Spelt - Is It Worth It?

wholemeal spelt loaf
Spelt is an ancient variety of wheat, much hailed in recent times for its beneficial properties. It is said to be more nutritious than some of its modern cousins. It is also gentler on the digestive systems of those sensitive to wheat. Allegedly.

In any case, I thought it was about time I tried this wonder-grain.

The spelt flour at my local supermarket was wholemeal, so I decided to combine it with some strong white flour to make a lighter loaf. I tend to find 100% wholemeal bread rather heavy going. I opted for a 50:50 combination, using my usual basic formula.

It's worth noting that the spelt flour cost £1.99/kg, more than twice as much as my regular wholemeal flour, which is 84p/kg. I was eager to know whether spelt was worth the extra cost.

Wholemeal Spelt Loaf

250g/8 oz/1½ cups wholemeal spelt flour
250g/8 oz/1½ cups strong plain flour
1 tsp instant dried yeast
2 tsp salt
315g/10 fl oz/1⅓ cups water

1. Combine all the ingredients to make a rough dough.

2. Tip the dough onto a clean surface and knead it for about ten minutes.

3. Upturn the mixing bowl over the dough to keep it clean and moist while it ferments. Leave it for about 45 minutes, or until it has approximately doubled in size.

4. Shape the dough into a loaf* and pop it in the tin.
*I now have videos of this process! It's just a matter of time before I edit them into my dough shaping tutorial, much heralded over the past weeks. I do hope it's worth the wait!

5. Leave the dough to prove until it rises above the top of the tin. There are some notes on perfect proving here. I slightly over-proved mine because I forgot about it while I went skating with my daughter(!) but it's not too bad. You can see from the photo that the texture is good - it was just a little flatter on top than I would like. But hey! I've always maintained that bread is quite forgiving, as are hungry mouths. A slight over- or under-proving does not affect the taste and it's always more important to spend time with your children than to have the most photogenically perfect loaf.


6. Bake at 230oC/450F for five minutes then 180oC/360F for 30 minutes, until the loaf is golden brown, tips out of the tin easily and sounds hollow when you knock on its bottom.

So, was it worth it?!

The loaf was great. It had a nice texture, it was soft and light. Everyone gobbled it up as enthusiastically as usual. It tasted delicious.

I think I could detect a subtly better flavour than my normal 50/50 loaf with ordinary flour, but it really was a subtle difference.

None of us are wheat-intolerant, so I can't comment on the digestive effects.

For me, it was an interesting experiment. I shall enjoy using up the rest of the bag of flour in another spelt-creation. I enjoyed the loaf.

But will I be switching to spelt from now on?

No. Not at that price! ;o)

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More recipes here.
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The Science behind the loaf - keys to success here.

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  1. Definately going to try this recipe this weekend.

    1. I'll be interested to know if you notice a difference in flavour.

  2. Hi! Just found your page. I have removed any "white" flour from my families diet. I used to love to bake homemade bread. Now I'm fearful. I have Spelt, Rye and Whole Wheat Pastry Flour. I think I've research a million pages and have Pinned a thousand pins. I just saw one of your posts that says you don't need the sugar in bread making (another thing we are removing). My question is this. Can I just use all Spelt flour in this recipe or combine it with the Whole Wheat Pastry flour? I just want to be able to bake bread again and enjoy it. I have heard that the Ezekiel bread is the bread I should be eating, but I've tried it about 4 times and every time I wind up throwing it away. Would appreciate any thoughts. Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Michelle, I'm now doing the same: trying to eat only wholemeal and no refined carbohydrates.
      With this recipe you can use any combination of flours, as long as they total the required 500g. Using all spelt would work fine (adding an egg seems to help with rising, incidentally) as would the pastry flour you suggest.
      As for Ezekiel bread, I've heard great things about it but have yet to try. You could ask on the forum (link below title at top of page) because there are a few professional bakers on there, plus some adventurous amateur enthusiasts, who might have experience of Ezekiel bread.
      Thanks for getting in touch!


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