Spelt Ancient Grain

The use of spelt in agriculture has a long record, with archaeological evidence showing it may be as much as 9000 years old and used in farming by early civilisations in both Europe and the Middle East. The Old Testament and several Roman texts even mention it. In Stone Age excavations in Europe, carbonated grains of spelt have been uncovered.  Till the end of the 19th century, it was quite popular, particularly in Eastern Europe. About 94 per cent of cereal acreage grew spelt, while only 5 per cent grew bread wheat, as shown by German records in 1850.

Rapid advances in cutting-edge farming happened around the same time as the growing unpopularity of spelt. It became less appealing for farmers to grow spelt after the introduction of combined harvesters that could reap common bread wheat in one process. Needing removal in another step before the grain can be milled into flour, singular grains of spelt have a sturdy outer husk, unlike common wheat.

Spelt was revived in Europe and experienced a rebirth globally after nearly being disregarded in the 1980′s. Still, the making of flour requires the introduction of special machinery into the production chain to de-hull separate spelt grains in industrial amounts. On the other hand, it was grasped by this time that the benefits of revitalising this early grain for farmers and consumers was overshadowed by the time and cost, as found by the leaders of this resurgence.

Various grains offer diverse nutritional profiles since they adjusted for growth under a variety of circumstances and in atypical soils. A nutty taste and creamy texture are common in spelt in addition to being a good source of protein, nutritive fibre, vitamin B, and several dietary minerals. Manganese, phosphorus, and niacin are the most abundant nutrients. Spelt is also significantly lower in gluten and has a functional distinction to wheat gluten; spelt gluten has a more soluble protein matrix distinguished by a higher gluten percentage. As such, spelt gluten is easier to consume and accepted by people who might be sensitive to wheat or gluten levels. However, those with coeliac disease may find it unsuitable due to the presence of gluten.

You will note that the crumb is thicker than if you bake with wheat when making bread with spelt flour, so it’s harder to make an open-pored crumb. Less gluten content is the likely cause. The molecule in flour that enables the dough to rise while holding in the gas made by the fermentation of the microorganisms in the dough is gluten. Still, spelt is a good alternative for wheat flour when baking at home. Spelt can be used as a replacement for making pancakes, muffins, scones, waffles, and biscuits as well as baking, particularly if the leavening agent is baking powder.