There’s a reason why our spiritual nourishment is often referred to as bread of life, bread is a staple of our western diet. This spelt flour bread recipe has been around since antiquity. When you bake this version, you’ll fill your home with the warm and familiar smell of fresh baked bread, a comforting and enjoyable bonus to the delightful taste and texture of this hearty bread.

Germans call dinner abendbrot. “Abend” means evening, and “brot” means bread. Even today, most Germans eat dinner as Hildegard would have recommended: a modest meal. After experiencing the hearty density of good German bread, it makes sense that bread alone might actually satisfy an evening meal.

Hildegard’s Spelt Flour Bread Recipe

This spelt flour bread recipe makes hearty and filling bread in the age-old European style.  It serves as aperfect accompaniment to Fennel soup or as a treat on its own.

Several Hildegard spelt bread recipes, including Astrid, at Wild Yeast and Wighard Strehlow, inspired this spelt flour bread recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 3 ½ cups of Spelt flakes (½ cup used for topping)
  • 4 ½ cups of spelt flour
  • 2 cups of lukewarm water
  • 1 cup of lukewarm milk
  • 2 packages of dry yeast (7 grams each)
  • 1 Tablespoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar (substitute ½ lemon, or 2 Tablespoons)
  • 1 tablespoon of sunflower seed oil

Directions:

Combine 3 cups of spelt flakes and 4 ½ cups of spelt flour in a single mixing bowl. Separately, allow the yeast powder to dissolve in the lukewarm milk (105 to 110 degrees.)  Add the milk and yeast combination to the spelt flakes and spelt flour and begin mixing.  Mix by hand or use a mixer on low speed.

As you mix, gradually add the lukewarm water, lemon juice (or sugar), salt and sunflower oil.  Continue mixing for about 15 minutes, or until the mixture is smooth and elastic. Cover the mixture with a kitchen towel and let it rise until it has approximately doubled in size (this takes about 2 hours.)

Baking:

Grease two 9×5 inch loaf pans. Once the dough has leavened, divide into two separate loaves and knead it again by hand for 2 or 3 minutes. Place the loaves in the pans and run a cut through the center surface of both breads (about ¼ inch deep.) Cover them again, and allow to rise to rise to the top of the pans.

Bake both loaves in the oven’s center rack at 400F for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 385F for an additional 30 minutes. This helps create a crispy crust. Remove the loaves and cool for 5 minutes, then remove from the baking tins and continue cooling on a rack.

Optional:

If you like a lightly crisped crust, you can brush some milk and melted butter to the surface of the dough prior to baking. Consider adding the remaining ½ cup of spelt flakes to the top of each loaf before baking.