Cherry Spelt Loaves


Coffee gives this bread a subtle darkness against which the cherries taste all the more excitingly tart. If you can’t find white spelt flour (it seems to be less easy to source than its wholemeal counterpart) you can use strong white wheat flour instead. Spelt flour has a far shorter window for baking than wheat flour: it’ll very quickly turn from oven-ready to over-proved. For this reason, the rise and proving times specified are a reasonably short. You’ll also notice that the dough needs very little kneading.

Makes 2 small loaves

150g wholemeal spelt flour
360g white spelt flour or strong white flour
7g instant dried yeast
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons caster or soft light brown sugar
360ml black coffee, lukewarm
100–150g whole dried cherries

1 Combine the flours and yeast in a large bowl then stir in the salt and sugar. Pour in the coffee, working the dough with your hands until fully mixed. Lightly knead the cherries into the dough, working it for no longer than a minute. Place the dough into a clean bowl, cover and leave to rise at room temperature for around an hour. By the end of this hour it should be at least 1½ times its original size.

2 Divide the risen dough into two, shaping each piece into a neat cob or rugby ball shape and spacing well apart on a large baking tray (or use two trays, if necessary — spelt dough tends to spread). It’s important to shape tightly and neatly to ensure a decent rise from these fragile loaves. (There’s more information on correct shaping technique on page 82 should you need it.) Let the loaves prove at room temperature in a draught-free spot for 30–40 minutes if using 100% spelt flour or up to an hour if you swapped strong white flour for a portion of the spelt. Preheat the oven to 240°C/fan 220°C/gas mark 9 in the meantime. The loaves are ready to bake as soon as they’re 1½ times their original size; if you wait until they’ve doubled you will have waited too long, and the loaves risk collapsing.

3 Dust the risen breads with flour, score their tops and bake for 10 minutes before reducing the temperature to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas mark 6 and baking for a further 20–25 minutes, depending on how crusty you like your bread. Once completely cool, enjoy the loaves cut into slices no more than 1cm thick, toasted and spread liberally with butter and a good cherry jam.

 ©Nato Welton, 2014

©Nato Welton, 2014

Crumb: The Baking Book
By Ruby Tandoh