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Hi, I'm Laureen Wallravin, nutritional therapist and founder of RelishedFood.com. I'm here for About.com today, and we're going to talk about spelt, from its nutritional benefits to preparation and cooking ideas.While spelt has only been grown in the United States for the past one hundred years or so, its known to have originated in Iran around 5,000 to 6,000 B.C. As a grain, it has a tougher husk than wheat, and tends to offer a broader spectrum of nutrients and a nuttier, sweeter flavor. In addition to containing more protein than wheat and having a low glycemic index, spelt is an excellent source of vitamin B2, manganese, niacin, thiamin, and copper, all of which in combination can be helpful for persons with migraine headaches, atherosclerosis, or diabetes.Just a tip: While spelt contains less gluten than common wheat, it's not suitable for those with celiac disease or individuals on a gluten-free diet. That said, people who have dietary issues with wheat, as opposed to gluten, may find that they have no problems digesting products made with spelt.Replacing whole wheat or whole grain flour with spelt flour is easy enough to do, provided you have a health food store nearby. Breads, pastas, and cookies made from spelt are just a few of the readily available options, and you can also purchase spelt flour if you'd like to experiment with it in your cooking and baking. Preparing foods from spelt flour is much like preparing them with wheat or whole grain flour, with just a few exceptions.The low gluten content of spelt means that it's easier to mix than ordinary dough, and has a shorter proving time. However, you'll find that the lack of gluten tends to make the dough less firm, and it loses its shape quite easily. You'll need to compensate for this when making certain foods, like a loaf of bread, for instance. You should use less water than usual, and bake the loaf in a tin, rather than trying to shape it by hand and baking it on a sheet. An ancient and hearty grain, spelt is both nutritionally sound and full of flavor. With its recent comeback in the health food world as an alternative to hybridized wheat, it's worth giving a try.Thanks for watching. To learn more, visit us on the web at about.com.
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