Ever wonder where our rustic breads made with oat and spelt flour originated? The ancient Greeks and Romans made a variety of breads with white and dark flours. However, ancient Gaul (modern-day France) is the rock star for delicious recipes made with grains. Spelt was high on their foods’ list. Here’s a recipe for oat-spelt bread from my July 23 & 24 historic culinary course, Feasts & Opulence in Roman Gaul, at the Getty Villa, Los Angeles. Check out my KCET interview for this course here-
Due to organic spelt and oat flours, this bread is not only healthy but also light in texture. Once you taste this grainy, honey-sweetened bread, you won’t want the ready-made stuff anymore.
Active prep time: 30 minutes (mixing and assembling dough)
Inactive prep time: 60 minutes (two 30-minute dough risings)
Bake time: 25 to 30 minutes
1 tablespoon (1 envelope) Rapid Rise Yeast®, dissolved in 3/4 cup warm water and set aside to rise for 10 minutes
1 cup organic oat flour
2 cups organic sprouted spelt flour
1-1/2 to 2 cups organic, all-purpose, unbleached white flour 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1-1/2 to 2 cups warm water
3 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup raw oatmeal (for garnish)
Directions for Preparing the Dough:
1. Combine the oat, spelt and all-purpose flour in a large, shallow mixing bowl.
2. Stir in the salt
3. Make a well in center of dry ingredients.
4. Pour in the risen yeast-water mixture, 1 more cup of water, honey and olive oil into the well.
5. Using a fork, mix the wet ingredients until combined.
6. Gently mix in, a little at a time, flour from the inner sides of the well.
7. Each time you mix in some flour, make sure to blend it well into the wet ingredients.
8. Gather flour from sides of well in small amounts until a soft dough has formed. If dough is too
dry, add water in 1/4 cup increments until it amalgamates and becomes soft.
9. If dough is too wet and sticky, add flour in small amounts until the dough is uniform and you
can gather it. The dough should be soft and smooth.
10. With lightly-floured hands, gently knead the dough inside bowl, adding small amounts of
flour, until it is smooth and elastic.
11. Set dough aside on a floured surface while you oil the bowl.
12. Return dough to the oiled bowl and cover it with aluminum foil or a clean kitchen towel.
13. Set the dough aside for 30 minutes to rise.
Directions for Shaping & Baking the Bread:
1. After 30 minutes, punch down the dough in center.
2. Lift dough out of bowl and place dough on a parchment-lined 18 X 12-inch baking sheet.
3. Gently flatten and stretch out the dough to a 10-inch circle.
4. Cover the dough again and let it rise for an additional 20 to 30 minutes.
5. After 20 to 30 minutes, preheat oven to 400°F.
6. Meanwhile, oil a sharp knife and score the dough into eight wedges.
7. Sprinkle the bread dough with the raw oatmeal.
8. When oven is preheated, place baking sheet with bread dough on rack positioned in center of oven.
9. Bake the bread for 25 minutes (ovens vary in baking time).
10. After 25 minutes, test doneness of bread by lifting the bottom with a spatula. It should look golden brown. If bottom of bread is not golden brown, bake it for 5 more minutes.
Text and Photograph ©2015 Nancy DeLucia Real