Bread – Highs, Lows and a Spelt/Rye Ciabatta

Ever since I have been on my bread baking course at the School of Artisan Food in Nottinghamshire my life has changed.

The Highs

It has been fun making ciabatta and focaccia for my Mum’s 50th Birthday meal, baguettes and Épi de Blé for a meal to celebrate the birth of our first nephew Rufus,  plain sourdoughs and stuffed sourdoughs to eat at home, croissants and more.  Although there have been a few failures on the way (I put these down experimentation) the majority of the loaves are unrecognisable from what I could make before my bread course.

The Lows

I find myself walking through the supermarket resenting having to pay what I consider a relatively high price for a product I think I could make better myself.  I have not been able to buy a loaf of supermarket bread since January.

Starting a new business is difficult and puts a strain on the finances so I am not ashamed to say that since the course I have been baking bread using supermarket own brand strong white bread flour at about 60p for 1.5 kg.

I bake bread to make my wife’s sandwiches and recently she has requested bread that isn’t just white.  Baking malthouse bread would probably be my favourite solution because I like the sweetness of the loaf, but the flour is not cheap so needs must.

The Spelt Rye Ciabatta

I have instead been baking a mixed flour ciabatta.  The loaf has a nice taste of toasted rye and you can see the looseness of the soft, shiny crumb that is typical of the ciabatta.

Here is the recipe to make two loaves:

325g Strong White Bread Flour

100g Rye Flour

75g Spelt Flour

10g Salt

400g Water

3g Dried Yeast

30-50ml Oil (I use Yorkshire Rapeseed but olive oil is fine)

Mix the yeast with the water until fully dissolved then mix all the rest of the ingredients (except the oil) in a bowl.  Oil another large bowl with about half of the oil.  Once the mixture comes together pour/scrape it into the oiled bowl.  Leave to rise for an hour.  Lightly oil your hands then fold the 1/3 mixture towards the centre and the other 1/3 on top (like a letter), turn the bowl 90 degrees and do the same again.  Turn the folded mixture over in the bowl and pour a little oil on top.  Repeat this resting and folding process 4 times, since you are using rye and spelt the dough takes a bit longer to rise so if you can extend the rise time it is worth is.  Fold a final time and turn out onto a floured work surface being careful not to damage the bubbles.  Split the dough in two rolling each loaf into a slipper shape ensuring a good coating of flour.  Place onto a tray and into a preheated oven at 250 degrees for 10-15mins.

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2 Responses to Bread – Highs, Lows and a Spelt/Rye Ciabatta

  1. kathy says:

    Hi Thanks for sharing your expertise! Have discovered a new found interest or rather should I say an attempt to overcome my ‘fear’ of anything to do with yeast that has anything to do with the dreaded kneading! But happily ‘stumbled’ upon your recipe! Was wondering about rye flour in ciabatta. Your recipe does use Rye and spelt, can I use more bread or rye flour instead of spelt? And secondly, must the water be luke warm? Many thanks Kathy Dean

    • Paul says:

      Hi Kathy,

      I’m no expert, just another enthusiast.

      You can certainly replace the split with more bread flour – but I wouldn’t increase the rye content as I wouldn’t be sure of how that would affect the density of the finished loaf.

      You don’t have to use lukewarm water, it just means that the yeast may take longer to activate and depending on at the temperature where you are proving may take a little longer initially.

      I tend to do all my kneading in a bowl and don’t go in for chucking the dough all over the place. I recommend a book called ‘How to Make Bread’ by Emmanuel Hadjiandr his method is excellent.

      Don’t be afraid to experiment, as you become more confident it all becomes easier!


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