Spelt flour is becoming more popular to cater for people who are sensitive to wheat. It is used by bakers, pastry chefs, and home cooks to make delicious baked goods, without containing too much gluten.
Spelt is a small, rice-shaped grain, and it contains less gluten than wheat and is easier for those with gluten sensitivities to digest. However, while it does contain less gluten than most modern flours, it does not mean that it is gluten-free, and those who are sensitive to gluten, or have wheat allergies, should be careful when consuming it.
If you are in the mood to bake and don’t have any spelt flour at home, or are wanting to try something different but still suitable for gluten-sensitivity, which are the best spelt flour substitutes? There are 5 good substitutes for spelt flour: Einkorn flour, Kamut flour, Amaranth flour, Barley flour, and Rice flour. These spelt flour substitutes are either gluten-free or low-gluten and work well in place of spelt.
Once you understand the different properties and benefits the 5 spelt flour substitutes have, you are then able to decide which one is best for you to use.
The 5 Best Spelt Flour Substitutes
The below spelt flour substitutes all differ in availability and nutritional value, and some are gluten-free, while others are low-gluten. However, all work well as substitutes for spelt flour.
|Rank||Spelt Flour Substitute||Amount of Gluten|
It helps to understand the difference between the various spelt flour substitutes to give you a little more knowledge when buying from a bakery or purchasing your own flour.
You should definitely look to keep a few packets of these flours in your cupboard for when the baking bug hits!
1. Einkorn Flour
Einkorn flour is a traditional and ancient type of wheat. It is considered the oldest variety of wheat, as it was the first wheat used.
Einkorn is an ancient wheat, so it hasn’t been modernized and hybridized the same way modern wheat has, so it has retained much of its nutrients.
It has a high protein content, 30% more than modern wheat, and 15% less starch as well.
Along with this, it has a higher concentration of minerals and a stronger flavor. It is quite distinct from modern wheat.
Unlike hybridized modern wheat, einkorn has a thick husk, which also gives it better protection from pesticides, and better protects the grain.
While einkorn is not gluten-free and actually has the same gluten content as modern wheat, its gluten structure is weaker, which means it is easier to digest.
The issue with einkorn is that it is not so easy to find, and when you do find it, it can be a little pricey.
Although when you do purchase einkorn, you are supporting smaller farms and definitely purchasing a higher quality product. It is worth a try and does show you what proper grain and flour should taste like.
Einkorn has a sweet and light nutty taste and is free from the rustic, gritty taste that modern wheat flours have.
Since einkorn has a higher amount of carotenoids, using it for baked goods gives them a golden color, which is gorgeous!
When baking with einkorn, it is important to note that it is slightly harder to use, as it lacks elasticity, due to the different gluten structure. Avoid over-kneading and over-working einkorn.
Einkorn flour absorbs less water than spelt flour, so you will have to adjust the quantity to make up for this.
To substitute einkorn for spelt, use 1/3 less water for the recipe – it is better to use less water than more flour, as adding more flour throws off the balance of flavors. You can use a 1 cup to 1 cup ratio of einkorn to spelt, but you will need to adjust the water content.
Recommendation: Organic Whole Grain Einkorn Flour
The organic whole grain einkorn flour is 100% organic einkorn and is grown using natural growing methods, free from chemicals and pesticides.
To ensure that you receive the freshest flour possible, the einkorn is ground fresh when you order by special stone grinders.
As the einkorn grains are as authentic as can be, the non-toxic gluten content is great for various gluten issues.
The einkorn wheat is non-GMO and non-hybridized, so you will be receiving and using flour that was trusted and used hundreds of years ago, all with the same great benefits and rich nutrients that flours are lacking nowadays.
2. Kamut Flour
Kamut flour, also known as Khorasan wheat or Oriental wheat, is another ancient type of wheat. It is a great flour to use in place of spelt flour for both breads and pastries.
It is high in protein, fiber, and vitamins, and as it is an ancient grain, it carries a higher nutrient content than modern flours.
Like spelt, Kamut flour does contain gluten but has a low-gluten content. It is a rich source of numerous essential nutrients, such as vitamin B and manganese, and has a high protein and fiber content as well.
With a sweeter, buttery flavor, it is ideal to use Kamut flour as a substitute for spelt in baking, as it just adds that extra decadently natural taste that you just do not get with other flours.
The trick to using Kamut flour in place of spelt flour is to knead it more thoroughly than you would spelt flour, as Kamut flour has higher fiber content, and you need to make provisions for this.
When using Kamut in place of spelt, you will need to use a little more water to avoid the mixture drying out.
Alternatively, you could use a little less flour and keep the water content, but generally, 1 cup of Kamut flour is equal to 1 cup of spelt flour.
Recommendation: Food to Live Organic Kamut Flour
Rich in protein and fiber, the Organic Kamut Flour contains 30% more protein than other wheat flours.
It has a delicious nutty flavor that really adds to the flavor of many different baked goods.
By using Kamut flour, you will be giving yourself additional vitamin B, manganese, iron, and other essential vitamins and nutrients.
The flour is certified organic and is free from toxins and harmful ingredients.
The Kamut flour is made from top-quality Kamut grain and stays true to the ancient nutrients, nutty taste, and great benefits.
3. Amaranth Flour
Amaranth flour is a great substitute for spelt flour if you are looking for a gluten-free option.
Amaranth flour is not actually made from a grain but is made from the seeds of the amaranth plant, and it should never be used raw, it should only be used in cooked dishes.
In place of spelt, or on its own. Amaranth flour is commonly used because it has high fiber and protein content.
The amaranth seeds produce a buff-colored flour which has a pretty bland flavor, but they do give a slightly nutty taste. Many people choose to adjust the flavor of the flour by adding in different ingredients, but that is more up to personal taste.
It is best to use amaranth flour in non-rising items such as pancakes, flatbreads, or biscuits, and if you do want to use it in a rising-bread recipe, you will have to add in another flour such as corn or wheat flour, or even with spelt flour.
When combining it with other flours, amaranth flour can replace 25% of wheat flour before being combined with others.
In other words, you can use ¼ cup of amaranth flour (mixed with another flour or flours) for 1 cup of spelt flour.
Recommendation: HerbaZest Organic Amaranth Flour
The HerbaZest Organic Amaranth Flour is nutrient-dense, and perfect to add into recipes alongside other grains. Per serving, there are 3 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber.
The amaranth is non-GMO, certified organic, and kosher and is suitable for the whole family. It’s also a good source of iron.
The airtight, resealable packaging keeps the amaranth flour fresh and flavorful, ready to be ground when you need to add it into one of your favorite recipes.
3. Barley Flour
Much like spelt flour, barley flour has a low-gluten content, which makes it a great choice for leavened loaves of bread and baked goods. Barley flour is high in protein and low in fat and has a rich nutrient content.
It has a nutty taste, which adds a wonderful dimension to many different recipes, and is why many people choose to use barley flour for baked goods such as loaves of bread.
The nutty flavor makes it great to use in hearty recipes which include nuts, seeds, and dried fruits.
Do not use barley flour as a substitute for spelt in recipes which has a delicate flavor, as the nutty flavor of the barley flour could be overwhelming.
You should use ½ cup of barley flour for every cup of spelt in a recipe.
Recommendation: Food to Live Organic Barley Flour
Made by Food to live, the Organic Barley Flour is as pure as it gets. It is a great source of minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, and phosphorous.
From every cup of cooked organic barley flour, you will be getting 15 grams of dietary fiber.
It is a great source of protein for vegetarian diets and can be easily incorporated into different diets.
It is 100% non-GMO and organic, and has a low-glycemic index, making it a great substitute for flours that have a higher glycemic index.
Use the barley flour for your nuttier, more robust baking.
5. Rice Flour
Rice flour is another gluten-free substitute for spelt flour and is completely safe for those who are gluten intolerant or who have severe gluten allergies.
You can purchase rice flour in two different forms – brown or white.
White rice flour is more refined than brown rice flour and therefore is less rich in nutrients. It has a milder flavor and a much lighter texture, which makes it the more favorable rice flour choice when used as an alternative to white flours in baked goods.
Brown rice flour contains bran and does need to be refrigerated to extend its shelf life. It is fairly grainy and works best when used as a spelt substitute for dense breads and energy bars, as it can overpower more delicate flavors and baked goods.
You can use 1/3 cup of rice flour in place of 1 cup of spelt flour.
Recommendation: Pure Organic Ingredients White Rice Flour
This is the highest-quality white rice flour you could hope to use, and it contains no added preservatives or artificial ingredients.
This white rice flour is all-natural, unbleached, and untreated.
Perfect for gluten-free baking, the rice flour is 100% gluten-free and all-natural.
White rice flour is considered to be more refined and treated than its brown counterpart, but this white rice flour is kept as basic as possible, with as little treatment and refinement keeping it as nutritious and original as it can be.
You cannot go wrong with this white rice flour for gluten-free baking!
Spelt Flour Substitute Conversion Chart
In order to use the above substitute flours in place of spelt, you need to be able to know how much to use in place of the spelt. The flours all have a different absorbency and texture, so not all of them will be 1:1 with spelt flour.
|Spelt Flour Substitute||Substitution Ratio Per 1 Cup Spelt Flour|| Amount of Water|
|Einkorn flour||1 cup||Use 1/3 less water|
|Kamut flour||1 cup||Use slightly more water|
|Amaranth flour||¼ cup||Use combined with other flours|
|Barley flour||½ cup||Do not use for delicate flavors|
|Rice flour||1/3 cup||White rice flour is more alike to spelt|
Can you use regular flour in place of spelt flour?
Spelt flour can be substituted one to one with regular wheat flour.
If you are making bread that needs to rise, you might need to use some flour with more gluten to help the spelt flour rise, but using regular wheat flour does not need the addition of other flours to help it rise.
Is pearled spelt the same as pearled barley?
Spelt is very similar to pearled barley but can cost you much more. Pearled barley also takes longer to cook than spelt, and has a slightly different texture, but it can be used in a very similar way.
What does spelt taste like?
Spelt has a sweet, nutty chewiness that tastes a lot like barley, but which does not have the sliminess that barely can often present. Spelt flour is really healthy for you and should be included in many baking recipes, and it offers such a great taste as well.
The only issue is that it does contain gluten, so if you are gluten intolerant, you should look to use another flour such as amaranth flour or rice flour, either white or brown.
The Best Substitutes For Spelt Flour: Conclusion
Spelt flour is not only good for you, but it has a very sweet, nutty taste to it as well. However, if you are wanting to try something different, there are some good substitutes you could use in place of spelt.
The 5 best substitutes for spelt are einkorn flour, Kamut flour, amaranth flour, barley flour, and rice flour. These all have different tastes and qualities, with amaranth and rice flour being completely gluten-free, which suits more sensitive diets.
Spelt flour may be one of your go-to items in your pantry, but that does not mean you cannot try out one of its great substitute flours, or even add a few together to make the perfect bread or pastry!