Honeyed Spelt and Oat Levain #BreadBakers

We are heading toward year's end with a Harvest themed bake!  There are usually some things in season all the time, and it just depends on where you are what that particular commodity happens to be.  Cold crops can go through winter depending on your setup.  We are right at the end of apple harvest here in Puget Sound.  Incidentally, I did not choose apples this month, but if you want a fantastic apple yeast bread, go check this one out!  I went with honey and grains, which technically finished up a month or so ago, but that means supplies are very readily accessible and fresh right now.  We have a number of fairly local graineries and lots of very local honey options.  My folks have finally decided they are getting too old to deal with cumbersome and heavy hives anymore, so no more gallons of amazing free honey for me, boo hoo!  We will ration out what remains of the last harvests.  Honey lasts for centuries.

I've made this loaf before and we love it.  Crispy crust and lovely, chewy and moist crumb.  It has a semi-sticky dough with the fresh ground spelt, lightly sifted. It's a leisurely dough built and formed over a couple days.  I actually bumped up the salt a few grams because of the sweetness of the honey.  This is not a salty loaf.  The flavor of the grains will come out especially when baked until the crust is nicely caramelized.  It is delightful fresh and then wonderful toasted.  My kids particularly love it on the first day with the crispy crust and soft, chewy crumb.

This recipe is flexible on timing and can be done in a day, but the flavor is always better with the overnight rest in the fridge.  I have made this with both spelt and emmer and really love the rich, nutty flavor of the spelt.  Emmer is a somewhat coarser whole grain and the gluten is more likely to be cut by the bran while kneading, resulting in a tighter crumb.  Still tasty though!


Honeyed Spelt and Oat Levain
makes 2 loaves or one large boule

Leaven (starter):
30g 100% hydration starter
40g water
40g whole spelt flour

140g rolled oats
275g boiling water

Final Dough:
110g leaven
245g water
all the soaker
45g honey
105g whole spelt flour
445g bread flour
14g salt

Build the starter leaven 8 to 10 hours before making the dough.  Stir together the starter and water in a bowl until it is broken up. Add the flour and mix until smooth. Cover and let proof at room temperature. While that is set aside, make the soaker by measuring out the oats and adding the boiling water. Cover and let sit until ready to make the final dough.

Once the starter leaven is active and puffy, add the water for the dough, soaker, and honey, and stir to combine. Add the flours and mixed by hand until all the flour has been hydrated and there are no lumps remaining. Cover and let rest for 20 minutes. Sprinkle the salt over the dough and then thoroughly mix in with your hands. Cover and let proof for 3 to 4 hours, turning and folding every 30 to 45 minutes.

Divide and pre-shape the dough once it is puffy and almost doubled in size after turning out onto a well-floured surface. Cover and let it rest for 10 to 30 minutes.  Form the loaves into the final desired shape and place on a well floured couche or banneton.  Cover and refrigerate for 8 to 12 hours.

Remove the loaves from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature. While the loaves are warming, preheat the oven and baking stone to 500°F.  Once the oven has preheated and stabilized, gently turn the loaves out onto a parchment lined baking peel. Score the loaves as desired and place about 75 to 80 g of hot water into an oven safe dish.  Place the water dish on the rack below the baking stone. Spray the walls of the oven with water, taking care to avoid the light bulb, and slide the loaves onto the hot baking stone. Immediately shut the door and bake for 2 to 3 minutes. Open the door and very quickly spray the walls again with water. Shut and bake for 5 to 7 minutes before turning the heat down to 450° F.  Bake for another 20 to 30 minutes until the crust is a deep, dark brown and the loaf sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom. It should be between 200 to 205° F inside when fully baked.  Allow to cool fully on a rack before slicing.

Made with emmer.

Made with spelt.

Brilliant nutty flavor from the spelt.

Be sure to check out the rest of our bakes:


 #BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. 



  1. I have some spelt in my freezer. I'm excited to pull it out and make this delicious sounding loaf.

  2. I'm with your kids. I love this loaf with its crunchy exterior! I also have spelt in the pantry so will definitely be giving it a try.

  3. That crumb is amazing. I need to break out my spelt and get baking!

  4. Wow that looks a delicious bread. Love the crust and the lovely golden colour


Post a Comment

Thanks for commenting, I love hearing from you! If you have any questions I will do my level best to answer them for you.