Tips for Using Spelt
Spelt is easy to cook and bake with – after all, people in ancient civilizations had no problem figuring it out! It just takes a little getting used to, because its protein structure differs from wheat. But once you get the hang of it, you’ll be creating baked goods and pasta dishes that provide superior nutrition – and a superior taste!
How to bake with spelt
The gluten in spelt is more fragile than the gluten in wheat or whole wheat, so you’ll have to make a few adjustments.
- You will have to pay careful attention to how much water you use when you bake with spelt. Too much water will make the dough sticky and weak. On the other hand, too little water will make it dry and dense. We recommend you reduce the amount of water by 25% compared with what you would use for wheat flour.
- Spelt also requires careful mixing. If you don’t mix the dough enough, it will become crumbly and then won’t expand properly. If you mix it too long, it will break down the protein strands that hold in the gases will break down. The first few minutes of mixing are critical. From the moment you add the water to the flour, you should take no more than 4 minutes to mix the dough completely.
- The best way to get the perfect rise is to make some spelt starter. The complex carbohydrates in spelt need to be reduced to simple sugars in order to feed the yeast. By creating the starter in advance, you can boost this process, and your bread should have better cell structure, greater loaf volume, and a lighter crust.
- To make spelt bread with a starter, use half of each ingredient to make a dough. Cover and let stand. Within 5 to 12 hours add the remainder of the ingredients to the bowl, mix and proceed as normal.
- Due to the delicate nature of the spelt gluten you MUST reduce the mixing time for VITA-SPELT® to about 1/2 of what the manufacturer recommends. We recommend no more than 4 to 4.5 minutes at a medium speed.
How to cook spelt pasta
If you’ve been disappointed with whole wheat pasta because it turns grainy after you cook it, you’ll love spelt pasta. Whether you cook with white or whole grain spelt, you’ll find that the pasta cooks up perfectly, retaining its texture and holding up under sauces.
And it’s convenient! Spelt pasta takes half the time to cook compared with wheat pasta – only 4.5 – 5 min. after the water comes to a boil, half a minute longer for whole grain spelt pasta.
If you’re not yet used to the taste or texture of whole-grain pastas, try a 50/50 mix of our whole-grain and white pastas.
How to store spelt
- Uncooked spelt can be stored for a year or more.
- Keep in a cool, dry place.
- Follow the “first-in, first-out” rule: use up packages you’ve had the longest before opening new packages.
- Cooked pasta can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 3 to 5 days.
- Frozen pasta dishes should be those that are used in baked recipes, such as: lasagne and shells. You’ll find that you should have better results if you prepare the recipe and freeze it before baking. Then, to bake, thaw the dish to room temperature and bake to the recipe directions.