You may have seen spelt flour quite a bit in our recipes. Let’s talk about it!
Why do we us it? Why do we love it?
Spelt is a healthy grain that comes from the wheat family (an ancient cousin). It’s a lighter grain than wheat and can have a sandy to white appearance. Environmental factors, pollutants and toxins have little effect on the spelt kernel, so it is an unaltered grain. Because of its nutrient rich properties, it’s a healthy grain that’s ideal for any kind of baking. It contains vitamins, protein, is low in fat and is high in minerals. It has a high water solubility, is high in fiber and has a lower, more fragile gluten content. This makes spelt flour easier to break down and digest within the body. People who have celiac disease or have wheat sensitivities may find they can digest spelt flour very easily! Spelt flour creates delicious healthy products with great nutritional benefits!
We love using spelt flour frequently in our baking! But more recently, we’ve discovered a few things about spelt flour that we hadn’t realized before!
When the 3 of us sisters were in D.C. last June, we made a few treats using this flour.
Our mom has begun to buy spelt grain to grind up to make her own flour. When baking with this homemade flour product, we discovered that we needed a lot more flour than usual! When we made these dinner rolls one night, we found that we added about an extra 2 full cups than called for! When we made these pecan tarts, we needed more flour as well. After having made both of these treats a dozen times before then, and using store bought spelt flour (and sometimes organic white flour) in both recipes, we knew something wasn’t right! After those experiences, we wanted to share more about this flour and hopefully reduce any confusion or baking disasters for our readers!
Our mom’s homemade spelt flour was a lot lighter and less dense than other spelt flours we’ve used. It also was a very sandy, grainy color and looked almost like a light wheat flour. It still created delicious baked goods and had a nice flavor. The only major difference was that we found we needed a lot more of it.
We’ve discovered store bought spelt flours vary per company as well. Spelt can come in two different forms- whole grain spelt and white spelt. Our two favorite brands are Arrowhead Mill and VitaSpelt. Both products are organic and 100 percent spelt flour. We like both products, but we typically buy the whole grain spelt from one company and white from the other – meaning they are different from each other!
VitaSpelt calls it’s product White Spelt Flour. From what we have read, white spelt flour has many of the same benefits as whole grain spelt flour. However, it does not contain as high of vitamins, minerals or fiber as the whole grain kind, but it does have the same amount of protein. White spelt flour also is lower in calories than whole grain, which is convenient for those watching their weight. Like it’s name, white spelt flour has a clean white appearance and has a texture very similar to processed white flour. White spelt flour is also slightly sweet. Because it looks like white flour, this product is perfect for those who are just beginning to ween off refined white flour or are trying to hide healthier flours in baked goods. No one will be able to tell you didn’t use regular white flour! One benefit from this particular company is that it comes in a larger bag for typically less money. White spelt flour is awesome for treats that need a pure, unmasked flavor, like tarts, rolls or cakes.
Arrowhead Mills calls their product Organic Spelt Flour. This product is whole grain spelt flour. It is a tiny bit darker in appearance with some dark speckles. It looks more true to our mother’s home ground flour. However, it does not seem to be as light in texture as the homemade stuff. Because this flour is a whole grain flour, it is rich with many vitamins and minerals and is also higher in calories. This brand carries it’s flour in a smaller package, which is nice to try it out slowly instead of having to buy a huge bag that you may discover you don’t like. It’s not the least expensive, but you can be sure it’s a good, healthy product. This flour contributes a nutty taste to many baked goods. Sometimes that nutty flavor is great but sometimes it can give a “healthy” flavor when combined with other nutty or mild flavored ingredients. A great example of this is our Chocolate Hazelnut Shortbread Bars. Depending on what kind of flour you use, you may find the taste to be too “healthy”. Since most people don’t want their desserts to taste healthy, we have found this kind of spelt flour is awesome in recipes that include lots of chocolate or fruit.
In all of our recipes, we try to be specific about what kind of flours we use. We typically do not use home ground flours, so nearly all of our recipes use store bought products. Because of the option of homemade versus different company products, flours will differ. Being aware of the type of flours used and how it effects a dish really contributes to a baking failure or success, especially if you are experimenting with baking sugar-free or dairy-free! Hopefully this gives you a good run down on this healthy flour! Please leave a comment if there is anything you can share with us about spelt flour!