GOLSPIE LOAF, from the Scottish Highlands

Different breads evolve around the world in harmony with the native cultures and environments:   flat breads like Indian naan and Ethiopian injera, French baguettes, English crumpets, and the salt-less Tuscan bread.   People everywhere bake bread with their local grains and flours, and according to their preferred diets.   If I had money and time I’d travel the world and experience each one in person.  Instead,  I take virtual trips by baking the world of bread in my own kitchen.  This past weekend I made a Golspie loaf from the Scottish highlands, based on an old grain called “bere“.    Of course, this grain isn’t easy to find, but in his masterpiece “The Handmade Loaf” Dan Lepard created a recipe that mimics the original, using rye sourdough starter and whole wheat flour. Don’t be put off by its looks:  Golspie is not the Jonny Depp of the Bread World, but it has the personality and charm of Sean Connery in his prime.

The Handmade Loaf is a must have book for bread bakers, and I highly recommend that that you get your own copy of Dan’s book.   Because I bake so many of its breads, it’s unfair to the author to post all the recipes, and for Golspie I’m just providing the the basic formula, which I slightly changed from the original to introduce a small amount of white flour.

(adapted from Dan Lepard)

75% rye levain
62% water
100% flour (3/4 whole wheat + 1/4 white)
25% bread flour
2% salt
0.5% instant yeast
coarse oatmeal (enough for dusting the loaf)

Comments:  The dough is made with minimal kneading (a couple of 10 second-kneading cycles), allowed to rise for an hour, shaped into a circle, and placed in a springform pan (around 8 inches in diameter), coated with coarse oatmeal.   Just before baking,  score the dough  all the way to the bottom in a cross-pattern that  later allows cutting it into its characteristic quartered shape.

Some photos of the process of making Golspie….

The dough is rolled out in a circle..

Placed in the springform pan, and gently patted to fill it….

Once in the pan,  coarse oatmeal is sprinkled on top….

Do not be afraid to do the crosscut…


I am thrilled to submit this post to Yeastspotting….

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