Baking with ancient grains: Spelt Flour
baking with ancient grains:

Spelt Flour

Spelt flour comes from an ancient strain of wheat. It's high in protein and has a nutty, complex flavor that's sweeter and lighter than that of whole wheat. Gluten-containing spelt is a good source of fiber, iron, and manganese.

  • Flavor: Sweet with a taste of whole wheat.
  • Texture effect: Soft and moist in small amounts; dry in larger quantities.
  • Works best in: Pancakes, quick breads, and muffins.
  • Gluten free: No.

How to incorporate spelt flour into your baking

As with many ancient grains, spelt flour is versatile enough to substitute in many standard recipes. To find the best combinations, our test kitchen bakers took five of our most popular recipes and replaced a portion of the all-purpose flour with spelt flour. The results were delicious. Some recipes came alive with a full substitution: 100% spelt, 0% all-purpose flour. Others worked best at 50% or 25%. Here are our full findings for pancakes, scones, cinnamon bread, banana bread, and muffins. Learn more about the testing process on our blog

Spelt in Pancakes

Pancakes made with 100% spelt flour offer sweet, rich, whole wheat flavor and are just as fluffy and moist as any combination of spelt and all-purpose.

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Spelt in Scones

Scones made with 50% spelt flour are pleasantly sweet, and offer whole-grain flavor without any bitterness. They're tender without being dry or unpleasantly crumbly. 100% spelt scones are dense, and often crumble into chunks.

We also liked: Kamut

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Spelt in Cinnamon Bread

Cinnamon yeast bread made with 50% spelt flour is soft and moist. Spelt's sweet, mild flavor is a worthy complement to cinnamon bread's sugary cinnamon swirl, and doesn't impart any bitter aftertaste. Yeast bread made with 100% spelt flour tends toward dryness, and will have pronounced whole wheat flavor.

We also liked: Kamut

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Spelt in Banana Bread

Banana bread made with 50% spelt flour is moist, and retains much of its rise; you'll get a flatter, denser loaf substituting spelt flour 100%. Spelt's flavor is mild, and won't overwhelm the loaf's banana and spice flavors, though this doesn't hold true for a 100% spelt flour loaf.

We also liked: Barley

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Spelt in Muffins

For moist muffins with rich, sophisticated flavor and a nicely domed top, substitute spelt flour 50%. For less doming and somewhat gummy texture (albeit pleasing spelt flavor), substitute spelt flour 100%.

We also liked: Kamut

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Choose your grain —