Spelt is a type of whole wheat and an ancient grain. What makes spelt so special is that this grain is not crossed with any other wheat variety, so it is purer than most flours. It also offers some spectacular health benefits, which makes it a healthy flour option for fitness enthusiasts.
Spelt is light and airy and has a nutty and slightly sweet flavor that makes it an asset in baking. So, what do you do when you don’t have it on hand and are making a recipe that calls for it? Well, you can use these spelt flour substitutes to save the day.
1. Almond Flour
Almond flour, also called almond meal, is made from ground almonds. It has a similar texture to spelt flour and a slightly sweet flavor. Almond flour is also a good source of protein, vitamins, and fiber, which makes it a good option for those trying to live a healthy lifestyle.
Almond flour can be used in any baking recipe that calls for spelt flour. However, keep in mind that almond flour absorbs more liquid, so you will need to adjust the amount of liquid in your recipes. Because almond flour is gluten-free, you may also need to add more baking powder (or any other leavening agent) to make your bread and cakes rise.
1 cup spelt flour = 3/4 cup almond flour.
2. Amaranth Flour
Amaranth flour is made by grinding seeds from amaranth — a perennial pseudo cereal plant. It is high in protein, fiber, and several micronutrients and is also gluten-free, which makes it a healthy substitute for spelt flour. Its distinctive nut-like flavor also makes it a wonderful ingredient to use for baking bread or cookies and even works as a thickener in soups and gravies.
Amaranth flour tends to be less sweet than spelt, so you may want to add more sweetener (sugar or other) than the recipe calls for to improve the taste. It also has a very specific crispy texture that doesn’t perform well on its own. So, you will have to combine it with another type of grain, like wheat or almond flour, to bind the mixture and give it a better texture.
1 cup spelt flour = 1/4 amaranth flour + 3/4 grain flour.
3. Barley Flour
Barley flour is made from dried and ground barley grain and can have a fine or coarse texture. It is rich in vitamins and minerals, including fiber, protein, and iron. Barley flour also has a sweet, strong nutty flavor that works beautifully in diverse dishes.
When substituting for spelt flour, you can use barley flour in a range of recipes, including naan, pita bread, cookies, muffins, and barley soup. It has a lower gluten content than spelt, so mix in some glutinous flour such as wheat flour to get the desirable results. It’s also twice as dense as spelt flour, so you might want to moderate the amount used in your recipe.
1 cup spelt flour = 1/2 barley flour.
4. Einkorn Flour
Einkorn flour is also a type of spelt flour, but it has a different gluten structure. It is more nutrient-rich and not as heavy on the digestive system as regular flour, which makes it the best possible substitute for spelt.
Einkorn flour has a delicate, nutty flavor and a unique aroma that works in everything from salads to soups, but it shines best in dishes that will benefit from its light texture, such as pancakes or waffles. However, keep in mind that einkorn flour does not absorb water as well as spelt, so you may need to reduce the amount of water in your recipe to make the dough.
1 cup spelt flour = 1 cup einkorn flour. (With about 1/3 cup less water).
5. Kamut Flour
Kamut flour is a type of wheat flour made by milling an ancient grain called Khorasan, which is similar to durum wheat flour. It is higher in protein, fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals compared to other types of wheat flour. It has a deliciously buttery and nutty flavor that really elevates any dish it is used in.
Kamut is a versatile flour that can be used to replace any type of flour in most cooking and baking recipes. It also has a different gluten structure than spelt, which makes it more digestible. However, it is less absorbent, so you might need to add a little more water to get the desired result.
1 cup spelt flour = 1 cup Kamut flour. (Adjust water as needed.)
6. Rice Flour
Rice flour is made from ground rice and has a soft, fine texture that works well on its own and mixes well with other ingredients, too. It is used as a thickener in sauces, as a gluten-free alternative to wheat, or to replace other types of starch. This versatile ingredient is easily available in most grocery stores, which makes it an amazing, affordable alternative to spelt flour.
Both white and brown rice flour will work equally well in savory as well as sweet dishes, but each will bring distinctive flavors and textures to the dish. Luckily, you can remedy that by mixing in some ground nut powders or sweeteners. Rice flour is typically very dense and will prevent liquid separation, so restrict its use to dishes where it’s used as a thickening agent.
1 cup spelt flour = 1/3 cup rice flour. (Remember to add water slowly, or you’ll end up with a loose dough.)
7. Wheat Flour
Wheat flour, as the name suggests, is made from wheat grain. While it has a lower protein content than spelt flour, it is high in gluten which gives dough its elasticity. This makes it a good alternative to spelt flour in dough-based recipes. It also has a neutral flavor that will work well as a thickener.
You can use wheat flour in various recipes and can combine it with other ingredients like sugar, yeast, or eggs, depending on what you’re making. Also, keep in mind that wheat flour will give your dishes a brown color and a nutty flavor along with a harder texture. So, if that won’t work for your dish, it’s best to explore other options.
1 cup spelt flour = 2/3 cup whole grain flour + 1/3 cup water.