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What is Spelt Flour and How to Use It

Spelt flour is one of the most popular whole grain, non-wheat flours available. It shows up in pastas, breads and in a variety of specifically wheat-free recipes. But what exactly is spelt flour?

What is Spelt Flour?

Spelt is a cereal grain in the wheat family, but it is not the same thing as wheat (same genus, different species). The grain has been cultivated for centuries, in both central Europe and the middle east. It looks very similar to wheat in appearance, but it has a much harder outer shell before it has been milled. It has a nutty and slightly sweet flavor, similar to that of whole wheat flour.

Why is Spelt Flour Popular?

Spelt flour is popular because it is very tasty and quite easy to work with. Spelt flour does contain gluten, which makes it very easy to substitute it into “regular” wheat cookie, bread, etc. recipes that would typically call for all purpose flour. By adding spelt, you’ll get the flavor and nutritional benefits of the whole grain flour without without dramatically compromising the texture of your baked good – since we all know that gluten free baking can be tricky if not done right!

Another reason that spelt flour is popular is that it has a fairly strong nutritional profile. Spelt has slightly fewer calories than wheat flour and is somewhat higher in protein. The flour is easy to digest but is lower in fiber than wheat.

How to Use Spelt Flour

Spelt flour can be substituted into a recipe that calls for wheat flour in a 1:1 ratio in most cases. The gluten in spelt flour is a little unusual. Unlike wheat flour, which is quite resilient and often needs a long kneading time (with breads) to strengthen its gluten and give the bread structure, the gluten in spelt flour breaks down fairly easily. This means that it is pretty critical not to overmix it, or risk having a crumbly texture imparted into whatever you’re making.

If you want to experiment with spelt flour, my recommendation is to start start by substituting a portion of your regularly all purpose or whole wheat flour with spelt, starting with 25% of the recipe and altering as you try different batches to see the differences in flavor and texture. A great place to start is my Spelt White Bread, which is an easy to make all-purpose bread that makes fantastic toast and sandwiches.

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54 Comments
  • maryt
    April 18, 2008

    i love your blog because you do all of the research for me! i’ve been meaning to learn about spelt flour for forever, so I was very happy to read this today….thanks!

  • Sally
    April 18, 2008

    Thanks Nicole! I’ve used spelt flour before, but I haven’t known exactly what it was that made it different from wheat. Now that I know, I have a better idea what recipes would better suit it.

  • Ella
    April 23, 2008

    One thing to keep in mind is that spelt shouldn’t be used as a substitute for people with a wheat allergy. Since it is in the same family, it usually causes the same reaction. It’s a common misconception that it can be substituted so my allergist made sure to point this out when I was diagnosed. But if you have no wheat allergies – bake away because it sounds great!

  • Christine
    February 6, 2009

    Hello! Could you advise where can I buy pure spelt flour? Thank you!

  • Bettye
    February 9, 2009

    You can buy it from http://www.bobsredmill.com They also have tons of other interesting grain flours, etc. I tried this in my bread machine and the loaf was about 3 inches tall. Guess I should’ve used part white flour also.

  • thresea stimatze
    April 25, 2009

    please tell me the difference in spelt. The discription says it is in
    the wheat family, yet later says it is a not wheat flour.
    thresea

  • Cathy
    August 29, 2009

    Spelt is a variety of wheat. Saying that is “one of the more popular non-wheat flours” and that it is an ingredient “in a variety of specifically wheat-free recipes” is completely false information. In fact, the FDA states that spelt products cannot claim to be “wheat free” on their packages. Please consider revising or removing your blog entry. Thanks.

  • Cindy
    May 15, 2010

    I jumped on Wikipedia and read the article, but it was a lot like walking through pudding: slow going and afterward I felt kinda dirty.

  • rocky
    March 20, 2011

    where can i find spelt flour in mumbai, india??

  • Andrew
    April 17, 2011

    I used spelt flour instead of regular wheat flour to make pancakes – they came out with a pleasantly coarser texter, almost like cornmeal. But they had a nice crispiness too. I would recommend trying this.

  • Bonnie
    June 2, 2011

    I am starting to make my dog’s food. Many recipes call for spelt flour. I had no idea what it was. Thank for your complete discription.

  • Kalpana
    August 10, 2011

    Where can I find spelt flour in Southern California?

  • gagandeep
    April 20, 2012

    can you tell me that how you make the slept flour can you tell me what did you fast and like tell me every thing

    thanks four tell me

    thanks .

  • bobbie
    July 18, 2012

    I am type 2 and use whole meal flour for muffins..would this flour be a better option??

  • Abe
    August 16, 2012

    For Kalpana – you can find Spelt Flour in So Cal in Irvine at the Whole Foods Markets – in the District Shopping Center – corner of Jamboree and Barranca.

  • Mark
    August 30, 2012

    I know you wrote this 4 years ago – but great article, thank you!

  • Karen
    December 10, 2012

    I just bought a load of Spelt bread from a local Amish store and decided to see what spelt was. I can’t tell you how suprised I was as far as it being used like normal flour and it sounds like it’s actually better for me. Easier to diguest is a big deal for me.

  • Serena
    January 22, 2013

    You can do almost anything with spelt flour! I use it a lot!

  • Donna
    January 28, 2013

    I just bought spelt noodles and would like suggestions on what to make with them?

  • CAROLE
    April 18, 2013

    I buy Spelt bread from a local bakers and I find that I can tolerate it. I dont have an allergy to wheat just an intolerance and I find spelt a great substitute.

  • Paula
    August 30, 2013

    I just discovered a little table in our local Shoprite with Sylvia’s Natural Bakery White Spelt Bread. I developed a wheat intolerance and with all my research don’t know how I overlooked spelt flour. I had a few pieces and so far so good. I tried Einkorn flour since it supposedly has 14 chromosomes compared to our present wheat with 42 chromosomes, but I had an instant reaction. I will be so happy if this will be a solution. I don’t miss bread that much but just something like a piece of toast now and then or grilled cheese, would be awesome! I still have not found a gluten free bread I like, plus they are all made with rice flour which is too high carb for me. (I realize this is an old post, but…)

  • BARBARA
    January 31, 2014

    Good Morning! I was doing some research on Spelt Bread and where to find the breads, but I am had any success on finding the bread. Although, I find this site hoping to find out where to buy the bread but I found nothing in these articles about how to get the bread. Likewise, I am cutting back on sugars, candy bars, fatty foods, and salt and I needed some helping on finding the bread and other items that I need to eat according to my bllod type. In other words, I bought a book call Bloodtypes Bodytypes and YOU by Joseph Christiano. He was giving some pointers on how to lose weight according to one blood type. I am trying it so that I can become healthy, strong, and free from belly fat. I appreciate any advice on how to find the spelt and Ezekiel breads. Thank for listening to my story.

  • BARBARA
    January 31, 2014

    This is Barbara again! I want to apoligize for my grammar. I was writing fast and I forgot to read over my message. Sorry..

  • Cathy
    March 14, 2014

    I have a friend who has a wheat allergy, but not celiac disease. She is able to eat bread made with spelt flour, although she eats it in small quantities.

  • Wilma
    August 21, 2014

    Where can I buy spelt flour in Grand Junction, CO? I have a recipe that calls for 2 T. of this flour? I have never heard of this type of flour before.

  • roy
    January 24, 2015

    H,i

    as i now live in thailand does any one know if spelt flour can be bought here

    best regards Roy

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