Seelen ~ Soul’s Bread

Seelen ~ Soul’s Bread

Artisanal breads are one of the beautiful features of Swabian cuisine—each village is supposed to have its own special varieties, resulting in countless breads of unique shapes, tastes, and textures. In Upper Swabia, Seele, or Soul, is one of the traditional breads and is a baguette-like bread with spelt flour. Traditionally, spelt flour was one of the common flours for breads in this region. Spelt is packed with nutritional benefits, so I was excited to try some! I had read that baking with spelt is similar to baking with whole wheat flour, so it’s often mixed with white flour.

I used this recipe for Seelen since other recipes called for sourdough starter, which I couldn’t find. The one I used calls for Mehl, or flour. The author wrote:

Mehl (Type 550, ich nehme immer 1050)

Which, in Google Translate, becomes this:

Flour (type 550, I always 1050)

I took this to mean that the author always uses flour type 1050 for her Seele. (Anyone speak German who can translate better than Google?)

Since we don’t use flour types to distinguish flours in the US, I Googled what type 1050 is. 1050 flour is white flour—spelt flour seems to fall under a different category. I wasn’t sure what kind of flour I was supposed to use, so I decided to use half spelt flour and half white flour. (Can any readers guide me on this one? Which type of flour, or combinations of flour, are best?)

When I opened the bag of spelt flour, the flour smelled fresh—just slightly earthy, a little like damp soil. Kneading the dough for this bread was fairly straightforward and easy, and shaping the bread was not as difficult as I expected.

I may have made my seele slightly too skinny. That said, the bread was hearty yet light—a more substantial bread than a baguette, without the heavier taste of the whole wheat flour. Of course, the light outer sprinkling of rough salt and caraway seeds made for a subtle, delicate flavor. This was perfect served warm with butter and jam for breakfast.

How do you make seele? Also—does anyone know where the name came from? I’ve found mention that it might be tied to All Soul’s Day but no substantial evidence.

Written by A. Alexander


Leave a Reply



Join me as I generate random coordinates on the planet and attempt to learn to cook those regions' cuisines.

 Read more.

Live at home like a traveler.
—Henry David Thoreau


...and never miss a new recipe!