Spelt is an ancient grain, but only recently increasing in popularity in British baking. It has a rich, sweet and slightly nutty flavour adding a lovely complexity to breads and pastries. Here are a couple of recipes to try…
Wholegrain spelt flour shortcrust pastry
2 cups spelt flour
1 tsp. salt
2/3 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into a 1-inch dice
7 Tbsp. ice water (or less)
Top tip: To produce a flaky crust, especially when using a high-protein flour like spelt, its best to keep your ingredients as cold as possible you could go as far as storing your spelt in the freezer until your ready to work with it.
1) Sift together spelt flour and salt in a chilled mixing bowl.
2) Cut the butter pieces into the flour until the mix resembles the texture of bread crumbs.
3) Use a fork to add the ice water, a tablespoon at a time, just until the dough begins to pull together into a mass.
4) Move pastry onto a lightly floured surface and kneed into itself 3 times.
5) Return to the mixing bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the dough to rest (this softens the gluten and makes it easier to roll out).
Simple Spelt Loaf
300 ml warm water (105-115F)
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 tablespoon honey
150 g unbleached all-purpose flour
140 g whole spelt flour
Barley meal (Optional, maybe left over from making barley milk?)
1 1/2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
2 tablespoons butter, melted, for brushing
1. In a large bowl, mix the flours, spelt flakes, instant yeast, and salt.
2. Stir the honey into the warm water, then add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir very well.
3. Brush an 8 x 4-inch loaf pan generously with some of the melted butter or grease with spray or oil. Spread the dough in the pan.
4. Cover with a clean, slightly damp cloth, and set in a warm place for 30 minutes, to rise.
5. Preheat the oven to 350F / 180C, with a rack in the middle. When ready, bake the bread for 35-40 minutes, until golden and pulling away from the sides of the pan.
6. Remove from the oven and turn the bread out of the pan quickly. Brush the loaf with melted butter. Then let it cool on a wire rack.