Organic Spelt, hay (yes: real hay) and hazelnut sourdough bakingDecember 4th, 2011 | Posted by in Daily life... | Recipes
After a week-long Nordic food specials at our Lounge Restaurant from Chef Jakobsson (ex-Noma), we had a few things leftover, notably hay, hazelnuts and a superbly cold pressed rapeseed oil. A few days back, my friend Frederic came to say hello and brought back 2 bags of organic whole spelt flour from his baking stage in France at the Moulin Pichard.
I added all this to a few brain cells, shaken it and came up with the idea of a spelt and hazelnut sourdough, baked in a cast iron pot filled with hay. I based my sourdough on my classic method starting with a fermented jar of raisin water and 100% spelt flour.
Smelling the hay, eyes closed, transported me back home during the summer when the air is filled with hay drying in the field…
I left 2 handful of raisins in water on top of our oven for 3 full days. It was perfectly fermented. I passed it through a sieve and used it to start the dough. I then left the fermented liquid at room temperature and the next day it was in full fermentation. In the movie below, you can see the fermenting liquid in motion – no stirring nor moving done.
Day 1 – 14:45
- 100 gm Organic whole spelt flour
- 130 ml Fermented water
Day 2 – 09:00
- 230 gm Above dough
- 100 gm Organic whole spelt flour
- 50 ml water
- 50 ml Fermented water
Still on Day 2 – 14:00
- 430 gm Above dough
- 200 gm Organic whole spelt flour
- 200 ml water
Day 3 – 08:30
- 830 gm Above dough
- 400 gm Organic whole spelt flour
- 400 ml Water
Still on Day 3 – 12:00 – Kneading the dough
- 100% Organic whole spelt flour
- 2.3 % Guerande sea salt
- 50% Above sourdough starter
- 12 % Fresh hazelnut
- 55% Water
Day 3 – 14:30- Give one single fold to the dough and cut in shape.
My good friend and food blogger Azelia recently posted a write-up on her baking in Cucugnan, France. The way Azelia described her trip made me want to go back home and become another Roland – he is yet another of my hero. One of the point in Roland’s baking philosophy that made me ponder was to try to bake bread with the least shaping possible. Fair enough, we would preserve most of the developed CO2 in the proofed sponge. So I decided to follow that idea, especially knowing that spelt isn’t the most gluten-packed flour around. In my last dough, I added the fresh hazelnut to the dough and gave it a single fold after a few hours of bulk fermentation to finally cut it as a pave, slightly pressed as a round slab and placed it to proof in the cast iron pot, filled with hay.
At 16:45 on day 3 , I placed the pot it in the oven with a little steam and excitingly (or anxiously) waited for the result.
I baked the loaf for about 50 minutes, but removed the cover after 20 minutes so that the loaf could gain color properly. After the cover was removed, the hay started to roast and the smell in the oven was really good! Once baked, I took the loaf out of the pot to make sure it wouldn’t sweat. Let it cooled for about an hour and finally, the moment of truth.
The crust was thin and hard with a slight hay flavor which I would have expected to be stronger, but yet, quit pleasant. The crumb was typical of 100% whole spelt flour; with very little gluten, the texture was small, yet very spongy – that superb texture was the result of the no-shaping way. The fragrance of hay blended with whole spelt and fresh hazelnut was sublime. If I would have anything to change for my next try, would be to roast the hay in the oven prior baking with it. I believe it would help releasing more flavor into the bread.
To round everything up, I tried to dip the bread cut in mouillette into the cold pressed rapeseed oil left back by our Nordic friends and wow, talk about a perfect match! We tried it again, and again…. and again! Unstoppable.
That’s it… I fell in love with yet another bread!