People sensitive to wheat flour prefer using Spelt flour because of its low gluten levels. However, spelt flour, despite its numerous benefits, is still hard to find. Therefore, if you are unable to get your hands on it, a spelt flour substitute is the way to go.
I try to use spelt flour in as many recipes as possible. However, there were numerous times when I couldn’t find it in any store. Making the best of the worst, I used such moments as an opportunity to experiment with other flours and their substitution dynamics.
But before we get into that, I want to briefly talk about spelt flour and its benefits.
An Overview of Spelt Flour
Spelt flour is made from the ancient grain Spelt, a subspecies of wheat. Spelt is quite similar to wheat in taste and appearance. However, the difference lies in the level of huskiness.
Spelt has been harvested in Europe for almost three centuries now. However, it did not arrive in the US until the 1890s. Spelt flour is used to make popular foods like crackers and pasta.
Spelt flour recipes
- Rosemary and sea salt spelt bread
- Sugar-free spelt flour banana bread
- Spicy chicken and spelt salad
- Shredded apple spelt cake
- Spelt flour pizza dough
Spelt flour nutrition
|Nutrients||Per ¼ cup, raw|
Spelt flour benefits
- Improves cholesterol levels: Studies have revealed that eating foods rich in soluble dietary fibres decrease the amount of cholesterol absorbed in the bloodstream. This way, the amount of bad cholesterol or LDL is lowered.
- Maintain normal blood pressure: once again, the high fibre content in spelt and other grains is extremely beneficial for people struggling with hypertension or high blood pressure.
- Improves heart health: cholesterol and hypertension are linked with poor heart health. Therefore, if you improve your intake of fibre-rich foods like spelt, it is bound to improve your heart health.
- Aids in digestion: fibre is great for people struggling with digestive issues. Soluble dietary fibres help in the easy passing of stool. Therefore, it is considered a natural, albeit slow, remedy for diarrhoea and constipation.
- Weight management: high-fibre foods make you feel fuller despite containing fewer calories. Therefore, spelt flour is a great ingredient for managing weight.
Spelt flour uses
- You can use spelt flour to bake bread and cookies.
- You can use it as an alternative to wheat bread in various recipes.
- You may also use it to thicken sauces or gravy.
What can I use instead of Spelt flour?
If you can’t find spelt flour anywhere, try any one of the following four substitutes for spelt flour. These alternatives are nutty, flavoursome, and extremely beneficial for your health.
1. Einkorn Flour
Our first spelt flour substitute is the traditional and ancient Einkorn flour. Einkorn is considered to be the oldest known variety of wheat. History recognizes it as the first wheat ever used. This grain has not been modernized or altered due to its ancient roots. Therefore, it has preserved most of its benefits and nutrients.
Einkorn is high in protein. It has 30% protein content than modern wheat and 15% less starch. Moreover, it has a unique and strong flavor. Einkorn flour is loaded with nutrients and minerals.
Einkorn has a thicker husk than modern wheat. This gives it better protection against pesticides and fertilizers.
Einkorn contains moderate amounts of gluten. Therefore, it is very easy to digest. Nonetheless, it is not as easy to find, and if by some chance you do, it can be a little expensive.
The einkorn wheat is non-hybridized and non-GMO. Therefore, you will receive and use flour of the same purity as a century ago. This way, it will contain the same great rich nutrients and benefits that modern flours lack these days.
Taste and baking:
Einkorn flour tastes sweet and slightly nutty. In addition, it carries none of the gritty texture and taste all modern wheat flours seem to have acquired. Moreover, it is high in carotenoids, giving it a gorgeous golden color upon baking.
But if you do bake with it, remember that spelt flour is not easy to work with since it isn’t really elastic. Thus, try not to over-knead or over-work your dough. Moreover, einkorn flour needs less water than spelt. Thus, you will also have to adjust the amount according to your recipe.
To replace spelt flour with einkorn flour, use 1/3 less water for the recipe. I think it’s better to use less water than more flour since extra flour throws off the balance of flavors. You can use this substitute in a 1:1 ratio. But don’t forget to adjust the water content.
2. Kamut Flour
Kamut flour, aka Khorasan wheat and Oriental wheat, is yet another ancient wheat. It’s an excellent spelt flour substitute in baking. Thus, you can use it to make both bread and pastries.
Kamut protein is naturally rich in proteins, fibers, and vitamins. However, its nutrient content is even richer due to its ancient roots. Similar to spelt flour, Kamut flour also contains a low amount of gluten.
Moreover, it is also a rich source of various essential nutrients, like vitamin B and manganese.
Taste and baking:
Kamut flour has a sweet, buttery flavor, making it an ideal alternative to spelt flour in baking. Kamut flour gives your dessert a decadent texture and feel that you just can’t with other flours.
When using it as a replacement for spelt, you must knead Kamut flour more thoroughly than you would knead spelt flour. This is because Kamut flour contains a higher fiber content, making it tough to work with.
In addition, Kamut flour dries more quickly, so you would have to use some extra water. Alternatively, you can also use less flour.
I have always used Kamut flour in a 1:1 substitution ratio. You can change the amount depending upon your water content. However, I find water more easily adjustable than dry ingredients.
Kamut flour is packed with vitamin B, manganese, iron, and other essential nutrients. It is certified to be organic and is free of any toxin or harmful ingredient.
3. Amaranth Flour
If you are looking for a gluten-free spelt flour substitute, your first choice should be amaranth flour. Unlike others on this list, Amaranth flour is not made from any grain. However, it is obtained from the seeds of the amaranth plant.
Amaranth flour is generally used because of its high fiber and protein content.
Taste and preparation:
Amaranth seeds make a buff-colored flour that has a rather bland flavor with an undertone of nutty flavor. I adjust the flavor by adding sweeteners or other ingredients. But it all comes down to personal taste.
It’s best to use amaranth flour for non-rising items such as pancakes or flatbreads. However, if you wish to use it in a rising-bread recipe, another flour like wheat, corn, or spelt flour will be required.
You have to use a quarter of Amaranth flour with any other flour or mixture of flour to make a rising-bread recipe.
Amaranth flour is toxin-free, non-GMO, and organic. It is healthy for everyone. Moreover, amaranth flour is also rich in protein and fiber content. Moreover, it is also an excellent source of iron.
4. Rice Flour
Rice flour is yet another gluten-free substitute for spelt flour. It is an excellent choice for people with celiac disease and gluten intolerance or allergies. It is available in both white and brown forms.
Taste and texture:
White rice flour is more processed and refined than brown rice flour. However, this makes it less rich in nutrients than brown rice flour. But, white flour is milder in taste and lighter than brown rice flour. Thus, I find it the better rice flour, especially when it comes to baking.
On the contrary, brown rice flour contains bran. Therefore, you don’t have to refrigerate it to extend its shelf life. It’s considerably grainy and works great as a replacement for spelt flour in recipes like dense bread or energy bars.
Rice flour can be a little overpowering in most recipes. Therefore, I prefer using ⅓ cups for every cup of spelt flour.