“That’s my jam!”
You might know the expression if you’re of my generation. I’d heard it mostly in 70s films, people referring to a tune they liked as being their “jam”. Lately, I’ve seen it used with reference to food. I was too young in the 70s to understand this expression. And these days I’m too old (and probably not hip enough) to use it effectively.
But if you ask me what’s my jam? I’d have to say that you won’t find the tune on any Top 40 list. My jam is the sound of my weekly loaf singing after I pull it out of the oven. For any enthusiastic bread baker, the crackling crust as it cools is as beautiful a sound as any other melody. It’s no different than the golfer’s ping when his club strikes the ball perfectly. I’ve never been much of a golfer; those pings, for me, were few and far between but you get the idea.
For fear of getting lost in the countless techniques for the “perfect artisan bread” available, I have stuck to one recipe (Ken Forkish’s Overnight Country Brown in Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast), adjusting it only by incorporating spelt flour in place of some of the all-purpose flour. I wanted a bread/technique that I could call my go-to and so far, this bread is it. I’ve made the round loaf that you see above several times over the past month and it has sung to me each time.
But singing aside, this post is about the other bread in the pictures. I’ve always kept backup bread in the refrigerator–usually store-bought sliced whole wheat–for those times when I crave the old-fashioned ham and cheese sandwich of my childhood made with soft slices of bread. The refrigerated bread also comes in handy when coming home to an empty pantry after our travels. Bread, butter and jam always tide us over until the next trip to the market.
When one day I had more sourdough starter than I knew what to do with, this homemade sandwich bread happened. I wanted a simple recipe, one that wouldn’t need to ferment overnight or proof for several hours and I struck gold with this recipe from a lovely blog. The bread from Our Happy Acres was adapted from a King Arthur Flour recipe but I couldn’t figure out which one it was on the KAF website. What I loved was that it already used spelt flour so I didn’t have to make any hydration adjustments. The only changes I made were to replace the butter and honey with olive oil and maple syrup, respectively.
We loved this bread at first bite. Distinctly different than the country bread, this sandwich loaf has a softer crumb but is substantial enough and slices easily without collapsing under the bread knife. Where most sliced wheat bread from the store can be too sugary, it’s the mildly sweet, nutty quality of the spelt flavor that stands out. I’ve enjoyed it with butter and jam in the morning and of course with my simple ham and cheese sandwich. On the day I took these pictures I combined these sweet and savory flavors for a nice post-hike brunch.
So this sandwich bread may not come out of the oven singing like my country bread but if I can apply the modern use of the expression…this bread is definitely my jam, too.
Sourdough Spelt Sandwich Bread
- *I highly recommend using the gram measurements for this recipe because they will yield the most accurate results.*
- 8 ounces 229 grams sourdough starter (See Note)
- 3 cups 298 grams whole spelt flour
- 1 cup 131 grams plus up to another 10-25 grams bread flour (as necessary while kneading)
- 2 tablespoons 25 grams olive oil
- 2 tablespoons 35 grams maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon 4 grams kosher salt
- 1 cup 227 grams water
Combine sourdough starter, spelt flour, bread flour, olive oil, maple syrup, salt and water in a mixing bowl. Stir the mixture to form a ball.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead for two to three minutes, just until the dough is elastic and still soft. If your dough is too sticky to handle, sprinkle a little flour at a time to make it easier to work with. I tend to need an additional 10-25 grams (definitely no more than 1/4 cup) as I knead.
Lightly coat a large bowl with oil and transfer the dough to rest for 1 - 1 1/2 hours (covered in plastic wrap). I used the same bowl that I mixed the dough in. You can expect the dough to rise up to 50% but it won't double. After this time, poke the dough with a floured finger. The dough should not spring back right away but should leave an indent.
Lightly coat a standard-sized loaf pan with oil (or spray with nonstick spray). Form the dough into a loaf shape and transfer it to the loaf pan. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and allow to proof for 1 1/2 to 3 hours. If your dough doesn't double in size, it's okay, but it should reach or be close to the top of the loaf pan (see notes).
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Slash the top of the loaf right before baking in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes at 425 degrees F then reduce the oven temperature to 400 degrees F. Bake for an additional 30- 40 minutes, until the loaf is golden brown and the loaf registers 180 degrees F in the center.
Cool the loaf on a wire rack for five minutes then remove from the loaf pan and wait until it has cooled completely before slicing. This bread will keep in the refrigerator (in a plastic bag) for up to a week.
Shape the dough into a loaf and transfer it to a loaf pan lightly coated with oil (or sprayed with cooking spray)
Starter: For best results, use active, fed starter for this recipe. But I have also used half active and half 24-hour old discard with very good results. The crumb will be just a little tighter this way.
Proofing: This recipe has proven itself flexible. The original instructions require final proofing at room temperature for 1 1/2 - 3 hours. Even after refrigerating the dough overnight after transferring it the loaf pan it turned out great. There was no rise at all while in the refrigerator but I proofed at room temperature for four hours afterwards and it doubled in size.
Adapted from: http://www.ourhappyacres.com/2012/08/spelt-sourdough-sandwich-bread/
Dave @OurHappyAcres says
I am so glad you are jamming with this bread! I adapted the recipe from one in KAF Whole Grain Baking book. That one required making an overnight levain, and I wanted something I could make in one day. I love using spelt in bread, and this is one of my favorites for toast or for making tomato sandwiches in summer. It is a great idea to use gram measurements, and these days I usually use them in bread recipes myself. And I love the oats on the top of the loaf. What a beautiful presentation that makes!
Hi, Dave. That explains why I couldn’t find the recipe on their website. 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing your version of the KAF recipe–my husband and I love it. I only made the substitutions I did because I was out of honey and also because I try to cut back on butter for my husband.
This bread is so flexible. You might have read in my notes that I’ve used half discard and half active starter and it still turned out great. Most recently I got lazy so I stored the dough in the fridge overnight before the final proof and it rose beautifully! So happy to have found your blog–you serve my kind of food! 🙂
Beautiful bread and open-faced sandwich! I love the flavour sourdough bread.
Breadmaking is an art and you have it nailed with the sourdough starter, Jean. There’s nothing like homemade/homebaked bread! Your images transport me right into the scene and makes me want to just reach over to have a taste…beautiful!
heather @french press says
I’m not sure if there is anything more satisfying than bread baking, and your loaves look absolutely perfect!
Laura (Tutti Dolci) says
What a tasty looking sandwich bread, Jean! The texture looks incredible. Happy Easter to you and your family! 🙂
Kristen @ A Mind Full Mom says
Sourdough and spelt together–incredible!!
What a gorgeous loaf! I regularly made our bread and kept a starter for a while but then just got out of the habit. I am thinking after I get back from Italy this summer I am going to start keeping another starter. Thanks for the recipe!
Each loaf that comes out of your oven is a piece of art, and I especially love when it sings as it meets the cool kitchen air! As for that expression, I feel the same way you do – it almost feels like a hipster phrase, even if it precedes them
Made this loaf with a slight modification since I didn’t have as much spelt flour as was called for and used honey as my maple syrup was not readily available. But otherwise, this came out beautifully! I’m actually not the biggest fan of miches, so it was nice to see a sourdough recipe that took advantage of a loaf pan. I was working in an extremely warm kitchen (we’re talking over 30 degrees Celsius), so while I left the dough to rise about an hour and fifteen minutes for the first proof, after taking the loaf out of the fridge (I left it overnight), I was able to reach a good proof around the two-hour mark. After sprinkling some extra flour on top and cutting it down the middle, I put it in the oven and got a wonderful loaf. It actually isn’t as spelt-y as I thought it would be, but it does have a nice sweet flavour. I highly recommend this recipe!
Alex, thank you so much for giving this recipe a try and I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Thank you so much for the positive feedback–much appreciated!
I have been making sourdough bread for almost a year now. I studied many books and websites before attempting a loaf. Was very intimidated, but was surprised that every loaf I made was perfection. Then I discovered your recipe for spelt sandwich bread. We just love it! As a result I haven’t made any other kind of sourdough bread for months now. It is perfection, and so much easier than spending a day folding and kneading and folding. Other loaves I have made have taken days and need to be babysat for hours, but this bread is simple and elegant and delicious. Thank you so much for making bread baking an easy and satisfying task.
Lynda, your comment has made me so happy. Thank you so much for giving this recipe a chance and I’m so very glad it has become one of your favorites. Thank you very much!!
Hello, can I add soaked ancient grains to this recipe?
Hi Colleen, I haven’t tried soaked grains yet but I have come across several recipes that do. Since this is a basic sourdough recipe it should be friendly to incorporating any add-ins you like. If you have already tried it, would love to know how it went. Thanks for your interest in this recipe. 🙂
hadassah beulah says
I tried your recipe, but halved the amount , substitute the maple syrup with raw sugar cane according to googled suggested amount, and used a slap fold method instead of kneading, and my, oh my, the BEST sourdough bread I’ve ever baked. It’s so soft fluffy and tempting to eat and eat and eat. Thank you ever so much for this wonderful recipe
Can this be made with white spelt flour?
Hi, yes. You can can make this sandwich bread with white spelt flour or any flour. 🙂