Spelt – Hemp Seed Bread

gazpacho in spelt-hempseed bread bowl

This is the first time I have baked with hemp seeds, but it won’t be the last. Toasted, these are hands-down the crunchiest seeds I have ever eaten. Crunchy seeds that stay crunchy in the bread. A bowl of Rice Krispies has nothing on a slice of this bread.

And did I say delicious? So much so that since running out of the bread I’ve been eating the seeds plain, by the handful (don’t try this in the library, though). The seeds pack a nutritional punch, too, with all eight essential amino acids and high amounts of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

Industrial hemp is grown for its fibers, which are used in textiles, and for its seeds (and derivative oil), which are used for human and animal food, cosmetics, cleaning products, and industrial lubricants. The plant is a subspecies of Cannabis sativa, of which marjuana is a different subspecies. However, industrial hemp contains only a miniscule fraction of the psychoactive compound THC that marijuana has. It is legal to sell these hemp products in the US; however, DEA regulations do not permit it to be grown here. Most of the hemp seeds sold in the US are grown in Canada and Europe, which accounts for their unfortunately high price.

When I shared this bread with some of my co-workers, the hypothetical question came up: could eating hemp seeds could cause one to fail a drug test? According to my reading of consumer-oriented websites as well as available medical literature, probably not; the THC concentration in the seeds is too low. However, please do your own research and come to your own conclusion if you are likely to be in this situation any time soon. In any event, it’s probably best not to buy your hemp seeds off the back of a truck.

I made some of the dough into 250-gram boules, and used their hollowed-out shells as bowls for the Andalucían-style gazpacho I made with Lynne Rosetto Kasper’s recipe from The Splendid Table. This type of gazpacho calls for bread as an ingredient, so the scooped-out bread didn’t go to waste.

This is going to Anh (Food Lover’s Journey) and Haalo (Cook Almost Anything at Least Once) for the venerable Weekend Herb Blogging.

spelt-hepmseed mini loaves

Spelt – Hemp Seed Bread

Yield: 1500 g


  • Ferment spelt levain and soak soaker: 8 hours
  • Mix/autolyse final dough: 35 minutes
  • First fermentation : 3 hours with folds at 1 and 2 hours
  • Preshape, rest, and shape: 25 minutes
  • Proof: about 2 hours
  • Bake: abut 40 minutes

Desired dough temperature: 76F

Spelt Levain Ingredients:

  • 115 g whole spelt flour
  • 92 g water
  • 23 g mature 100%-hydration sourdough starter

Soaker Ingredients:

  • 58 g whole spelt grains
  • 58 g water

Final Dough Ingredients:

  • 404 g flour
  • 230 g whole spelt flour
  • 432 g water
  • 15.2  g (2.5 t.) salt
  • All of the spelt levain
  • All of the soaked spelt grains, drained
  • 173 g toasted hemp seeds


  1. Combine the spelt levain ingredients in a medium bowl and mix until just combined. Cover and ferment overnight (about 8 hours).
  2. At the same time combine the soaker ingredients. Cover and soak overnight, then drain the grains of excess water.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook, mix the final dough flour, spelt flour, water, and spelt levain on low speed until just combined. Cover and let rest (autolyse) for 30 minutes.
  4. Add the salt and continue mixing on low or medium speed until the dough reaches a medium level of gluten development.
  5. Add the drained spelt grains and the hemp seeds and mix in low speed just until they are evenly incorporated.
  6. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled container. Cover and ferment for 3 hours, with folds after the first and second hours.
  7. spelt-hempseed dough

  8. Turn the dough into a lightly floured counter. Divide into 250-gram (for small boules) or 500–750-gram pieces. Preshape them into balls and let rest, covered, for 20 minutes.
  9. Shape the dough into boules or batards and place them, seam-side-up, into a floured couche or linen-lined baskets.
  10. Proof at room temperature, covered, for about 2 hours, or until a finger pressed into the dough leaves an indentation that recovers very slowly. If your oven is not big enough to bake all the loaves at once, proof at room temperature for an hour and 15 minutes, then refrigerate.
  11. 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.
  12. Just before baking, slash the loaves as you like. A single circular slash around the loaf near the top works well for boules you wish to use as bowls.
  13. Once the loaves are in the oven, reduce the temperature to 450F. Bake for 8 minutes with steam, and another 20–30 minutes (depending on the size of the loaves) without steam, until the crust is a deep golden brown. Then turn off the oven and leave the loaves in for another 10 minutes, with the door ajar.
  14. Cool on a wire rack.


CommentsLeave a comment

  1. says

    This is fantastic! I’ve eaten hemp seeds roasted, once, and have only recently taken to eating shelled hemp seeds in my yogurt in the morning. And I love the stuff! Off to the health food store now to see if I can get my hand on some whole seeds so I can try and bake with them. Thanks for sharing, and making me want to bake even more!

  2. says

    Gorgeous loaves! I love the idea of filling them with gazpacho. What a wonderful dish for a summer dinner. Susan, your blog is an bottomless source of inspiration. I love it!

  3. Lisa Evko says

    I’m usually not one to leave comments, but that bread looks absolutely delicious!!! By the way, do you know of any place / site where we can order hemp seeds?

  4. Paul says


    Incredibly creative, colorful and mouth-watering, as usual. But hemp? I have enough difficulty finding pumpkin seeds!

    But maybe if I can locate that truck in a dark alley..hmmm.

  5. says

    This post is totally to drool over, beautiful bread with Andalucian gazpacho… mmm, I wish I couuld get hemp seeds here even if they are from off the back of a truck ;)

  6. says

    Interesting article…I work for a company that specializes in Hemp Oil and Hemp Protien and I am doing some market research on these products. Hemp is a powerful natural resource for our planet. I love the idea of taking advantage of hemp as a food and textile resource to reduce our consumption of other natural resources. This is a great case study in the power of hemp. Loved this article – thank you! -Taylor

  7. Denise says

    We bought bread made from sprouted hemp seeds at a very little town 3/4 hr drive east of Vancouver 2 yrs ago. The factory makes products from “Ancient Grains” grown in Alberta ….so they are not contaminated by cross pollination, as I understood. The bread was heavenly, one slice was a substantial lunch……..we went back for more. Wish I lived nearby. Their puffed Kamut cereal was also a great find.

  8. Michelle Bassett says

    I am commenting years after this post. I have been baking with natural yeast for about 2 years with a great passion! I have worked and worked and read so much about it. I LOVE YOUR SITE! Thank you for the photos, the tips (I love your ideas for steam!) I will surely be using some of your recipes. I am so excited!

  9. Genet says

    Looks delish!
    I bake with 100% spelt flour almost exclusively.
    I wonder if this would work with a mix of white and whole spelt ?
    Let me know if anyone has tried it . . .


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