Okay, so I know I said I wasn’t going to post the recipes from the final Bake Off Bake Along bread challenge. But I changed my mind. I liked the little date and almond ones so much that I made a proper full-sized one the next day. This date and almond spelt loaf is my new favourite bread. I make a big loaf at the weekend, slice and freeze it, and then work my way through it over the next week. It makes all of life more delicious. It is amazing with cheese, but also with peanut butter. Also just eaten straight out of the oven with barely a pause on the way to my mouth. Maybe some butter if I am feeling patient.

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Spelt flour isn’t gluten free but it has less gluten than traditional wheat flour, so might be easier to digest for people who have a gluten sensitivity or intolerance. I have neither, but I really like the warm, nutty flavour it brings to bread. It also lends itself very well to complementary additions. I have obviously gone for date and almond here, but you can add whatever fruit and nuts you like. Raisins or apricots would be lovely, as would walnuts or hazelnuts.

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Notes:

This is a very forgiving bread. It doesn’t need a huge amount of kneading, and it just has one slow prove, so it’s very low in terms of hands-on time. I know spelt flour might sound intimidating if you’re not used to making bread (you can buy it at any big supermarket) but it’s really easy to work with and rewardingly delicious.

Ingredients:

butter, for greasing
350g strong wholemeal spelt flour
150g strong white bread flour
1 sachet dried yeast
2 tsp salt
100g whole blanched almonds, roughly chopped
100g dates, chopped
40ml extra virgin olive oil
300ml tepid water

Method

  1. Grease a loaf tin thoroughly with butter. If you’re using a mixer with a dough hook, literally just put all of the ingredients into the bowl and mix on a medium speed for five minutes until smooth. If you’re making the bread by hand, mix both flours, yeast, salt, almonds, and dates together in a large mixing bowl. Add the oil and the water, stirring with a wooden spoon until it begins to form a dough. Knead by hand for around seven minutes until smooth. Don’t worry if the dough seems a little damp or sticky.
  2. Shape your dough into a rough log and pop it in your prepared tin. Dust it with flour. Slash the top with your sharpest knife. Put your tin into a plastic bag, covering the dough but leaving air and space within. Leave in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size. It’s a long. slow prove, around 2-2.5 hours.
  3. Preheat oven and bake at 220C/200C fan/gas 8 for 20 minutes, then turn the oven down to 200C/180C fan/gas 6 and bake for a further 20 minutes, or until the bread is risen and dark with a good crust and sounds hollow when tapped underneath. Cool on a wire rack.