The Great British Bake Off is one my favorite shows, inspiring new bakes, new flavors, and new techniques! Join me on my journey to bake through all the Season 8 Challenges.
Total Cooking Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
The Great British Bake Off is a classic show for bakers and those looking for a friendly competition. All the bakes on the show look delicious and I often want to try baking them myself! I finally got off the couch and into the kitchen to recreate some of the recipes from Bake Off! The season I chose to bake through is season eight of Bake Off as it is my favorite season and the one with some of my favorite challenges!
I finally made it to the finale! This has been a long and tiring journey and I feel so close to the ending. But to drag it out a little further, I’m going to do something a little different for this signature challenge. The original signature challenge was to make four loaves of three distinct types of bread. One loaf needed to be shaped and one loaf needed to use an alternative flour
Since I did the roast garlic and herb bread last time, it’s time to move onto the spelt loaf! Not only does this loaf use an alternative flour but I also decided to shape it. One loaf! Both requirements! While I like this loaf, the one I’m posting next week is my favorite so stay tuned for more 😊
The ingredients I used to make a spelt loaf are only slightly different from a normal loaf of bread. There is still water, yeast, salt, and a little bit of all-purpose flour. But what gives this bread it’s extra earthiness and flavor, I also used olive oil, maple syrup, and, of course, spelt flour.
Making the Dough
The first step in this process is to make the dough. I like to start out my bread by blooming the yeast. I gently mixed the active-dry yeast into a bowl of warm water and allowed it to sit for several minutes. This step helps to activate the yeast and jump start the process. It will also allow you to cut down time on rising later.
Then, I whisked the olive oil and maple syrup into the yest mixture. This is what became my “wet” mixture and where a lot of the flavor came from. In a separate bowl, I whisked together the spelt flour, all-purpose flour, and salt. This step helps bring the bread to a uniform consistency at the end.
I gradually added the dry mixture into the wet mix. Whisking between each addition allowed for the dough to come together without having pockets of dry ingredients. Even though spelt flour is being used, the dough should look like any other bread dough. Though the smell of the dough will be a bit more nutty and earthy.
I did a combination of kneading with the mixer and kneading by hand. I kneaded with the mixer for about five minutes before turning the dough out onto a floured surface. And then I did some kneading by hand to really get my hands on the dough.
Rising and Falling
Once the dough has fully come together, it’s time to let it rest and proof. I like to put the dough into a lidded container with plenty of space for it to grow but a bowl covered in cling wrap has the same effect. The dough proofed for a little over an hour because I wanted to the dough to have doubled in size.
After the dough had gotten a good rise, I knocked it back a bit to push it into a shape that is better for working with. After all, one of these loaves needed to be shaped and it might as well be this one!
Braiding into Shape
The dough was divided into four, as evenly as possible, for each of the four loaves. From here I will be talking about one of the four pieces as the other three were set aside. I divided the dough into three even pieces and rolled them out into long logs or strings.
The strips are attached to each other at one end. This gives a base to work off and a place for the bread to come together. I like to pinch the ends together as the bread adheres to itself better with this method. Then it’s time to braid!
I use the outside to inside, alternating technique which I think is just a standard braid. Basically, you take the outside strand and cross it over the middle strand. Then take the outside strand of the opposite side and cross it over the middle. And repeat! It’s quite simple and takes no time at all. Especially when the strands are thick pieces of bread.
Once I ran out of bread to braid, I pinched the strands together to close the bread and create a single loaf of bread. I repeated this divide and braid step on the other three pieces of bread to make four loaves in total.
After the loaves were braided, I placed them on a baking tray and covered them with a towel to let them proof one final time. I let them sit for about thirty minutes as I wanted them in increase in size. Allowing this proof gives the bread more air which results in a lighter texture once backed.
I did not add any sort of wash to this bread, just straight into the oven it went! I cooked it for about thirty minutes or until the base sounded hollow when knocked. Then I let the bread cool before it was ready to slice and eat! Yum!
I really enjoyed the alternative flour bread loaf more than I anticipated. That was an earthy nuttiness that permeated the whole bread from the spelt. And it was counteracted by the sweetness of the maple syrup which made it absolute perfection.
Am I ready for bake-off? I think this loaf turned out well. The bread was delicious and had a great texture even after being heavily manipulated into a shape. Overall, a job well done!
What is the Window-Pane Test?
The window-pane test is a technique often use to tell if their dough has been fully kneaded. First, you take a small ball from the dough and stretch it into a square. Keep on stretching until it becomes a thin film in the middle without breaking. The dough must be thin enough to pass light through it, i.e., like a windowpane. If it is obtained without any tear, then your dough is properly kneaded.
Braided Spelt Loaves
- 1 ¼ Cup Warm Water
- 2 ¼ Teaspoon Active-Dry Yeast
- 3 Tablespoon Olive Oil
- 2 Tablespoon Maple Syrup
- 2 ¾ Cup Spelt Flour
- 1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
Making the Dough
- Mix the warm water and yeast in a large mixing bowl. Let site for 3-5 minutes and allow the yeast to bloom.
- Add in olive oil and maple syrup. Whisk to combine.
- In a small bowl, mix the spelt flour, all-purpose flour, and salt. In batches, gradually add the flour mixture into the yeast mixture. The ingredients should come together to form a dough.
- Knead the dough for about 10-15 minutes(if kneading by hand. This time will be shorter if using a stand mixer). The dough will be smooth and tacky and should be able to pass the “window-pane” test (see lessons)
- Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a towel. Let proof for one hour or until doubled in size.
Braiding the Bread
- Punch down the dough and turn out onto a well-floured surface.
- Divide the dough into four different sections. Each section is divided into three parts and each part is shaped into a long thread.
- Attach the bread threads together at one point (only work with 3 sections at a time). Braid the bread and connect at the other end.
- Repeat on the other three sections.
- Cover the bread with a towel or plastic wrap and let the bread proof for another thirty minutes or until grown by at least fifty percent.
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit while the bread is proofing.
- Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the bread is cooked through. It should sound hollow when the bottom is knocked.
- Let cool for about 10 to 15 minutes on a wire rack.