This bread has a thick chewy crust with a silky interior crumb. I really like the spelt flour, because it adds a nuttiness to the finished loaf and compliments the walnuts and raisins nicely. Sometimes this loaf rises really slowly, especially if your levain isn’t quite as active or if it is cold in your home. If this is the case you can add an 1/8 tsp. of instant yeast as a kind of back-up insurance for a higher rise.
- 260 g levain (refreshed with equal parts water and flour 4-8 hours before using)
- 200 g whole spelt flour
- 260 g bread flour
- 30 g rye flour
- 295 g water
- 12 g salt
- 70 g raisins
- 40 g toasted walnuts
- Combine together the water and levain in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the flours and mix until the flour is incorporated and no bits of dry flour remain. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rest for 20-30 minutes.
- Add the salt to your dough and begin kneading either by hand or stand mixer. If you are kneading by hand it will take 10-15 minutes for the dough to come together into a nice smooth and elastic dough. If you are kneading by stand mixer you will need to start on speed 2 and knead for 3-4 minutes then increase the speed to 4 for another 3-4 minutes. It will pass the windowpane test when it has been kneaded completely. Once the dough has been properly kneaded you can add in the fruit and nuts. Knead just enough to evenly distribute the raisins and nuts.
- Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. After 30 minutes remove the dough from the bowl and give the dough a business letter turn (fold the dough into thirds, then into thirds again) and return to the bowl for another 30 minutes. Give the dough one more business letter fold then allow to rise for 1-2 hours or until it is almost doubled in bulk. It is a wild yeast dough so it may not rise as much as a dough that utilizes commercial yeast.
- When the dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured counter and pre-shape it into a rough round. Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes so that the gluten will relax and make it easier to finish shaping. Make sure to cover the dough with lightly oiled plastic wrap so that it doesn’t dry out while resting.
- Shape the dough into either a boule or a batard shape. Place seam side up in a well floured banneton, brotform or dough rising basket. If you don’t have any of these you can use a heavily floured line cloth that is placed in a colander or medium sized bowl. Drape lightly oiled plastic wrap over the dough and allow to rise for until almost doubled in bulk about 60-90 minutes.
- About 1 hour before baking preheat your oven to 500 degrees with a baking stone positioned on the middle shelf and a small cast iron skillet placed on the floor of the oven or on the lowest shelf.
- Turn your dough out onto a well floured baking peel or an inverted baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. Slide your loaf off of the peel or baking sheet directly onto the baking stone. Quickly and carefully add 1/2 cup of water to the cast iron skillet and close the door. Allow the loaf to bake for 5 minutes before turning the temperature down to 480 degrees, continue baking for 20 minutes. Finally turn the oven down one more time to 425 and continue baking for another 15-20 minutes. The loaf should be a dark brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. An internal temperature of the dough will read about 210 degrees. Allow the loaf to cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.