Spelt Buns – Do I Need to Knead Spelt?

Gavin WrenBaking, Food Techniques, Recipes, Spelt & ancient grains

I've always wondered if I need to knead spelt dough, because it never seemed to make much difference. So I've done a side by side bake test to see if you really need to knead!
Throughout my blog, I've declared that there's no need to knead spelt dough.

This pearl of wisdom originated several years ago from a source that I've entirely forgotten, yet, as I create more spelt recipes for my blog, I've begun to question it.
It's all about the gluten
Roger Saul, in his Sharpham Park 'Spelt' book, says to knead spelt dough for 10 minutes in every recipe. I was surprised to read this, it seems excessive, however, I also realise that he grows the stuff and sells it in supermarkets, so I was interested to see what benefit this really has.

All varieties of wheat (including spelt) contain two proteins, gliaden and glutenin, which if combined with water and kneaded, create a complex protein known as gluten. Gluten is what gives dough it's elasticity and stretchability, resulting...come and read more...

Spelt Focaccia

Gavin WrenBaking, Recipes, Spelt & ancient grains

Tender, fresh, homemade Italian spelt focaccia, studded with rosemary sprigs and drizzled with olive oil. The job of baking bread at home may seem like an onerous task, but when it produces such beautifully tender, flavoursome bread, the ability to bake your own bread begins to feel more like a special privilege.
Twenty-six recipes. That's how many you'll find on my blog which feature spelt flour. With the inclusion of this recipe for spelt focaccia it's a total of twenty-seven on the list. Having created so many spelt recipes, I've become a bit of an expert on this ancient grain and today's recipe has drawn on that knowledge. This fresh, tender, aromatic homemade Italian spelt focaccia, studded with rosemary sprigs and drizzled with olive oil is simply beautiful and a treasure to adorn your table.

Yes, Italian Food, Again.
I love good Italian food, it holds a highly seductive allure for me, because when it's good, it's magical. The beauty is often in the simplicity of using great ingredients, then treating them with incredible respect. Unfortunately, it has historically seen some shocking handling at the mercy of the UK restaurant trade and via the over-spiced, over-flavoured... come and read more...

Chunky Butternut Squash and Lentil Soup

Gavin WrenRecipes, Soup, Vegan, Vegetarian

A filling and sustaining chunky soup loaded with goodness and hearty ingredients. This chunky butternut squash and lentil soup is a meal-in-a-bowl which virtually becomes a stew as the liquid is almost entirely soaked up by the lentils, chickpeas and squash. The Indian influenced spices have come in to play, featuring a warming host of flavours which will warm your cockles even when the temperature's so cold that the central heating doesn't. It's so good that it's my lunch bowl for the next three weeks, yes, I've just made a triple batch of this, giving me a happy fridge and freezer full of lunchtime joy.
Today I’ve got a fantastically filling, Indian influenced, chunky butternut squash and lentil soup with chickpeas that will keep your tummy filled, your body fuelled and your cockles warmed throughout the coldest days of the winter. Fantastic India. I’ve just returned from a truly beautiful holiday in Goa, India, where I spent three weeks doing yoga, laying by the sea, reading and travelling across the width of the country to the eastern city of Ranchi, to visit my 93 year old, Canadian resident great uncle. I rarely see him, as we’re separated by 4,368 miles and the Atlantic Ocean, but we had both travelled to India for our Christmas breaks this year, so travelling a mere 1,200 miles across India to see him was the itinerant equivalent of popping down the road to meet for a coffee. We had a lovely time and I hope I’m still flying to the…

Lemon & ginger spelt fruit bread

Gavin WrenBaking, Dairy free baking, No Added Sugar, Recipes, Spelt & ancient grains

spelt fruit bread
I have a personal rule regarding food that I make food for the blog, a promise to myself that I will not over-eat. Sounds simple, eh? You might think so, but sometimes I make dishes for the blog at peculiar times of the day or end up with way more food than I need, and I really don’t like wasting food. So, rather than engage in some kind of bacchanalian feast with it all, I try to do the right thing and save it for later, freeze it, or just eat it as my next meal. This is because at 37 years old I weigh nearly 5 stone (30kg) less than I did around my 30th Birthday and there’s no way I’m letting that weight sneak back in without me noticing. This soupçon of personal restraint provides me with an infallible indicator of a recipe’s success, and that’s if it…

Banana Coconut Cake – dairy free and low gluten

Gavin WrenBaking, Dairy free baking, Recipes, Spelt & ancient grains, Vegetarian

Cooked banana coconut cake
Today I have another chapter for you in what has become the low gluten, spelt baking zone of my blog. But this time, I’m not going to give you a long lecture on bananas. No, not at all, I’m just going to stick to the facts and the recipe. But I will say, make sure your bananas are brown and very, very soft before you try and make this cake. And here’s a quick photo of one, y’know, just for reference. OK, that’s better. Cake or bread? So, banana cake, or as most of the world would say, banana bread. Why does everyone call it bread? Does it have yeast in it? No. Does it have water in it? No. Does it look and taste like a cake? Yes. The only trait that many banana ‘breads’ share with traditional bread is baking them in a loaf tin, which by no…