White Spelt Flour features in Volume 1 of The Alchemist’s Cookbook Series, in all of the All Singing All Dancing Cake and Biscuit Recipes, as well as all other non-gluten-free creations (with the exception of the Dairy-Free Malt Loaf, which uses Einkorn Flour). It also features in some of the recipes in Volume 2 of the Alchemist’s Cookbook Series - Breakfasts-Light Bites-Breads & Soups, including the Blood Sugar-Stabilising Breakfast Pancakes. I have been using it for years, and just add baking powder when making cakes. I find it much easier on my digestion and have friends who have intolerances to modern-day wheat who are able to tolerate this much less complex flour instead. It is very light in texture and produces delicious cakes and biscuits as well as the lightest scones in the world – see The Perfect Scones recipe!
White Spelt Flour is part of the “sweet” category of foods and so is great for bringing the spleen and stomach into balance.
It was very popular in Roman times, and indeed before. It is believed to have first been used between 7,000 and 8,000 years ago (the Bronze Age), making it one of the oldest cultivated crops in human history. It is closely related to wheat. Due to the fact that it is much less complex than modern wheat flours, generally people with intolerances to wheat find spelt flour ok. As it contains gluten, it is inappropriate for coeliac suffers to use. Therefore, if you suffer from this condition, please only use the recipes listed as gluten-free or the Goodie Two-Shoes and Goodie Two-Shoes Extraordinaire recipes, which are free from all gluten as well.
White and Wholemeal Spelt Flours have many nutritional benefits, exceeding those of modern-day wheat, making it a healthy alternative to standard flours as well. Here are some of them:-
High Water Solubility: This means that it may be easier for people suffering from wheat intolerances, as white and wholemeal spelt flours have higher levels of soluble fibre than standard or durum wheat (as referred to in an article in “Food Chemistry” in March 2000). Soluble fibre is particularly important for lowering the “bad” LDL cholesterol and also for regulating blood sugar levels, so ideal for diabetic sufferers.
Healthy Digestion: A cup of raw spelt contains 19g of fibre, and one slice of spelt bread contains 2.5g of fibre. This very high fibre content in spelt means that it benefits our digestion in many ways, including speeding up the absorption of nutrients and helping reduce constipation; bloating; cramping; excess diarrhoea and even ulcers.
Reducing “Bad” LDL Cholesterol: Dietary fibre is also phenomenally important because it helps to reduce the levels of the dangerous “bad” LDL cholesterol in our blood. What it does is inhibit the absorption of cholesterol from the food we eat, specifically targeting the “bad” LDL cholesterol and eliminating it from our body in order to regulate a healthy balance of fatty acids in our system.
Rich in Minerals: In an article published in the “Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry” in March 2005, a study was covered where nine de-hulled spelt samples were analysed and compared to five soft winter wheat samples. In the study, they discovered that spelt offered higher amounts of certain minerals (copper; iron; zinc; magnesium; manganese; selenium and phosphorous) than the five soft winter wheat samples. All of these minerals are naturally high in the bran element of spelt grain. In fact, in a 38g serving of spelt flour (approx. one thick slice of toast/bread), there is 1.36mg of iron. Iron is really important for keeping our energy levels up through transporting oxygen throughout our bodies. If you suffer from extreme fatigue, you could be anaemic (or deficient in iron). The recommended daily amount of iron for women is 18mg, where men should have around 8mg. So changing to spelt flour is an easy way to increase your intake of iron naturally. All of the minerals contained in Spelt Flour are also really important for the development and maintenance of our bone tissue. Ensuring that we have a high level of such minerals in our diet helps us to guard against osteoporosis and other age-related ailments, which can weaken or degrade the bones in our body.
Great for our circulation: Due to the high levels of both iron and copper in spelt, these can combine to significantly boost our circulation. Both these minerals are essential for creating red blood cells. When our red blood cell level is increased in our body, there is a corresponding increase in the blood flow throughout our whole system. This means that more oxygen gets to our organs and tissues, leading to increased abilities for our bodies to be in a healthy state as well as have higher energy levels and a more efficient metabolism.
High in B Vitamins: A 38g serving of spelt (the amount in one slice of spelt bread) provides more thiamin; riboflavin and niacin than in the same amount of wheat bread. B vitamins are vital for helping our bodies to convert food into energy and support the production and function of red blood cells. Spelt flour has 5.5g of niacin (Vitamin B3) per 100g serving. This is 5% more than in hard-winter wheat flour (cited in an article in the journal “Acta Scientiarum Polonorum” in 2008). The recommended daily amount of niacin is 20mg, so a 100g serving provides 27.5% of this amount. Niacin aids energy metabolism, like the other B-Complex vitamins. It is also needed to improve circulation and reduce the “bad” LDL cholesterol levels in our blood. It is also a key component in the healthy function of our adrenal glands, particularly in the production of sex hormones. Our endocrine system can be very sensitive, so ensuring niacin levels are high is very important. Spelt can provide a valuable source of this key vitamin, so is good to favour in our diet.
The wonderful news is that it is so easy tobake with and produces delicious cakes; pancakes and biscuits, as well as being so healthy!