Whole spelt sourdough bread with pumpkin seeds

It was a long way to arrive here but here I am, back again. Although I was not posting too much, baking bread was one of the few things I kept doing every week. The reason behind my absence was another kind of bake... a little bun in my own oven that now has the name of Theodor. I passed through tough months, especially in the beginning when the smell of everything (bread included) was making me sick immediately. I stopped cooking but I did not stop baking bread. This is definitely my call ...

Not long after I managed to be back on my feet again, I fulfilled one of my oldest wish, to go with the baking to another level and buy an wood fired oven. This is a brand new experience for me and I learn new things with every bake. I'll share all the tricks here and in my future posts.

The bread of this post is my second try of baking a bread in the wood fired oven. For the first one, I used the same recipe but the result was a burned bread. Both on top and bottom. I had to cut a layer from the crust in order to reach an eatable crumb. And with this it came my first lesson... the time it takes to bake a bread in an electric oven is much higher than the one in an wood fired oven. If in an electric oven it takes me 45-60 minutes (depending on the size of the bread) for the wood fire oven it takes maximum 30 minutes with the same temperature of the air inside the oven. The temperature in the wood oven is well distributed. The exception is of course the floor of the oven on which the burning charcoal was sitting. To continue the comparison, it is easier to bake a bread in an electric oven than in a wood fire one. The modern electric ovens can be scheduled, can have the temperature adjusted without too much human intervention. With a wood oven, everything is manual. However, I was not expecting to be easier to cook my bread in a traditional way. Instead, I was targeting something else... the taste. And to achieve this, any effort is well worthed.
To control the heat in a wood fire oven there are some tricks that can be used. First of course is how much and what quality of wood is used to make the fire. After the wood is burned, closing the oven completely (door and chimney) makes the temperature to go high.

In my kitchen electric oven I was using volcanic stones to create stem. The steam helps the bread to raise high in the first 15 minutes of bake. In the wood oven it is difficult to use a steaming system and then, you risk to break the walls or floor of the oven. There is however another option to achieve the same results and this is to use a higher hydrated dough.

With my first bread my mistake was to bake it for 45 minutes. With my second bread (the one in the photo) I learned another lesson, that the temperature of the air in the oven is different from the one of the floor. So, this time, only the bottom of the bread was burned while the top of the bread remained white. This happened because I forgot to close the chimney of the oven and created a big difference between the air in the oven and its bottom. For this bread, only a small layer from its bottom had to be scraped. It took only 30 minutes to be cooked and the temperature of the oven floor was clearly too high.
By the time I am writing the text of this post I have already baked the 3rd bread in the oven and with this I learned to better control these temperatures... but this, in a future post.

For now, let's see the recipe of this bread.

  • 722ml warm water (35ºC)
  • 264ml white sourdough (100% hydration)
  • 250g spelt flour
  • 250g whole wheat flour
  • 550g white bread flour
  • 12g gluten
  • 50g pumpkin seeds
  • 19g salt

  1. 9:25AM Mix all ingredients with a standing mixer.
  2. 9:35 AM Put a cover to the mixing bowl and let the dough rise for the first fermentation. The necessary time for the first fermentation depends on the outside temperature. If the dough has raised twice its level then you can go to the next step.
  3. 17:00 Divide the dough in 3 and shape them in oblong breads.
  4. 17:15 Let the bread raise for the second fermentation. The timing for the second fermentation also depends on the outside temperature. Test the dough with your finger: press gently the dough with the finger and if it is slowly coming back then, the dough is ready to be baked. 
  5. 20:00 Bake the bread. I baked this bread in my wood oven that has been fired one hour before. If you use a conventional oven, preheat the oven and bake 15 minutes at 270ºC and continue for another 30 minutes at 220ºC.


Sophie Sportende Foodie said...

A wonderful spelt sourdough bread! I made it a few days ago & loved it so much! :)

HungryShots said...

Thank you, Sophie! I am glad you liked it.

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