The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Wheat-Spelt with Fennel and Tarragon

CrustyJohn's picture

Wheat-Spelt with Fennel and Tarragon

I've been needing to re-stock on whole wheat flour for a while, but I haven't been able to a good a good whole wheat flour from a local or regional small farm/mill.  After a number of weeks getting by without, doing a lot of porridge loaves for something interesting, I caved and bought a bag of Bob's Red Mill whole wheat to tide me over.  It seemed a good occasion to try another whole wheat heavy loaf.

I've heard that spelt ferments fast, so I though perhaps adding it in later might be a good idea.


300g (50%) Bob's Red Mill hard red whole wheat

150g (25%) Redtail Grains Sungold Spelt

150g (25%) bread flour

480g (80%) water

55g starter (9%)

4 tsp salt

1 tbsp fennel seeds

2 sprigs of tarragon


1. mix all of whole wheat flour with 280g water, autolyze 1.5 hr (room temp. high 60s/low70s)

2. mix starter with 100g water, mix in all of bread flour, pinch bread flour into whole wheat flour. "autolyse" 1 hr.

3. pinch in salt- stretch and fold every 30min, 1.5hr

4. mix all of spelt with 100g water.  stretch out whole wheat + bread flour dough, spread spelt dough over it, fold 

5. stretch out dough sprinkle fennel seed and tarragon over dough, fold.  continue stretch and folds over next 1.5 hr

6. continue bulk ferment overnight 9 hrs. (temp. low 60s) 

7. shape

8. retard in refrigerator 12 hrs.

9. Bake: 500 20min., uncovered 10 min., 450 40min., let cool in turned off oven


It's been quite a while since I've worked with a mass market whole wheat flour. I was surprised at how strong of a dough it formed just by itself, even before adding the bread flour.  I guess I've gotten used to lower gluten content stone milled flours that are a bit more finicky to work with.  I was pleased with how manageable this dough was.  


Benito's picture

Lovely loaf John with a fine crumb for 75% whole grain.  How strong were the fennel seeds and tarragon?


CrustyJohn's picture

I think the fennel seed came out right on- it's a pleasant fennel-y taste that fits with the tannin flavor of the hard red whole wheat.  I'm not sure if I can detect the tarragon over those strong flavors. 

idaveindy's picture

If that spelt is whole grain, I'm in lurv with that loaf.

CrustyJohn's picture

The spelt is whole grain. It is from a small farm + mill and is more characteristic of what I'm familiar with stone ground flours.  The whole wheat is much finer and consistent- the bran seems to have been ground to the same consistency rather than remaining as flakes.  I was definitely pleased with how it came out.  I haven't done any comparison loaves- to know whether adding the spelt later actually makes a difference.