I was just given spelt flour.... now what?

haven't found much info for how best to use in bread..... anyone have any recipes.. know of amount to substitute?



BurgeoningBaker June 6, 2013
I want to make a Babka for someone with wheat issues (apparently she can eat spelt which is wheat based). What can I add in to spelt to give it more structure? Right now my pantry has rice flour and potato flour..
petitbleu April 15, 2013
I love spelt flour in baking. I haven't made the jump to using it in breads, but I know lots of people who do. I like to use it for half the AP flour in almost any recipe where gluten isn't so much a factor. Cakes, pancakes, waffles, cookies, etc. I've also made a mean pâte brisée with spelt flour. The nutty flavor is really a boon to hyper sweet desserts and baked goods.
I should note that in the name of less fuss, I have never modified a recipe (i.e. reducing the amount of liquid) where I substituted spelt for AP flour. I just haven't found it to be all that necessary. Again, though, I've never made bread with it, which would probably require some modification.
Maedl April 15, 2013
Spelt has been grown in Central Europe for ages and is a favorite grain for bread making in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, so look for bread recipes from those regions. I am sure that many of the hearty breads I've been eating there are made exclusively from spelt flour. Also look for Maria Spelt's book, Ancient Grains for Modern Tables--she has a section on various wheats and recipes.
healthierkitchen April 15, 2013
It is a great book! Maria Speck, though?
Maedl April 15, 2013
Yes, I do mean Maria Speck! Guess I needed a second cup of coffee before I tried to write that!
the M. April 14, 2013
There seems to be a common bit of misinformation about spelt flour and its absorption quality, which I've even come across in published cookbooks that state that spelt is "more water soluble than wheat and requires more liquid." But if something is more "water soluble," it means it dissolves more easily in water, not that it absorbs more water. I've found when baking with spelt that it is necessary to reduce the amount of liquid, as Jennie said above, by 10 percent. I've also switched to using spelt instead of wheat, and have been experimenting with a mix of whole and white spelt flours. I'm finding that when adding white spelt into the mix, reducing the liquid even more than 10 percent is necessary, depending on the amount of white spelt flour used. Another helpful website for basic information on spelt is http://www.natureslegacyforlife.com/
Jennie M. April 27, 2011
I have been baking exclusively with spelt flour for 10 years and have had successful results with everything from brioche to crumpets by employing a few simple rules. There are many good reasons to switch to this ancient grain, chief among them that it is very eco-friendly because it requires no chemical fertilizers or fungicides in order to thrive.

To use the flour, first, determine if it is whole or white spelt flour. Whole spelt flour can be substituted for whole wheat flour, and white spelt flour can be substituted for all purpose wheat flour in any recipe calling for them. Spelt absorbs 10% LESS water than wheat flour, so REDUCE the liquid in your recipe by 10%. For bread or other unsweetened baked goods, I usually add a browning agent: a teaspoon of molasses for whole spelt or a teaspoon of sugar or rice bran syrup for a white spelt loat.

Knead spelt bread dough just as you would for a wheat loaf. One rise in the bowl and one rise for the shaped loaf gets the best results. Do not rise to double in size--a rise of 1-3/4 times the volume will give you the most robust rise in the oven.

There is a 14 page PDF you can download on www.bake-with-spelt.com that has tips and recipes for baking with spelt flour, including several very useful tables for converting your favorite wheat recipes to spelt, plus recipes for white and whole spelt bread, a bread-machine loaf, cakes, cookies, scones and pie crust.

Best of luck with your baking!
nogaga April 27, 2011
Luck you! Like Bob Vivant, I use it one hundred percent for all pancake and waffle recipes, for scones, I use 50% for fresh pasta. I use it in a roux to thincken sauces and add a mysterious nutty toothsomeness. It is a wonderful flour! I love it especially in pie crusts (I use 60% with 40% AP.) It gives savoury crusts a real sturdiness and sweet crusts the same nutiness and tensile crunch that make your guests assume you sprinkles hazelnut flour and vanilla in your crust. Enjoy!
Anitalectric April 26, 2011
I substitute half of the flour for spelt flour in many recipes. I love spelt flour. I find that it actually adds moisture to baked goods. For example, when I make baked donuts, the ones that are made with half the all purpose flour subbed for spelt come out moister than the ones that are all all purpose flour.

I also love the way it tastes. I tend to use the regular, brownish spelt flour over the white spelt. It has more flavor.
susan G. April 25, 2011
You can use 100% spelt flour, if you accept its differences. We were using spelt almost exclusively, until my husband had to abandon gluten entirely. It made a tasty pizza crust! Be aware that there are white and whole grain spelt flour, and the outcome differs.
Bob V. April 25, 2011
Spelt is one of my favorite baking partners now, though I only started using it a few years ago. I use it in homemade pasta (50% spelt, 50% AP), in pizza dough (1 part spelt, 2 parts AP), in soda bread (50% spelt, 50% AP), yeast bread (ratio of spelt depends on how dense I want my bread), pancakes (100% spelt), and more. My favorite of all is to use it in scones (100% spelt) with tart dried cherries.
boulangere April 25, 2011
You're both correct, AntoniaJames and ChefJune. It does absorb more water than unbleached bread flour because it is a coarse grain. I would advise against using it 100% in any bread because of its lower gluten content and the further fact that any whole grain will have a scissoring action against the gluten. Any 100% spelt bread will tend to "pillow out", not hold its shape in other words when shaped to proof. I agree that 20% spelt is about the most you would want to use, and I'd use probably 20% whole wheat flour as well to compensate for spelt's lower protein content, than use unbleached bread flour for the rest.
AntoniaJames April 25, 2011
I agree with ChefJune about it making a whole wheat loaf much more dense. I wonder though if the increased density in some instances is partly the result of the spelt flour absorbing more liquid. Adding 1 - 2 teaspoons of gluten per cup of spelt will help the texture along. And I amend my earlier response, to note that you should not sub 1:1 if the whole wheat is the majority or even a significant portion of the flour called for, at least not on the first round . . . . ;o)
ChefJune April 25, 2011
You can use it in place of traditional wheat flour in yeast breads, but be warned that it does not have as much gluten as "regular" whole wheat flour. It will require a LOT of kneading, and still your bread will be denser than a 100% whole wheat bread. It IS delicious, though. Hawthorn Valley Farms sells a 100% yeasted Spelt loaf at the Union Square Greenmarket that is absolutaly delicious, and makes great sandwiches.
AntoniaJames April 25, 2011
Substitute it for half of the all-purpose or whole wheat flour (but not both) called for in any recipe for quick breads, muffins, cookies, etc. I'd also sub it 1:1 for whole wheat flour. It has a mildly earthy flavor, but not as pronounced or noticeable as whole wheat. You can also use it in yeast breads, but substitute a smaller proportion (up to about 20%). Spelt absorbs more water than regular wheat flours, though, so be prepared to add a bit more liquid if the batter or dough seems to stiff or dry. It has a somewhat sweet flavor, similar in intensity to the level of sweetness of barley flour, so I love using it with my other flours (I'll post a recipe later this week, if I have time to test/confirm measurements.) Have fun!! ;o)
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