Spelt flour, an important staple in medieval culture, is making a popular return as a health food. Exceptionally similar to our common wheat; spelt is a natural hybrid of a tetraploid wheat and grass like aegitops tauschil, believed to have originated in Eastern Europe/Asia over 8,000 years ago.
Spelt was introduced in the US in the 1890’s but was quickly replaced by traditional bread wheat. The main cause of the resurrection of spelt wheat harvest is dues to the movement towards organics and Non GMO agricultural practices.
The Protein make up of spelt at 17% is comparable to a hard red winter wheat making it a viable replacement in baking. However given its lineage, it does contain gluten and its reintroduction to the market has been slowed by the gluten free movement. With a High Gliadin to Glutenin ratio spelt flour is a more soluble whole wheat product even with its 9.2% fiber count.
Spelt is slightly higher in cost compared to common wheat, due to its minority plating and extra processing to remove husk. Given this cost increase, spelt products like bread, flours, pastas, cereals etc, have been exclusive to health food stores and specialty bakeries, but are trended to increase in availability as the organic and Non GMO movements continue to grow.