Whole wheat can be a tough sell. Sure, it's super healthy and very good for us, just like our moms always said. But it can also weigh down baked goods and give them that distinctive bitter wheat flavor. Now, spelt? Spelt is the best of both worlds.
As you can probably guess, spelt flour is ground from the spelt grain (which is also delicious in its own right). This grain is kin to wheat, and both it and the flour made from it are high enough in protein and fiber to make it a very healthy ingredient in our baking.
And it tastes great. Spelt has a mildly sweet and nutty flavor that adds real character to breads and other baked goods. Its texture is softer and lighter than whole wheat, so there's less risk of pulling a dense doorstop in our ovens.
Spelt can be substituted one-for-one for the whole wheat in any recipe and for up to half of the flour in a recipe using entirely all-purpose. Spelt is low in gluten, so it's best to keep some of that regular flour to get the right structure and texture in whatever you're baking.
Check out this recipe for Spelt Crust Pizza from the book Ancient Grains. It's a good place to start if you've never worked with spelt before and are curious to give it a try.
Do you bake with spelt flour?
(Images: Sara Remington © 2011/Ten Speed Press and Bob's Red Mill)