My first cook in my Egg this year was also my first attempt at baking bread in it. I’ve gotten pretty good at pizza in the Egg (scroll down about half way here for the recipes). But I’ve never tried bread before.
I made two Italian style loafs using whole grain spelt flour. Spelt is an ancient form of wheat dating back to between 5,000 and 6,000 BC. It’s also called dinkel wheat. In Germany its used to make Dinkelbrot (literally dinkel bread). Whole food advocates promote it as a healthier and more natural alternative to highly breed modern wheat strains.
I didn’t use spelt for its healthy, natural reputation though. I used it because I happened to have 3 pounds of whole grain spelt flour on hand.
Over the Christmas break, my daughter had to visit an historical site for a school project. She choose Bear’s Mill in Greenville, OH. Bear’s Mill was founded in 1849. At 165 years old, it is still a working mill and still uses the original water turbine for power. They had several types of flour in their gift shop. I picked up the spelt and some whole wheat flour.
I used this recipe from Bread Experience. This blog has great pictures, step by step instructions and tips for handling and shaping the loaves. I didn’t have white spelt flour, so I substituted all-purpose flour. That may have changed the taste and texture a bit.
This recipe uses a biga, a yeast starter often used in Italian baking. A biga is like a sourdough starter, but it is made fresh for each use. Since it requires several hours to get the biga going, I started it the night before and let it ferment in the frig. That meant getting up at 3:30 to feed it. The sacrifices I make for food.
I baked it the next day in the Egg. 425° F for about 20 minutes. I’m not much of a bread baker and this was my first time making bread in the EGG. For a first effort, the results were encouraging. It had a nice texture and was quite tasty.
Oddly, it wasn’t as yeasty as I expected. The biga had a big yeast aroma. This bread was quite mild.
Also, it had a slight smoky taste. I’ve never gotten that when I made pizza in the Egg. The last thing I made in the Egg before this bread was a smoked turkey. I suspect there was a lot of smoke residue leftover from that cook.
Next time, I’ll make something requiring high temperature before making bread. That should drive the volatile compounds out of the Egg’s interior and get rid of the smoky taste.