Spelt Flour

 

20050509061813speltI’ve been intrigued by spelt flour for a long while.  So much buzz about its nutritious qualities and nutty taste!  But for whatever reason, it always eluded me at the grocery store.  It would catch my eye on the baking shelf, but I’d hesitate.  Next time for sure, I would reassure it.  But I always had an excuse.  I already have three bags of flour at home.  I should finish those first.  Or, I need to bake banana bread for my co-workers.  I don’t want to risk using an unfamiliar flour when I’m looking to dazzle them all with my sweet treat. 

I needed a motive to break out of my comfort zone.  So I schemed up a Flour Face-Off and named spelt flour one of the competitors.  Brilliant!  I finally baked with spelt.  Whee!

So what’s up with this stuff anyway?

Spelt is an ancient cereal grain similar to wheat, but with a tougher husk.  It was initially grown in the Fertile Crescent around 5000 to 6000 B.C. and was one of the first grains used to make bread.  The Greek and Roman civilizations found a staple in the grain – for eating and for using as a gift to the gods to encourage harvest and fertility.  Spelt eventually migrated to Europe about 300 years ago and finally made its way to North America around the turn of the 20th century.  It soon faded from notice in favor of easier-to-process wheat, but it’s now making a come back!

Spelt flour’s popularity has grown in recent years for a bazillion reasons.  Ok, I exaggerate, but it’s still pretty awesome. It has a somewhat nuttier and sweeter flavor than wheat flours.  Plus, it packs a nutrient-rich punch.  Spelt flour has between 10 and 25 percent more protein than wheat.  And its protein is generally easier to digest – which can possibly be helpful to those with wheat allergies.  It’s also chock full of good stuff like fiber and B vitamins. 

I used Arrowhead Mills spelt flour.  And I’m no certified spelt expert yet, but from what I’ve read, you can substitute spelt flour one-for-one with regular wheat flour.  But there are a couple things to note.  Spelt flour has what they call a “fragile” gluten content, so it’s important to not overmix your batter.  And you might need to reduce the liquid in your recipe just a tad.  Seems you have to play around a bit depending on what you’re making – that just means more experimenting!  I think it could make some killer cookies.  Yum!

Have you ever baked with spelt flour?  What’s your favorite recipe that uses it?

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24 Responses to “Spelt Flour”


  1. 1 VeggieGirl March 26, 2009 at 3:06 pm

    I used to love using spelt flour!!

  2. 2 Danielle March 26, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    I’ve always wondered about spelt flour! Thanks for writing this post.

  3. 3 Missy Maintains March 26, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    I’ve never used it but now I want to try it!!

  4. 4 Lauren March 26, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    I just purchased Eat, Drink & Be Vegan – and Dreena calls for spelt flour in many of her recipes. I’ve made her Super Charge Me! Cookies & her Pear Pancakes, both of which use spelt flour. I’ve been impressed with the results!

    I have yet to use spelt flour in my own recipes, but I’ll work my up to it 🙂

  5. 5 Andrea March 26, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    I just bought some from the bulk section of my grocery store. I’m not a baker, so who knows when I’ll use it, but I just wanted to have some on hand 🙂

  6. 6 Sarah March 26, 2009 at 7:56 pm

    i’ve been the same way with spelt flour! always tempted to buy it, but there’s always a reason to hold off. i’ve eaten spelt berries before and love them, so i’m sure i’d be a fan of the flour. i’m curious to see what you whip up!

  7. 7 Sharon March 26, 2009 at 8:51 pm

    Oh wow, I have never tried spelt flour before!

  8. 8 Hayley March 26, 2009 at 8:56 pm

    I love using spelt flour. I usually sub it in for half of the all purpose flour recipes call for. Thanks for all of the great information!

  9. 9 Gena March 27, 2009 at 9:43 am

    Hi my dear!

    First off, I should note that spelt is one of the few grains that’s often eaten by raw foodists (cooked, of course). Second, I love my friend Lindsay’s recipe for blueberry spelt muffins!

    http://happyherbivore.com/2008/06/orange-blueberry-spelt-muffins/

  10. 10 Happy Herbivore March 27, 2009 at 10:09 am

    I make muffins (see recipe link from Gena), pizza dough with it… and use spelt pasta now too

  11. 11 sweetandnatural March 27, 2009 at 10:38 am

    VeggieGirl – Now you rock the gluten-free flours! 😉

    Danielle – Glad you found it helpful!

    Missy Maintains – Let me know if you do – and what you make with it!

    Lauren – Believe you me, those Super Charge Me Cookies will be made in the near future. 🙂

    Andrea – Just in case! 😉

    Sarah – I’ll try to come up with some interesting recipes for you!

    Sharon – Maybe for your next baking adventure?

    Hayley – I’m going to try the half and half thing too. Seems like a good way to go!

    Gena – Hi there! Why do raw foodists like spelt so much? You need to start your blog soon so these kind of questions can be answered! The recipe looks delish – thanks for sharing!

    Happy Herbivore – Love your muffins – especially the maple syrup substitution. Yum!

  12. 12 charles March 27, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    Very interesting blog post. I just wanted to share other interesting and unique videos about wheat:

    http://www.americasheartland.org/episodes/episode_319/heirloom_grains.html

  13. 13 Gena March 27, 2009 at 3:02 pm

    Mmm, perhaps this will be a topic for a future post. I’m working hard at getting it set up!

  14. 14 Amy March 27, 2009 at 11:42 pm

    I love spelt flour but I’m never quite sure how to use it. I’m eagerly awaiting your expertise on it 🙂

  15. 15 MizFit March 29, 2009 at 5:11 am

    Thanks so much for this post—-Ive wondered and yet been miredin laziness with regards to research (hey 🙂 Im honest!)

  16. 16 Heather Eats Almond Butter March 29, 2009 at 10:30 am

    Obsessed with spelt. I’ve been making homemade spelt tortillas everyday. So easy. Who knew? Thanks for this post and for spreading the spelt love!

  17. 17 ttfn300 March 29, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    ah, i too have ALMOST bought spelt on many occasions 🙂 guess i need to get baking again!

  18. 18 sweetandnatural March 30, 2009 at 10:55 am

    charles – Thanks for the link.

    Gena – Definitely!

    Amy – It won’t be expertise just yet – but experimentise for sure!

    MizFit – I’m glad it was helpful for you!

    Heather Eats Almond Butter – I’ll have to look into those spelt tortillas – yum!

    ttfn300 – Yay baking! 🙂

  19. 19 Hangry Pants March 31, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    I’ve made bread with it. The recipe is in a cookbook I have, but I can type it out and send it to you if you’d like.

  20. 20 sweetandnatural March 31, 2009 at 9:04 pm

    Hangry Pants – I’d love it!

  21. 21 s. Stockwell April 6, 2009 at 8:46 pm

    Really, really did not have success with spelt? It is not a replacement for anyone with wheat allergies. The taste is starchier and the pasta was not tender? Maybe we just did it wrong? Love your blog. you always post something cool. best, s

  22. 22 sweetandnatural April 14, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    s. Stockwell – Spelt definitely acts differently than wheat, as I also discovered my Flour Face-Off experiment – https://sweetandnatural.wordpress.com/2009/03/06/flour-face-off-muffins/. Like I said, I’m still new to using it, so I don’t have all the answers yet! As for wheat allergies…yes, spelt is very close to wheat, but it is not the same. So it is sometimes, but not always!, an appropriate alterntive. That’s why I said spelt can “possibly” be helpful to those with wheat allergies. Hope that clears any confusion!

  23. 23 Dr. Angela Slovak August 12, 2011 at 11:36 pm

    Great article… we are running an article about this substitute for flour in our Fall issue of Thrive Oklahoma Magazine… We always have a recipe section with vegan and healthy foods. We also always recommend that our readers support our local farmers’ market. If anyone has recipes that use fall harvest vegetables or fruit, local to Oklahoma with Spelt flour our any other gluten free. We would love some input…

    thanks in advance… great site!

    Dr. Angela Slovak Publisher Thrive Oklahoma Magazine

  24. 24 cookie queen October 12, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    I’ve used spelt flour for chocolate chip cookies with excellent results. Just use your usual recipe. The texture will be a little different (but not unpleasant) and the taste a little ‘nuttier’. My husband the choco-holic gives them an A++. Happy experimenting!


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