What is Spelt?

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.

What is Spelt Defined

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.

  • 8 Cups spelt flour
  • 1 Tablespoon blackstrap molasses
  • 4 ¼ Cups milk
  • 2 Teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ Cup sesame seeds
  • ½ Teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350F degrees; coat 2 loaf pans (9X5) with butter.
Combine flour and next 5 ingredients in a mixing bowl; mix until well blended.
Pour batter evenly into prepared pans; bake for 70 minutes until golden.


  • 2 Cups spelt flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • ½ Teaspoon salt
  • ½ Cup solid shortening
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/3 Cup half and half

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.


  • 1 Package dry yeast
  • 1 ¾ Cups warm water (About 112F degrees)
  • 1 Teaspoon sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 Cups spelt flour
  • 1 Cup rye flour
  • 2 Cups all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ Teaspoons salt
  • 1 ½ Cups finely chopped walnuts

Combine in a large bowl all the flours and salt; set aside.

Pour water into a small bowl; stir in sugar.

Sprinkle yeast over the top of water; let stand 5 minutes.

Whisk the egg into the yeast mixture.

Make a well in the flour mixture; pour in yeast mixture.

Mix together until dough forms; turn out onto lightly floured surface.

Knead lightly about 5 minutes adding more flour if dough is sticky.

NOTE: Gluten in spelt flour will break down with too much kneading.


What is spelt when cooking the whole grain?  Cooking whole spelt is much like cooking short grain brown rice and can be used interchangeably.

  • 2 Tablespoons cooking oil (Divided)
  • 1 Cup finely chopped onion
  • 3 Cups PLUS 3 tablespoons water (Divided)
  • 1/8 Teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ Cups whole spelt
  • 1 ½ Pounds Chinese cabbage
  • 1 ½ Teaspoons sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons rice wine
  • 1 Teaspoon cornstarch
  • 4 Cloves minced garlic
  • 1 ½ Cups frozen soybeans (Can substitute other beans; fava, baby lime)
  • 1 Red bell pepper (Seed, cut into julienne strips)
  • 8 Ounces firm tofu (Cut in ½ inch cubes)
  • 2 Teaspoons dark sesame oil
  • ¼ Cup toasted cashews

Heat 1 TABLESPOON of the oil in saucepan over medium heat.
Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes until softened.
Add 3 CUPS of the water and salt; bring to a boil.
Add spelt, REDUCE HEAT and cover; simmer for 45 minutes.
Soak cabbage in a tub of cold water for 5 minutes; drain very well.
Stir together in a small bowl the sugar, soy sauce and vinegar.
Add 3 TABLESPOONS water, wine and cornstarch blending well.
Heat large skillet or wok over medium about 10 MINUTES before spelt is done.
Add 1 TABLESPOON oil to skillet; add the garlic and drained cabbage.
INCREASE HEAT under skillet to high; stir mixture 2 to 3 minutes.
Add beans, pepper strips and soy cornstarch mixture; REDUCE HEAT to medium.
Cover pan and simmer for 8 minutes; stir mixture and add tofu and sesame oil.
Toss gently; spoon spelt onto serving plates and then spoon cabbage over the spelt.
Garnish tops with chopped cashews; serves 4.