Spelt is one of the “Ancient Grains”, grains which have a long history of use by mankind and which have recently become popular again, and is likely a hybrid of Emmer (Another ancient grain) and wild grasses. It has a high protein content but its gluten is a different structure than that found in conventional wheat and some folks with gluten intolerance find it easier to digest.
Cribbing straight from Wikipedia….‘The earliest archaeological evidence of spelt is from the fifth millennium BC in Transcaucasia, north-east of the Black Sea, though the most abundant and best-documented archaeological evidence of spelt is in Europe. Remains of spelt have been found in some later Neolithic sites (2500–1700 BC) in Central Europe. During the Bronze Age, spelt spread widely in central Europe. In the Iron Age (750–15 BC), spelt became a principal wheat species in southern Germany and Switzerland; by 500 BC, it was in common use in southern Britain.’
And, some great references in literature.
· Pushkin's well-rhymed story in which the poor workman Balda asks his employer the priest "to feed me boiled spelt".
· In Horace's Satire 2.6 (late 31 – 30 B.C.), which ends with the story of the Country Mouse and the City Mouse, the country mouse eats spelt at dinner while serving his city guest finer foods.
· In The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri, Pietro della Vigna appears as a suicide in Circle VII, ring ii, Canto XIII of the Inferno. Pietro describes the fate awaiting souls guilty of suicide to Dante the Pilgrim and Virgil. According to Pietro, the soul of the suicide grows into a wild tree and is tormented by harpies that feast upon its leaves. Pietro likens the initial growth and transformation of the soul of the suicide to the germination of a grain of spelt (Inferno XIII, 94–102).
· The seventh plague in Egypt reported in Exodus, chapter 9 was said not to have damaged the harvest of wheat and spelt, as these were "late crops".
· Ezekiel 4:9 says: "Take thou also unto thee wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentils, and millet, and spelt, and put them in one vessel, and make thee bread thereof ..."
This Saturday’s Bake
I am going to bake white sourdough rounds using 30% white, 30% high extraction, 30% white Spelt and 10% fresh whole grain Spelt organic flours - I test baked this last weekend and the resulting loaf was rich, light and with a very nice crust. Tasty!
Your Canadian Baker