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.
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 let’s 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.
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.
Add 1/4 cup of this starter to the water mixture and 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.
Mix the flour mixture in with the water mixture. Stir with a slotted spoon until well combined. The dough will be a wet dough.
Cover with plastic and store in a warm place for 1 hour.
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 the 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 the 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.
In the morning you will need a wood cutting board, a colander and light dish towel.
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.
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.
In a 400º-450º F oven(temperature might vary depending on your oven, 450ºF was too hot for me, I cooked mine in a 400º F oven). Preheat a dutch oven with a 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.
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: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
- Yield: 20 pieces 1x
- Category: side dish
- Method: baking
- Cuisine: american
Learn how to make your own sourdough spelt loaf. It really is quite easy!
- 530 grams (5 fluffed cups) spelt flour
- 3 tbsp honey
- 350 grams (1 1/2 cup) water
- 10 grams (1 1/2 tsp) unrefined sea salt
- 1/4 cup sourdough starter, see recipe
- See Instructions in this post
Nutrition Info: Calories: 143.8 Fat: 1.0g Carbohydrates: 28.5g Protein: 4.1g
- Serving Size: 1 piece
Mike S says
I wondered what a dutch oven was, thinking it might require a kitchen rebuild! I was delighted to discover that it is what the English (and French) call a casserole dish.
How does the result compare to just baking on a flat tray?
Lani (Breadmaker Newbie) says
I am still making the starter and am excited to try this recipe out. I just had a fail with an attempt at ‘pain de campagne’ whose approach was entirely different (and I also used mainly spelt as I needed to avoid bread flour). I do need to clarify though — what is done with the excess starter mixture in the beginning? Your instructions say get 1/4 cup from the sourdough starter and mix it in the honey-water mixture , and to use only 1/4 of this new mixture. Do you know have the option to store the excess starter-honey-water mixture and include it in the starter that you already have stored? Or do you toss this away and continue to feed what remaining starter you have in the fridge?
Followed your instructions.
My goodness, still can not believe how tasty my bread came out.
I am really not a great baker and had very little experience with bread making.
So good, this is going to a keeper for a lifetime.
Thank you so much.
Cindy MacKay says
Mine looks lovely cooked but 425 was too hot for my oven and its a little browner than I’d like. Next time I will try 400F. Unfortunatey the bread it stuck to the bottom of my Crueset really bad. Was I supposed to grease it before hand? I can’t get it out without breaking it so I am letting it cool upside down and will attempt in 1 hour.
Can I use lemon/lime instead of orange juice?
This was so easy, and turned out better than I ever imagined! The end result looked and tasted like an artisanal loaf from a fancy bakery. As someone who can’t tolerate gluten, it’s been a very long time since I had bread that actually tasted like bread. The recipe is incredibly simple. I made two small variations, but otherwise followed the instructions exactly. I subbed maple syrup for the honey and used a starter I purchased on Amazon. The only caveat for someone considering this recipe, is that a sourdough starter takes some effort to establish. Even with the purchased starter, it took awhile to grow it and then convert it from a rice flour starter to a spelt one. All of this is straight forward, but it does take time and attention. Given the spectacular results, it was totally worth it!
This is the best sourdough bread ever. So glad i found your recipe. i bought organic sprouted spelt flour and the bread turned out divine! I had added more starter than a 1/4 cup less water and boy did they rise nicely and beautifully like a professional loaf of sourdough bread. I am impressed myself. Thanks for sharing this great recipe. Yum yum!!!!
Amazed this turned out so good on my first try. I used the starter recipe from the related post for spelt starter and I used in on day #8 and got fabulous loaf of bread! I liked that there was no kneading in the recipe- although I see a comment about kneading- I didnt do that (?) but it came our fabulously perfect! Keeping my fingers crossed it wasnt beginners luck and trying another loaf tonight! Thank you!!
Can I use stainless steel to make the loaf ? I don’t have a Dutch oven
Hi Halle, I’ve been making sourdough loaves for a year but only tried spelt loaves last week. I used my old method but the measurements from your recipe, and they were my best ever (plural because I split the dough in half and made 2 loaves)! Crusty on the outside, fluffy and holey inside —yum! It’s a credit to you that were still commenting 7 years after you first posted it! I live in Australia where I bought white spelt (as opposed to wholemeal spelt, which I will try next week). My modifications:
I make a levain the night before baking day by mixing 50g active starter, 80g of the water called for in this recipe, and 70g of the spelt flour. Cover with plastic. In the morning it should be bubbly and cheerful. I added the remaining amount of water and spelt flour + salt, and omitted the sweetener altogether. I stretch my dough 6 times, not 3, with a ½ hour between each stretch and 1 hour rest after the last. I split the dough in half stretching each into a round ball but not overhandling them. I don’t use bannetons. I just let the loaves rise on baking paper inside 2 cast iron frying pans, covered with bowls of the same diameter so they don’t dry out. I let them rise a lot longer than 1.5 hours. I think there’s a poke test for readiness, but I just go by eye and convenience. I find sourdough pretty forgiving. When they’ve risen, I slash and bake (no cover). Thanks so much for this great recipe.
Sharon Corwin says
Would like to send some pics to get an idea if I’m doing this correctly …
Can anyone please tell me what size dutch oven to use?
Frankie Beckwith says
According to Google, a 5.5 quart Dutch Oven is recommended for this amount of dough. It’s what I use as well, but only because I have one.