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Spelt Sourdough Bread with Rosemary

Spelt Sourdough Bread is an easy overnight recipe that tastes nutty and a little sweet. Fresh rosemary adds a smooth herb flavor. This spelt bread recipe has a crusty exterior and a soft tender center. Exactly what you look for in artisan bread.

Top down photo of a loaf of beautifully browned spelt bread sitting on natural parchment paper and a wooden background.

Spelt Sourdough Bread recipe is an easy bread to create. This smooth nutty bread has a wholesome flavor that goes perfectly with about any meal.

It’s delicious fresh out of a hot toaster with a slather of butter and it also makes an amazing turkey sandwich!

I get comments about ideas for products or gifts for a bread baker that would be helpful if someone wanted to get started baking artisan-style bread.

I put together a list and asked what bread you’d like to see made here on Hostess At Heart and received some amazing requests that I’m working on.

One of the requests that I couldn’t wait to tackle was for a Spelt Flour Bread Recipe.

I’ve made a Spelt bread recipe before so I knew how amazing it tastes, but it’s for a quick sandwich loaf. This recipe request was for a Spelt Sourdough Bread recipe.

What is Spelt?

Wooden bowl filled with spelt grain.

Spelt is an ancient whole grain in the wheat family but is not wheat!

The benefits of using spelt flour

I’ve read that spelt has less gluten than wheat and some gluten-sensitive people can tolerate it. I would use caution here however because it does contain gluten. People with celiac disease shouldn’t consume spelt.

I bring up gluten in spelt because it is more fragile than in wheat flour. For this reason, it acts differently than wheat flour in baking.

I’ve found that spelt flour on its own will deflate or flatten once it’s removed from the oven in my quick bread recipes. I haven’t baked a 100% spelt flour loaf of bread.

For that reason, I combine spelt flour with other flour such as bread flour or white flour. Using a mix of flour still allows the spelt flavor to shine.

Spelt flour comes in several varieties. We used whole grain, stone-ground flour in this recipe.

I found this resource helpful in tips for using spelt flour.

I used a different technique for rising this spelt bread recipe compared to our Overnight Sourdough Bread and Multi-grain Wheat Bread recipes. It still has minimal handling, but after a countertop rest like the other bread recipes, I put it in the refrigerator for a slow overnight fermentation.

I use this method with some of my other artisan bread and like the flavor it takes on.

How to make Spelt Sourdough Bread

I made adjustments to the flour mix and the water ratio. Spelt absorbed the water so this bread has is higher in what’s called “hydration” than some of our other sourdough bread recipes.

Hydration is the ratio of flour to water. For example, we use a total of 500 grams of flour in the recipe and 375 grams of water so the hydration is 75% (500/375).

Don’t get hung up on the math stuff since I’ve done it for you. As you can see in the first picture below, this is a wetter dough.

Three photos of preparing spelt bread for baking. 1st photo is ingredients squelched together. Second is dough in a clear bucket market at the 1 quart level. Third photo shows dough has doubled in volume to 2 qt mark.
  1. Squelch all of the ingredients together.
  2. Place the dough in a container that you can measure its progress. I have several rising buckets in several sizes, but a bowl works just fine.
  3. When dough has doubled, remove it from the container and shape.
Two photo collage showing a basket covered with a cloth and dusted with flour. The second photo shows the dough settled in with the seam side up.
  1. Prepare a bowl, basket (banneton) by dusting it with flour. I use a 50/50 mix of white whole wheat with rice flour. Use what you have.
  2. Place the shaped dough, seam side up in the prepared bowl or basket. Cover the dough and place it in the refrigerator for up to 12 hours. I’ll put the whole basket in a plastic grocery bag.
  3. Bake as instructed in the recipe card below.

If you would like to see how I get the dough into a hot pot without ruining the shape of the bread or burning myself, I’ve got a “how-to” video on my Wheat Bread post.

Products that I use to make Spelt Sourdough Bread

  • Dutch Oven – I have several enameled cast-iron dutch ovens. I started out with a few that cost about 4 times what this one does and it’s my favorite! I make my sourdough bread in it and it’s perfect for soups, stews, and so many other things. It cleans up like a dream too!
  • Parchment Paper – This is my favorite parchment paper. It’s important to know that there is an oven temperature rating on parchment paper. If you exceed it your parchment paper can catch fire in your oven. This one is rated to 450°F, high enough for these bread recipes.
  • Oven Mitts – When I work with heavy pots and pans I want an oven mitt versus a hot pad. These mitts are heat rated to 550° so are good for the oven or bbq and come in several colors. They also come in a longer length for longer arms!

Make your own starter

This bread uses a “starter“. You can build your own and have your very own sourdough bread on the table in less than 8 days. Our step-by-step guide takes out all of the mystery.

You could feed your starter with spelt flour instead of the wheat flour used in my starter recipe. However, I don’t think that it makes a difference and I don’t want to maintain several different starters according to the flour used in the bread I’m making.

Front shot of a sliced loaf of spelt bread showing a soft crumb and a crusty exterior dusted with flour. The end slice is next to the loaf. The bread sits on parchment paper and a wooden background.

FEED YOUR SOURDOUGH STARTER

Fed starter is also referred to as a “Levain”. Don’t get hung up on the terms. It’s just a fed starter.

We feed our starter before bed by taking 1 tablespoon of starter and mixing it with 200gr filtered water and 200gr of our 50/50 flour mix. It has always passed the float test the next morning which can be 6 to 8 hours.

If you’re making your bread without letting your starter feed overnight, you just have to watch it. It’s ready when it’s increased by about 30% which is about 4 hours for mine. Room temperature and strength can be variables, however.

This makes more starter than what you will need but I bake several loaves at a time and freeze them.

Homemade Spelt Ingredients

  • Bubbly starter – We store our starter in the refrigerator between baking days so will feed it for a couple of days before using it to make sure it’s good and active before baking.
    • After you feed your starter, wait until it’s increased in volume about 30%. That’s usually about 4 hours for mine but if we’re mixing in the morning can be 6 to 8 hours overnight.
    • If your dough is runny it can be because your starter was actually starving when you used it. I have a video showing how to check to see if your Levain is ready to use.
  • Salt – I use fine sea salt. It is easier to incorporate and dissolve than coarser salt.
  • Spelt Flour – I used organic whole grain, stone-ground spelt flour. It has an amazing texture and sweet nutty flavor.
  • Organic Bread Flour – Bread flour has a higher protein content than AP flour. That higher protein provides more structure to your loaf. It worked very well with the wheat flour
  • Water – There’s a lot of controversy regarding water in bread making. Some experts say if you can drink it you can bake with it. Other experts say the chlorine and mineral content can inhibit yeast activity.
  • Fresh Rosemary – You can substitute for dry or choose another herb. Fresh Thyme would be delicious too. You can also leave them out altogether and it will not affect the final outcome one bit.

This Spelt Sourdough bread came out with that delicious crispy crust and that pull you want in a sourdough loaf. The center was soft and tender with that sweet nutty flavor from the spelt flour and essence from the fresh rosemary.

Pin it!

Tableview photo of a loaf of spelt sourdough bread that's had the first slice cut.

Other Sourdough Starter Bread recipes

Unlike my other sourdough bread recipes, I didn’t score this loaf prior to baking. Since Spelt doesn’t contain the structure of other flour I didn’t feel it was necessary.

Scoring the loaf prevents a “blow out” or tear while baking. Some bakers like this effect so don’t score any of their bread.

As you can see, this Spelt Sourdough Bread didn’t blow out. It didn’t bake as tall as our other sourdough bread recipes but that was expected.

An uncut loaf of spelt bread with a crusty brown exterior dusted with flour. It sits on a piece of natural parchment paper on top of a wooden background.

If you hate throwing away sourdough starter discard, you’re going to love these Sourdough Starter Discard recipes!

I want to thank the reader that suggested that we make a spelt bread recipe. I loved it and hope you will too!

An uncut loaf of spelt bread with a crusty brown exterior dusted with flour. It sits on a piece of natural parchment paper on top of a wooden background.

Spelt Sourdough Bread with Rosemary

Author: Julie Menghini
Spelt Sourdough Bread is an easy overnight recipe that tastes nutty and a little sweet. Fresh rosemary adds a smooth herb flavor. This spelt bread recipe has a crusty exterior and a soft tender center. Exactly what you look for in artisan bread.
5 from 13 votes
Prep Time 8 hrs
Cook Time 40 mins
Overnight rest 8 hrs
Total Time 8 hrs 40 mins
Course Bread
Cuisine American
Keyword: Sourdough Bread, Spelt Bread
Servings: 18 slices

Ingredients
 
 

  • 150 grams bubbly starter
  • 385 grams *purified water or filtered water at room temperature
  • 200 grams bread flour organic
  • 300 grams spelt flour
  • 9 grams sea salt fine
  • 1/4 cup rosemary fresh, chopped

Instructions
 

  • Squelch all of the ingredients together briefly (just for a minute is enough) with your hand.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 30 minutes. Don't skip this step!
  • Stretch and fold the dough into the bowl several times for about a minute.  I just pull the outside to the center as I turn the bowl. Place the dough into a large bowl or clear container and let it rise until doubled, approximately 6 hours.
  • Dust your counter with flour.  Scrape the dough out onto the counter.  Don't punch it down.  You want to keep as many of those bubbles as you can.
  • Pull the outside thirds into the middle and shape as you wish.  Try to pull the outside of the dough as tightly as possible so it will hold its shape well.  I shaped mine into a ball also known as a boule. Place the dough into a prepared bowl or banneton seam-side up.
  • Cover and put the shaped dough in the refrigerator overnight.
  • When ready to bake, remove the dough from the refrigerator while the oven preheats.
  • Preheat the oven to 240/250C (I preheat to 475°F and place my lidded pot inside to heat up.  You can use an enamel dutch oven or aluminum roaster.  You can also put the dough into a cold pot but I find I don't get the same golden color when I do that.
  • Carefully remove the pot from the oven and remove the lid.  Carefully place the dough into the pot.  I lift mine by the edges of the *parchment paper and put the whole thing into the pot.  Replace the lid and place in the oven.
  • Reduce the heat to 220C (425°F convection).  Bake for 20 minutes.  Remove the lid and bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Immediately remove the bread from the pot and place it on a cooling rack. Let it cool completely before slicing. Warm bread is more difficult to slice but, sometimes you just got to have that slice of warm bread!

Video

Notes

*Start with 375g of water but if the dough is too dry add up to an additional 10g.
*Parchment paper has a heat rating. Make sure what you’re using is rated for this hot of an oven. If it isn’t, it can catch fire in the oven. 
  • If you need assistance getting your shaped dough into a hot pot, I’ve deveoped a technique that may help. You can see the video here.
  • Your bread can be cooked in a cold dutch oven but I like the color and rise I get from preheating my lidded pot.
  • This bread freezes beautifully. I wrap it in plastic wrap or a ziplock bag and then heavy-duty foil.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 107kcalCarbohydrates: 20gProtein: 4gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 196mgPotassium: 11mgFiber: 2gSugar: 1gCalcium: 2mgIron: 1mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

This recipe was calculated using the exact brands and measurements I used to make this recipe. If you are following a strict diet please note changing anything will cause the nutritional info to change. My calculations are intended as a guide only.

Tried this recipe?Let me know how it was!

I have a great list of loaves of bread to put together and would love to know if you’d like to have one featured too!

Recipe Rating




Teashie Cullins

Friday 22nd of July 2022

Is this a one time use? Mine was nice and bubbly but I wasn't able to use it at that time so I discarded and fed it with a 50/50 ratio. Now it is a little bubbly but quite runny. It sinks when I put it in water.I don't dare to use it. Should I throw this away and start again,hoping I am able to use it? I also grind my own spelt berries on demand. Would that make a difference? Thank you. I am excited to try this recipe!!

Julie Menghini

Friday 22nd of July 2022

Great question, Teashie! You need to keep feeding it or refrigerate it between baking. See my post on starters, https://hostessatheart.com/sourdough-discard-recipes/. You'll remove all but about 1 tablespoon and then refeed it. You don't need to keep that much starter in between baking. I hope this helps. If not, just let me know.

LL

Friday 1st of April 2022

Worked beautifully and the rosemary flavor is perfect. I made two loaves at the same time and the amount of rosemary on the cutting board looked as though I trimmed a Christmas tree, but the taste was perfect. Will add roasted garlic next time. Awesome and easy recipe! Thanks for creating/sharing.

Julie Menghini

Sunday 3rd of April 2022

Thank you, LL! I appreciate your comment. The roasted garlic will be amazing!

R.T.

Wednesday 22nd of December 2021

Hi. This looks amazing I’m going to try this now. I’m just wondering why u use so much starter? My reg recipe calls for 25g bubbly starter to 500g flour it’s a stretch n fold method. Makes beautiful airy bread. U use 150g ??? Also do you have a recipe for all spelt??

R.T.

Thursday 23rd of December 2021

@Julie Menghini, Thanks so much for your response. I’m nes at this so 1 more question please if my starter is Made of 50water and 50%flour how do I get 150 g ? And is this a 100% hydration? Thanks in advance

Julie Menghini

Thursday 23rd of December 2021

Hi R.T. I've never used such a small amount and never less than 10% of the total weight (50g). If it's cold I'll usually use more or if I want a quicker fermentation time I'll use more. Or if I want a longer ferment time I'll use a lesser amount. For this recipe, I've had good luck using 150g at a 100% hydration starter. You can certainly use what works for you. Give it a try and let me know how it goes! I don't have a 100% spelt loaf. I experimented with a 100% spelt sandwich loaf (https://hostessatheart.com/spelt-bread/) and learned that spelt doesn't have the structure of some other flours so didn't try it in my sourdough either. I need to go back to the drawing board first. Thank you for commenting. I love these questions.

Kisna

Saturday 17th of April 2021

Hi Julie Thanks for your recipe. Can I bake this in bread maker/machine? I make my normal sourdough in bread machine and it comes out great.. If I can, any idea if I need to modify any ingredients? Thanks

Julie Menghini

Saturday 17th of April 2021

Hi Kisna! I don't use a bread machine so can't advise you here. Why not give it a try and let us know how it goes?

Mary V.

Sunday 14th of February 2021

Fabulous recipe! Yes, I found the dough to be very wet, but it rose nicely, then the overnight proof made this an easy recipe. It is super tasty as well. I also threw in some thyme. Will be trying your overnight sourdough next.

Julie Menghini

Monday 15th of February 2021

Thank you, Mary! I'm glad you like it and the thyme is a great addition.