I’m pretending it’s Summer here, even though the wind and the dark clouds are saying otherwise. I wish Summer will hurry and just arrive, but I guess seasons, as everything else in nature, only arrive when they are meant to.
So, in the meantime, I’ve been eating and baking with Spanish chorizo and olives, pretending the time for picnics and holidays in the sun are here 🙂
This bread could be a meal in itself, and works great toasted, as a side to a salad or soup. There is almost no kneading involved, and it smells so good once it is in the oven, you won’t believe it!
Ingredients (for half a kilo loaf):
250 g spelt flour
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
150 ml water + 3 tablespoons of lukewarm water to activate the yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt (or up to 1 teaspoon, I use very little salt)
1 tablespoon and a half of olive oil (can be replaced by any other oil)
30 g chorizo, chopped. It has to be a cooked chorizo, not one that requires for you to cook it first, other than that, you can choose almost any one. I used one that was a bit soft but very flavoursome, with some smokiness to it.
A bunch of fresh spinach
1/2 of a red Ramiro pepper, chopped and sautéed for a few minutes. Let it cool down before using.
1.- Mix the yeast with the lukewarm water and let it rest until it froths.
2.- In a large bowl mix together the flour and the salt. Then add the chopped peppers, chorizo and the spinach leaves. If your spinach leaves are very big, simply chop them roughly. Then make a well in the middle. Your mix will look like this:
3.- Once the yeast is frothy, add into the centre of the well, together with the oil and the remaining water. If the mixture is too dry, add a bit more water. You will find, in general, that spelt doughs require less water and proofing time than regular doughs. They are also quite sticky and never as silky as white flour mixtures.
Spelt flour is a little lower in gluten than wheat flour, and its gluten strands are shorter, therefore kneading too much can break the delicate gluten structure which will result in a tough or flat bread.
So, just use your hands or a wooden spoon to shape the ingredients into a dough and then knead for a minute, just so that there is no flour visible on the surface of the dough. And that’s it! 🙂
4.- Leave the dough in a bowl covered with film or a plastic bag to double in size.
5.- When the dough is ready, turn it out onto a floured surface. Degas and flatten. Then shape into a log and place in a loaf tin.
Keep in mind that spelt breads tend to spread to the sides rather than rise, so a bread tin will help it keep its shape more than a baking tray will, but you can still make this bread if you don’t have a baking tin.
6.- Leave to rise for just 30 minutes, after which it should look nice and plump:
7.- Place in a preheated oven at 180 C (fan oven) for 45-55 minutes. It will come out golden and with a lovely crust.
8.- To make sure it’s fully baked tap the bottom of the bread, if it sounds hollow, it’s ready 🙂