Bread …..could you ever imagine living without it? Delicious lunchtime sandwiches, a slice of toast in the morning, rolls filled with turkey and salad, or just chunks of it to mop up thick gravy, the staple for so many lives. But what if you couldn’t eat it, like so many who are allergy afflicted to wheat and yeast.
Well there is an alternative in the form of Spelt Flour, one of the more popular non-wheat flours available today, and yes, we can even get it here in South Africa. Spelt is a nutty and slightly sweet grain, which is very similar to wheat in appearance but has a harder outer shell before being milled, which helps protect its nutritents. It has a strong nutritional profile containing iron, fiber, potassium, and zinc, is significantly higher in protein than its wheat counterpart, higher in Vitamin B complex vitamins, with fewer calories. Though not gluten-free, many people with wheat allergies can tolerate spelt, because of its high water solubility the nutrients are easily absorbed by the body, making it gentle on the digestive tract.
Baking with spelt is similar to baking with other flours, but due to its solubility, you will need to use less water when substituting it for other flours. I suggest that you use 3/4 of the amount of liquid required in a normal recipe. More liquid can then be added to get the correct consistency. When making breads, do not overmix, as the gluten in spelt breaks down very quickly, whereas wheat is more resiliant.
Serve these spelt crackers with avocado, hummus, cottage cheese, or your favourite dip.
I have made this basic flatbread recipe into a delicious light meal with salad, tzatziki, and souvlaki chicken.