Spelt – the Amazing Grain

Are you wheat sensitive and/or simply wanting to try a new grain? Look no further than grain spelt. This nutritious and wonderful grain is known to be one of the three oldest cultivated grains with an origin dating back to 5000 BC. Interestingly, spelt is only one of seven grains mentioned in the Bible. With a worldwide reputation, the Germans know is as their beloved “Dinkle” and use it in items from beer to bread. Italians know is as “Farro” and use is in soups, breads, pizza crusts, cakes – amongst other uses.

Unlike other grains, spelt’s husk protects it from pollutants and insects and can be grown without using any pesticides. The tough outer hull protects the spelt kernel which results in protecting the grain during storage and providing for a fresher kernel/food. Spelt’s hull is the secret to its mild flavor and superior performance. This tough hull also enhances nutrient retention. In comparison, modern wheat has been cultivated to be easier to grow and harvest, have a higher gluten content, and a higher yield. This higher yield is necessary for the high volume of baked goods produced in commercial baking.

Nutritionally (and for baking purposes), spelt can be substituted cup for cup in recipes calling for wheat. It is high in fiber and the total protein content is 10-25% higher than the common varieties of commercial wheat. It is also high in Vitamin B. It contains both simple and complex carbohydrates, too.

Substituting the grain spelt for wheat in recipes will yield a wonderful taste, and the same texture.
Store spelt like you would any whole grain. I store it in airtight glass jars.
Let’s experiment with this delightful grain.

NOTE: By the way, if you want to make your own spelt flour – simply grind some spelt berries into a powder. A coffee grinder is ideal for this. Store in an airtight container.

Almond Butter Cookies (makes about 2 dozen)
3 cups almond butter
2 cups spelt flour
one-half cup milk (dairy, soy, or rice)
2 and one-half cups brown sugar
1 t baking powder

Preheat oven to 350. Combine all ingredients together in medium mixing bowl. Lightly grease baking sheet. Form recipe batter into patties and place onto sheet. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes til done. Remove immediately from sheet and place onto plate. (This recipe are a hit with my students!)

Spelt Shortbread (about 2 dozen)
1 cup butter
three-quarter cup brown sugar
2 cups spelt flour
1 t salt
1 t lemon juice
1 cup chopped almonds (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease baking sheet. In medium bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add remaining ingredients a little at a time and stir between additions. Form into patties and place onto baking sheet. Bake at 350 for about 12-15 minutes, til brown. Remove immediately when done onto plate. (These cookies will be rather crispy and flat�but tasty!)

These recipes are an excerpt from my cookbook, “The World of Grains”.

There you have it. The spelt grain is easier to use and enjoy than you think. Try it!

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