Sprouted Artisan Bread

I was taught to make basic bread before I can remember, and doing anything with dough brought enough satisfaction and motivation to more than make up for the accumulation of dirty dishes.

Nothing made my eyes glow in the kitchen like donning my small apron and mixing up a batch of bread. The mysterious qualities of flour, water, salt and yeast never ceased to fascinate and delight me. (That intrigue still continues to this day.)

I was perfectly content with this arrangement until, years later, I spent time in Europe. The crusty, caramel colored loaves with a clean, rich flavor had me immediately addicted. I came home loaded with as much bread as I could squeeze into my luggage, determined to learn to bake something with the same incredible taste and texture I had come to love.

This recipe is one I make several times a week, using different variations for fun. It has the thick, crispy crust and amazing flavor just like the small, artisan bakeries of Europe.

With a piece of bread in your hand you’ll find paradise under a pine tree. — Proverb

INGREDIENTS

2 cups One Degree Organics Sprouted Spelt Flour
1 cup baking flour / white flour
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 1/2 cup water

DIRECTIONS

Mix dry ingredients thoroughly.

Add the 1 1/2 cup of water and mix well. A very sticky dough will form. Do not over-mix, simply ensure that everything is well-blended.

Move the dough to a clean bowl and cover with foil or plastic wrap. Let sit at room temperature for 8-12 hours.

After 8+ hours has elapsed, gently fold the dough over on itself in the bowl with a spatula. Prepare a well-floured board and scrape the dough onto it. With well-floured hands gently form the dough into a round/oval shape.

Cover with a loose towel and let rise for 1-2 hours.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. Place your dutch oven in the cool oven to heat up.

Once the dutch oven is fully heated and the dough is done rising, remove the dutch oven and carefully place the loaf inside. There are some variations you can do which will create different patterns on the bread:

– Placing the bread seam side up will create a rough, rustic look on the top of the loaf.

– Placing the bread seam side down will give a smooth top on the loaf.

– Using a knife you can slice patterns on the top which will give a nice variation.

Depending on your oven, let the bread bake with the lid of the dutch oven on for 20-25 minutes. Remove lid and bake for another 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove and let cool.

Some variations:
– Try using different combinations of flour (sprouted spelt or whole wheat, rye flour and ancient grains).
– Raisin, cinnamon and walnuts.
– Cranberry, lemon, cinnamon and walnuts.
– Dill and garlic.