Monday, September 12, 2011

about spelt

Spelt is not the past tense of spell.  Nope.  It is a grain.  It is actually a variety of wheat.  Hybridization of grains led to the wheat we have today.  There are many different varieties of wheat; hard red, soft white, and the crossbreed of those is hard white. Soft white wheat is good for pastries, so that is what pastry flour really is.  Spelt is further back in the hybridization.  Most bread was made from spelt during the Middle Ages over in Europe, as well as the early 1900s in the United States.  It has more protein than wheat.  It is also tends to be more easily digested.  It has less fiber and calories than wheat. It does contain gluten.  Spelt also has a stronger nutty flavor (which I love).  It can be substituted for wheat flour in most recipes- in fact, I haven't found one that hasn't worked for me yet.
I discovered spelt four years ago.  I was suffering from postpartum depression and wanted to treat it naturally (after a year of medication that only minimally helped).  The naturopathic doctor I went to suggested following the blood type diet.  In the blood type diet, it is suggest that type B (that is me- and my husband, therefore our kids are either B or O, so it works well for all of us) should not eat wheat but rather spelt.  So I switched.  For a long time I still used some white flour (you know the wheat flour that is stripped of all nutrients and then fortified with fake nutrients).  I only use it now on special occasions (birthday cakes).  I found that switching to whole spelt in my baking made a huge difference for me.  It doesn't make nice big, fluffy loaves of bread like wheat.  It makes for more crumbly baked goods.  I have learned that, really, those things aren't important.  My biscuits may crumble on us, but the kids just use a fork to eat it- and they eat it up! 

So now you know why I am always mentioning that I replaced the wheat with spelt in my recipes.  Try it out, you may never settle for the bland taste of wheat again!

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