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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19 thoughts on “GOLSPIE LOAF, from the Scottish Highlands

  1. You made it in the end! How was it for you? If you can get hold of barley flour it is worth trying to make a sourdough with it, it definitely has a different taste. When I make it it is always very soft in the mouth, not like more robust sourdough breads which tend to be chewier. I love the plate by the way! Sets off the bread beautifully!


  2. Hi, Joanna

    I was hoping you would see this post, as you were the one telling me about how good golspie was. I did not find barley flour, but I’m sure I can order it online, so I’ll keep that in mind for next time.

    The texture was not very soft, so maybe it is a good idea to go for barley sourdough – it may be closer to the original loaf.

    thanks for stopping by…


  3. This is my absolute favourite bread from The Handmade Loaf. I make it often, usually with wholemeal spelt flour. Also like Sean Connery, I think it would age well but it doesn’t usually get the chance…


    • Wow, I do have spelt flour – I love to use it in pizzas as part of the dough. I could have used it in this loaf!
      It has an amazing flavor….

      thanks for the tip!


  4. I loved the Johnny Depp/Sean Connery comparison – too funny! Looks and sounds like a tasty bread – and a great book (if only I hadn’t already exceeded my new bread books quota for the next couple of months . . .).


  5. Sally, I’ve eyed this recipe for some time now but never made it – thanks for the inspiration.

    THL is a magnificent work, and Dan Lepard the nicest guy too, which makes it even nicer to read. I love both the recipes, but also all the bread history and stories!


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  8. What a nice loaf you made…Dan’s book is so brilliant, not only full of great recipes but such an interesting collection of observations and stories about european baking…try the waterford soda bread (my favourite).


  9. @mary – I am definitely trying the waterford soda bread, I am not usually fond of quick breads, but I learned to trust Dan when he comes up with a recipe

    @txfarmer – well, I included some white flour, so keep that in mind when I say it is a lot lighter than my idea of a WW bread. Not hard, a little chewy. Hubby defined it as an “awesome hippie bread”. there you go 🙂

    @Mimi – it is true, isn’t it? Looks like a big scone. But it is not even remotely dry, although I hear that a good scone is not dry (apparently I haven’t had a good one yet!)


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