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How to make traditional Swedish spelt bread

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Swedish spelt bread. Photo: John Duxbury/Swedish Food
06:59 CET+01:00
Swedes love making bread, so join the nationwide cult and start kneading. Here's one of The Local's favourite recipes by food writer John Duxbury.

READ ALSO: Inside Sweden's secret hotel for sourdough fans

Spelt has a lovely, nutty flavour and it naturally proves and rises more quickly than wheat flour, so it is quicker to make a loaf of bread using spelt flour. This recipe gives consistent results, and yet it is very easy.

Summary

Makes: 1 large loaf

Preparation: 50 minutes + 90 minutes rising time

Ingredients

300 g spelt flour

200 g strong white flour

7 g dry yeast, usually 1 packet

325 g lukewarm water

10 g sea salt (2 tsp)

1 tbsp honey

Flour for dusting

Method

1. Fit a dough hook to a stand mixer, such as a kMix or KitchenAid.

2. Combine the flours and yeast in the mixer's bowl, stirring to ensure that they are evenly mixed.

3. Add 325 g of lukewarm water, 10 g (2 tsp) of sea salt and 1 tbsp of honey to a jug. Stir until the honey and salt are both dissolved.

4. With the motor running on minimum, slowly add the liquid mixture to the flours.

5. When all the liquid has been added, increase the speed to 2 (kMix) or 3 (KitchenAid), for five minutes. You should end up with a ball of dough that is still slightly sticky.

6. Tip the dough on to a lightly floured work surface and shape into a ball.

7. Clear out the bowl and then lightly flour it. Return the dough to the bowl and cover with a shower cap, cling film or a cloth and leave to rise in a warm, draught-free place for about one hour, until the dough has roughly doubled in size.

8. Tip the dough on to the floured surface again and push down on it a couple of times to knock the air out of it.

9. Either shape it into a log and plop it into a floured 900 g (2 lb) loaf tin, or shape it into an oval as shown above and then place the loaf on a floured baking sheet.

10. Cover with a cloth and leave in a warm, draught-free place to prove until it has doubled in size again, which normally takes about 30 minutes.

11. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200C.

12. Place a tray of boiling water at the bottom of the oven (this helps to keep the bread moist, but take care when opening the oven).

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13. When the dough has doubled in size, dust the bread lightly with flour and then make a cut along the length of the bread using a sharp knife, adding some diagonal cuts it desired. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until it has turned golden or the inner temperature has reached 95C.

14. Leave the bread to cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes before slicing.

Tips

- For variations, incorporate 115 g mixed seeds, such as linseed, sesame, pumpkin or sunflower into the dough after step 8 or replace the honey with black treacle.

- It is important that the water is tepid because if it is too hot it will kill the yeast: the water should be between 35-45C.

- If you are making the bread by hand, increase the kneading time to 10 minutes.

- The recipe also works well with wholemeal spelt flour.

- If you don't use a loaf tin in step 9 the dough can sometimes spread out too much. If so, either lightly reshape with your scraper before flouring, scoring and baking, or transfer the dough to a floured 900 g (2 lb) loaf tin, recover and leave to prove for another 10 minutes before flouring, scoring and baking.

This recipe is published courtesy of John Duxbury, founder and editor of Swedish Food.

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