Spelt Sourdough Loaf

All good artisan bakers have their favourite way of baking a sourdough. The recipe I have put together below is a combination of some of my favourite bakers; Vanessa Kimbell, who I think of as the Sourdough Queen, Jordan Bourke and Phil Nicodemi, our Kilver Court baker. This is really the ultimate challenge for any aspiring home baker and it took me 8 times to get it right, but, oh so satisfying, once you do!


Makes: 900g loaf 

Preparation Time: 1 hour 20 minutes, plus 2 hours rising

Proving Time: 8/10 hours, overnight in the fridge. A further 1 hour in the morning.
Baking Time: 45 minutes.




Equipment :

  • Large mixing bowl
  • Small mixing bowl.
  • Kitchen Scales
  • Water measuring jug.
  • Scraper/Spatula
  • Banneton (basket lined with linen)
  • Sharp knife or ‘lame’ to slash the dough.
  • 2 Tea towels and/or bees wax wraps.
  • Iron casserole dish with a lid.
  • Baking paper
  • Cooling Rack



Mix together 75g starter and 375ml of water to form a liquid in a bowl. Separately mix 540gof spelt flour (I like 80% white:20% wholegrain) with 12g sea salt in a big bowl. Pour the liquid into the flour, mix and knead together, ensuring there are no lumps.(Option: add tsp of honey) Cover with a tea towel and leave at room temperature for 1 hour.


Tip or scrape the dough out on to your pre-flour dusted surface, flatten it into an oblong and with lightly floured hands, stretch and fold the dough from one end into the centre, then do a quarter turn of the dough and repeat 4 times, always folding back into the centre, so they are puckered back into the middle. Repeat this process a total of 4 times every 15 minutes. recovering it with the tea towel each time.  At the end of the hour, gently cup and rotate the dough with your hands into a nice round shape and transfer it back into the bowl, puckered side up. Lightly dust the top of the dough, cover it a final time with a damp tea towel. Leave to rest for 1.5/2 hours, the dough should have risen by about 50%, but not doubled. I now put it in the fridge overnight, covered with tea towel for 8 – 10 hours.


Now it’s getting exciting (I hope!) Turn the oven right up to 250c. Put your lidded casserole in. Cut baking paper ready to put the dough on (larger than the base of your casserole) Take the dough bowl out of the fridge, do a light finger prod test, it should leave a dent. Ease the dough out of the bowl and leave it for 10 minutes to thaw. (optional extra: roll the dough onto sesame seeds.) Now Repeat four folds to centre, turn over and cup into ball, as before, then transfer puckered side up into a lightly flour dusted, tea towel lined, banetton, cover it with a damp tea towel for one hour.


After one hour flip the dough onto your flour dusted baking paper, do a final light flour dust and cut 2/4 shallow slashes with a very sharp razor-like knife. Take out your piping hot casserole dish from the oven and gently put your dough on baking paper into it. Put the casserole dish into the oven for 30 minutes, throwing a couple of ice cubes in to the oven to give some steam. (This improves the crust)


After 30 minutes, remove the Casserole lid and it should be forming nicely, then give it a last 15 minutes blast in the oven at 200c, to turn the crust a nice golden brown. Turn the sourdough out onto your baking rack, giving the base a tap – if it’s cooked it should sound hollow, if not give it a few more minutes. Let it rest and cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting it.



Extracted from Spelt by Roger Saul © Roger Saul 2015
Published by Nourish Books, London. 
Hardback £16.99
Commissioned photography by Lara Holmes & Neil White

5th October 2020

Back to recipes