Saturday, December 28, 2013

Spelt and Flax Loaf

I've been so busy baking bread for my upcoming book, I haven't posted anything here for a while. But sometimes bread happens.

This loaf is made with spelt, which is in the wheat family. It's got gluten, but it acts a little different from the gluten in regular wheat - it forms quickly, but it can be a little fragile, so you don't want the knead the heck out of it.

To be honest, the flax seed was a last-minute addition. I wanted a little something extra, but I didn't just want seeds on top. Flax seeds seemed perfect.

Spelt and Flax Loaf

1 cup room temperature water
2 1/4 teaspoons Red Star* active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
9 ounces (2 cups) Spelt flour
4 1/2 ounces (1 cup) bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup flax seeds

Combine all the ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix until the dough comes together and you can see that it is beginning to get elastic. This takes very little time, so don't walk away.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside until the dough has doubled in size, about an hour.

When the dough has doubled, spray a 9x5 loaf pan with baking spray, flour your work surface, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Turn out the dough and knead it briefly, then form it into a log about 8 inches long. Place the log in the prepared baking pan, seam-side down. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and set aside until the dough has risen about an inch over the top of the pan.

Remove the plastic wrap, slash the loaf as desired, and bake at 350 degrees until nicely browned, about 35 minutes.

Remove the loaf from the pan and let it cool completely on a rack before slicing.

*Other brands of active dry yeast might not work well. The Red Star active dry has smaller grains than some other brands, and can be blended directly into the dough. If you're using another brand, let the yeast soften in the water before adding the other ingredients. Instant yeast should also work in this recipe.