What is spelt seems to be the question on everyone’s mind as this species of wheat is becoming the newest product on the market to offer whole grain goodness. Not only is this ancient grain good for you but it also tastes great, if you like foods that have a nutty flavor. This close relative to wheat, spelt is sold year round, leaving you with no excuse to eat a poor diet low in nutrients.
To answer the question, what is spelt, it is a grain that came into existence during ancient times, prior to the wheat hybrids, which means it is more nutritional in comparison to many other grains in the wheat family. The brown, popcorn-kernel-looking grain may be used to make pasta or bread, just like wheat; however, it doesn’t cause problems to individuals who have a problem with wheat.
This fact alone has helped spelt regain some of its popularity but its easiness to grow has also created an incentive for farmers to plant and harvest it, especially since the health industry is causing an increase in demand for the grain, which can be bought as a whole berry or in the form of flour.
Picking and Storing
Now that you know what is spelt you should know the forms in which it can be purchased and how to store them. As mentioned earlier spelt comes in the form of a whole berry or as flour, either of which may be used to make breads or pastas. Both forms are sold in bulk containers or as a prepackaged item and you should be sure to check the package for damage and an expiration date.
It is also important that you look for signs of moisture as this can ruin the grain and would make for a bad purchase. Spelt grains require cool, dark, and dry storage spaces, demands that can all be satisfied with the use of an airtight container while the flour needs to be refrigerated in order to keep the grains nutritional value.
How to Cook Spelt
The last thing you need to know in regards to what is spelt is how to prepare it for consumption. First, you must rinse them to get rid of any dirt and then you must soak them in water for at least eight hours but no longer than overnight. When the time is up simply drain and re-rinse the spelt berries before cooking them in an amount of water that is equal to three times the portion of spelt that is being cooked. In other words if you are cooking a cup of spelt berries use three cups of water. Allow the water to boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer for about an hour.
Cooking with grains is somewhat different from cooking with other foods since they require extensive periods of soaking prior to use and as flour, may not react with yeast, forming flat bread instead of one that rises, which is the result in this recipe. To make spelt bread you need:
Start by preheating the oven to 350° Fahrenheit and coat two 9x5 loaf pans with butter or a cooking spray. While the oven is preheating, mix all of the ingredients together so that they are well blended. Pour the batter into the pans and place them in the oven for an hour and ten minutes or until golden. Now not only do you know what is spelt but you also know how it tastes.
Preheat oven to 425F degrees; lightly grease baking sheets.
Combine flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in medium mixing bowl; cut in shortening until crumbly.
In small bowl beat eggs and half and half until blended; stir egg mixture into dry ingredients with fork to form soft dough.
Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth; roll dough out to ½ inch thickness.
Cut with round fluted biscuit cutter 2 inches apart on baking sheets.
Brush tops with milk; bake 12 to 15 minutes until golden brown;
Remove from baking sheets and serve warm with butter and jams.
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