My sourdough spelt banana bread…

Something for the weekend?

Introducing my sourdough banana spelt bread…

Inspired by seeing several people’s banana breads recently, including the lovely Kellie, I decided to make my menfolk a banana loaf. Of course, having some starter fed and active, I couldn’t resist making my own sourdough version with no refined sugar at the same time. And this is it!

I used spelt flours, feel free to substitute them for flours of your choice.

The starter adds flavour and texture but not lift in this recipe as it is an immediate recipe. I will try it as an overnight prove one day soon.

It’s great freshly baked but also good later and the next day once the flavours have developed.

As the photos show, I added chopped Brazil nuts, but next time I’d go with no nuts at all or maybe a few walnuts; the Brazil nuts made it a little dry so I don’t recommend it.

As is my choice, I used a small amount of honey in my loaf, I have included more in this written up recipe. If you would prefer something sweeter please feel free to double it or replace it with 100-150g of your choice of sugar.

Ingredients

100g white spelt flour

100g wholemeal spelt flour

100g bubbly active starter

50g runny honey

50g softened butter

1tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/2tsp baking powder

1 egg

3 medium ripe bananas, roughly mashed

An extra banana if you want one for decoration, sliced

Method

Preheat your oven to 160C/320F fan/convection, 180C/360F non fan/convention

Either grease or line a 2lb/900g, 23 x 13cm/9” x 5” loaf tin

Mix all of the ingredients together well, but not over mixed, spoon the mixture into the loaf tin.

Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a metal skewer comes out clean.

Eat!

Baking sourdough with spelt and kamut/khorason flour…

These loaves have been made using my starter and a variety of white spelt flour, kamut/khorason flour, and mixes of the two.

These were experimental to test how the flours would hold up on their own for use in sourdough so this post is to share the outcome. I’ve used both spelt and kamut flour in loaves that included strong white bread flour with great success and flavour, which you can find in my recipe index; this time I wanted to test them out on their own to see how they behaved.

Please note: these loaves were all made with a smaller banneton which is 17cm diameter and 7.5cm deep. This allowed me to use less flour in these trials. The quantities are included at the end of the post.

And: I’ve used my same starter in all of them, fed the usual way with strong white bread flour; you don’t need different starters for different loaves.

Firstly, let me talk about the actual flours themselves; these are milled from ancients grains. Spelt and khorason (kamut is actually the brand name, the entire grain has a brand!) are wonderfully tasty grains that are lovely and nutty and chewy to eat in their naturally grown form once cooked, I eat them a lot this way.

The flours are milled from those grains.

Being ancient grains, they are quite different from more modern flours, and very different from one another, so considerations have to be taken when using them in your sourdough.

White spelt flour is very soft, it’s a lovely fine gentle flour. It therefore struggles to hold its form if used 100% for a free form loaf such as sourdough because it is not a very strong flour, the protein level is less than 11%, and so it benefits from additions to give it strength to hold its shape. I found that when used on it’s own for a loaf, it still created a lovely dough, it rose well, it baked nicely, the crumb was lovely and light, but it was a bit unevenly shaped once baked. I know from past experience that spelt does not hold its shape so I chose to bake it in a smaller pan (20cm diameter as opposed to me usual 26cm diameter enamel roaster) to give it the benefit of the sides of the pan to stop it from spreading, which it needed. The cut slice shows the shape more.

Once I added seeds to the dough, it was a whole different story: they gave the dough structure and it held its shape perfectly, hence being able to use a bigger pan.

And it tasted great!!!!! I always toast my seeds beforehand which all adds to the flavour.

Khorason flour is quite different. I used a wholewheat khorason flour which has 15g of protein per 100g. The flour is a lot more grainy that the spelt, and it soaks up a lot more water. It can often pull in quite tightly when first mixed into a dough, then loosen up later, so don’t be fooled! I have found that it enhances the flavour of the sourdough quite distinctly and increases the sourness.

Using it for a 100% khorason loaf generates a tight crumb and a denser bake, but it’s so tasty, I recommend trying it.

Mixing 50:50 white spelt flour and wholewheat khorason was a real success: the spelt lifts and lightens the khorason, whilst the khorason gives the spelt structure. And it tastes great! it’s still a closer crumb than all white or all spelt, but it’s tasty and lovely which is all that matters right? And the butter doesn’t escape!

I will be putting videos of making these loaves on YouTube, but all I’ve done is use my master recipe process, all I’ve done is change the quantities, so everything else is the same; please feel free to increase the quantities to make a bigger loaf.

The spelt loaf quantities:

300g white spelt flour

200g water

30g starter

1/2 tsp salt, or to your taste

The seeded spelt loaf quantities:

300g white spelt flour

200g water

30g starter

1/2 salt, or to taste

50g mixed roasted seeds, I use pumpkin seed, sunflower seeds and linseeds

The khorason loaf:

300g wholewheat khorason flour

250g water

30g starter

1/2 tsp salt, or to taste

The spelt & khorason loaf:

150g white spelt flour

150g wholewheat khorason flour

250g water

30g starter

1/2 tsp salt, or to taste

The process: I used the process of my master recipe, find the links to the left, all the way through, and baked in a preheated oven at 220C fan (240C non fan) covered, for 30-35 minutes as required.

Happy baking!

The white spelt flour was from Mathews Cotswold Flours

The khorason flour was from Doves Farm

The starter was always fed and bubbly!

Creating sourdough with Mrs Middletons beautiful flour…

Mrs Middleton is actually a lovely lady called Whizz, and Whizz’s farm is very very close to where I live. For several years Whizz has sold a lovely light rapeseed oil made from her own crops, and recently she also started to sell flour from wheat grown on her land and milled at a local historical mill. This flour therefore is grown and milled very close to where I live and therefore sits it firmly in my heart.

Whizz produces just two flours as shown above, and I love the plain natural white stoneground flour; but do not be fooled, this is not what you would think of as ‘plain flour’. This flour is 13% protein and therefore perfect for bread making. It also has a slight pink tint to the flour which bakes to a light brown, and it’s not just the colour that behaves like a wholemeal/whole wheat; this flour takes up a lot of water, which you have to take into account, and bakes to a gloriously flavoured textured loaf.

If used solely, the loaf will be quite dense and heavy unless you add extra water, which is what I did for the first 2 photos of this post; or, I lift it with some white spelt flour and it works perfectly, as these last 2 photos show. These loaves and the one below are made using my master recipe with 250g Mrs Middletons plain white flour & 250g white spelt flour, otherwise all the same quantities,

And this is definitely my most favourite flour mix to date, the dough is generated is so smooth, it’s beautiful to handle, and when turned out it’s always wonderfully firm and a joy to score…

I’ve also use this flour for making sourdough buttermilk biscuits/scones…

I can happily recommend trying Whizz’s beautiful flour, and I even had the honour of meeting her and teaching her how to make sourdough, which was lovely.

Trying new flours is so much fun, and this one has definitely been a successful experiment for me.

You can find Whizz’s lovely flour and oil here.

Spelt and white loaf…

Anyone who knows me from Instagram or my foodbod blog will know that I love grains. I literally love quinoa, spelt, kamut, bulgur wheat, any grain, on its own by the spoonful, or with endless accompaniments…

A recent dish including quinoa

Some of these grains also translate into lovely flours; I’m not a fan of quinoa flour, I find it bitter, but spelt flour and kamut flour are both lovely. They have a lovely nutty flavour to them. They do not translate into strong flours however, they need to be handled with care to bake bread with them.

You can bake 100% spelt flour loaves but my experience has been that they need to be baked in a tin to give them structure.

This loaf therefore is 50% strong white bread flour, 50% spelt flour to give the loaf strength from the bread flour. The spelt flour is very soft and light and the resulting dough is very soft, but still bubbles up beautifully. I used my master recipe in exactly the same way just with the 50:50 mix.

I shared a video on Instagram and Facebook today to show just how light and bubbling the dough was, below is a screenshot of the dough after its overnight proof, it was very light and needed gentle handling. The final proof in the fridge firmed it up sufficiently to be able to score the loaf and it rose beautifully as it baked.

Form this, above…to this, below…

Happy Baking!