Spelt-Carrot Bread

These golden orange loaves are an adaptation of a recipe found on straightgrade.com, a wonderful resource geared towards professional bread bakers but with much great information for anyone who loves to bake. There, Tod Bramble highlights bakers and bakeries around the US and occasionally shares one of their formulas. This Spelt-Carrot bread is originally from B & R Artisan Breads in Framingham, Massachusetts. Thanks to Jeremy for calling my attention to this unique and delicious bread!

The dough is a dream to work with, light and supple and fragrant. I almost didn’t want to bake it, I just wanted to keep my hands and my nose in the dough forever.

I suggest is letting the bread sit for about four hours after baking to let the flavors mellow. I found that when I tasted it just as it was cool (at about two hours), it had a slight bitter taste to it. After another couple of hours, however, that was gone and the bread tasted sweet and nutty and golden.

It made a lovely sandwich too.

The original recipe calls for corn grits. I have seen various things that call themselves grits, so I used what I had on hand, which was Bob’s Red Mill’s “Corn Grits also known as Polenta,” which is just coarsely ground corn. I was concerned that it might give the crumb a gritty (so to speak) texture, but it didn’t.

Spelt-Carrot Bread
(Adapted from B & R Artisan Bakers’ formula, as published on straightgrade.com)

Yield: 2000 g (2 – 4 loaves)


  • Soak soaker and ferment sponge and spelt levain: 10 – 12 hours
  • Mix final dough: 10 minutes
  • First fermentation : 2 hours with folds at 40 and 80 minutes
  • Preshape, rest, and shape: 30 minutes
  • Proof: about one hour (or can be retarded)
  • Bake: 35 – 40 minutes

Desired dough temperature: 75F

Corn Soaker Ingredients:

  • 163 g coarse polenta
  • 114 g boiling water

Sponge Ingredients:

  • 235 g flour
  • 160 g water
  • 0.2 g (1/16 t. or a small pinch) instant yeast

Spelt Levain Ingredients:

  • 235 g whole spelt flour
  • 188 g water
  • 47 g 100%-hydration rye starter

Final Dough Ingredients:

  • 470 g flour
  • 268 g carrot juice
  • 0.5 g (generous 1/8 t.) instant yeast
  • 26 g salt
  • 92 g pumpkin seeds
  • All of the sponge (395 g)
  • All of the spelt levain (470 g)
  • All of the soaker (277 g )


  1. For the soaker, pour boiling water over polenta. Cover and let rest for 10 – 12 hours.
  2. For the sponge and the spelt levain, mix each of their respective ingredients until well combined. Cover and ferment each for 10 – 12 hours.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer with dough hook, combine all of the final dough ingredients except the corn soaker and the pumpkin seeds. Mix in low speed to incorporate everything. Adjust the water as needed to achieve a medium-consistency dough.
  4. Continue mixing in low or medium speed to a medium level of gluten development.
  5. Add the soaker and pumpkin seeds and mix in low speed just until they are fully incorporated.
  6. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled container. Cover and ferment for 2 hours, with folds after the first 40 and 80 minutes.
  7. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured counter. Divide into pieces of 450 – 1000 grams (I made two of 470 g each and one of 960 g).  Preshape the pieces into balls and let them rest, covered, for 20 minutes.
  8. Shape the dough into batards and place them, seam-side-up, into floured brotforms or linen-lined baskets.
  9. Proof, covered, for about one hour at room temperature. Alternatively, proof for 15 minutes at room temperature, then refrigerate for 1.5 hours.
  10. Meanwhile, preheat the oven, with baking stone, to 475F. You will also need steam during the initial phase of baking, so prepare for this now.
  11. Just before baking, slash the loaves two or three times, almost parallel to their long axis.
  12. Once the loaves are in the oven, reduce the temperature to 450F. Bake for 10 minutes with steam, and another 15 – 20 minutes (depending on the loaf size) without steam, until the crust is golden brown. Then turn off the oven and leave the loaves in for another 10 minutes, with the door ajar.
  13. Cool on a wire rack.

CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Paul says

    Oh YIPPEE. I just bought some freshly ground spelt flour and wasn’t sure what to do with it. And now, here comes Susan with the answer!! With apologies to the Monkees and Susan:

    Here she comes, walkin’
    Down the street.
    We get the funniest results from
    Ev’ry bread we make.
    Hey, hey, we’re the Yeasties
    And people say we monkey around.
    But we’re too busy baking
    To put anybody down.

  2. says

    Seriously serious bread! It is perfect! The texture is like that found in the best Poilane bread. Beautiful.

    I used polenta in my multi-grain muffins and was surprised that the grain was perfectly smooth.

    I must try my hand at making breads like this.

  3. says

    Susan, this bread sounds fantastic.

    I went to the site you mentioned and they talk about a rye starter. I am not familiar as to why a rye starter is better than any other one. Would you explain?

    Do you know of any place where to find the bread baskets at a decent price? I am no ready to spend a fortune at Sur la Table.

    Thanks for inspiring us.

  4. says

    For some reason I was expecting a quick bread, but I guess I should’ve known better. I’ve always wanted to try my hand with spelt bread.

  5. says

    What a wonderful combination. And your bread look phenomenal…the texture is so appealing I feel it’s calling out to me. Well, maybe it is since I recently bought some bennetons and brotforms and was wondering what I should use them for first. This may be it!

    I just finished the ciabatta for the Bread Baker’s Challenge so I may be able to fit it in soon. If you’re interested check out the ciabatta and challah weekend I had.

  6. Laddavan says

    Hello, from Thailand. Wow I like your bread it looks good. I’ll try your recipe. Thank you very much to shared this wonderful recipe to us.

  7. DormBaker says

    I started this and found that 114 g of water didn’t even manage to completely wet the 163g of polenta. I’m wondering how wet your corn soaker was?

    I know that when I cook polenta I generally use around 3x the polenta’s weight in liquid. I am going to try using 250g of water in the soaker and see how it turns out.


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