Spelt flour recipes
I know I’m a little biased from my Hampshire Fare days, but I honestly believe we have the best food producers here in Hampshire. Take Wheatsheaf Farming for example. They grow spelt, an ancient form of wheat that is higher in protein and contains a greater range of nutrients than modern varieties. They farm the land regeneratively, minimising soil movement and maximising plant and insect diversity. Good for the environment and good for your body. They’re also really supportive of their fellow food producers and have been key players in initiatives like #FarmMyFood
I’ve been experimenting with a few lunchbox-friendly recipes to showcase spelt flour’s subtle nutty flavour. Wheatsheaf Farming produce wholemeal spelt flour and light spelt flour (the equivalent of white or plain flour), both of which are suitable for cakes, pastries and biscuits as well as bread. The wholemeal has a great texture which really lends itself to sweet and savoury muffins as well as the simple crackers below. For the cookies I wanted something a little more refined, so I chose the light spelt.
Chocolate, beetroot and spelt muffins
These may sound a little bit “worthy” with the mix of beetroot, wholemeal spelt, raw sugar and oil instead of butter, but they are so moist and richly chocolatey that you’d never guess how healthy they are from the flavour. My secret ingredient is freeze-dried raspberry powder. It adds a layer of sweet and sour fruitiness that takes the earthy edge off the beetroot and gives the muffins a greater depth of flavour.
- 175 g dark muscovado sugar
- 2 medium eggs
- 150 ml sunflower oil
- 150 g wholemeal spelt flour
- 50 g unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 25 g freeze-dried raspberry powder
- 200 g raw beetroot; peeled and coarsely grated
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (160° fan) | 350F | gas 4 and line a muffin tin with 10 paper cases.
- Whisk together the sugar, eggs and oil with an electric whisk for 3 minutes or until thick.
- Mix together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, cinnamon and half of the raspberry powder with a pinch of salt, then fold it into the egg mixture, followed by the beetroot.
- Spoon the mixture into the cake cases and bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
- Transfer the muffins to a wire rack and leave to cool completely, before dusting with the rest of the raspberry powder.
Seeded spelt crackers
Artisan crackers seem rather expensive when you realise how easy they are to make at home. The dough is simply spelt flour, water and a drizzle of oil, though you can customise it as I’ve done here with some crunchy seeds or indeed any herbs or spices you fancy. There’s minimum kneading, no resting or rising and, if you cut the sheet of dough into squares or rectangles, there’s no wastage either.
- 200 g wholemeal spelt flour
- 1 tbsp golden linseeds
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- 1 tbsp poppy seeds
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (160° fan) | 350F | gas 4 and cut a piece of greaseproof paper to fit a large baking tray (mine was 39 x 33 cm).
- Mix the flour with the seeds in a mixing bowl. Drizzle over the oil, then add just enough water to bring the mixture together into a pliable dough. I used about 95 ml in total, but start off with 70 ml and increase gradually.
- Roll out the dough into a rectangle, then transfer it to your piece of greaseproof paper. Continue to roll the dough until it fills the entire sheet and it’s only a few millimetres thick. Sprinkle with sea salt, then roll the rolling pin over the top to press the crystals into the dough.
- Use a pizza wheel or a knife to score the sheet into your preferred size of squares or rectangles, then prick it all over with a fork.
- Bake for 10 minutes, then flip it over with the help of the greaseproof paper. Discard the paper and return the crackers to the oven for another 10 minutes. Turn the crackers over once more then put them back in the oven, turn off the heat and leave to dry out for 10 minutes.
- Transfer the crackers to a wire rack and leave to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.
Spelt + brown butter cookies
If you like your cookies crisp around the edge and chewy in the middle, this is the recipe for you! Browning the butter caramelises the milk solids, giving the cookie dough a hint of hazelnut which echoes the nuttiness of the spelt flour. I’ve added dark chocolate chunks, but these also work well with dried fruit or nuts.
- 100 g salted butter
- 70 g caster sugar
- 50 g light muscovado sugar
- 50 g dark muscovado sugar
- 1 large egg
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 150 g light spelt flour
- 90 – 100 g dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids), chopped
- Make a beurre noisette by melting the butter in a saucepan. First it will bubble noisily, then it will quietly foam and look like the head on a beer. When the foam starts to tan, it should be ready – swirl the pan and if there are speckles of brown in the butter and it smells deliciously nutty, it’s done.
- Measure the three sugars into the bowl of a freestanding mixer while you’re waiting for the butter to brown. Pour over the butter, then mix it together with the paddle attachment. Leave to cool.
- Add the egg and vanilla, then beat on high speed for 3 minutes or until pale and well-whipped.
- Stir the baking powder into the spelt flour with the chocolate chunks, then stir it into the cookie mixture with a wooden spoon until just combined.
- Cover the dough and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (160° fan) | 350F | gas 4 and line two large baking trays with greaseproof paper.
- Use an ice cream scoop to portion the dough, rolling each mound into a rough ball with your hands. Space out six scoops on each tray – they will spread a lot.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until just starting to colour at the edges, but still soft in the centre – they will firm up as they cool. Leave on the baking trays for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
Antipasti lunch muffins
These are lovely still warm from the oven, but they also make a handy lunchbox filler. Double the recipe and store the rest in an airtight tin for a day or two to get ahead.
- 1 large egg
- 60 ml olive oil
- 90 g Greek-style yoghurt
- 20 g Old Winchester, pecorino or parmesan, finely grated
- 30 g green olives; pitted and chopped
- 35 g oak-smoked tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped
- 125 g wholemeal spelt flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- ½ Capricorn goat’s cheese, cut into 4 wedges
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (160° fan) | 350F | gas 4 and line a muffin tin with four paper cases.
- Beat the egg in a jug with the oil, yoghurt and cheese until smooth. Stir in the olives and smoked tomatoes.
- Mix the flour with the raising agents and a pinch of salt and pepper in a bowl, then pour in the egg mixture and stir just enough to combine.
- Divide the mixture between the paper cases and push a wedge of goat’s cheese into each one. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean (internal temp of 94°C if you want to double check with a probe thermometer).
- Transfer the muffins to a wire rack and leave to cool a little before serving warm or at room temperature.