Saturday, August 8, 2009

Spelt Flour

Yeh! Multiply must have finally stopped "playin" on their site-I can finally post this-been in the works since early 5:30 am this morning.

I thought I would do a little "study" on spelt flour this morning.

I have used it now for all my baked goods for over 10 to 12 years now, maybe more-can't remember for sure-lol

I had gone thru a period of my life when I was sooo sick,couldn't eat anything, and I was sooo thin, had gotton down to 100 pounds and my Larry was freaking out. We were working alot of hours back then, but I just couldn't digest anything. I had also gotton diagnosed with severe asthma around the same time-so had gotton hit with alot of steroids.

That really finished off my digestive system. It took alot of reading, and then the elimination diet to figure out I couldn't tolerate gluten or wheat at all. Even the slightest amount that they put in condiments, french frys etc-it was an eye opener on where companies added wheat (and sugars for that matter too)

After about five years of making up my own gluten free mixes-not much available back then, I found out about Bobs Red Mill in Oregon-it was during his early years and he was just getting into gluten free products. I read an article of his about spelt-and that some people that could not digest gluten, especialy wheat could digest spelt-it was an ancient grain, had a very delicate gluten structure-but made baking so much easier.

I tried it-and I didn't get sick! a huge break thru for me, as I have always made all of our food from scratch. I don't think in the beginning when I was really sick I could have tolerated the spelt grain, but after my system was back to "normal" and I could digest foods again it worked.

It is similiar to working with any whole grain in baking, you need less liquid, and sometimes less baking times, and you just handle the dough more gently-especially with like my pizza dough recipe-I have instructions there on how to handle the "rise"

Here are some good links I found:

http://www.ochef.com/108.htm baking with spelt-and tips suggested I had learned on my own here is a little excerpt:

You must use the correct amount of water. Too much, and the dough is sticky and weak and will not be able to hold the gasses that are produced during the fermentation process. Too little, and the dough will be dry and dense. It will not rise properly because the water never fully gets into the protein and there is nothing to hold the loaf up. Also, the dense loaf is too tight to allow the yeast gases to expand the loaf.

You must also mix it just right. Too little mixing causes the dough to be crumbly (one of the problems you mention) and it will not develop the necessary protein to cause it to expand properly. A dough mixed too long will break down the fragile protein strands that hold in the gases. The first few minutes of mixing are critical, the company says. From the moment you add the water to the flour, you should take no more than 4 minutes to mix the dough completely.

http://www.pacificbakery.com/spelt.htm this is someone selling spelt breads but they had a good description of the spelt

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spelt

I did find this also in several articles:

Question: Are spelt and spelt flour gluten-free?
Answer: Spelt is a species of wheat, so spelt and spelt flour are NOT gluten-free.

People who believe that spelt (scientifically known as Triticum spelta) is gluten-free and safe for people with celiac disease are mistaken.

According to the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004, foods that contain spelt or kamut cannot carry "wheat-free" or "wheat-alternative" labels.

I found this blog article too http://glutenfreeeasily.com/tag/spelt/ that explains whe she believes that spelt should never be used in a gluten free diet.

I personally don't always go by the "rules" I have celiac, but after I got my system working better and digesting and using the foods I was eating, I did try the spelt and it does work for me.

I am not a bread eater, so I am not getting spelt on a daily or even a weekly basis. Also I mix in a gluten free grain with the spelt most of the time as well when I bake.

This is all a personal choice, and I have learned to "listen" to my body. There are several "safe" grains that I get really sick from, so everyone is different. I did cheat one christmas when my Mom sent Larry a big tin of her homemade cookies. Some of those were my childhood favorites-so I ate one and then another one-and thinking maybe I can eat wheat now-wrong!! you can never go back to wheat once you realize your body just can not digest it any more.

Here is a link to Bobs Red Mill gluten free, I usually buy direct from him several items and put in the big freezer http://www.bobsredmill.com/gluten-free/ he is also working on a gluten free website.

and for his spelt recipes http://www.bobsredmill.com/recipes_search.php?product_ID=all&category_ID=all&product_ID=all&keywords=spelt&submit=%3A%3A+search+%3A%3A

His gluten free recipes http://www.bobsredmill.com/recipes_search.php?product_ID=all&keywords=gluten+free&category_ID=all&submit=search

Bobs Red Mill is just the best-love their products, and their recipes.

Hope this gives you a little more information on spelt if you were not familiar with it.

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