Tag Archives: spelt

Mick’s 5-Seed and Spelt Sourdough

5 Seed Spelt Sourdough Mick Hartley Bethesdabakers

It’s been too long…

It’s been too long since I made a seedy loaf and anxious to remedy that I grabbed Monsieur Hartley’s Bethesdabasics and gave his Sourdough Spelt and 5-seed bread a workout yesterday evening. Luckily I had some white starter waiting patiently for an outing so it was meant to be.

I’ve never put poppy seeds in a dough before, usually sprinkling them on the top and in the bottom of the oven, on the floor and so on. I like the adrenalin rush of skidding in my socks on the fine layer of baking debris on the floor, especially carrying a hot tray or a kettle of boiling water; all part of the home baking process.  Sometimes I have to vacuum my feet; the dogs mysteriously vanish as I open the cupboard under the stairs as the vacuum cleaner is one of their sworn enemies.

I confess that I didn’t soak the seeds overnight, only for a mere hour, but the mix of linseed, poppy and other  bird seed (sorry Jackdaw) absorbed nearly all the water in that time so I figured I would get away with it. Linseed has an interesting glutinous quality once soaked which makes the dough a little sticky when you work with it, but also gives the dough a lovely moistness and makes it easy to shape and score.

Mick's 5 Seed with Spelt Sourdough Bethesdabakers

I mixed the dough up at about 5 pm and baked it just after midnight, leaving it to cool while the foxes roamed the garden, calling to each other and the robin sang away in the dark. Did I mention I live in a city?  It’s full of animals out there and they take full advantage of the night.

5 Seed Spelt Sourdough Bethesdabakers

This morning the sun is bright and the temperature has risen to a balmy 6 º C, so I’ve celebrated by dragging the Hartley loaf outside for its photocall and then hastily back indoors as it’s not that warm really.  You can’t beat a breakfast of fresh bread and butter, just delicious!

This is a moist and well fermented bread full of nutty seedy goodness, yet with no sense of crunching on tiny seeds as the soaking has softened them all right down – Brian won’t eat seedy bread, but that’s all right because he has endless loaves of white toast stuffed in the freezer. To each their own!

Not long now till the Bethesda shindig in July when you can meet Mick, marvel at his eyebrows and bake with him and anyone else who chooses to come. It’s not a workshop, but a gathering, a get together, a bake-in, it’s what the participants want it to be and it will be fun! If you fancy stepping off the internet and into a floury environment for a day or a weekend find out more here.

Salt Marsh Mutton with Farro

Salt Marsh Mutton

The run-up to Christmas and those big meals is often a bit of an odd time and a hearty stew is one way to make something you can eat for a couple of days at least and keep out the cold!

This week I made this dish using half a leg of mutton from the Thoroughly Wild Meat Company. Andrew Moore raises lambs on the salt marsh and produces exquisite lamb. He is incredibly knowledgeable and helpful. You can find him at the farmers’ markets in Bristol and Bath which is where we met him.

When Andrew told me he was having mutton from his sheep this autumn in addition to the lamb,  I shared a box with Gill the Painter, an event involving a meeting in Gloucester Cathedral and a shopping bag on wheels…. felt like we had escaped from an Alan Bennett short story. Here is Gill’s balsamic leg of lamb recipe which she used on her mutton.

Gloucester Cathedral light

Here are my notes –  easy to do if you have time and plan a little ahead.

Brown your lightly seasoned meat in a little oil in a large casserole on the hob. Once nicely browned add as much stock as you need to come at least three-quarters up the meat. I used a mixture of vegetable stock and some lamb stock that I had saved in the freezer.  Fresh thyme is a good herb to use with this dish.

Squeeze two lemons and add the juice to the stock. We also threw in a jar of home-made fruit chutney . We weren’t quite sure what was in it, as it hadn’t been labelled, but probably it was raisins, apples, pears and onions in cider vinegar and spices, to give you an idea of what you might use.  Maybe a little wine if you have any opened bottles could find its way in there too.

salt marsh muttonBring to a gentle simmer on the hob.  Cover and place in a warm oven for 3 hours. You will need to check the meat every hour or so and turn it over. Someone turned the oven down at some point, so we ended up cooking the dish for nearer five hours but you will know your own oven best. Once the meat has cooked and softened, add small whole onions and return to the oven for another 45 minutes or so. Then add 50 grams of spelt  (farro) per person, check seasoning, cook for another 30 minutes. If you don’t have spelt, then try barley.

Serve with carrots, Brussels sprout tops or any tender green cabbage. You can either take the casserole to the hob and steam the vegetables on top of the stew, or steam them separately.

You can eat this one pot meal as it is, or serve with some fabulous bread to mop up the rich citrussy juices. Watch out for the onions as they explode when you bite them!

If you want to reduce the fat content of this meal, (and mutton can be fatty if you are used to eating very lean meat) the best thing is to cook the meat the day before, and allow the whole dish to cool so that the fat can be taken off the top. Add the onions and the spelt (farro) the following day.