In this ever-evolving health-conscious world, a lot of people are always looking for healthier alternatives for whole wheat flour. So, today, let me tell you all about a healthy alternative, spelt flour, and the best spelt flour substitutes.
Spelt flour is definitely better and healthier as compared to all-purpose flour or even whole wheat flour. It has a lower gluten content and hence is preferred by many. But, in situations where you run out of spelt flour, you can easily use its substitute.
So, coming to the point, what are the best substitutes for spelt flour? The best spelt flour substitutes are einkorn flour, Kamut flour, amaranth flour, barley flour, rice flour, oat flour, quinoa flour, buckwheat four, and millet flour.
But, as a lot of people might not have used spelt flour before, let me give you a little more information about the same. Once you know the purpose of this flour in various recipes, it will be easier for you to pick your favorite substitute.
Quick Peek: Spelt Flour
This section contains all the information on spelt flour. You will get to understand what the ingredient exactly is, how it tastes and where it is used. You will also get to know the nutritional information of this flour.
What Is Spelt Flour?
Firstly, spelt is a type of wheat. Spelt is also known by the names Dinkel wheat or hulled wheat. Spelt was a staple food grain in many parts of Europe from the Bronze age to medieval times. This flour is made from whole grains of spelt.
When we talk about spelt flour, there is an obvious comparison to be made with whole wheat flour. Spelt flour is much more nutritious than wheat flour or all-purpose flour. It contains more protein, and the gluten structure is more water-soluble, making it easier to digest.
Describing Spelt Flour: Flavor And Texture
Spelt flour usually comes in two forms : whole grain spelt flour and white spelt flour. The texture of the flour varies depending on which one you are using. Whole grain spelt flour is ground with the outer bran, resulting in flour with a coarse texture.
White spelt flour, however, is ground without the outer bran and has a finer texture, very similar to that of all-purpose flour. As far as taste goes, spelt flour has a mild nutty and slightly sweet flavor that it usually imparts to the recipes in which it is used.
Uses Of Spelt Flour
Spelt flour is used in a very similar way as whole wheat or all-purpose flour. Spelt flour is very light in texture and so is used extensively in baking by many bakers. This is because using spelt flour will result in baked products that are light and airy.
The best-baked products to make using spelt flour, are bread, muffins, scones, and cookies. While using spelt flour to make bread, it is important to remember not to knead the dough too much. This is because the gluten strands in spelt flour are weak and will break easily.
If the dough is kneaded for too long and the gluten strands break, you will end up having a dry and crumbly rather than light and airy baked product. Other than that, you can also use spelt flour as a thickening agent to make flatbreads.
Spelt Flour On The Health Radar | Looking Through The Wellness Telescope
By now, in terms of nutritional aspects, you already know that spelt flour is healthier than whole wheat and all-purpose flour. This is because spelt flour contains more protein as compared to the other two and is also richer in nutrients.
Moreover, spelt flour has a lower gluten content than the other two flours mentioned. However, it is not completely gluten-free! It is suitable for people who have a little sensitivity to gluten as the gluten strands are more water-soluble and easier to digest.
Other than that, when we talk about actual nutritional values of spelt flour, around 30 grams or ¼ cup of spelt flour usually has 110 calories. Out of this, it is high in carbohydrates, proteins, and fibers. Spelt flour contains almost no amount of fat, sodium, or sugar in it.
Why Use A Substitute For Spelt Flour?
I have told you a lot of great things about spelt flour and about how healthy it is. But, despite all that, there still are some reasons you can consider using a substitute for spelt flour. These may seem unnecessary to some, but hear me out!
To start off, spelt flour is not completely gluten-free. Yes, spelt flour does have gluten strands that are easier to digest than the gluten in regular flour. But, for people with gluten intolerance, spelt flour is not a good option to use.
This is because even a little amount of gluten can be harmful to some. So, in situations like these, you can opt for using flour that is completely gluten-free rather than flour that has a lower gluten content.
Moreover, spelt flour is easily available, but not as much as various other types of flour. Spelt flour is not as popular a concept in every part of the world. There may be some places where you may not be able to find it easily.
So, again, in situations like these where you would like something that is good for people that have gluten sensitivity, you can try using one of the substitutes that is more widely available.
Lastly, in case you have spelt flour stocked, but it has gone bad, but you have run out, you can use a substitute. Trust me, a lot of substitutes will give you the same effect as spelt flour, and you most probably might already have them stocked in your kitchen pantry!
I think you all have had enough information on spelt flour by now. So, without wasting any further time, let me tell you all about the best substitutes you can use in place of spelt flour.
12 Best Spelt Flour Substitutes
In this section, you will find all the best substitutes you can use to replace spelt flour in a recipe. You will get to understand what property of each option matches with that of spelt flour. Moreover, you will also learn what recipes the substitutes best work in and their ratios.
1. Einkorn Flour
Einkorn flour is similar to spelt flour in many ways. It has a high protein content and lower starch content. Moreover, it does have gluten, but the strands are weak, which makes it easier to digest. So, einkorn flour can be used as a spelt flour substitute.
Einkorn is actually an ancient type of wheat that has not been modernized too much. As it does not go through too many processes as modern wheat flour does, it retains most of its nutrients. So, from a nutritional standpoint, einkorn flour is a great substitute option.
Moreover, einkorn flour also has a slightly sweet and nutty flavor, similar to spelt flour. Just like spelt flour, when you use it for baking, make sure you don’t over-knead the dough as the gluten strands will break. Use a 1:1 ratio for substitution.
2. Kamut Flour
Kamut flour is another form of ancient wheat flour. It is high in protein but has a low gluten content, similar to spelt flour. Moreover, it also has a slightly sweet flavor and hence, works as a perfect substitute for spelt flour.
Along with high protein content, Kamut flour is rich in various nutrients such as fibers and vitamin B. Moreover, it does not contain gluten, but the content of gluten is quite low, making it easier to digest.
However, as Kamut flour is very high in fiber, you will have to knead it a little extra while using it in place of spelt flour, especially to make bread. The mixture might dry out, too, so do use a little extra water. A 1:1 ratio of substitution works well.
3. Amaranth Flour
Amaranth flour is made from the seeds of the amaranth plant. It has a high fiber and protein content and is actually completely gluten-free. So, this makes a great gluten-free substitute option for spelt flour.
Amaranth flour is very easily available and is a great option for those who completely want to avoid gluten. Apart from that, amaranth flour also has a slightly nutty flavor. However, as it contains no gluten, amaranth flour is best used in recipes that don’t need to rise.
If you do wish to use amaranth flour to make baked goods that rise, such as bread or cakes, you will have to mix it with another type of flour, such as wheat flour, AP flour, or even spelt flour.
For non-rising recipes, a 1:1 ratio of substitution will work. For rising recipes, use 25% amaranth flour and 75% another flour that contains a higher gluten content.
4. Barley Flour
Barley flour has a high protein content and is low in gluten, similar to spelt flour. It has a nutty flavor and works well in almost all recipes that use spelt flour as a substitute for the same.
Barley flour, considering the fact that it also has a low gluten content, should be used cautiously. It can be used to make baked goods such as bread or cakes, which need to rise. However, make sure not to over-knead your dough.
Other than that, barley flour has a recognizable nutty flavor which it imparts to any recipe it is used in. So, it is best to use barley flour in recipes where the overpowering flavor will not be an issue. For substitution, use half the quantity of barley flour.
5. Rice Flour
Rice flour comes in two forms, white rice flour, and brown rice flour. Both these flours are nutritionally dense, similar to spelt flour. Moreover, they are completely gluten-free substitutes for spelt flour.
White rice flour is generally more polished as compared to brown rice flour. It has a lower content of nutrients and also has a milder taste. White rice flour can be best used for recipes where you would prefer a milder taste.
Brown rice flour, on the other hand, is best used in recipes where a little overpowering flavor of the flour won’t make a difference. Both types of rice flours can be used as substitutes, depending on the recipe, in a standard 1:1 ratio.
6. Oat Flour
Oat flour has a nutty flavor and is completely gluten-free. It is nutritionally dense, and though it does not have gluten, it works well in baked recipes, which need the dough to rise too, making it a good substitute for spelt flour.
Oat flour can actually easily be made at home, only if you have rolled oats and a food processor. This flour is very nutritious and is, in fact, recommended to many people wanting to have a healthy lifestyle.
However, if you do decide to make bread with oat flour, you will have to mix it with another flour that has some amount of gluten in it to make it rise and not get too dense. Nevertheless, for any recipe, you can follow a 1:1 ratio for substitution.
7. Buckwheat Flour
Buckwheat flour is made from buckwheat, which is not really a cereal. However, despite that, it is nutritionally dense and is a gluten-free option as a substitute for spelt flour.
Buckwheat flour usually has a distinctive nutty flavor and aroma. This will transfer to the overall flavor of your baked product. Buckwheat flour can be used to make products that rise and even baked products that don’t.
However, to use buckwheat flour in bread doughs, you will have to combine it with flour that contains gluten. Using only buckwheat flour will result in a dense and crumbly baked product. Follow a ratio where you use 40% buckwheat flour and 60% of the flour that contains gluten.
8. Millet Flour
Millet flour can be made from any of the different types of millets. It has a sweet and nutty flavor, is nutritionally dense, and is gluten-free. It can be used in various recipes as a substitute for spelt flour.
Millet flour has an aroma that usually is very sweet and works great in most recipes. Millet flour can easily be used to make pancakes, waffles, and various other recipes where the dough does not really require any gluten.
Millet flour can also be used in bread or cake making. However, again, as it contains no gluten in it, it will end up resulting in a product that is really dense. So, it is best to use 40% millet flour with 60% wheat or all-purpose flour to get the best results.
9. Quinoa Flour
Quinoa is a pseudo-grain, meaning it is completely gluten-free. It is rich in nutrients and has a sweet and nutty flavor. Quinoa flour works well as a substitute for spelt flour in all recipes.
Quinoa flour has a very smooth consistency, making it appropriate for various recipes. Quinoa flour can work well as a thickening agent in baking and also in making different types of batters and flatbreads.
The flavor of quinoa flour can be a little too nutty compared to that of spelt flour. So, you can toast the flour a little bit before using it if you want to get rid of the taste. Moreover, you will have to combine it with flour that contains gluten if you want to make bread.
10. Soy Flour
Soy flour is made with crushed soybeans. This type of flour is gluten-free, nutritious, and retains moisture well. Soy flour can be used in place of spelt flour in both baking and cooking recipes.
Soy flour tends to have a nutty and toasty flavor which helps to elevate any recipe it’s added to. Soy flour can be used to make various kinds of batters and works especially well with any form of Asian recipe.
Soy flour can also be used in various baking recipes, such as bread, cakes, and muffins. However, you will have to be careful about the amount of time you bake these products, as soy flour tends to get brown too quickly. Use it following a 1:1 ratio of substitution.
11. Sorghum Flour
Sorghum flour comes from ground sorghum. It has a toasty and nutty aroma that is quite similar to that of spelt flour. It has various applications and can be used as a substitute for spelt flour in a lot of recipes.
Sorghum flour is also completely gluten-free flour and is rich in vital nutrients. It can be used in recipes such as sauces or curries to thicken them, similar to spelt flour. You can also use sorghum flour in baking.
While baking, as bread does need an elastic structure, you will have to combine the sorghum flour with flour that contains gluten. For cakes or cookies, you can add a small amount of a binder, such as a xanthan gum. All in all, a 1:1 ratio of substitution works.
12. Coconut Flour
Coconut flour is gluten-free and is rich in proteins and fibers, similar to spelt flour. It is made from dehydrated coconut and has a sweet taste and aroma. Not all recipes, but coconut flour can work as a substitute for spelt flour in some.
Coconut flour is the perfect substitute option for dessert recipes. It has a distinctive taste of coconut that works well with most desserts. However, coconut flour is a good option to use only if you don’t mind the flavor of coconut in your food.
Moreover, coconut flour absorbs a lot more moisture than various other types of flour. So, make sure you increase the water content in your recipe. Otherwise, it’ll end up too dry once baked. A 1:1 ratio of substitution works in this case.
Short Recap For Best Spelt Flour Substitutes
I am sure that by now, you must have gone through the list of substitutes you can use in place of spelt flour. But, I know it may be confusing for some to pick their favorite substitute as the gluten content can be confusing. So, I have broken it down to make it easier.
Best Substitutes For Spelt Flour That Contain Some Gluten:
- Einkorn Flour
- Kamut Flour
- Barley Flour
Best Substitutes For Spelt Flour That Are Completely Gluten-Free:
- Amaranth Flour
- Sorghum Flour
- Buckwheat Flour
- Millet Flour
Substitutes That You Should Consider Using Last:
- Soy Flour
- Quinoa Flour
How To Substitute Spelt Flour In A Recipe
Spelt Flour Substitutes
- Einkorn Flour
- Kamut Flour
- Amaranth Flour
- Barley Flour
- Rice Flour
- Oat Flour
- Buckwheat Flour
- Millet Flour
- Quinoa Flour
- Soy Flour
- Sorghum Flour
- Coconut Flour
- Go through the substitutes and see which one seems fit for the recipe.
- Collect your ingredients and use your preferred substitute.
- Use the substitute in the required amount and proceed to make the dish according to the recipe.
As we have come to the end of this article, you must have gained a lot of knowledge on spelt flour. Not only that but also the best substitutes for the same! Spelt flour is a great option to use for people that have sensitivity to gluten.
However, it is very important to remember that spelt flour is not completely gluten-free. So, those who are highly intolerant of gluten should avoid using spelt flour altogether. However, there are many gluten-free options available for the same.
Yes, even with the gluten-free options, to make bread, you will have to add some gluten flour to them. However, the easiest way out of this situation is to use gluten-free flours and make flatbreads. I am sure you will enjoy gluten-free flatbreads just as much as regular bread!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is special about spelt flour?
Spelt flour has a weaker gluten content than regular whole wheat flour. Moreover, it is not as processed as wheat flour, making it more nutritionally dense.
Is spelt flour better than wheat flour?
Spelt flour is more nutritious than wheat flour as it has gone through less processing.
Can I use spelt flour in place of whole wheat flour?
Yes, spelt flour can be used in place of whole wheat flour. However, since they have slightly different characteristics, the product may turn out to be a little different.
Does spelt flour taste different from whole wheat flour?
Spelt flour has a nuttier taste than whole wheat flour.
Why is spelt flour expensive?
Spelt flour is expensive as it requires specialized machinery to remove its tight outer hull.