I am guessing you’ve probably heard that spelt grains are “in” .
Spelt is an ancient grain., that has entered the “superfood hall of fame”, thus costs at least double the cost of whole wheat.(actually- more than double-keep reading).
last week I suddenly started wondering if there really is a valid excuse for the massive difference in cost and prestige between those two.
But- before I begin rambling- May I please remind that:
I am in no way a registered dietitian, or medical doctor, a health instructor or anything of the sorts. I am a retired lawyer, also a health enthusiast, and I try to always do my research on what I eat and cook- because health trends are a huge turn off for me.
Spelt. basically, as it turns out, is a distant relative of wheat and most certainly does contain gluten -so anyone with gluten intolerance- steer clear!
Here is a link to the article I read:
So is spelt the next best thing or is the hype totally overrated?
I divided my answer into 5 categories:
How come taste is the first category? because with all due respect to nutrition and cost and the other categories, if the superfood doesn’t taste good- then what is the point of it?
I haven’t tried to cook spelt grains, but I use a lot of spelt flour for buns and pizza crust, and I use spelt pasta as well.
In my opinion– and since this is a matter of taste- to each his own- spelt flour is tastier than whole wheat when it comes to baking. spelt has a richer- more nutty flavor-again- maybe this is only me.
But- spelt pasta tastes …well…I am trying not to shame it here, but really- it doesn’t taste as good as wheat pasta.
Then again- come to think of it- I find whole wheat pasta quite horrid too- so.
I cook the spelt pasta al dente , spread on a baking tray, coat with spicy condiments, drizzle some olive oil, and bake (180celsius) for about 20 minutes- or until crispy.
These are considered a snack here, and I use every shape of spelt pasta I have.
They freeze very well too.
Here are a few examples of the above described baked goods-bread, buns and crispy pasta.
#2: nutritional value:
I must admit this was a tad confusing.
I checked a few web sites, and the information I gathered concluded that 100 grams of whole wheat flour, contains 340 calories, 13 grams of protein, 72 grams of carbs, 10.7 grams fiber and 2.5 grams of fat.
spelt flour, on the other hand, (the same quantity- 100 grams of flour), contains 368 calories, 71 grams of carbs, the protein is a bit higher- 13.9 grams instead of 13, but only 6.9 grams of fiber. (!). the information, by the way, is taken from the label of one of my spelt flour bags.
Hardly anything to flip over about- in my opinion.
The interesting thing was- that when I looked for the nutritional value of 1 cup cooked grain- spelled v. whole wheat- the spelt had more calories, fiber, carbs, and protein than the cooked whole wheat grain. and supposedly a tad more vitamins and minerals- like zinc, manganese, and iron though when I checked for actual numbers – I didn’t see a difference between manganese and iron mg between the two. maybe I wasn’t looking at the right place. (?)
1 cup cooked whole-wheat: 150 calories, 33 carbs, 4.8 protein, whereas 1 cup cooked spelt grains: 246 calories, 51-gram carbs, 7.6 fiber, and 10.6 grams of protein. (that’s more than double it’s opponent-in the cooked grain section that is).by the way- also 137 grams of manganese and 3.6 mg of iron. (spelt flour contains 136 mg of manganese and 4.4 mg of iron).
Because it matters.
If there is no significant difference in taste and nutritional value- there really needn’t be a huge difference in price, in my opinion.
I checked Walmart and Amazon- not that they ship to where I live now in covid days, but as a general scale.
Couldn’t find spelt flour in Walmart, but they had 5 Lbs of whole wheat flour for 3.92 $.
Amazon had a brand of whole spelt flour- 1 Lbs for 22$.
Yes- that’s 110 $ for the equivalent 5 Lbs of whole wheat flour.
That is a huge difference.
Just to double check- I found whole wheat on Amazon too- a bag of 25 Lbs for 65$. that is 13$ for 5 Lbs.
On the other hand- in the whole grain pasta section there wasn’t much of a difference between whole wheat (10$ a Lbs), and spelt pasta (13$ a Lbs).
#4: Is it easy to use?
In my experience-and again- this could be just me here- spelt flour is easier to use for baking buns and pizza than whole wheat. it stretches and rises better- again- this is my personal experience-all in all my experience with whole spelt flour had yielded light and yummy buns, v. heavy a bit bland buns on whole wheat flour.
#5: Looks. AKA visuality.
I prefer the look of spelt flour buns . they have a nice brown look to them, and since they rise nicely- they don’t look like pitta bread.
So now I know the facts- and I can make an educated fact based decision.
There is a significant price difference, although- from what I searched- and do your own research here -the nutritional values do not differ so much between the two products.
In my opinion there is a difference in taste and visulity in favor of the spelt flour, plus the spelt is easier to use, but- is this enough to justify the huge price difference?
Make your decision.either way- both are great healthy grains that are an important source of carbs -and protein for you.
Enjoy- the cooliflower.