Amazing whole grain (no flour) sourdough spelt bread

no flour sourdough spelt bread

Yes, it’s time for another bread post. From time to time I read a blog by a German baker. He does not only bake and sell bread, he also shares some of his recipes with his readers. Those recipes are wonderful and he usually adds very helpful instructions and tips. Some weeks ago he published a recipe for a 100% rye sourdough bread. The best thing about this bread is that it contains no flour. It made from 100% cracked rye (rye chops, rye groats,  rye meal, or whatever you call the stuff in English). You know, this is my favourite kind of bread. It is similar to German pumpernickel, just not as sweet. It is so awesome because it has an amazingly rich flavour, lots of nutrients, is dense, chewy, and moist, and it keeps so well, that you could probably send it to your aunt in Australia by ship without doing any harm to it. I made two versions of this bread. First I followed the original recipe to the t. I liked the result and wanted to make a second bread. When I opened my flour cupboard in the evening to prepare the starter, there was no rye left. Of course. So I used spelt instead and I was very please with the result.

So I made a second loaf  with freshly milled spelt groats and a couple of sunflower seeds.

This one came out even better than the first. It’s like the organic bread from my all time favourite bakery at my parents’ place. It’s some seriously good stuff.

Bäcker Süpke’s bread made with spelt

Just like with any good bread, you need some time and patience to make this. And you should make this. You need to prepare the starter 20 hours before you start baking.

To make the starter: 150 g spelt groats 150 g water 1 tablespoon ripe sourdough starter (the stuff you keep in the fridge, also called “mother dough” or “mother starter”) Put all ingredients in a bowl, stir until combined, cover with a plate or plastic and let ferment in a warm place for 20 hours. This bread is not only made with a sourdough starter, it does as well contain a “Brühstück” (scald soak). For such a Brühstück grains and/or seeds are mixed with an equal amount of hot water. The soaked and softened grains add even more moisture to the bread. In this case the Brühstück is made from: 150 g spelt groats 150 g hot water Pour hot water over groats and let sit for 3 hours. After you’ve prepared your starter and have the Brühstück ready, you can start to make your bread. Whole Grain Spelt Bread with Sunflower Seeds (slightly adapted from this recipe) 300 g prepared starter 300 g Brühstück 150 g spelt groats 50 g sunflower seeds 125 g water 25 g sugar beet syrup or molasses (not blackstrap!) 10 g salt Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Knead until everything is well combined. The dough will not be like regular bread dough, but more like freshly prepared polenta or stiff oatmeal:

Let the dough rest for 30 minutes, so that the grains and seeds can absorb the water. Transfer to a bread pan (lined with parchment paper or grease well). Cover with plastic and sprinkle with spelt groats. Let rise for 2 hours. The bread probably won’t rise as much as bread made from hite flour. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 250°C (480°F). Bake the bread for then minutes, reduce heat to 180°C (350°F) and bake for another 50-60 minutes. Remove from oven and let the bread rest for 24 hours before slicing. Top with your favourite vegan cheese or sausage, eggless egg salad, chickpea salad, Tartex or sunflower seed spread, etc.

Guten Appetit! By the way, would anybody be interested in a blog post about how to make your own sourdough starter?

This entry was submitted to Susan’s YeastSpotting.

42 thoughts on “Amazing whole grain (no flour) sourdough spelt bread

  1. I would love to try this recipe, but I don’t know how to obtain spelt groats. I buy whole spelt and grind it with an electric mill to make spelt bread, but the flour is fine, and the mill doesn’t have a coarse setting. How would I make groats from my whole spelt?

    1. I am sorry, but you need a mill to make groats. If you can find them, you could substitute wheat or rye groats. Or you could try to use whole spelt instead. In that case, it may be necessary to adjust the soaking time for the grains.

  2. Can you make this without the syrup? Also is this recipe good for diabetic people? I want to make a bread for my mother with absolutely no flour or sugar added

    1. Yes, you can leave out the syrup.
      I am not a nutritionist and I can’t really give you advice here. But my father is a diabetic and he eats this kind of bread all the time. Since the carbs are complex, I guess it is okay? It is a healthy food.

  3. Thanks very much for the reply, Mihl. Let me be sure that I was supposed to use the whole groats for the first splet starter. Or should I have ground them into a flour? Maybe that’s where I went wrong.

      1. I am referring to the first step “To make the starter:”

        150 g spelt groats
        150 g water
        1 tablespoon ripe sourdough starter (the stuff you keep in the fridge, also called “mother dough” or “mother starter”)

        The directions do say to use spelt groats. I assumed whole, so that is what I did. But then I thought I was wrong because the result after 20 hrs is nothing like “mousse au chocolat.” It more like whole spelt groats lounging in a milky bath (water + 1T sd starter). It does have a nice sour smell though. No bubbles, no activity – just soaked groats.

  4. Dear Mihl,

    I bookmarked this recipe when I first saw it, then ventured to make my own sd starter after that more recent post. I started this bread recipe this morning and wonder if you could provide some guidelines in terms of what activity to watch for in the first mix of groats, water, and starter. I see no activity about 4 hours into the 20. If my starter wasn’t active enough, should I maybe add more than 1 tablespoon to get things moving?
    Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Erica, there won’t be any visible activity for a couple of hours. I’d say it takes at least 12. But that depends on the weather and other factors. And a starter made from groats won’t rise as much as one made from flour. After 20 hours it should have risen and be a bit airy, like mousse au chocolat. It should smell pleasantly sour and taste sour, too. Adding more than one tablespoon of starter in the beginning will also influence the taste. The more starter you use in the beginning, the stronger the sour taste of the bread. If you are unsure about your starter, you can also add a tiy bit of instant yeast to the final bread dough. About 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon. Hope that helps.

  5. I’m slowly catching up on what I have missed out on while I was away, and I’m so glad to see other people were here to say “yes!” to a post about making your own sourdough starter (and I see it’s up already, yay!).
    This bread looks awesome! I’ll have to see if I can find cracked spelt (or even whole spelt) around here. I don’t remember seeing it, but then again, I have not really ever been looking for it. Now, I have a very good reason to want some!

  6. The loaf looks awesome! I really enjoy sourdough and so far my mother starter has been working out fine for me, but I definitely wouldn’t mind reading a post about your method of making/maintaining one. Thanks, Mihl!

  7. That looks so great! You always inspire me to try making my own bread….I just have to get off my lazy butt and do it :)

  8. That looks like another winner! I am always impressed by your bread baking skills. I rarely make homemade bread because yeast intimidates me.

  9. I had no idea you could make bread without flour! Although, I guess, the starter contains flour, right? It looks deliciously dense–just the way I like my bread in the morning!

  10. hi mihl-
    this bread looks so very tasty, i cannot wait to try baking using only the groats! i cannot find good locally made bread here on maui so it’s about time i just do it myself.
    and this brand new theme is definitely working for you! peace, andrea

  11. oh my gosh, mihl… this bread looks amazing. I really really crave this kind of bread. You just can’t find anything like it around here. Everything is white flour, or some fluffy little whole wheat bread… I want substance! I’d love a post on how to make sourdough starter, because that’s always a stopping point for me, if I need some on hand. By the way, if you want to experiment with shipping overseas…
    :)

  12. That looks absolutely georgous. I love baking but I am too scared to prepare a sourdough starter. I like the German “Doppelback” and miss it a lot. :)

    lg Netty

  13. Another design change? :) I changed mine today too ^^

    I love pumpernickel! When me moved to Spain, my mother couldn’t stand the Spanish white bread, so she used to buy pumpernickel in the German supermarket (now she got used to the white bread, but still buy pumpernickel). I have never tried to bake with a starter though :O

    PS: About the stop motion, it didn’t take me so much time. I spent about 2 hours walking (but not always taking photos. For the stop motion part I walked about 15 minutes). It took me much more time to find how to upload it in HD quality than to make the video itself xD

  14. I can’t tell you how long I’ve been looking for a seriously hearty, dense bread, pretty much exactly like this one! I don’t think it could be more prefect. Thank you so much for the recipe, I’m totally psyched to make it asap!

  15. you totally rock the bread world, lady. i love the sourdough theme, and it’s really cool you’ve been able to make all these breads with no flour.
    i definitely want to try the sunflower seed version… yum!

  16. Beautiful bread–the second version you made looks moist and delish. AND, yes, pahleeese do a post on how to make a sourdough starter–I would be oh-so-grateful. I am such a novice bread baker–just the word itself scares me to death and adds all sorts of confusion to the matter of bread baking–at least for me it does! Thanks, Mihl!

  17. Brilliant! I LOVE sourdough and I LOVE spelt bread. What a fabulous combination! This will also be perfect for me right now, as my mom is intolerant to most flours and wheat, yet she can tolerate spelt!

  18. Yum!! That looks amazing! I am super interested in making bread without flour but I had largely convinced myself that it couldn’t be done at home. Thanks for proving me wrong!! :) I would love to see a post on how to make the starter too.
    -K

  19. You are the queen of patience when it comes to making bread. This looks and sounds fabulous, and I hope to give it a try, but first I have to make a new starter. And then change the recipe to cups!

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