Spelt is an early relative of modern wheat that’s easily digestible. But what exactly is spelt flour, and how is it different from other types of flour?
In this article, we will take a closer look at spelt flour, its nutritional value, and how it can be used in your favorite recipes. So let’s dive in!
What is spelt flour?
Spelt flour is a type of flour made from spelt, an ancient grain that has been cultivated for thousands of years. Spelt (triticum spelta) is a distant cousin of wheat and has a similar nutty flavor and texture, but it has a slightly sweeter taste and is more easily digestible than wheat.
Spelt flour is made by first cleaning and dehulling the spelt grains. The grains are then ground into flour using a mill, which can be either a traditional stone mill or a modern roller mill. Stone mills grind the grain between two stones, while roller mills crush the grain between rollers. Once the spelt grain has been ground into flour, it is sifted to remove any remaining debris.
It’s worth noting that spelt flour is often sold in both whole-grain and white (refined) varieties. Whole-grain spelt flour contains all parts of the spelt grain, including the bran and germ, which makes it more nutritious and dense, producing heartier baked goods. Refined spelt flour, on the other hand, has had the bran and germ removed, resulting in a lighter, finer flour that is more similar to all-purpose wheat flour.
What’s the difference between spelt flour and regular flour?
Spelt flour is made from an ancient grain called spelt, whereas regular all-purpose flour is made from modern wheat which is less nutritious.
The biggest difference when working with spelt flour compared to regular wheat flour is its gluten content. Spelt flour contains less gluten than wheat flour, which makes it easier to digest for some people but also means it’s less elastic and more fragile. This means that when baking with spelt flour, the resulting dough or batter may not rise as much as it would with wheat flour.
Benefits of spelt flour
Spelt flour has a unique gluten structure that makes it easier to digest than modern wheat flour, which is a big plus for those with mild gluten sensitivities. However, spelt is not gluten-free. Moreover, spelt flour has a higher fiber content than wheat flour, and this additional fiber helps in the digestion of gluten.
Spelt flour is also a good source of vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, zinc, and B vitamins.
With a mild flavor that is slightly nutty and sweet, spelt flour is versatile for all kinds of recipes. It has a light texture which can create a soft and tender crumb in baked goods that aren’t too heavy or dense.
Spelt flour nutrition facts
|Flour (¼ cup)
How to bake and cook with spelt flour
Spelt flour is best for making homemade yeast breads, muffins, cookies, and pancakes.
The good news is that you can easily substitute spelt flour one-to-one for all-purpose flour in most recipes, but keep in mind that spelt flour absorbs less liquid and results in a stickier dough than all-purpose, so I recommend using 10-25% less liquid.
Another thing to note is that spelt flour behaves differently when kneaded. When using spelt flour to make bread, be careful not to overmix or knead the dough too much. Overmixing can cause the gluten in the flour to develop too much, resulting in tough baked goods. Mix until just combined, and then stop.
Popular spelt flour baked goods and dishes
Spelt flour you can use it in all sorts of recipes, from bread and pasta to cakes and cookies:
- Pizza crust
- Pancakes and waffles
- Pie crust
- Fruit crumbles and crisps
How to make spelt flour at home
Here’s a simple recipe for making spelt flour at home:
- Rinse the spelt berries thoroughly and soak them in water for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
- Drain the water from the spelt berries and spread them out on a clean towel or baking sheet to dry.
- Once the spelt berries are completely dry, transfer them to a grain mill and grind them into flour. If you don’t have a grain mill, you can also use a high-powered blender or food processor to grind the spelt berries.
- Once you’ve ground the spelt berries into flour, sift the flour through a fine sieve to remove any larger pieces or impurities.
And that’s it! Making spelt flour at home is easy and cost-effective, and can be a great way to ensure you’re getting the freshest, most nutritious flour possible.
How to store spelt flour
Spelt flour has a shelf-life of about 3-6 months. For optimal freshness, store spelt flour in an airtight container, such as a glass jar or plastic container with a tight-fitting lid. Keep spelt flour in a cool, dry place – preferably in the refrigerator or freezer after opening.
Homemade spelt flour should also be stored in an airtight container and in the fridge or freezer when possible. Label it with the type of flour and the date it was made, so you can keep track of its freshness and use it within a few months for best results.
What are the best substitutes for spelt flour?
Einkorn flour, another type of ancient grain flour that’s low in gluten, is a great substitute for spelt flour.
However, because the husk has to be removed before milling spelt and einkorn flour, they tend to be more expensive than traditional flour. Whole-wheat flour is a more budget-friendly alternative that will give you similar results.
For all my gluten-free people, I recommend amaranth flour or almond flour.
Spelt flour is a nutritious, ancient grain flour with a slightly nutty and sweet flavor, a high fiber content, and a lower gluten content than regular wheat flour which makes it easier to digest.
Spelt flour can be substituted for 100% all-purpose flour in many recipes, but it may require some adjustments due to its lower gluten content and lower absorbency.
Einkorn flour and whole wheat flour are good substitutes, as they have a similar nutty flavor and texture, and a comparable level of fiber and protein.