This nutritious Whole Grain Spelt Bread Recipe with flax and sesame seeds is super easy to make. It is also much better and more economical than store bought bread.
How to Make Whole Grain Spelt Bread
I don't make homemade bread often, but whenever I do bake my own loaves I wonder why that is. It always tastes delicious, I know exactly what's in it and although it may not be a quick process, it is really easy with little hands-on time.
Growing up in Germany has set me up with high standards for healthy, hearty bread. If you ever walk into a German bakery, you will probably be surprised at all the different varieties they have. And none of it is even remotely like fluffy white Wonderbread toast.
And neither is my Whole Grain Spelt Bread. Instead, it is hearty and somewhat dense, because it includes 100% whole grain spelt flour plus wonderfully nutritious flax and sesame seeds. This means it is clean eating bread.
To start making this spelt bread recipe, you have to whisk the dry ingredients together in a bowl. This includes whole-grain spelt flour, flax seeds, sesame seeds, yeast, and salt. Next, you add liquid honey and warm water and knead the dough until it becomes smooth and elastic. I knead it by hand for about 15 minutes. The 'window pane test' works to a certain extent for this dough, although whole grain dough always tear more easily. Alternatively, you can knead the dough in your stand mixer with the dough hook. It should take only about 5-7 minutes.
Warm water is essential to making good bread as it helps activate the yeast, however, you don't want it too hot as that could also kill the yeast. Generally, 95° F is ideal for instant yeast which I use here, but the temp can vary depending on the type of yeast you use. For example, active dry yeast requires a slightly higher temperature of between 105° F and 115° F to proof.
The dough for this healthy spelt bread recipe undergoes two rises. The first one is as a ball of dough in a bowl and covered with a kitchen towel. You want to let the whole wheat spelt recipe dough rise until doubled in size, which should only take about 1 and a half hours. Next, you shape the dough into a loaf to place in your loaf pan and allow it to double again. Once your dough loaf doubles, it will be ready to bake into a beautiful bread!
Is Spelt Bread Good for You?
Often, people cannot have bread because of gluten and wheat intolerances. Sometimes people prefer not to eat bread because it contains white flour, which has few nutrients as well. This whole grain spelt bread is excellent because it contains highly nutritious spelt flour. Spelt is a whole grain that is a nut-brown colour. It has a nutty and earthy taste as well, which makes this bread great for those who love the depth of flavour that whole wheat gives.
Spelt does contain gluten, so it isn't a great choice if you are on a gluten-free diet. Gluten helps make the type of springy loaf that everyone loves, though. Beyond that, spelt flour contains a wealth of nutrients and minerals like manganese, phosphorus, and iron. Spelt flour also has plenty of fiber and protein.
Tips on Working with Yeast
Yeast is an essential element to baking bread like this spelt bread. It promotes flavour and causes the dough to rise. Even a sourdough bread that relies on a sourdough starter rather than fresh yeast includes yeast. The starter grows the yeast that naturally occurs on the outside of grains. SOme also say that it picks up natural yeasts from its surrounding environment to help raise dough during baking.
One problem people encounter when baking with yeast is that their yeast isn't fresh enough. To test whether your yeast is active or not, add 2 ¼ teaspoons of it to a ¼ cup of warm water with a teaspoon of sugar. If the mixture bubbles after 10 minutes and develops a yeast-like aroma, it will still be good to use in this healthy spelt bread.
Next, it is important to recognize that salt can potentially kill yeast leading it to be inactive in your bread recipe. This is a little difficult considering that salt is so crucial to bread baking. However, as long as the yeast isn't in direct contact with the salt for too long, it should still sufficiently raise your loaf into a puffy, fluffy bread.
Both the temperature of your water and the atmosphere that you rise the dough in are important, too. As mentioned above, 95° F is the ideal water temperature to activate instant yeast. Meanwhile, if your environment is too cold, your dough might be very slow to rise. If it is too warm, your dough might over-proof or start to crust around the edges. The results of an over-proofed bread loaf will be that the bread won't rise very much in the oven and will be dense. You should put your dough in a warm, draft-free spot in your kitchen to you get a perfectly proofed dough every time.
Can I Substitute Whole Grain Spelt Flour with Sprouted Spelt Flour?
Yes, you can turn this whole grain spelt bread into a sprouted spelt bread with the use of sprouted spelt flour. Sprouted spelt flour is flour from whole sprouted grains rather than the dried seed. You should be able to replace the whole grain spelt flour in this bread for an equal amount of sprouted grain flour with equal success.
The main difference will be that it will be even healthier because allowing grains to sprout increases their amino acids and overall nutrition.
How to Keep Homemade Bread Fresh
A challenge with making homemade bread is how to keep the loaf of bread fresh. This is especially important if you have a small family and can't enjoy a low in a single day or two. Luckily, this spelt bread recipe should keep successfully for up to 4 days if you wrap it tightly. Simply wrap the loaf of bread in a bread bag, plastic wrap, or a freezer bag. You can also add it to a very large airtight container for some extra protection.
If you don't want to enjoy your loaf right away, you can also freeze it. Preslicing before freezing is also a great option because it means you can just pull a few slices out as you need them to toast for the morning.
More Whole Grain Bread Recipes:
- Sourdough Sandwich Bread
- Whole Wheat Beer Bread
- Spelt Irish Soda Bread
- Rustic Sourdough Bread
- No Knead Sourdough Bread
- Easy No Knead Bread
Whole Grain Spelt Bread
- 4.5 cups whole grain spelt flour
- ¼ cup flax seeds
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 2.25 teaspoons instant yeast 1 0.25-ounce packet
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1.75 cups warm water
- 2 tablespoons honey
- In large bowl whisk together spelt flour, flax and sesame seeds, yeast and salt until combined.
- Add water and honey and stir until a dough starts to form. When you can no longer stir, turn out the dough on a floured surface and knead into a firm dough ball. The dough should be stretchy and elastic. When tearing of a piece, you should be able to stretch it gently to become transparent. This is called the "Window Pane Test". Alternatively, you can make the dough in a stand mixer with dough hook attachment.
- Place the dough into a clean bowl, cover with a dry kitchen towel and let it rise until doubled in size (about 1.5 hours).
- Lightly grease a loaf pan (9x5 inches). Turn the risen dough out onto a floured surface and stretch it out gently. Shape it into a loaf by first folding in the sides towards the center. Then roll the dough up from the bottom and gently tuck under the ends.
- Place the dough in the loaf pan - seam side down. Brush the top with water and sprinkle with extra seeds. Cover the loaf and let rise for 30 mins to 1 hour. The loaf should look obviously bigger than before, but doesn't exactly have to be 'doubled in size'.
- Preheat oven to 400° F. With a sharp knife make 3-4 diagonal cuts across the top of the risen loaf. Bake the spelt bread loaf for about 40 minutes until the top is golden brown and crusty. When tapping the bottom of the baked bread there should be a hollow sound. If using an instant thermometer, the internal temperature should be 190° F. Let the spelt loaf cool on a wire rack. Slice only once fully cooled.
- Tightly wrapped the spelt bread loaf keeps for about 4 days at room temperature. You can also wrap it airtight and freeze for later.