Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Vegan Baking: Spelt Bread

I’ve been more and more interested in baking breads after reading a few labels and seeing what’s really in packaged loaves, and I’ve been encouraged by my success in making pizza dough and naan. So this cold evening seemed like a perfect time to turn on the oven and bake some bread to go with vegetable soup.

spelt 002

As I always do, I perused a few recipes on the web and chose this recipe for easy spelt bread. Indeed, it was easy. I actually cut it in half and it turned out wonderfully. Mix spelt flour, sugar, salt, yeast, sesame seeds, and warm water. I kneaded this with my mixer’s dough hook and it came together quickly. I followed two instructions: one, not to overknead; two, to punch it down after it rises. If I were to do it again, I might not punch it down and instead let the bread reach it full fluffiness.

Why spelt? Glad you asked. Back when I was looking for homemade pasta recipes, some of the recipes called for different kinds of flour. I picked up some spelt flour from the bulk bins at Whole Foods and then realized I needed something else. I’ve been looking for a use for this spelt ever since.

I really liked this bread and will likely make it again. From what I can gather, spelt is closely related to wheat but is considered an “ancient” grain, so eating it helps support biodiversity. It’s more flavorful than wheat, having a nutty and sweet flavor that can’t entirely be attributed to the seeds and sugar in the recipe. I enjoyed it warm from the oven with a little spread and salt.

Served with vegetable soup. I used those carrot tops I'd been keeping to make broth, along with other would-be discarded veggie parts, and some frozen lima beans, corn, green beans, onion, and potato. And okra in mine. Yum! What a great dinner for one of those cold winter nights in March when spring can’t seem to come soon enough.

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