The Gourmandise Signature Spelt Bread


If you’ve taken a morning or evening class with us you were likely greeted with one of our sourdough loaves. We make a couple dozen of our signature Spelt loaves weekly and freeze them, popping them in the oven to crisp up while we prep your class to go with coffee in the mornings. The only things you really need to make this bread are a scale, large bowl, some sourdough starter (which you can always pick up from us at the school) and a Dutch oven or pizza stone for baking. Read on over here for tips on making the perfect bread. You can pick up the gorgeous Spelt flour that Nan Kohler mills in Pasadena for a stunning result (we carry it at the school)! This recipe makes two loaves and was adapted from Ken Forkish’s Flour, Water, Salt and Yeast book.




  • 25g Starter *
  • 100g Water, at room temperature
  • 75g All purpose flour
  • 50g Whole wheat flour


  • 500g All purpose flour
  • 400g Whole grain Spelt flour
  • 700g Water, at room temperature
  • 25g Sea salt
  • of your Levain



  1. Mix the starter, water and flours together and leave, covered, on a counter for 6 HOURS.
    *Your starter is active and ready to use if it floats in a cup of water. This levain recipe is the same amounts I use to feed our starter.


  1. Get a jar or cup large enough to hold your hand, fill it with water and put it near your work station. Place the water and flours together in a large bowl or tub and, with a wet hand, mix just until the flours absorb the water. Dump the levain and salt over the dough and let it sit, covered, for 30 MINUTES.
  2. Wet your hand and mix the levain and salt into the dough. This process will take about 5 minutes to incorporate well and can happen in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Once incorporated, cover the dough and let is sit at room temperature, covered for 30 MINUTES.
  3. It’s time to knead! This wet dough is too knead traditionally, so we strengthen the dough with stretches and folds. Grab your dough from underneath with a wet hand and stretch it out to the side of the bowl, then slap it down over the other side of the dough. The dough may tear at the start, but as you turn the bowl a quarter turn and repeat several times, you’ll notice it strengthening as your stretch it out. Repeat the stretch and folds, turning the bowl a quarter turn after each stretch, for about 8 turns. Let the dough sit, uncovered, for 30 MINUTES.
  4. Repeat the stretch and folds and let the dough sit, uncovered, for 30 MINUTES.
  5. Repeat the stretch and folds and let the dough sit, uncovered, for 30 MINUTES.
  6. Now it’s time for the bulk rise. You can go to work or go to bed, because the dough will slowly, verrrry slowly, expand to nearly three times its size at room temperature for about 8 hours (a little more like 10 if it’s cold out). Let the dough sit in a tub at least double its size, covered, for 8 HOURS.
  7. Let’s get ready to shape! Grab two bowls lined with flour sack or thin linen towels or two of those pretty cane banneton (for a pretty spiral effect) and dust them liberally with white rice flour (preferred) or all purpose flour. If you’re using bowls, be sure to use bowls that are narrow and deep rather than wide and shallow in order to encourage your bread to rise up instead of out.
  8. Lightly flour your work surface and dump the dough onto it. Divide the dough in half. You are now going to turn your blobs of slack dough into nice, taught rounds. Fold the sides of the dough over themselves (a little like what you were doing with the stretch and folds) like a package. Flip the dough onto your surface so those seams face down and tuck and roll the bottom of the dough, traveling the bottom of the dough across your work surface to make it nice and taught. If you used too much flour, the dough will slide back and forth instead of grabbing onto the table, helping the sides to gather and get taught.
  9. Repeat with the other dough and flip your doughs seam-side up into your flours bowls or banneton. Cut two piece of parchment paper rectangles the size of a regular cookie sheet. Dust the top of your dough and place the parchment over it. Proof your bread for 3 hours.
  10. While the dough is proofing, get your oven ready. You can bake your bread in a Dutch oven, large cast iron skillet with a metal bowl that fits snugly over it or a pizza stone. Place any of these items in your oven and turn it on to 425 about 30 minutes before you plan on baking. You will be baking one loaf at a time unless you have two Dutch ovens or a very large pizza stone.
  11. Remove your Dutch oven or cast iron skillet from the oven and take the lid off. Place a plate over the parchment paper and flip the dough onto the plate. Pick up the sides of the parchment and drop the dough into the Dutch oven or skillet, immediately placing the cover back on and putting them into the oven at 425F. Bake for 30 minutes, then remove the lid and finish baking until a lovely dark brown color shows. Remove the pan from the oven, then to bread and repeat with the second loaf.
  12. If you are baking on a pizza stone, flip the dough onto a plate and slide the parchment paper with the dough on it directly onto the stone. Close the oven door and bake until the bread looks nearly burnt.