Bakers and pastry chefs frequently use spelt flour to create baked goods for customers with sensitivity to wheat. A small, rice-shaped grain, spelt contains less gluten than wheat, making it easier to digest by people with gluten allergies. If you are baking a recipe that calls for spelt flour, but don’t have any on hand, you can easily substitute another gluten-free or low-gluten grain flour.
Kamut flour makes a good substitute for both spelt flour and wheat flour in breads and pastries. High in fiber, protein and vitamins, the sweet, buttery-tasting flour is easily digested by many people with gluten sensitivities. When baking breads, knead kamut flour more thoroughly than you would dough made with spelt flour. Because this grain is higher in fiber than spelt, you may need to add a little extra water to the dough to keep your baked items from drying out. Find kamut flour at organic markets and health food stores.
Unlike spelt flour, amaranth flour contains no gluten, making it completely safe for people with severe gluten intolerance. Substitute this high-protein grain for spelt flour in recipes like pancakes, biscuits and flatbreads, though it is not suitable for breads that require gluten to rise. Amaranth has a blander taste than spelt or wheat flour, so compensate with other ingredients to make your recipe flavorful. Amaranth also works well when combined with other flours like spelt, wheat and corn flour. Purchase amaranth flour online or at most health food stores.
Like spelt flour, barley contains a small amount of gluten, making it an excellent choice for leavened baked goods. High in protein and low in fat, nutrient-rich barley has a nutty taste that lends an extra dimension of flavor to many recipes. Use barley flour in hearty recipes that include nuts, seeds and dried fruits. The flour’s strong flavor may overpower more delicate dessert flavors, so avoid using it for light cakes, cookies and chocolate-based desserts. Barley flour is available at health food stores and many regular supermarkets.
Rice flour is another alternative to spelt flour that is completely safe for those with severe gluten allergies. Purchase rice flour in two varieties — brown rice and white rice. While white rice flour is more refined and less nutrient dense than its brown counterpart, it has a milder flavor and lighter texture, making it a better alternative to white flour in many baked goods. Brown rice flour contains bran and should be refrigerated to increase its shelf life. It has a grainy texture and taste that works well for dense quick breads and energy bars, but can overpower delicate dessert items.
References and ResourcesThe Cook's Thesaurus: Non-Wheat Flours
Versagrain: Kamut Flour
Versagrain: Amaranth Flour
Celiac.com: Gluten-Free Flour Alternatives by Karen Robertson