In Love with Spelt: A Good Loaf

“Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.” Bible, Proverbs 9:17 

Spelt (triticum spelta) is a lesser known grain than its modern relative, the common wheat (triticum aestivum). Spelt has significant health benefits and many people who exchange wheat for spelt notice improvement in their health. As an ancient grain, like quinoa, millet, amaranth, and others, spelt has not been manipulated to meet manufacturing needs, being a food that our body recognizes as food. Spelt is one of the oldest cultivated grains tracing is roots more than 6,000 years back to ancient Mesopotamia. Spelt has kept many of its original characteristics which provide an impressive nutritional profile, along with ease of digestibility leading to anti-inflammatory qualities. There are many reasons why spelt is easier to digest than common wheat. The gluten in spelt is water soluble; it is degraded by heat and is easily broken down by mixing action. Wheat gluten, in contrast, does not break down in water and only relaxes when exposed to heat and seems to get stronger as it is mixed – bakers refer to it as “developing the gluten.” If spelt is overmixed, it will break down. If you over mix wheat, it will get stronger, which also happens within the digestive system. Spelt’s relatively fragile gluten is easily broken apart during the chewing and mixing action which allows the enzymes and acid secreted during the digestive process to work on the surface of the food. During the digestive process, wheat forms a bolus which remains a ball making it harder to digest.

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Ingredients
225 ml water
1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
400 g spelt flour
3 tablespoons dried milk powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
25 g yeast
4 tbsp chopped walnuts
30 g grated cheese

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Method
In a large bowl mix together the flour, milk powder, salt, yeast and honey. Add the water and roughly mix it into the flour. While the dough is still lumpy add the oil, walnuts and knead well until it feels smooth and pliable. Leave the dough covered with a tea towel, in a draft-free place, for it to double in size, about an hour.
Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead the dough firmly for several minutes.
Shape the dough and put it into an oiled 1 kg/2 lb bread tin or place it on an oiled baking sheet.
Cover with a clean tea towel and leave dough to rise for about 25 minutes in a warm place. Sprinkle grated cheese on the top. Bake in a preheated oven 35/40 minutes.

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” With the bread eaten, the company breaks up.” Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote  

2 thoughts on “In Love with Spelt: A Good Loaf

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