Sprouted Flour Loaf
I've been baking bread for a while, I've had successes and a lot of duds, bricks, yeast blocks and countless loaves sticking to pans and baking trays. I've tried a variety of flours and mixtures of them as well as going through a phase of baking bread in a dutch oven. I have by no means become an expert and do not consider myself a baker, at all! But I do like the idea of having a house filled by the scent of freshly baked bread and there is something so satisfying about a fresh loaf. I won't stop my experimenting with bread making, but I am taking a pause from trying out new recipes with each bake and sticking to this as my go-to recipe.
I am using sprouted flours in this recipe as I like using whole grains and have found these flours to be very cooperative when baking. The sprouted flours do not seem to have the 'heaviness' that I have noticed in my endeavours using unsprouted wholegrain flours. I also use instant yeast as it is easy to store and to come by, water, salt and sugar. I would usually use a standing mixer, but for making the loaf in the photos in this recipe, I used my hands. While I prefer using the mixer, it does not cut down on time (although leaves me free to do other things, usually revolving around Baby Green) or cleaning up.
The total time it took to make this loaf was just over 2 1/2 hours, but the active time; time spent mixing, stretching and folding, shaping, scoring and dusting is minimal, around 15 minutes. The rest of the time is to allow it to rise, rise again, bake and to cool. Of course, it can all be devoured in 10 minutes or less...
So here goes... Please leave comments and suggestions, as always, this recipe is just one version of the many possibilities.
- 250g sprouted wholewheat flour
- 250g sprouted whole spelt flour
- 2 tsp or 7g (sachet) of instant yeast
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1tsp salt
- 450ml water
- Flour for dusting
- Standing mixer
- Large bowl
- Proving bowl
- Safety razor blade or very sharp knife
- Baking tray
- Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl (the dough will prove in this bowl and can more than double in size, but you also want something large enough to mix, stretch and fold the dough in), create a well in the middle and add the water.
- Roll up your sleeves and dive in, mix and mix and mix, fold, stretch and bash it! Do not be discouraged, it will be sticky at first and require you to use your muscle, but it all comes together after a good five minutes.
- Once you feel that the dough has come together and feels like it holds together and allows you to stretch it while feeling elastic, the dough is pretty much ready for proving.
- Wash your hands, dry them and then lather them in oil (I used olive) and get right back in. This time, roll the dough around to create a ball collecting all of the dough in the bowl. The oil will keep it from sticking to your hands and will help seal in the moisture.
- Leave the ball of dough in the bowl, cover with cling film/plastic bag and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
- The dough should now have more than doubled in size.
- Oil your hands once more and reshape the dough into a ball, dust it with flour and place in a proving basket (as in photos) upside down if you have one, or onto the tray that you will bake it on right side up. If going straight onto baking tray, make sure that there is enough flour on the tray. Cover with a damp towel and allow to rise again, this time for 20 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 200 C.
- If using a proving basket, after proving, turn dough out very carefully onto a floured baking tray and score using a safety razor blade. I score it 5 times. I was once told that it was bad luck to score it in even numbers and I now never feel like I can take the chance...
- Place into a preheated oven and spill half of a small ramekin of water on the base of the oven to create steam and place the ramekin in with the remaining water and close the oven door.
- Resist the temptation to open the oven door for 45 min.
- Take loaf out after 45 min. and allow to cool on a cooling rack for at least 20 min. Hard, but try.