The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Questions about spelt flour?

Bread Head's picture
Bread Head

Questions about spelt flour?

What is spelt flour?

How will it change my bread?  (I make a natural leaven (Tartine) bread.)

Is it more nutritional than adding some whole wheat flour to my bread.

Does it make the starter or leaven go faster?


nicodvb's picture

spelt is VERY tricky to work withy. Yes, it makes the leavens go faster, but is it worth it?

Bread Head's picture
Bread Head

Can you explain what you mean by "tricky"

nicodvb's picture

spelt is generally so weak that it tears when proofing, even if it's white (not wholemeal). Moreover it literally melts down: you leave a dough and you find a poolish.

Ruralidle's picture

Sorry nicodvb but I disagree.  I bake a loaf each week that has 200g wholemeal spelt and 200g white spelt with 140g of white flour in the starter.  It spends 3 hours in bulk ferment at room temperature, 3 hours in proofing at room temperature then 15 hours in the fridge before baking.  That does not give me a poolish, just a well developed dough.

suave's picture

Spelt is a type of wheat.  Spelt flour is typically a whole grain flour, although white variety also exists.  As to what it does to the recipe - that mainly depends on what you are substituting with it.   If it is whole wheat then you won't see much change in dough behavior, except may be that you'd have to cut back on water a little (or not).

isand66's picture

I find that Spelt adds a nice nutty flavor to the bread.  I suggest you add a small amount first and see how your recipe reacts and gradually add more if desired.  There is also a dark spelt and white spelt to experiment with.

hanseata's picture

It depends on the quality of the spelt. The organic whole spelt I get from my supplier here in Maine doesn't perform much different from whole wheat. It rises a little faster, that's all. Never had any meltdown issues.

I like the taste of spelt better than whole wheat, it's nuttier. These are two spelt breads I regularly bake (and sell.) Both are made with a biga, and even bulk fermented in the refrigerator overnight.

Happy spelt baking,


Spelt Sandwich Loaf (51% whole spelt/49% bread flour)


100% Spelt Walnut Bread (with a cracked spelt soaker)

Bread Head's picture
Bread Head

Wow those loafs are beautiful.

dabrownman's picture

spelt, rye and ww in just about all my breads along with other grains.  Whitbreads taste better with 10% whole grains in them.  These breads are healthy and taste great even when the whole grains are 100%.  I once had a high % whole grain bread proof very fast in the fridge but it was one where I had used some yogurt whey water for the liquid and that may have been the problem.

I've never had any spelt bread turn to poolish either.  It is weaker from a gluten viewpoint and you need to do 40 minutes of slap and folds to give it some structure but it bakes up great.  mwilson has a beautiful 100% white spelt at 100% hydration on his blog.  Just magnificent.

My whole grain breads tend to proof a little faster than white doughs and they produce more sour too.