These spelt rolls have a wonderful lightly nutty flavor, tender crumb and are perfect for lunch or as a side to a meal. Pair these soft yeast-based bread rolls with butter, cheese or other favorites to let their flavor shine.
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Making my own bread is often one of those things that I like the idea of doing but don’t manage to do quite as often as I might like. I’m more likely to manage pizza now and then (which the kids loved as we often paired it with movie night back in Cambridge).
Now, though, since we like most people are in home a whole lot more, it’s that bit easier to make some. And since ‘regular’ flour seems to be in short supply for many, including us, it’s also a great opportunity to experiment.
I found, and you might too, that less typical flours like spelt flour, buckwheat flour and almond flour are not flying off the shelves quite as quickly. And each has certain benefits over processed white flour as well.
What is spelt?
Spelt is an ancient form of wheat that was considered a peasant staple from Bronze Age to Medieval times. It was particularly popular in central Europe before it went out of fashion in the 19th century, but it has been re-emerging more recently.
Germany and Austria is one of the areas you’ll find it most commonly today. Dried unripe grains, “grunkern”, are popular to add texture to breads for example. It’s also used in the Netherlands as the base for making the spirit Jenever.
Is it a whole grain?
Spelt, like ‘regular’ wheat flour comes in both the more processed white and wholegrain form. It contains gluten, but a bit less than standard wheat. Wholegrain spelt flour is similar in nutritional value to whole wheat flour, but with a couple of bonuses.
First, it has a slightly higher mineral content but it is also found by many to be more easily digestible than wheat flour. The other plus is it tends to make more of a gently sweet, nutty bread rather than slightly bitter, as whole wheat flour can be.
Tips for baking with spelt
The only downside to spelt is it has a weaker gluten structure so the bread can feel like it doesn’t really hold firm. It will maybe feel like the dough is running away on the baking sheet as you set a formed loaf/roll down. It’s also pretty soft as you knead it. On the plus side, you don’t need to knead it all that long and it tastes lighter than its floppiness might suggest.
As a result, a great place to start using it is to use 50-50 with plain wheat flour. While still soft, it makes loaves , or rolls, that hold their shape better, as I have gone for here. You still get the lovely gently nutty flavor and health benefits of the wholegrain spelt compared to a plain white loaf.
In case you are tempted, you could make these with all spelt flour, too. However, I’d recommend if you do, use a mould of some kind. I’d suggest a bread tin for a loaf, or small skillet for rolls, for example. Even still, the rolls or loaf will probably still be a little ‘flat’. But while hearty, they have a nice soft texture and flavor.
You could easily make this as a loaf of bread if you prefer, but we loved them as rolls. We served them with some butter and cheese, plus they also paired perfectly with some semi-sundried tomatoes (and I think next time I need to make some slow roasted tomatoes as well as they’d be great too).
These flavorful spelt rolls are such lovely, delicious little bites that are perfect for lunch or alongside a main meal. So practice your bread-making skills and give them a try!
Try these other tasty bread recipes:
- Japanese milk bread – a lovely incredibly soft white loaf
- Sourdough rye bread – another mixed grain bread with a great flavor
- Sprouted wheat bread – another with similarities to this, being both slightly nutty and for some easier to digest
- Plus get more bread and other side dish recipes in the archives.
- 1 cup all purpose flour 140g plain flour (see note below)
- 1 cup wholegrain spelt flour 140g
- 1 tsp instant yeast fast acting yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp honey
- 3/4 cup water lukewarm, 180ml
- Mix together the flours, yeast and salt. Add the oil, honey and warm water and mix so that is comes together. Try not to mix too much, if possible. Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface and gently knead it.
- Knead the dough for a couple of minutes to stretch the dough a little and avoid it being too sticky. It won't need as much as some breads, but a little will help. Add some extra flour as needed as it may be a little sticky. It will still be soft, but you don't want it to constantly stick to your hands.
- Lightly oil a large bowl then put the dough inside, cover and transfer to a warm, draft-free spot. It shouldn't be hot, but an oven that has almost cooled will be great and will reduce the rising time. Leave to roughly double in size, around 1 hour depending on how warm it is.
- Once it has risen, tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knock it back (press into the dough with your fingers a few times to get out the excess bubbles). Divide into 6 equal pieces.
- Line a baking sheet/tray with parchment. Form each piece of dough into a ball with lightly floured hands and place on the parchment with at least 1 1/2inches/4cm between them. Cover with a cloth and leave to rise a little more for approx 30 minutes. During this time, preheat the oven to 465F/240C.
- Bake the rolls for approximately 15 minutes until they are brown and sound hollow when you turn it over and tap the bottom. Allow to cool a few minutes before using.
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