Spelt flour as a substitute for whole wheat pasty flour

My recipe calls for WW pastry flour. Can I substitute Spelt flour 1 for 1? I was concerned about the fact that it specifically calls for pastry flour which tends to produce a more tender result.



Mayben February 12, 2020
Hi, I am a little late to this thread... I'm a baker at a health food store and primarily use spelt flour. It has definitely been a long "learn as I go"process. My primary source of sugar ( I mainly bake cookies) is maple syrup, and the fat is safflower oil. I have tried decreasing the amount of liquid, ending up with hockey pucks - there are some cookies that I even have to increase the maple syrup. This is in opposition to everything I have ever read. I have also found the longer the cookie dough sits the thicker the cookies become ( the gluten has a chance to form?). My problem is - finally- inconsistencies with the product. There are other bakers who work and a huge difference between our end result, it drives me crazy.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Also, the majority of our recipes have been adapted originally written for barley flour ( substituting spelt 1:1), and we typically quadruple the recipes. I know this was alot, thank you if anyone can help.
pianogirl June 19, 2017
Sorry for omitting what I was preparing to use the spelt flour with. I have a zucchini quick bread recipe from Bob's Red Mill.
AntoniaJames June 20, 2017
pianogirl, based on what I've read - especially Medrich's piece on cakes linked above -- the substitution should not be a problem at all. If you do try it, please let us know how it turns out! ;o)
AntoniaJames June 19, 2017
More on substituting spelt flour for whole wheat (regular, not pastry) here: http://www.thekitchn.com/beyond-whole-wheat-flour-3-delicious-whole-grain-flours-you-should-try-now-170266 and on baking with regular pastry flour and WW pastry flour, from Bob's Red Mill: http://www.bobsredmill.com/blog/healthy-living/what-is-it-wednesday-pastry-flour/
Still, would love to know what the recipe is for, as one must consider these questions in context. ;o)
Maedl June 19, 2017
Spelt flour is not necessarily made from the whole grain--you may end up with a different texture or need to use less liquid.
Sipa June 19, 2017
I just baked a blueberry galette with a spelt crust. I can't tell you how it works as compared to WW pastry flour but I can tell you that the dough was very tender and cracked easily when rolling out and the finished dough was crumbly. It tasted good but leaked a lot in the oven where cracks appeared.
AntoniaJames June 20, 2017
Sipa, thanks for letting us know. Your experience is consistent with the fact that spelt's gluten is weak. I tend to agree with the wise, savvy Stella Parks, who has this to say about pie crusts and gluten:

[W]e have to realize that gluten isn't the enemy of our dough. (If it were, we'd have all switched to a gluten-free recipe by now.) To paraphrase an old friend, my ally is gluten, and a powerful ally it is. It's the force that gives pastry its power, that binds a crust together. It strengthens dough so that we can wield it with confidence, knowing it won't fall apart in our hands." http://www.seriouseats.com/2016/06/how-to-make-a-beautifully-flaky-pie-crust.html

Lesson here: If you want to use spelt in a pie or galette crust, for flavor or whatever other reason, use some AP flour, too, to strengthen it. ;o)
AntoniaJames June 19, 2017
What is it that you're making? I don't have much experience with spelt, other than as a secondary ingredient in yeast breads, but I noticed this article by Alice Medrich, who has a ton of experience using alternative flours: https://food52.com/blog/18069-change-one-ingredient-in-this-pound-cake-recipe-get-a-whole-new-cake Based on this, one could easily conclude that it's worth a try.
Also, it stands to reason that spelt would work just fine, given that pastry flour is generally a low gluten flour, while spelt, from what I have read, has gluten that is weaker than wheat flour, i.e., it does not create strong, stretchy strands, meaning spelt is likely to produce a more tender baked good. The WW flour will have a different flavor, but it's certainly worth trying the spelt!
I'll be interested to see others' answers to this. ;o)
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