100% Spelt Sourdough

LeadDog's picture

I like making 100% Spelt Sourdough every now and then and thought it was time to write down the formula that I use. The Spelt flour I mill myself.  The milled flour is sifted to remove any large pieces so that I have a nice flour that is about 95% extraction.  The loaf turns out great!

I like fermenting it in an oval basket with a slash right down the middle.

The Dough

Ingredient Metric Imperial Baker's Percentage
Spelt Flour 633 grams 22.34 oz 100.00%
Water 431 grams 15.21 oz 68.09%
Salt 10 grams 0.35 oz 1.58%
Spelt Sourdough Starter 127 grams 4.48 oz 20.06%
Total Flour Weight:
633 grams

Percentages are relative to flour weight (flour equals 100%) and every other ingredient is a percentage of this. Flour from the starter is not counted. This recipe was originally in grams and has been automatically converted to other measures.


I use a 100% Spelt Starter at 80% hydration and add that to the water.  I break the starter up in the water so that the water turns milky in color.  Then I add the Spelt flour to the water and briefly mix until the dough is a shaggy mass.  The dough is then left to rest for 30 minutes.  The salt is then added and mixed into the dough.  The dough isn't mixed very long as the gluten  of Spelt isn't as strong as Wheat.  The dough is then turned out into an oiled bowl to bulk ferment.  Bulk fermenting will depend on the temperature of your dough and room.  I don't do stretch and folds on the Spelt dough as I'm not sure the gluten would handle it.  The dough is shaped and placed into an oval basket to finish up fermenting.  It is still the middle of winter so I got a nice long ferment here.  I do the poke test to check and see when the dough is ready to bake.  To me the dough gets a certain softness to it when it is ready to bake.  I bake the loaf at 460°F for 45 minutes with the first 30 minutes under a roasting pan.  Here is the crumb shot.

I like the nice open crumb I get with this bread.  It is hard to believe that it is almost 100% Whole Spelt.  The initial flavor has a little sweetness to but as you chew on it you get a little sour flavor. My coworkers really liked the bread and I never even told them that it wasn't Wheat.

441 users have voted.


Mariah 2011 February 21

 I love the look of the loaf. It looks chewy and maybe good dunking once in a while. I was wondering if it was heavy, as dense as it looks. I bought some spelt from Bob's to play around with. I have added only up to 1/2 cup to my breads. I can tell the difference in flavor and texture. I like it alot. Kind of an  exciting flavor. Thanks for posting the formula. I may try it. Right now a little spelt, a little rye are my favs. 

LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2011 February 21

 This is not a dense or heavy bread.  Look again and you will see the holes in the crumb.  There were some holes that would go all the way through of a slice of bread.  To me this has the openness of a Whole Wheat bread made at about 75% hydration.  I have thought about using a little more water but the current results are so good that I haven't changed a thing.  

I have never tried Bob's Spelt flour so I can't comment on how it will preform.  Some Spelt flour is very weak and will just make pancakes if you try to make bread with it.  Good Spelt flour makes great bread for those people who can't eat wheat.  Give it a try and have fun with it.

Krystyna 2016 July 19


Thanks for the great post. I was wondering if I did a autolyse prior to mixing with starter how long should it go?  Thanks for your infor - Cheers

farinam's picture
farinam 2016 July 21

Hello Krystyna,

I'm sure that you could do that.  Whatever you think normal or appropriate should be OK. 30, 40, 60 minutes.  Try it and see.

Good luck with your projects.


lionheartbread 2011 February 22

 Lovely looking loaf!  Can you give some indication of timing of bulk fermentation and final proofing with temperatures as guidance?  Thanks.

LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2011 February 22

 Sorry I just do the fermentation by feel.  It will be the same amount of time that you bulk ferment and proof any sourdough loaf that you are currently making.

lucyd 2011 February 23

Oh, that is a lovely loaf. I made a wholewheal/barley loaf yeasterday that had a very similar crumb to that one. I love baking with spelt and kamut. I have not made a spelt starter as yet - I may wean my wheat one on to spelt or make a new one up. I have previously just used my wheat starter for spelt loaves and they've been fine - last one I made was a spelt stollen at Xmas with a long cool ferment.


peregrine 2011 March 5
Adam T's picture
Adam T 2011 April 16

 FYI, we make a 100 % spelt, with yeast, at work. I have found that adding a couple folds to the bulk proofing process has yielded a much taller loaf. Using a hobart mixer, our mixing process is 5 min low speed: rest 10 minutes, add seeds. Mix until incorporated, then change to speed 2 for 5 minutes. Then, rest 30 minutes: fold, rest 30 minutes: fold. Proof 1 hour, divide and shape. Proof until doubled. 

Although, this is a Canadian flour, it may not produce the same results with you. 

HopesHope 2011 May 5

Thanks for introducing me to Spelt Flour, Lead Dog.   This is my most favourite bread.  The flavour is amazing.



Have you tried Quinoa Flour for making bread.   This is my new flour of the month and I want to try it in sourdough bakiing.  If ya have, is it as good as Spelt or Millet?

LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2011 May 5

 Yes I have tried Quinoa but only made a loaf with 10% of the flour was Quinoa.  The flavor is great and people at work really liked it.

yogaguerilla 2012 November 12

Hi LeadDog, this recipe looks exactly what I have been looking for. I have had no good results using 100% freshly ground Spelt.

I have a question for you,in regards to this:

'I bake the loaf at 460°F for 45 minutes with the first 30 minutes under a roasting pan.'

 what do you mean by putting the loaf under a roasting pan- do you mean it is placed upside down on the top of your bread as a lid? Sorry to be a pain...I just want to get it right, this Spelt sourdough malarky, or I swear I am going to give up.


I have been kneading my spelt dough and I gather from your instructions above that it is not necessary. Perhaps that is what has been going wrong for me.



LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2012 November 13

Yes the loaf is cooked the first 30 minutes under a roasting pan.  The pan is sprayed with water before I put it over the loaf.  This method traps the steam under the pan and is an alternive way to steaming the oven.  It is very easy and safe way for a home baker to make steam.

Emma 2013 July 7

Hi, this is my first post. I've been making sourdough for about 2 years now and am getting better and better results. My basic loaf is made with half white spelt and half wholemeal spelt flour and rye starter. I have recently introduced  2 book folds and have seen a huge improvement in the height / oven spring of my bread, so yes, the spelt can handle it no problem.  I am loving reading the posts on this site but goodness I can 'waste' some time doing it! 


Patti 2016 May 4

I'm in the process of making spelt sourdough starter. Today....day 4 I had a little spot of mold on the starter. Do I need to throw it all out and start over, or just remove the mold and keep going?


Manon T 2017 December 27

Just to state, I noticed several people saying spelt isn't wheat.... but it is! But its a very ancient wheat and therefore for wheat intolerants (like me), very tolerable. The body processes it easier :) but most places in europe (netherlands where I'm from) use spelt in combination almost always with wheat. But if made with 100% just spelt flour (and there different strains again too!), very tolerable for wheatintolerant people :D

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