When think of food I love, my mind immediately conjures up what seems like hundreds of images of delicately sweet desserts, comforting savory dishes, and simple and tasty snacks. Choose one food I love? Oh, this is a joke, right?
Leave it to my husband to demonstrate how simple the choice is by reminding me that I could probably write most authentically about only one thing…bread.
I’m not even sure where my love affair with bread started. But for as long as I can remember, my favorite snack was a simple piece of toast, and maybe a little butter, sugar, and cinnamon sprinkled on top. Oh, yeah, that’s the stuff….
Bread, of all kinds, represents the quintessence of comfort, a fundamental staple in almost every culture. It’s hearty, filling, warm, chewy, and is the perfect vessel by which to enjoy most foods.
I have been working on breads of all kinds lately, because I want my husband to be able to enjoy bread as much as I do, despite his wheat sensitivity. Wheat and gluten tend to go hand in hand, so his wheat sensitivity means gluten-free is easiest, even if it’s not completely necessary. There are plenty of decent options for gluten-free breads available out there. But let’s be real, sometimes you just want fresh-out-of-the-oven homemade bread that you can tear into.
Through research and experimentation, we have found much success using spelt flour. Spelt is an ancient grain related to wheat but with a lower gluten content, so it bakes similarly to wheat flour. Spelt has a different protein structure and its gluten has a different molecular make-up than modern wheat. It is also water-soluble, which helps with digesting the gluten. Disclaimer: Everyone reacts differently and there are no hard and fast rules, so please proceed with caution. However, many with wheat and/or gluten allergies have found spelt to be a wonderful addition in moderate amounts to their diet without the side effects.
This particular bread is a simple spelt artisan loaf, with a crunchy crust and wonderfully soft and chewy center, and requires no kneading (yay!). One of the best parts about this loaf is that you can customize it to your liking. Have fun adding herbs, cheese, and/or fruits to the dough as you mix it. Spelt is a little runnier than regular flour, so I find adding extra flour to your surfaces and hands is very necessary. If you find it too runny to work with, you can always pour it right into the dutch oven – just get it in there however you can.
Be fancy, and eat this with a yummy spread or delicious cheese. Or, be like us, and tear it piece by piece until you notice it didn’t last 20 minutes. Either is perfectly acceptable.
- 5 cups spelt organic flour
- ¾ tsp salt
- ¾ tsp yeast
- 1 ½ cups warm water
- Combine all dry ingredients
- Stir in water and mix until all ingredients are well combined
- Let sit out on countertop 12-18 hours
- Preheat oven to 425 with dutch oven inside for about 30 minutes
- While the oven is preheating, with well-floured hands and working surface, work dough into a ball.
- Open oven, carefully remove Dutch oven lid, and drop dough into Dutch oven and cover with lid.
- Bake for 30 min
- Remove lid and continue baking 10 minutes to brown.
- Remove from oven and allow bread to rest on cooling rack for 10 minutes.
- Slice (or just rip right into it), serve and enjoy!