For the past 15 years I have struggled with wheat and gluten with side affects such as bloating and sickness for days on end. I’m not a celiac or would ever compare myself to some of the people who have these conditions. I can however speak from a person who has spent many years avoiding certain food groups in order to have a normal life.
To further my knowledge and creativity as a cook – chef, I recently studied nutrition, my amazement was in the ingredients I learnt about which I have simple avoided! Spelt being one of them!
Now Spelt seems to be popping up everywhere at the moment and for someone who hasn’t been able to eat breads for a very long time, this is a breath of fresh air!. Heres my little run down on why trying spelt might work for you.
Spelt is one of the oldest cultivated crops in human history and is believed to have first been used between 7,000 and 8,000 years ago. Spelt is a a variety of grain or cereal that is closely related to wheat. In fact, spelt likely developed from a hybridization of emmer wheat and and wild goat-grass is closely related to normal “bread” wheat, but the popularity of bread wheat soon made spelt obsolete, which is why it is considered a “relic” crop.
Spelt contains gluten and therefore if you’re a celiac!! please do not try this!!!!
The gluten in spelt works in a slightly different way to wheat gluten, the spelt gluten is more water soluble and therefore digestion is eased (imagine a wheatabix left in milk for ten minutes) whereas supermarket bread will become binding and stick together. Also, after looking into home made breads, the amount of preservatives in shop bought products are certainly a massive contributor to how our gut digests and suffers!
Some of the health benefits of spelt include its ability to help in regulating the body’s metabolism, aid in the creation of sex hormones, increase circulation, build strong bones, improve the immune system, boosting digestive function, lowering blood sugar, and reducing cholesterol levels in the body.
So, in my journey to find a bread which doesn’t make me look like i’m six months pregnant I started trialling recipes with soughdoughs and spelt flour. Sourdough contains pro-biotics and often helps with the digestion however with a baking preparation time of around 24 -48 hours, didn’t temp me in making this my home baked bread, weekly recipe!.
Spelt bread, often expensive from your health food shops and hard to make, seemed to be my best option, so I started about getting the perfect recipe which I could incorporate into my diet.
After numerous attempts with proving times and over cooking, over stretching , burning, flopping and sticking, I finally put a mix of 500 grams light spelt flour, 4-500 mg warm water, 10g yeast, splash of olive oil, teaspoon of sugar and salt and hey presto! The most perfect bread Ive ever had! This recipe doesn’t need loads of prep time or messing around waiting for things to rise, re kneading or any of that tosh!. You simply mix together the ingredients,knead it, leave it for twenty minutes, knead again, shape it and slam it in the oven for 40 minutes, if you want a golden crust, coat it with a little egg and milk, sprinkle with flour and eat with lots of butter!
Needless to say, I will never buy bread again! If you want to use this for wraps, make the same amount and use it through out the week, just store in a bag in the fridge, tear of a lump, roll it flat, whack it in a hot pan, let it puff up and stick it in your belly!