orange juice is only used the first 3 days. Does that make sense?

  10. ServingFromHome says:

    This looks fantastic! Can I pin this recipe? I’ve been learning about sour dough…any suggestions on where to get a good (not overly expensive!) dutch oven?

    1. hallecottis says:

       @ServingFromHome Yes, feel free to pin away :)  You know I did my second loaf in a stoneware dish that I got from Target for $19.00 and in worked out beautifully!  I think you could use a wide variety of containers and this would still work.  Have you started your starter yet?

      1. ServingFromHome says:

         @hallecottis I haven’t no, I will need to get a pan I think!

        1. hallecottis says:

           @ServingFromHome You can use my starter recipe :)  It takes a few weeks to get the starter started but once you have it you will always have it and you  won’t have to make it again.  Here it is if you are interested :)

  11. Angela Reid says:

    I’m on day 4 of making the starter (super excited) and it said use any flour … I grabbed the coconut flour, not a good choice :-) I have pretty solid dough now. I had enough of the starter for another 1/4 cup and went with the spelt flour and it kind of looks like yours now!

  12. Whole Lifestyle Nutrition says:

    Oh no, I never thought of coconut flour or almond flour…so sorry, I will change that. I would stick to spelt if you can, but you can also switch over to all purpose organic flour if you choose. Sorry about that Angela!

  13. Whole Lifestyle Nutrition says:

    Oh no, I never thought of coconut flour or almond flour…so sorry, I will change that. I would stick to spelt if you can, but you can also switch over to all purpose organic flour if you choose. Sorry about that Angela!

  14. Angela Reid says:

    No problem – didn’t even think about how different it is …. I was just SO happy I didn’t already discard the rest of the starter … now that would have been a disaster. 😉

  15. Poppy says:

    Thanks for the recipe :) I began making a starter two days ago (whole spelt flour + water) but haven’t been adding the daily 1/2 cup of flour… Do you think I should discard it and start again? It has a really strong smell and is quite bubbly – possibly too strong?

  16. Beck says:

    I’m just making my second loaf – the first one was really dense, which I put down to measuring the flour in cups, rather than weighing it. It was far too dry and I think that didn’t help the texture. It tasted ok – even my daughter liked it and was disappointed when it had all gone! This time I weighed the flour and the dough is much stickier than before and looks more like your photos. Just got wait for it to prove…

  17. Angie says:

    Hi hope you get this before tomorrow:) I don’t have a dutch oven – actually never heard of one!!  Can I use a glass pyrex dish instead ?

    1. hallecottis says:

      @Angie Hey Angie,
      A dutch oven is usually used to make soups and stews in.  Do you have a deep dish that has a lid?  It has to have a lid on it and be oven proof.

  18. GJArcher says:

    Can I use sugar instead of honey? I prefer the bees to keep their honey, so use it very sparingly.

    1. hallecottis says:

      @GJArcher yes you can use sugar instead of honey.

  19. GJArcher says:

    Oh how much I love this recipe! I use a le crueset cast iron pan

  20. Sharon says:

    I have a clay baker. The instructions for the baker say to soak it in water before using (not sure if this applies to bread making). Do you think that is necessary and should I pre-heat it as you did your dutch oven??

  21. Amanda says:

    Is rice flour necessary? Can I just dust it with more spelt? What’s the purpose if using rice flour? Thanks!!

  22. Beck says:

    Yum! I’ve tried this recipe 3 times now, and today’s was the most successful. The first was like a brick, the second really soggy, even though the internal bread temp was fine! I used half wholegrain and half white spelt flour with rye starter and it’s come out really well. I also used spelt flour for dusting and it was absolutely fine. Looking forward to having it with my eggs for breakfast. Thanks for the recipe, glad I persevered!

  23. blumie says:

    what is the appropriate size for the dutch oven? is 4L too small?

  24. Lois says:

    My starter is at room temp and I was ready to mix up bread this evening, but an appointment came up for early morning and I would not be able to do the final forming and baking until afternoon.  What should I do?

  25. hallecottis says:

    @Lois I’d put the starter back in the fridge and then pull it out again when you have a free morning.

  26. hallecottis says:

    @Beck glad to see it worked for you!  I am going to have to try the white spelt, but that helps with the texture a whole lot!

  27. blumie says:

    does anyone know anything about dough (besem) starter? i would like to convert my liquid starter to a dough starter, but am unsure if this will chance the amount of starter i need in the recipe.

  28. Joyce Lenardson says:

    I am a little confused about making the starter when it says to throw out the rest. The instructions say this every time you feed it.

    1. Tina says:

      Yes. You only save the 1/4 cup. the outcome is a nice strong sour dough! Once you have gone through all the steps then you can start saving more if you feel that the 1/2 cup you end up with is not enough. I know it feels like a waist but once you have your starter not much is wasted after that. It all works out! =)

  29. Tina says:

    Ive made your sour dough starter and have started my journey to sourdough heaven! I started my loaf yesterday and was pleased to see that it had risen a good deal this morning. I went to take it out of the bowl and found that it is still immensely sticky. We are talking cant get it off your fingers at all sticky. Your picture shows that it will at least keep its shape.. mine will not. It slowly turns back into a pile of goo… what do I do.. I have it in the towel right now with lots of flour but Im worried that it will end up a huge pancake … any advice? =)

    1. Veronika says:

      I haven’t made this bread yet but I belive it’s ok that it doesn’t hold it’s shape for long, that’s why you put it in a preheated dutch oven, that way it develops a crust quickly, before it has time to turn into a blob :)

  30. Veronika says:

    I will be trying this with my rye sourdough starter, pretty excited to try something new with it. Thank you for the recipe!

  31. This is probably a silly question but I can’t take sugar in any form, so is there any wa
    y to avoid the honey?

  32. purush says:

    Is the honey neccessary? Is it for flavour or does it have a reactive property with the starter?
    Other recipes I have tried called for more starter and no sweetener.

  33. Alison says:

    For those asking about sugar/honey, you can absolutley leave it out. It may take your dough a little longer to rise, but otherwise it will work the same. Just so you know, the honey here is not really used as a sweetener, but to feed the yeast in the sourdough. The sugar gets “eaten” by the yeast in the starter, so unless you add sugar very late in a recipe you won’t actually be having a response as you normaly would if you ate straight honey. But you can certainly leave it out.

  34. Janine Rowland says:

    This bread recipe is fantastic, I used agave nectar instead of honey, and left it to rise slightly longer, only because of the time as I started to make the bread dough earlier in the day. This was the only recipe I could find that truly explained how to use the sour dough starter. I also added slightly more water and ceramic casserole dish as I did not have a Dutch. oven. Bur for a first go at Spelt sour dough bread it tasted pretty good. Thank you for posting this recipe.

    1. Halle Cottis says:

      So glad you enjoyed it!

  35. Karen says:

    I am on day three of my starter and very excited about being able to make the bread in a few weeks! Is sprouted spelt flour ok?

    1. Halle Cottis says:

      Yep that is fine.

  36. Kelley Garay says:

    I started my bread making this morning which lands me at needing to bake it at like 3AM.. can it continue to proof a few more hours while I sleep or will that mess it up? Or should I refridgerate for a few hours?

  37. Tom says:


    Am I correct in thinking there is no needing involved?

    1. Halle Cottis says:

      yes, you are correct.

  38. Shanan says:

    I won’t be able to make this bread in a dutch oven or a lidded oven proof anything for some time until I can invest in such. What will my results be like if I use a loaf tin?

  39. Natale says:

    So disappointed. Beautiful bread destroyed by the dutch oven. It stuck and tore and destroyed itself when removing it after baking. Not sure what i could have done to prevent it since the container was WAY too hot to put anything on it to prevent sticking.

    1. Reuven Segal says:


      Have you tried putting it on baking paper and then lowering it into the oven? No sticking and won’t affect bottom moisture. Also makes cleanup non-existent.


  40. Maree says:

    Hi Halle. Agree also that its a very clear recipe and looking forward to.trying it (after yesterday’s abortive go at another one). I now understand the honey. Can you pls explain the reasoning behind the dutch oven? I have one and will give it a try. I do like rectangular loaves though and would like to know how to manage with tins.

    1. Halle Cottis says:

      Dutch oven is thick and creates a really nice crust. I suppose you could use a rectangular loaf pan, I am just use to a traditional sourdough loaf being round :)

  41. Bethany says:

    I have made this recipe a few times now, but my loaf doesn’t really rise. It looks pretty, but it’s the same small blob I put into the pan, just split and crusty on top and the loaf is very dense. I started weighing my flour because at first I didn’t and got a rock. I have also been sifting it because I buy in bulk and it gets clumpy. I have been using a casserole dish with a lid because my Dutch oven was burning the bottom of my loaf and it was impossible to get it out (kept sticking badly). any advice on getting it to rise better? I’m out of ideas.

    1. Halle Cottis says:

      Is your starter bubbly and at least doubles in size?

      1. Bethany says:

        Yes it does. My starter seems healthy and smells like it should. I’m using a stone ground organic spelt flour.
        Does it have to bake with a lid on? I may try a loaf pan and see if different dimensions cause it to go up?

    2. Reuven Segal says:


      Have you tried putting it on baking paper and then into the oven? No sticking and won’t affect bottom moisture. Also makes cleanup non-existent.


  42. Bethany says:

    Yes it does.

  43. Genet says:

    Has anyone made this in bread tins ? Does it work ? Any advice for making a “sandwich loaf” stye ?

  44. Anna says:

    Thanks a lot for the recipe! Make spelt bread today and it end up beautifully.
    It was my first ever home made bread.Even though I fed starter for 3 weeks by accident :o) it still worked it magic!

  45. Sharron says:

    Hi I started my sourdough starter yestetday i used 2 tablespoons of spelt flour and 2 tablespoons of fresh orange juice but it doesnt look very much, should i have used heaped tablespoons. If so can i carry on with the same starter and just use more for day 2 or do i need to start again

  46. Dave says:

    I have made this close to a dozen times and it is always great. The one thing I can’t do is get the very center of the bread to bake thoroughly. There is always a slightly doughy spot in the very center. I have extended baking time to 55 minutes but even that doesn’t work. We live at a mile high in altitude, so don”t if that makes a difference. Love the bread though.

  47. talia says:

    I need some help troubleshooting my recipe. As I let it sit overnight, I wake up to the dough being very bubbly, doubled in size, and very liquidy. It becomes extremely difficult to work with or shape at all. It is too liquidy and I end up pouring it into the dutch oven. Any suggestions on how to stop this? The past 3-4 times I have done this, this has happened. Then the bread does not bake evenly or very large in the oven. HELP!

  48. Sandi says:

    I made this bread using a rye flour starter, and proofed and baked it in a clay baker It is about the best sourdough to come out of this kitchen so far. Thanks!

    1. Halle Cottis says:

      So happy you enjoyed this recipe!

  49. Hi Halle, starter is done, now I need some advice on the baking end. My issue is the same as another bakers. When I got my dough out in the morning it was just glop. No chance of folding anything, it was so liquidy. I just dusted with flour as best I could. It’s in the proofing basket now, but I can’t imagine getting it out! I did weigh the ingredients, only switching about a cup of whole grain with a cup of white spelt. Any ideas? Thanks!

    1. Halle Cottis says:

      Sounds to me that you need to knead in some more flour to make it a stiffer dough. Dough can change dramatically with environmental changes. Weather, altitude, humidity all affect how your dough performs. Follow your gut, if it seems to wet and you are unable to work with it, it needs more flour.

  50. Teresa says:

    Thanks for sharing this great recipe. It worked perfectly for me and was the best sourdough spelt bread I have made. I used rye flour starter, which did not seem to effect the result. As per some other bakers, I put the bread on baking paper to make it easier to get into and out of the Dutch oven.

  51. Craig Oliver says:

    Is it okay to use sprouted spelt flour for this recipe?

    1. Halle Cottis says:

      Hey Craig, I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. Give it a try!

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