Spelt Sourdough.

Who doesn’t love a gorgeous sourdough? I know I do! Now, as a passionate follower of a wholefood and plant based diet, like many of you lovely people… our journey into Sourdough is a little bit harder. In fact, all breads are just a little bit harder (in non bread terms its like me trying to run up a very long and very steep hill with a 15 kg backpack on!).
We don’t eat processed/bleached white flours, preferring instead the nutritious health benefits of whole foods.
As such Spelt flour is a nutritionally dense and delicious flour to choose for Sourdough. On the downside, it doesn’t work exactly the same way that strong white flours do, which can leave us with heavier breads with tighter crumbs. So, here we have to have patience and really commit to not rushing our bread making. Patience and gentle hands are your friends! As you can see with a little love and a lot of time, here we have an absolutely gorgeous loaf with a beautiful open spongy texture… gorgeous, wholefood plant based, oil, fat free and Vegan! This is my favourite recipe to eat, the spelt flour with the tang of the sourdough starter just work perfectly together.

Any of you who have read my recent 100 % Wholemeal Bread blog will know that my recipes are not designed for mechanical bread makers. This particular recipe is for getting your hands dirty and doing all the work yourself, with these gentle hands you can nurture your loaf and help it to be as light as possible with this 100 % spelt recipe.

I have a rye sourdough culture which I have used for this recipe, for those of you that don’t already have a Sourdough culture nurturing at home somewhere, I have included a link at the bottom of this page (I recommend) to buy a dehydrated sourdough starter. They come with full proof instructions to nurse back to life so you can start making beautiful sourdoughs at home! There are also links to all the equipment you may need to make these beautiful breads at home – proving baskets everyone! (they will revolutionise your breadmaking).

Also for anyone who is interested, I teach a variety of classes and am available for one-to-one sessions and private bookings. A link to some of my classes can be found below until I get around to updating my own events page!


Spelt Sourdough.

100 % organic stoneground spelt flour sourdough using a rye sourdough culture. This recipe is an 18 hour process!
This recipe is using a poolish (this is not a spelling mistake, this a type of pre-ferment!) which helps to give your bread strength and a depth of flavour.
Cook Time45 mins
Keyword: artisan bread, baking, plant based, vegan, wholefoods
Servings: 12
Author: Joanna Owens


  • 150 g spelt flour (poolish)
  • 150 g water (warm, room temperature) (poolish)
  • 40 g sourdough culture (starter) (poolish)
  • 1 tsp maple syrup (poolish)


  • 360 g spelt flour
  • 240 g water (warm, room temperature)
  • 8 g salt
  • ALL Poolish (add it all)


  • Poolish.
    (no this isn't a spelling mistake! A poolish is a pre-ferment, it helps to add strength and flavour to your doughs)
    Mix your maple syrup into your warm water and then stir in your sourdough starter culture.  Mix these wet ingredients into your flour and lightly stir to combine. Leave overnight with a damp tea towel on top. I usually make up my poolish around 8pm and then as soon as I wake up I can start preparing the dough.  This will look fairly wet but by morning will have developed, grown and be lightly bubbly.
    Dough: (first thing the next morning)
    At this stage set the salt to one side, we will add that a little later.
    Weigh your ingredients, add the flour and all of your poolish that has been resting overnight and the water, stir thoroughly to combine. Set aside to rest for 45 mins. (this is called the autolyse method and this short rest will help your bread to develop more strength and flavour)
    After this rest, take your dough, stretch it out and sprinkle over your salt, you are now gong to work your dough using the stretch and fold method. Work the dough for ten minutes. Use a sprinkle of flour towards the end if necessary.
    Pop into a bowl with a damp tea towel over the top, leave to rest for an hour.
    Take your dough out, stretch and fold into a few book turns until the dough feels much firmer and then replace into another bowl with a damp tea towel over the top. Leave to rest for another hour.
    Repeat the last stage and pop back into the bowl for another hour, again cover with a damp tea towel.
    Take your dough out, stretch and fold once or twice and then start forming into a firm ball, flour your proving bowl very well and pop into prove for 3 hours.
    Turn your dough gently out onto a hot parchment lined oven tray, firmly slash a few times with your lame, pop into a very hot preheated oven. Bake at 220 degrees C for 25 mins, then a further 20 mins at 200 degrees C. 
    If I am baking at home with my domestic oven I like to put a roasting tin on the bottom of my oven with boiling water in at least 20 mins before I intent to start baking and leave it in there to help to create some humidity in my oven.


Here are a few pics to help through the various stages:
My rye sourdough culture (starter)
Poolish ready to use:
Stretch and fold method (I will upload a video of this technique soon
Stretch the dough out and then fold it back on itself
Dough ready for proving
Dough ready to bake

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