I don’t often post on food but over the weekend I tried out making bread rolls with wholemeal spelt flour for the first time, and it worked well, so I thought I’d share the receipe.  In fact my receipe and method are closely based on the bloomer loaf receipe given by Paul Hollywood on the BBC website (http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/paul_hollywoods_bloomer_84636) with a few tweaks here and there.

1. First I made a ‘sponge’ using 375g of wholemeal spelt flour and 125g of plain white wheat flour, the  full receipe quantity of yeast and half the receipe quantity of liquid.  I replaced some of the wholemeal spelt with white wheat flour mostly because though our family all enjoy wholemeal bread, none of us like it especially dense and ‘worthy’ when it comes to making sandwiches, so my hope was that a mixture would lighten things up a little.  I would guess that using white bread flour instead of plain would work even better, but I didn’t have any in the house – and the result seemed to work anyway!  I used milk rather than water for the liquid, which also seems to work well, so long as the sponge is given a good length of time to rise (6-8 hours).

2. I then added the other ingredients listed as in the Hollywood bloomer receipe, but with the addition of two heaped teaspoons of clear honey.  If you like your wholemeal bread to taste quite savoury, you could leave this bit out, but personally I like the slightly sweeter taste with wholemeal.  The extra honey made the dough slightly stickier than normal, but a bit of extra kneading time seemed to do the trick.  By accident (and largely because I was trying to multi-task) I found that a few minutes’ kneading followed by a few minutes’ resting for the dough, repeated a few times, made the dough softer, more elastic and less sticky to work with each time.

3. I then continued to follow the method for the bloomer receipe.  Because spelt flour doesn’t have such a strong gluten content, I found it was really critical to give the dough its full rising time, until it was fully three times the size of the ball of dough I originally started with, as Paul Hollywood’s receipe suggests.

4. I cut and shaped the dough into twelve rolls.  Unexpectedly for spelt, I found the dough pleasingly elastic, and quite evenly translucent when I stretched a piece of dough up to the light.  Perhaps that was down to the substitution of 1/4 of the quantity of spelt for white flour.

5. I then left the rolls a good length of time to rise – just over an hour from memory.

6. I then baked the rolls on 200 degrees celsius in a fan oven for 20 minutes (making steam in a pan in the bottom of the oven, as in the receipe linked above) and then checked how they were doing.  Our electric oven can be a bit of a blunt instrument when it comes to bread, so at 20 minutes I took out those which were most browned and gave the others 4 minutes longer, which seemed to do the trick.  The tops should very dark brown, but without any indication of burning.