A Beginner's Guide To Ancient Grains-Spelt
Spelt Ancient grains are all the rage and for good reason. These nutrient-dense grains and seeds have been dietary staples the world over for centuries. The different types, tastes and textures offer home cooks an opportunity to change up family...
Ancient grains are all the rage and for good reason. These nutrient-dense grains and seeds have been dietary staples the world over for centuries. The different types, tastes and textures offer home cooks an opportunity to change up family meals but the variety of grains, exotic names and origins and a lack of familiarity is intimidating. Where does one start?
I started with spelt, a cousin to wheat with less gluten and a mild flavor used in Europe as long ago as 5000 BC, making it a true ancient grain. We gave up bread and other products made with regular (not organic GMO free) wheat so I use spelt flour because it easily replaces wheat flour in recipes. Spelt bread has a great taste and is so easy to make. My grandchildren love it.
- 2 to 2-1/2 cups organic spelt flour
- 1 package yeast (NOT rapid rise)
- 1 cup water heated to 120o F
- 1 tablespoon sugar (I use brown sugar)
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Olive Oil
- Combine yeast, sugar and water in a 2 quart (or larger) mixing bowl. Set aside to proof for 5 minutes or until the top is foamy.
- Add 1 cup of the flour, the melted butter and salt to the yeast mixture and combine. Slowly add a second cup of flour, mixing completely. The dough will be very soft and sticky. Turn out on a floured surface and knead for about 5 to 10 minutes, working in more flour until it’s less sticky. Form the dough into a ball.
- Put a little olive oil in the mixing bowl and roll the dough in it, making sure it completely coated. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft free place for 45 minutes or until doubled.
- Punch the dough down and let it rest for 10 minutes. Form it into two round loaves and place on a greased cookie sheet. Cover and let rise for 40 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375o F
- Bake for 20 minutes or until the loaves are lightly golden. Brush with butter for a soft crust.
- Don’t use more than 2-1/2 cups of flour. When you first use spelt flour it’s easy to use too much and your bread will be heavy and dry. Don’t let the soft, sticky texture fool you like it fooled me. More than once.
- For perfectly risen yeast dough make sure the liquid is at 120o F. This goes for any yeast dough.
- Don’t let the yeast proof for too long or your loaves won’t rise properly. I learned this the hard way. 5 minutes should be sufficient.
- You can add finely chopped herbs with the flour. I like parsley or rosemary.
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