1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Baking Bread: Belgium

July 5, 2019

Whether it's baking bread – or forming a government – everything in Belgium takes time. European Union correspondent and passionate baker Georg Matthes explains why in the latest edition of "Baking Bread."

Baking Bread: Belgium
Image: DW/G. Matthes

Georg Matthes bakes Belgian spelt loaf

Georg Matthes bakes Belgian spelt loaf

In the multimedia series "Baking Bread," EU correspondent Georg Matthes bakes 28 loaves from 28 EU countries and spices his baking instructions with typical anecdotes about each land. This time, it's a typical Belgian spelt loaf.


For the leaven:

  • 200g fine spelt flour
  • 200ml water
  • 2g salt
  • 24g spelt sourdough starter

For the dough:

  • 960g spelt flour
  • 550ml water
  • 20g salt
  • 2g fresh yeast (optional)
  • 1 tbs polenta or semolina

And this is how you make pain d'épeautre, Belgian spelt bread:

  1. Mix together the ingredients for the leaven and leave to rise overnight.
  2. The next day, start on the dough. Mix the spelt flour, water and salt. Add the leaven you made the day before and knead in a stand mixer for 5 minutes.
  3. If you want to make your bread extra light and airy, crumble in a little fresh yeast at this point, and knead for another eight minutes.
  4. Place the dough on a countertop and let it rest for 30 minutes.
  5. Fold the dough four times and let it rest for another 30 minutes.
  6. Now shape the bread into a round or a long loaf. Fold the dough from the edge into the middle from all directions, then turn the dough over with the seam side underneath. Place the bread on a non-floured surface and pull it towards you using both hands until the surface is taut. Leave to rest for another 30 minutes.
  7. Dust a proofing basket with spelt flour and place the dough in it. Leave to rest in the refrigerator at around 8°C for 20 hours.
  8. Preheat the oven to 250°C. Place a cast iron pan on the oven floor.
  9. Turn the dough out onto a pizza paddle that has been dusted with polenta or semolina.
  10. Once the oven is fully heated, pour half a glass of water into the cast iron pan to create some steam. Put the dough in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
  11. 10 minutes before your bread is due to come out, open and shut the oven door to let out steam. Repeat after 5 minutes. This will ensure a crispy crust.


Baking step-by-step: Spelt loaf from Belgium