What is spelt flour?
Anyone looking for a healthier alternative for all-purpose flour or wheat flour for their daily cooking activities may have come across the name “spelt flour”. While spelt flour may not be a household name and may not be as popular as other flours, it has been around for quite some time.
Spelt is an ancient grain, growing in many regions. It is a more primitive relative of modern wheat, but its health benefits exceed wheat by far. Its scientific name is “Triticum Spelta”. In ancient Greece, spelt flour was thought to be a gift from the Goddess of the harvest (Demeter).
The spelt grain was mainly grown and consumed in Europe (mostly in Germany), but the crop was later introduced in the United States in the late 1800s. At this point, spelt quickly became popularized amongst the masses and replaced common wheat flour in most recipes and dishes served across the United States.
Spelt flour is made from the spelt grain (just like almond flour is made from almonds, and rice flour is made from rice), which is reddish-brown. Spelt flour gained a considerable amount of popularity up until the 19th century when the ancient grain was replaced with more modern grains like wheat. However, with the recent health kick and diet consciousness being spread around the world, spelt flour is making a gradual comeback into different recipes and dishes.
How is spelt flour made?
Spelt flour is milled from spelt wheat (also known as spelt). It is much more difficult to process than wheat as it has a very tough husk that is difficult to remove. Still, the effort put into dehusking is worth it considering how nutritious the end product is. It is milled and ground into a flour-like consistency
There are different grades of grinding available. You can buy spelt flour that is like a powder or regular all-purpose flour or even spelt flour that is slightly grainier and bulky in texture. Either way, spelt flour is a great and healthy alternative that can be used as a substitute for most kinds of meals in different recipes.
The spelt is usually sent to flour mills in bulk to be ground and milled into something more marketable and familiar to the general public. The milling process begins by cleaning the spelt grain. Next, it is tempered and ground in a system of roller mills. Between each roller mill, the grain is usually sifted to ensure consistency. This rolling and sifting process is continued until a fine flour is achieved.
Why use wholegrain spelt flour in place of wheat?
After being used for centuries as a healthy way to incorporate grains in one’s diet, spelt flour is slowly gaining popularity again. It has many nutritional benefits and provides qualities to foods that cannot be found with the use of wheat flour.
Aside from the nutritional benefits (which will be detailed below), some of the added advantages of using spelt flour instead of wheat flour include:
- It allows for the dough to be softer and lower in elasticity, so it is ideal to be used for recipes that require such dough
- It has a unique and robust flavour that is incomparable to any other grain. It has a nutty flavour and is slightly sweet
- It allows for less fermentation
- It is much more water-soluble than wheat
- It lends weaker gluten development and a more fragile gluten structure as the gluten in spelt is more delicate than the gluten in other flours
Some recipes in which spelt flour is an excellent substitute for other flours (especially if you are looking for something nutritious) include cookies, cake, bread, muffins, pasta, sauces and soups (especially those that require the making of a roux).
Using spelt flour does require some effort, especially when making the dough as the flour does not lend much structure to the dough, but its added nutritional value makes up for this time and effort.
However, once it has been made into bread or other doughy substance, spelt can be delicious and highly nutritious. Spelt flour is best used in recipes that require immediate baking or cooking, like cakes, pancakes, waffles, soups, stews and sauces.
The nutritional benefits of spelt flour are unlike any other flour or grain out there. You would expect any flour to be high in carbohydrates and gluten; however, while spelt flour does contain both carbs and gluten, it is also very high in protein.
This is why it would make a great addition to any vegan diet (as vegans usually look for foods that are higher in protein as a way to substitute the protein anyone else can easily access through the meat).
Organic wholemeal spelt is a good source of calcium, selenium, magnesium, zinc, iron, and manganese.
It is also high in crude fibre, which makes it an excellent option for people who face digestion issues when they eat dishes with flour in them. Spelt also notably contains vitamin E.
Spelt is a nutritious grain because it has a more onerous task than average, and this tusk ensures that it retains its nutritional value no matter what. The flavour of spelt can also lend different dishes with a distinct quality (making them slightly nuttier).
Due to its water solubility, spelt flour is more comfortable to digest than most other flours. This also means that it contains more vitamins and minerals, many of which carry different benefits, like metabolism regulation, increase in blood circulation, immune system boosting, reduction in bad cholesterol and lowering of blood sugar.
Such benefits mean that spelt flour is an ideal substitution for older adults and those facing dietary problems.
Although an ideal alternative to wholemeal flour for people who have a wheat intolerance, it is not recommended for people with gluten intolerance or celiac disease. It still has gluten, although it’s easier to digest.
Thus, spelt flour is a highly nutritious flour alternative that can replace your normal flour in your pantry. It has recently been kicked back into popularity as a go-to health food after people rediscovered its ideal nutritional value.
Buy Our Spelt Flour
Our flour goes to Craggs Farm to be milled. It can be bought through Janet’s website…