Low-FODMAP Spelt Sourdough Bread Recipe

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I've been conducting hands-on research using the traditional sourdough fermentation process and spelt four to create a low-FODMAP sourdough bread. My goal is a real loaf of baked goodness without the typical gluten-free lack of texture and taste.

The traditional sourdough fermentation process has been around since ancient biblical times. It requires a longer fermentation time that just happens to break down the FODMAPS found in the dough. Spelt is an ancient grain that is proven to be lower in gluten than modern wheat. Combine these and even some gluten-sensitives and IBS sufferers can enjoy bread once again! Read more in our post: Sourdough Bread on a Gluten-Free Diet? It Depends.

You'll need some fresh sourdough starter to make this low-FODMAP spelt sourdough bread recipe. Make the starter a week before you plan to bake. We guide you through the process of making your own sourdough starter.

Ingredients

Rice Flour for Dusting

3 1/2 Cups Spelt Flour

2 1/2 Tsp. Salt

1 Cup Homemade Sourdough Starter

1 1/4 Cups Warm Water

Combine the Ingredients

Combine the flour and the salt in a medium mixing bowl. Make a well in the flour and add the sourdough starter. Add 1 cup warm water and mix with your hands for a few minutes until a rough dough starts to form. The dough will be rough-looking and some parts will be drier than others. That's perfect! Don't overmix it. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap and let it rest for 10 minutes to autolyze. Autolyzing allows the flour some time to absorb the water.

Stretch and Fold the Dough

After it has rested for 10 minutes, you'll need to stretch and fold the dough.

Gently pull one side of the dough up out of the bowl and stretch it upward. Fold it over onto itself and turn the bowl a quarter turn. Gently pull the next side of the dough up and over itself toward the middle. Continue this process for a total of ten stretches and folds. Once you've completed ten stretches and folds, cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest for ten minutes. Repeat the stretch and fold process a total of three times ten minutes apart. The dough will begin to come together and be easier to handle with each of the stretch and fold processes.

Rest the Dough Overnight

Once you've completed four stretch and fold sessions, it's time to let the dough rest overnight for a bulk ferment. This allows the beneficial yeast and bacteria in the sourdough starter to break down the FODMAPS in the dough. This long fermentation process is key to baking a great loaf of bread that may also be easier for sensitive stomachs to digest. Research shows that some people with gluten sensitivity and or IBS are able to digest sourdough that has been allowed to bulk ferment for at least 12 hours followed by a refrigerated fermentation lasting up to three days.

Shape The Dough

The dough should have risen to at least double in size overnight. Gently stretch and fold the dough a final time for only four stretches and folds. On the final fold, pull the dough all the way over itself to create a ball. You'll need to create some tension on the outside of your dough so it holds its shape in the oven. Traditionally, the dough is turned out on the counter for final shaping. A dough scraper is used to gently tuck the edges of the dough underneath itself to create the desired shape. I like to allow gravity to work in my favor. Instead of turning the dough out onto the counter, leave it in the bowl. Gently pick the entire dough ball up by the sides and allow gravity to pull the dough downward. Shape the dough as tension is being created. Either method works great.

Once you've shaped the dough, place it in a banneton or glass bowl generously dusted with rice flour.  Loosley cover with a cloth banneton liner or plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator to continue fermenting for up to three days.

Score and Bake a Real Loaf of Low-FODMAP Sourdough Bread

Technically, the dough is ready to bake about an hour after the final shaping. However, research studies show that a longer fermentation time (3-4 days) creates a more easily digestible bread that even some gluten-sensitives and IBS sufferers can enjoy without repercussion.

Preheat the Oven

When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to at least 495 Degrees. This high temperature is important as it promotes the best initial rise.

Line a bread cloche or a cast iron dutch oven with parchment paper. Crumple the parchment with your hands to make lining the bottom of the vessel easier.

Score the Dough

Scoring the dough is an important step in sourdough success. Steam escapes from the loaf as it bakes into fluffy goodness. Scoring gently encourages the steam to escape in a controlled and artful manner. Skip scoring and your loaf will burst wherever the steam finds a way through the dough. That could end up being on the side or bottom of the loaf. It's still wonderfully good tasting but might be a bit misshapen. You can score using a very sharp knife or a bread lave.

Take the dough out of the refrigerator and place it on the parchment-lined cookware surface. Slowly score the dough. You can create an artful pattern or simply score a straight line down the center of the dough.

Cast Iron Tip:

I use a cast iron dutch oven with a flat lid for bread baking and it works great. It's easier to place the dough on the lid, which is shallower and use the pot as a dome cover. It works like a bread cloche. I also take this opportunity to season my dutch oven! Give your cast iron a swipe with some avocado oil before baking and the high oven temperature will season it beautifully.

Bake the Bread

When the oven has preheated to at least 495 degrees, cover the scored dough with the cast iron pot or cloche dome and place it in the oven for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, turn the heat down to 475 degrees for 30 minutes, then carefully remove the cover and allow the steam to escape. Remove the loaf from the oven and allow it to cool to room temperature before slicing. Be patient! Cutting before cooling results in a gummy mess. Let the steaming process continue until the bread is fully cooled.

Store the Bread

Sourdough is a fermented bite of healthy goodness. It's best to store it in a bread box made specifically for storing bread so it can breathe. Avoid storing it in plastic and above all else, leave it on the counter at room temperature and never in the refrigerator. If you're feeling adventurous, try our Sun-Dried Tomato and Pecorino Sourdough Bread. Enjoy bread once again!

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