Anyway, after watching the hens scratching around for a while (I can totally understand why people keep chickens - they are so funny and engaging even when they aren't your own!) I spent a good while in the shop/tearoom deciding which of the many flours I would like to buy. I did try and be restrained, but, in the end I wasn't!!! One of the many flours I came away with was a wholemeal spelt and this is the first one I baked with.
I have a very loving and caring and well trained(!) family, and T bought me The River Cottage Bread Handbook by Daniel Stevens. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading through it and although this loaf didn't come from the book, I have used the shaping technique explained on pages 56-57. I generally use the technique given by Dan Lepard in his book The Handmade Loaf to shape by loaves into batons, but fancied giving a new technique a go. I'm really pleased with the shape of the resulting loaf. The technique for shaping is slightly more involved, with more steps, but I think that the rolling and stretching, rerolling and shaping and so on gives the surface of the loaf a greater tension, which in turn means that the slashes open more and the loaf retains its shape better. I would probably get better shaped loaves using any technique I cared to try if I made more of an effort to not let them over-proove and therefore have a slight tendency to spread out rather than spring up in the oven, but hey-ho!
For this loaf I used a soaked flour (hmm, can't think of the correct terminology here) method, and adapted to what I wanted.
I have to admit that although it tastes really lovely, I can't particulary tell that spelt has a significantly different flavour from normal wheat flour. I think that perhaps if I used 100% spelt I might be able to tell the difference. Using 50% white flour did make the dough much easier to work than a 100% wholemeal dough. I made spelt and white rolls with rosemary ages ago, blogged about here when I'd only recently started making my own bread. From what I remember they were much more solid than this loaf - perhaps a reflection of my improving skills in bread making!!! The loaf had a lovely crunchy crust and a soft, moist crumb and I'll definitely be making it again.