Dense, tangy and incredibly tasty, I promise you this wheat-free 100% rye and spelt sourdough recipe is entirely worth the effort.
So far we’ve made homemade kombucha, taught you about raising backyard hens, grown our own food (read about my top tomato tips here), and fermented our backyard harvest. Our latest urban homesteading adventure is the most ambitious yet: 100% rye and spelt sourdough bread-making.
“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… ” – Theodore Roosevelt
I have to assume, after months of tears, burnt loaves, long drives (to procure the perfect starter), starter funerals and countless sourdough feedings, that Theodore Roosevelt was referring to the art of sourdough bread-making when he said those famous words. After frustrating trial and error I am finally ready to share my wheat-free sourdough recipe with you guys, plus a few loaf lessons I learned along the way:
Lesson 1: Always remove your wedding rings before working with sourdough starter. I swear I swallowed a tiny diamond that got stuck in my dough, this stuff is sticky and will ruin your good jewelry.
Lesson 2: A 100% organic rye starter is worth the 1-hour drive to Innisfil on a Friday afternoon. I don’t even resent the occasional weird text message from the old guy that sold me said starter, the bread is that good!
Lesson 3: All homemade bread, is good bread, even if it isn’t great .. There were a few early loaves that came out hard as rocks, super flat, or a little too tangy but you better believe they were still eaten after the 20+ hours of work that went into their sad loaf lives. Fresh baked bread, made with love and your very own pet sourdough starter will still taste good and must be eaten.
Lesson 4: Amazon prime is a good investment for a novice bread-baker. Although I frankly resent contributing to Bezos’s growing pile of money I don’t regret my amazon prime membership when it comes to getting me hard-to find bread baking equipment, delivered directly to my door step. Need a proofing basket (wait, what’s a proofing basket!) delivered to your door before your levain goes to waste? Amazon prime same day delivery was a total bread-saver.
Lesson 5: Read ALL of the instructions first. Seriously, this is a 2-day process, so please plan accordingly.
I’m currently working on a new loaf to go along with tonight’s dinner of garlicky tomato shrimp; this sourdough is going to be the perfect sauce dipper. I hope you enjoy my 100% rye and spelt sourdough recipe, from this doctor’s flour-filled kitchen.
Rye and Spelt Sourdough Recipe
I promise you, this wheat-free 100% rye and spelt sourdough recipe is entirely worth the effort. Just make sure you read all of the instruction before you begin (see lesson 5).
- 160g active sourdough starter (*instructions below: 10g inactive starter + 150g rye flour + 150g warm filtered water)
- 15g honey
- 150g warm filtered water
- 100g organic rye flour
- 200g organic spelt flour
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 proofing basket
- 2 large mixing bowls
- 1 dutch oven
* I tried for months to create my own starter with no success. You can find some tutorials online, and please let me know if you're able to create and maintain your own starter from scratch - I'd love to hear your secrets. The best way to acquire a starter is to buy one or get one from a friend. If you're a current patient of mine and you're looking to try your hand at sourdough bread making just shoot me an email before our next visit and I'll happily bring you your own tangy little friend to get you started.
Begin by activating your starter. I keep a small (1 tbs-ish) amount of starter in the fridge at all times and simply bring it out onto the counter for a feeding when I want to bake. I find this method still produces great bread without wasting a bunch of starter each time you feed. Mix 10g of inactive starter from your fridge with 150g rye flour and 150g warm water (use only wooden or plastic utensils for mixing), cover and set aside on the counter over night marking the starting line with an elastic band so you can check your starter's progress. Once it's doubled in size it should be good to go.
Take 160g of active starter from the counter and mix into a large bowl with 150g warm water and 15g runny honey. Mix until well incorporated. In a separate bowl mix together the flours and salt. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and either use a stand mixer or hand mix the dough for 5 - 10 minutes. Dough should be very sticky and dense at this point. Cover the dough and let sit for 1 - 2 hours on the counter (more time may be needed in the winter). After letting your sourdough set remove from the bowl and place on a floured surface and kneed the dough until the outside is well coated with flour. Gently flatten the dough then fold up the sides to meet in the middle. Place the folded side down in a proofing basket (see lesson #4) and let rise over night.
On waking place a medium-sized dutch oven into your oven and preheat 480 degrees. Remove hot dutch oven and place your dough into the dutch oven fold-side-down. Bake with the lid on for 20 minutes, then remove the lid and bake for an additional 10 mins. Let cool for 20 minutes before serving for breakfast and store the rest in an air-tight container to prevent your beloved bread from drying out after all of your hard work.