Spelt is an ancient grain in the wheat family, and there is archaeological evidence of its use for food going back several thousand years before the Common Era. The use of spelt is even mentioned in the Bible. The most common use of spelt flour is in bread-making, but it can be used in most recipes calling for wheat flour. Spelt, either whole or ground into flour, is available at most health-food stores or online.
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Replace a portion of the wheat flour in bread recipes with an equal amount of spelt flour. Because it is low in gluten, spelt does not rise as well as wheat flour. A single cup of spelt flour will give your bread loaves a nutty flavour.
Substitute spelt flour for wheat flour in pasta recipes. Since pasta dough does not rise well, spelt flour works perfectly in everything from spaghetti to dumplings.
Make flat breads, like tortillas and pitas, using spelt flour. As with pasta, flat breads require the flour to rise very little, and spelt flour is suited well for this purpose.
Use spelt flour to dust your board before rolling out your pie crust. The flour will not affect the flakiness of the crust but will add a unique flavour perfect for pies such as pumpkin, custard and sweet potato.
Tips and warnings
- Because of its low gluten content, spelt flour can often be tolerated by those with problems digesting wheat.
- Whole spelt berries can be soaked overnight and cooked like rice. They can also be added to soups, much like barley and other whole grains.
- Spelt is known as "farro" in Italian cooking and "dinkel" in German cuisine.
- There are numerous claims of health benefits from eating spelt, including gall stone prevention, hypertension reduction and reducing the risk of arteriosclerosis.
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