Breads (Sourdough) - Soft Loaves

Spelt Soft Sourdough Bread

June 03, 2019 | Recipe by Bake with Paws
Spelt Soft Sourdough Bread

Spelt Soft Sourdough Bread

Spelt Soft Sourdough Bread

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Spelt is an ancient whole grain that is now making a come back as a health food.  Its claimed to be more nutritious and healthier than the white bread flour. 

I used 65% of spelt flour in this recipe and 58.3% of liquid.  The dough is more extensible, sticky and soft too if compared to bread flour. As you can see from the below method, I reduced the kneading time to 10 minutes instead of the usual 12-15 minutes that I usually knead my bread.  This is because spelt has a more delicate gluten structure that may be easily damaged if over kneaded.  

This Spelt Soft Sourdough Bread is very soft, moist and stays fresh longer.  However, it is a little crumbly if compared with the bread made from bread flour.  

An advantage of using the Yudane method is that the bread stays fresh much longer.  Please click "Bread Making Method" to understand more details on Yudane Method.

I have several Soft Sourdough Bread recipes that you may like.   Soft Sourdough Bread recipes.

If you have any questions regarding this recipe or any other post, please leave me a comment in the “LEAVE A COMMENT” link and I will reply you as soon as possible.  Do tag me on Instagram @Bakewithpaws if you attempt on this recipe.

How To Make Spelt Soft Sourdough Bread

Yields:  1 loaf 


Yudane Dough:
65g bread flour (I used Japan High Gluten Flour)
60g boiling water

Sweet Stiff Starter:
50g sourdough starter (100% Hydration), preferably use at its peak 
90g bread flour (I used Japan High Gluten Flour)
60g spelt flour
62.5g water
25g sugar (I used organic brown sugar)

Main Dough:
90g spelt flour
All sweet stiff starter (above)
All yudane dough
15g brown sugar (I used organic brown sugar)
1 tsp (5g) salt
45g egg, whisked (reserve 10g and add in the balance if the dough is dry), I used all 45g
30g butter, room temperature

Egg Wash:
1 egg + 1 Tbsp water, whisked

450g loaf pan (21.3 X 12.2 X 11.5 cm  /  8.4" X 4.8" X 4.5")

* I did not add more water/milk in the main dough as spelt flour absorbs less liquid compared with wheat flour.

  1. Yudane:
    1. Add bread flour in a bowl, pour the boiling water and mix well with spatula or spoon until no dry flour.
    2. Cling film and leave on the counter for at least 4 hours or overnight in the fridge.  I prepared the night before.
    3. Take out from the fridge 30 minutes before using to return to room temperature.
  2. Sweet Stiff Starter 
    1. Hand mix - 
      1. In a bowl, dilute starter and sugar with water, mix in flours to become a dough.   Transfer to a clear jar and cover.
    2. Machine Mix -
      1. In a bowl of stand mixer, dilute starter and sugar with water, then add in bread flour.  Mix with paddle attachment until well mixed and all come together.   Cover.
    3. Let it ferment until tripled. I prepared a night before and leave it in aircond room (approximately 24 - 25C room temperature) overnight until tripled.  It took about 8 - 9 hours depending on your starter.  It should take around 4 - 6 hours to get triple at room temperature at 28C - 30C. 
  3. Main Dough:
    1. Put all ingredients (except butter) into a bowl of stand mixer.  I usually torn the stiff starter and yudane dough slightly first.
    2. Slightly combine the mixture by hand with the paddle attachment before turning on the machine so that the flour will not splash out.  Using the paddle attachment, mix for about a minute or until all incorporated.  This step is critical to prevent  an uneven mixed dough as the stiff starter is rather hard and a dough hook may not be able to mix it well enough.
    3. Change to hook attachment and knead for another 2 -3 minutes at low speed #2 (KA) or until the dough comes together. Add in butter and continue knead for about 8 - 10 minutes at low speed #2 or until reach window pane stage.  The whole kneading process, I stopped few times to scrape down the dough from the hook to be sure it is evenly kneaded and also to prevent the motor from overheating.
    4. Please take note that spelt dough is more extensible, soft and sticky.  It requires less kneading time to achieve window pane stage too.  Spelt has a more delicate gluten structure that may be easily damaged if over kneaded.  
  4. 1st Proofing/Resting:
    1. In the same bowl, let the dough rest for 45 - 60 minutes. Keep it covered with clingfilm or use a lid.  This dough I rested for 1 hour at 28 - 29C room temperature and the dough rose slightly.
  5. Shaping:
    1. Transfer the dough to a clean floured surface then divide into 2 or 3 equal portions.  Please use a kitchen scale if you want to be exact.
    2. Form each portion to a ball.  Flatten with rolling pin.
    3. Fold right to centre and fold left overlap it.  Roll out with rolling pin into long rectangle shape. Roll up the dough like Swiss Roll until a small log is formed. 
    4. Place all dough in the prepared loaf pan.   
  6. Final Proofing 
    1. Let it proof in a warm place until the dough reaches about 0.5cm - 1 cm below the height of the pan.  This one took approximately 3 1/2 hours at room temperature of 30C.  The duration of proofing depends on your ambient temperature and starter.
  7. Baking:
    1. Preheat oven at 180C -190C (top & bottom heat) or 170C (fan-forced) for 10 - 15 minutes.
    2. Brush with egg wash (optional) and bake in a preheated oven for  about 25 minutes, or until golden brown.  You may cover the bread with aluminium foil for the last 10 minutes if the top browning too quickly.
    3. Remove bread from oven and let them cool on rack completely before slicing.

Yudane Dough

Sweet Stiff Starter

Main Dough



A healthy starter is very crucial as advised by Baking with Gina.   It is advisable to feed your starter regularly if you want your bread to rise nicely and to use the starter (levain) at its peak.  A starter that is fed regularly will be more active in general.  If the mother starter is not strong, the bread dough will not rise a lot even though the starter is used at its peak.  


Gluten forms when flour comes in contact with water.  Hydration of the flour causes the sticky and stretchy protein to form, giving structure to the bread.  This makes your bread trap air and rise. 

Gluten in dough can be developed by autolyse, resting, kneading or folding.

The windowpane test is used to determine whether the dough has been sufficiently kneaded.  By gently pulling the dough (or you may pinch off some dough) and trying to stretch it into a thin membrane.  If you are able to stretch the dough paper thin and translucent  without tearing, then the gluten is fully developed.  However, if you can stretch it without tearing but the membrane is not transparent, then the gluten is not yet fully developed.  

However, from my experience not all the recipe can achieve a thin and translucent window pane stage easily.   For example low hydration and low fat dough.  For such recipes, a reasonable window pane is good enough and it can be left to rest. Gluten will continue to develop while resting.  Exercising restraint to not over-knead the dough prevents the gluten from being overworked and broken.   Some of you may have experienced the dough breaking during the second proofing.  It is because the dough is over kneaded. 

The total kneading time for me is usually 15 minutes at low speeds except brioche dough with high fat percentage or dough using liquid fat which usually takes a little longer (maybe 18-20 mins).

From my experience, I found that high hydration dough with high percentage of fat will be easy to stretch and achieve a paper thin windowpane stage.


Why do I use milk powder?  
  1. Milk or milk powder will enhance the flavour of the bread and makes the bread texture softer due to the fat content of the milk. 
  2. Milk powder is shelf stable and you can have it anytime when you want to use.  Unlike liquid milk you need to finish within a certain time before it spoils.

For kneading, please regard the timing provided as an indication only. It is only meant as a guide.  Timing may differ depending on the brand of flour and electric mixer used. The protein content may vary from one brand of flour to another.


The right flour plays a very important role in bread making.   To achieve fluffy, soft and light bread, I used Japan High Gluten Flour in most of my bread baking.  The protein content is around  12 - 13%.


The liquid measurement given is also a guide.  It is advisable to always reserve some liquid and not add it all in one go.  This would give you the opportunity to adjust if necessary. If dough is too dry, add the reserve liquid one tablespoon at a time until the right consistency.  This is because each flour absorbs water and hydrates differently. 


Please note that the proofing timing may also vary depending on your climate, environment, flour and your starter. 

If you are unable to judge by just looking at the dough, you can do the finger poke test:

  1. Lightly press the side of the proved dough with your finger.  If it bounces back immediately without any indentation, it means the dough is under proved and needs more time before baking.
  2. If the indentation stays and it doesn’t bounce back, it means it has been over proved.
  3. If the indentation slowly bounces back and leave a small indentation, it is ready to bake. 
  4. There will be a final burst of rising once the bread is placed to bake in the oven and it is called oven spring. 

If your bread collapses or gets wrinkled on top after removing from oven, it could be because your dough over proved during the second proofing. Please proof until the tip of the dough just reaches the rim of the pan, around 80% - 90% in size.


Do also note that the baking temperature and timing provided are what works for my oven and should also be regarded as a guide only. Every oven behaves a little differently, so please adjust accordingly for your oven.

Archived Pictures

Soft Spelt Sourdough Bread

Soft Spelt Sourdough Bread


  1. Great bread! Will try this soon. What does the ***(2.6% rye flour and 30% bread flour)*** stand for?

    1. Hi there, thank you for your comment. It is the percentage of rye flour and bread flour for the levain. Just for your information.
      Cheers :)

  2. Hi... How do I reapportion the recipe to fit a 450g pan instead? I don't have a 600g pan :(

    1. Hi, thank you for asking. Please reduce all the ingredients to 75% to fit 450g loaf pan. X 0.75

      Cheers :)

  3. I tried this recipe using 100% organic spelt flour and reduced the ingredients by 25% to fit 450g loaf pan. The dough was heavy and tight after kneading by bread machine. After 7 hrs only rose to 70% of pan. The final result was a short loaf, not very soft but taste okay. I have a feeling the dough was dry and didn’t attempt to add more water to make it more extensible. Any advice?

    1. Hi, Thanks for trying this recipe and your feedback. May I know what flour did you feed your starter? I used unbleached bread flour to feed the starter. So, my is not 100% spelt flour.

      It could be the flour. Bread made from 100% spelt flour is abit dried. You need more water if you feel your dough is dry.

      Cheers :)

    2. My regular feeding for starter is unbleached bread flour and 10% rye. Main dough for this recipe I follow 100% spelt. The only change was low fat milk instead of full cream.

    3. Maybe your spelt flour absorb more water. In this case, you may want to add more water.

      Cheers :)

    4. Will try to make some adjustments. Thanks.

  4. hi..jie, before thank you, i want to ask if i want part breadcrumbs and part spelled, how do they comparet, thanks you jie

    1. Hi, thanks for asking. Are you referring to half bread flour and half spelt flour?

      If you want to be exactly 50% bread flour and 50% spelt flour then it should be 240g spelt flour and 110g bread flour in the main dough.

      Cheers :)

  5. thank you very much jie, I hope and will be waiting for the pannetone recipe from jie , thanks you

    1. Hi, You are most welcome. Thanks for reading this recipe.

      I still have not venture into Pannetone bread yet. Hope one day when I have the inspiration. Hehehe :)

      Cheers :)

  6. Hi, Thanks for posting your recipe. Unfortunately it didn't work for me , it took me back to when I first attempt sour dough bread 3yrs ago and I have come a long way since those early days so this bake was very disappointing. 🤭🤭

    1. Sorry for late response as I just read your comment. Thank you for trying and sorry that this recipe didn't work for you. May I know what happened?

      This recipe use about 67% of spelt flour. Please take note not to over knead the dough as spelt flour has a more delicate form of gluten, and over-kneading may lead to breaking down the gluten. It is unlike baking using bread flour.

      Different spelt flour also produce different result.

      Cheers :)

  7. Hi, do you use wholegrain spelt or white spelt? I like to mix in some wholegrain spelt, can it work with this recipe? Also, if I freeze the bread, can the softness stay longer? Thank you

    1. Hi, thanks for visiting Bake with Paws. I used white spelt flour. I think should be ok to mix some wholegrain spelt. Maybe the colour and texture will be different.

      A lot of people tried and mentioned the bread stay fresher if store in freezer than in refrigerator. In my family, normally the bread will be finishing in 3 - 4 days time. So, I never freeze my bread before.

      Cheers :)

      You can try and find out.

      Cheers :)

  8. Hi, can I use 100g of wholegrain spelt and 250g of white spelt? Thank you.

    1. Hi, thanks for asking. I guess should be ok. But, you may need to adjust the liquid quantity as different flour absorb water differently. The texture will be different from the bread I shared above.

      Cheers :)

    2. Thanks for your reply.

      I would like know how you calculated the hydration of 67.4%.


    3. Hi, Thank you for asking. The 67.4% is the percentage of spelt flour used in this recipe and not the hydration. However, I made an error. The spelt flour percentage used should be 72.91% instead. I have amended on the above recipe.

      Cheers :)


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