Spelt Sourdough Sandwich Bread

I have to say I’ve loved baking with spelt ever since the first time I tried it. Spelt has a sweet, nutty flavor and a nutritional profile that is hard to beat, offering more protein than wheat plus a host of fiber, vitamins and minerals. Add all that to a sourdough culture, and you have a combination that’s hard to beat!

whole grain spelt berries (click on any image to enlarge)

This bread has quickly become my favorite sourdough bread, and one of my favorite breads for sandwiches. It makes for a hearty sandwich loaf that’s substantial enough to stand up to toasting for a BLT, but still tender enough for slathering up with butter and eating as-is, or with jelly and peanut butter.

Spelt Sourdough Sandwich Bread

The dough is pretty slack, and needs a loaf pan for support to keep from spreading out. If you have an active sourdough starter you can make it in one day – no overnight sponge or levain is necessary. From start to finish it generally takes 4 to 6 hours to a finished loaf, depending on the strength of your sourdough culture and the temperature of your kitchen or proofing area. The actual hands-on time is more like 15 minutes, and that even allows the time to grind your own flour like I do.

kneading the dough

The sweet taste of spelt meets the tangy goodness of sourdough in this recipe. I use a spelt sourdough culture, but you could also use whole wheat or white flour cultures. You can also convert your culture to spelt in a few days time, if you like. That’s how I got mine going initialy, and you can click here for the details on how to do it.

slice of Spelt Sourdough Sandwich Bread

This bread gets a great oven spring. Slashing the bread down the middle right before baking will help keep it from splitting. For a softer crust you can brush the top with a little butter after you take it from the oven. This is an easy to make bread that’s full of whole-grain goodness and nutrition. Who knows, it might just wind up being one of your favorites too!

Spelt Sourdough Sandwich Bread Print This Recipe Print This Recipe
adapted from a King Arthur Flour recipe

8 oz sourdough starter (maintained with equal parts flour and water)
3 cups whole grain spelt flour (10.5 oz)
1-1/4 cups unbleached white flour(4.5 oz), divided
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 tbsp honey
1-1/4 tsp  salt
1 cup cool water (8 oz)

1. The day before making the bread, feed your starter and make sure you have enough to make the bread and still leave some for maintaining the starter.
2. If your starter is refrigerated, remove it at least an hour before making bread and let it come to room temperature and get active.
3. In a mixing bowl, combine sourdough starter, spelt flour, 1 cup of the unbleached flour, butter, honey, salt, and water. Stir mixture to form a ball.
4. Place dough on work surface and knead for 2 or 3 minutes, adding up to 1/4 cup more unbleached flour as needed. The mixture should quickly become elastic, and remain soft. Be careful about adding too much flour though.
5. Place dough in bowl lightly coated with a little cooking oil or butter. Cover and let rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Dough will not double, but should increase in size by 50%, and indentations should remain when you press your fingers into the dough.
6. Lightly grease an 8-1/2 x 4-1/2-inch loaf pan. This bread needs the support of a pan as it bakes.
7. Remove dough from the bowl and form into a loaf shape, punching down to remove any trapped gasses. Place dough in pan, cover and let rise for 1-1/2 to 3 hours. Dough won’t double, but it should rise slightly above the top of the loaf pan.
8. About 15-20 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 425°F.
9. Right before baking, slash loaf down the center with a sharp knife. This will help keep the loaf from splitting as the dough expands during baking.
10. Put bread in oven. After 10 minutes, reduce heat to 400°F
11. Continue baking for 30-35 minutes more, until golden brown. Bread may be covered in foil near the end if getting too brown. Loaf should register at least 180°F in center.
12. Remove bread from oven and cool on rack 5 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool thoroughly before slicing (if you can wait!). Brush the top of the loaf with a little melted butter for a softer top crust.

Servings: 12

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving): 163 calories, 25 calories from fat, 2.8g total fat, 5.1mg cholesterol, 243.6mg sodium, 43.9mg potassium, 29.8g carbohydrates, 4.1g fiber, 2.9g sugar, 4.5g protein, 5mg calcium, 1.4g saturated fat.

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18 Responses to Spelt Sourdough Sandwich Bread

  1. Wilderness says:

    That looks good. Is one serving one slice. I was hoping it might be lower in carbs but is actually higher if that is one slice or the same if 2 slices. I am trying to find a bread that is low carb and the only ones I have found they are so low that it would take 1/5 of the loaf to equal 15 grams of carbs and I would like to get 15 grams in 2 slices.

  2. Jenny says:

    That does look very tasty!

  3. Mrs.Pickles says:

    that looks great thanks for sharing!

  4. Karen says:

    I’m always looking for “do-able” sourdough bread recipes and that looks like a winner. It looks wonderful!

  5. Robin says:

    Wow, the bread looks wonderful! Maybe this winter I will have some free time to work on my bread making skills. I don’t think I’ll ever be as good as you though!

  6. Jody says:

    Thanks Dave! Spelt is a bread ingredient staple around here. We’re lucky to get it from an organic grower whose only an hour away. But Belle has found it to be a challenge to make good sandwich bread with it. We’re definitely going to give this one a try.

  7. Daphne says:

    I love spelt too. But I’ve yet to try my hand at sourdough. My mom made sourdough rye bread when I was growing up. I didn’t like it. But I love white sourdough bread. I buy it regularly at the farmers market. It is so good.

    • Dave says:

      I’m working on a sourdough rye starter this week, for the first time. I want to try making some light rye breads, without the caraway seeds. I do like the caraway, but I think it can overpower the other flavors.

  8. devora cziment says:

    Can I make this with ONLY spelt flour?

  9. Enid says:

    Thanks for the recipe! It has become our favorite, and it is so easy to make- and all in one day which I really like! For myself, I make it with 100% spelt (I’m unable to tolerate white or ww flour) and I also make a 100% whole wheat for my husband. I add some cooked Red River Cereal, oatmeal and sunflower seeds to the recipe and it is awesome! The cereals seem to lighten the bread and gives it quite a soft texture. Thanks again 🙂

    • Dave says:

      Thanks Enid! I am so glad you like the bread. Spelt is one of my favorite grains to work with. I made some 100% spelt pita bread yesterday. I never thought about adding some seeds or oatmeal to the spelt bread. I’ll have to give that a try.

    • elizabeth says:

      I’d like to try your version of this recipe.
      How much cooked Red River, oatmeal and sunflower seed do you add? Is the oatmeal cooked or dry?
      Thank you.

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  12. Jill Pierce says:

    Would this recipe work if I use discard/leftover SD starter? I don’t like just tossing the extra when ever I feed my starter so I’m always looking for ways to use the discard. Thanks!

    • Dave @ HappyAcres says:

      Hi Jill,

      The starter you use for the bread needs to be active enough to leaven it. If you have recently fed the starter in the last 24 hours or so, then it should work.

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