Spelt Flour Vs White Flour – What’s The Difference? - Foods Guy (2023)

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We have recently realized that every time we visit the supermarket, there are more and more varieties of flours on the shelf. One flour specifically that we noticed becoming more and more popular is spelt flour.

But we don’t even know what spelt flour is let alone how to use it. It’s so frustrating that there are all these wonderful new products, but it feels like no one is there to explain them.

Do you know what the difference between spelt flour and white flour is? The biggest difference is the type of grain used and the way they are produced, giving each their very unique characteristics. Spelt is also generally more nutritious and can be used for either breads or baked goods, but white flour is better saved for baking.

If you want to know more about these flours, we will discuss the production process, different uses, nutrition, and much more in the rest of this article.

How Flour Is Made

First, to understand the differences between different flours, you need to understand how flour is made.

A grain kernel consists of three primary parts: bran, germ, and endosperm. The bran is the outer skin of the kernel. It contains mostly antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins. The germ contains most of the nutrients of the kernel.

The endosperm is what is used to make flour. It contains a lot of carbohydrates, proteins, and the fewest amounts of vitamins and minerals.

What is Spelt Flour?

Spelt is an ancient grain that dates back to 3000-1700 B.C. There are many debates as to where it originated from, but currently the best bet is that it came from somewhere in Europe or Asia.

Spelt Flour Vs White Flour – What’s The Difference? - Foods Guy (1)
(Video) Spelt Flour vs. Regular Flour

Its availability and popularity declined over the centuries, but due to new food trends and a big focus on environmentally conscious production of produce, it led to an increase in demand.

Spelt grows in a very similar climate and conditions than wheat but is much heartier. Unlike wheat, spelt grains are kept in their hulls through harvesting. The outer layer is eventually removed and the remaining grain is sent to a flour mill.

The grains are tested and graded for quality before being cleaned and separated from other debris. The spelt grains are then put through a process called stone milling, which uses millstones that repeatedly grounds the grain until it eventually becomes flour.

Because the spelt is milled as a whole grain (bran, germ, and endosperm) it doesn’t need to be enriched. It is rarely bleached as its darker color and nutritional value is part of its appeal.

What is White Flour?

Spelt Flour Vs White Flour – What’s The Difference? - Foods Guy (2)

White flour is also known as all-purpose flour or plain flour. It’s the best type of flour to have in the kitchen cupboard due to its versatility.

To start with the process of making white flour, the grains are harvested and then tested and sorted according to certain specifications such as moisture level or the variety.

The grains are then cleaned to remove any debris and stored in silos until they are ready to be used.

To make white flour, the husk and bran are removed from the grain and the remaining endosperm is what is used to make white flour.

The endosperm is milled (crushed) and further refined into a fine-textured flour. The loss of bran and germ is why white flour has virtually no nutrients unless enriched.

(Video) How is Spelt Flour Different From Regular Flour | Is Spelt Flour Healthy | What is Spelt Flour

There are a lot more technical steps to this process, but it’s not necessary to get into that to understand the differences.

Most all-purpose flours are bleached to give it an extremely smooth texture and pure white color. It does however change the taste and nutritional profile of the final product even more.

Flour is bleached by being treated with chemicals such as benzoyl to help speed the aging of the flour.

Aging flour is important as it improves certain aspects of the baking process and quality of the final product. However, bleaching of flour is not allowed everywhere in the world due to the chemicals used.

You do get unbleached versions of this flour, but they aren’t as accessible as bleached flour in some countries. These are naturally aged after the milling process, but it takes much longer. That is why bleaching flour is so popular – to reduce the waiting time.

White flours (bleached and unbleached) are sometimes enriched with vitamins B, iron, and calcium to place the lost nutrients back into the flour.

Best Uses for Spelt and White Flour

As important as it is to understand the basics of making either flour, you also want to know how to use each one. After all, we don’t buy flour just to look at it.

Here are some basic ways to use spelt and white flour.

Uses for Spelt Flour

Spelt flour has a higher protein content than white flour, between 12-15%. This means that they can be used to make breads as they will be able to produce enough gluten.

However, the gluten found in spelt is different from that found in wheat. Spelt has a higher gliadin to glutenin ratio, meaning it will give the dough its stretchiness (gluten structure) but not the elasticity and structure to hold its shape.

(Video) What is Spelt? | Potluck Video

Therefore, when making breads using spelt flour, be careful not to overwork the dough by working it in shorter periods.

Spelt flour still is perfect for making cakes, cookies, or most pastry products, not to mention much healthier than other flours.

Uses for White Flour

We would recommend using white flour for baked or pastry products, not breads or doughs. The reason for this is because white flour has a very low protein content (between 10-12%). The lower the protein content of the flour, the less gluten it will be able to develop.

To make good quality bread, the flour needs to have a higher protein content (around 14-16% like bread flour) to create a proper gluten structure.

You can use plain flour in breads if you substitute half of it with a higher protein flour like whole wheat flour.

However, white flour is still a very versatile flour that has many functions. It can be used to make flaky pastries, biscuits, cakes, and many other delicious baked goods.

When white flour is used in cakes, they are always combined with a rising agent like baking powder. You do get self-raising flour that is a combination of all-purpose flour and raising agents. You can also make self-raising flour at home.

We would recommend using unbleached flour (of any kind) as it has a lot more nutrients and is better for your health.


The most obvious difference is the type of wheat used when producing these flours. Spelt is technically not wheat but resembles it so closely that a lot of people categorize it as one.

White flour is made from whole wheat grains which are mixed to create a specific type of flour with specific characteristics.

(Video) Battle of the Ancient Grains: Spelt vs Einkorn vs Emmer vs Kamut wheat

Spelt flour is much more nutritious than wheat flour because when it is processed, the whole kernel is milled (the bran, germ, and endosperm) meaning the bran and germ contribute their nutrients.

When white flour is made, the bran and endosperm are completely removed from the milling process resulting in a lack of nutrients. White flour is further bleached, removing even more nutrients whereas spelt flour is rarely bleached.

Spelt flour has much more protein than white flour, but neither will make great breads as they either have too little protein or the wrong type of gluten.

Both flours are best used for baked or pastry products due to their lack of gluten.

Pros and Cons of Spelt and White Flour [Charts]

For an easy reference, here are a couple of charts summarizing the pros and cons of using each type of flour:

Spelt Flour
Pros Cons
Spelt flour has a high nutritional value and has a lot of vitamins and minerals due to the production method used. Spelt flour has a high gluten content, but not the correct type so it will not make great breads.
The flour is unbleached so it doesn’t contain any hazardous chemicals. It has a much lower water capacity so recipes will need to be adjusted to use a lot less water. This might alter a few other components of the final product.
It contributes its own unique nutty and slightly sweet flavor to the final product. It will produce a much lower loaf volume.
Spelt flour will create a very soft dough if you are making breads. Bread doughs will not be very elastic and will not be able to hold the gluten structure.
It could be an alternative flour for people who are mildly sensitive to gluten. Not gluten-free so extremely dangerous to people with celiacs disease.
White Flour
A lot cheaper and easily accessible than other specialty flours. Doesn’t contain nutrients unless enriched.
Very versatile flour that can be easily substituted with other flours. Most white flours are bleached using dangerous chemicals.
It comes in many varieties such as bleached, unbleached, organic, or self-raising to name a few. Doesn’t contribute any flavor to final products.

Not gluten-free so extremely dangerous to people with celiacs disease.

Composition and Nutrition of White and Spelt Flour

Spelt flour is one of the more nutritious flours on the market. It has a protein content of 12–15% and a crude fiber content of 10-15%. It also has much more vitamins and minerals than other flours.

Both flours contain gluten therefore it is not safe for people with celiac disease although people with light intolerances might find spelt flour to be a good substitute. If that’s not good enough, however, there are some decent substitutes for spelt flour.

Spelt flour 100gWhite flour 100g
Energy 338kcal364kcal
Protein 14.57g10g
Carbohydrates 70.19g76g
Fiber 10.7g2g
Fat 2.43g1g

And there you have it! We hope this guide has summed up all the differences between spelt flour and white flour for you.

Up Next: Can You Freeze Flour? – The Ultimate Guide


What is the difference between spelt flour and white flour? ›

It normal to wonder what the difference is between spelt and white flour. In terms of taste, spelt flour has much more of a nuttier, tangy flavor due to it being a species of wheat. The wheat also contributes to its texture, making it coarser and denser than many of us are familiar with in white flour.

Is spelt flour interchangeable with white flour? ›

Use it as a direct 1:1 substitute for all-purpose flour in cakes, muffins, and cookies, as well as fruit desserts like crumbles and crisps.

What is the difference between spelt flour and all-purpose? ›

The main difference between spelt flour and regular flour (such as all-purpose flour) is that spelt is an ancient grain that is higher in protein and fiber, and has a nuttier flavor. Additionally, spelt contains gluten, but some people with gluten sensitivities find it easier to digest than regular wheat.

What is the ratio of spelt flour to white flour? ›

Spelt flour is a direct substitute, which means that you can take any recipe that calls for whole wheat or all-purpose flour and substitute spelt flour in a 1 to 1 ratio. Spelt flour tastes best in baked desserts because it has a slightly sweet and nutty flavor.

Can diabetics have spelt flour? ›

Spelt, flaxseed, chia seed

These types of bread have high fiber, healthy fats, and protein. All these are suitable for a healthy diabetes diet.

What is special about spelt flour? ›

Benefits of spelt flour

Spelt has a broader range of nutrients than other members of the wheat family, with higher levels of protein, fibre, manganese, niacin, thiamine, copper and vitamin B2. The high level of fibre in spelt helps reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol levels.

What is the closest flour to spelt flour? ›

Coconut flour, almond meal, and oat bran are all great substitutes that will result in a similar texture and flavor. If you are looking for a more subtle flavor, rice flour can also be used as a substitute.

How does spelt flour affect baking? ›

How to Use Spelt Flour in Baking. Spelt flour is a versatile baking ingredient that is actually quite light and airy, lending a compelling nutty flavor and light sweetness to baked goods. You can use spelt flour in a variety of food including cakes, breads, muffins, scones, and even chocolate chip cookies and waffles.

How do I substitute spelt flour for all-purpose flour? ›

Spelt can be substituted one-for-one for the whole wheat in any recipe and for up to half of the flour in a recipe using entirely all-purpose. Spelt is low in gluten, so it's best to keep some of that regular flour to get the right structure and texture in whatever you're baking.

What is the healthiest flour? ›

Healthiest Flours for Baking
  • Coconut flour. Coconut flour — made by milling dried coconut meat into a powder — is a grain- and gluten-free option. ...
  • Oat flour. Oat flour — made from ground-up rolled oats — is a whole-grain flour that is gluten-free. ...
  • Quinoa flour. ...
  • Buckwheat flour.
Jun 9, 2021

Should spelt flour be refrigerated? ›

Whole-grain flours such as wheat, spelt, and barley spoil much more quickly, with a shelf-life of 3 to 6 months. 5 Keep them in the fridge and check the expiration date before you use them.

Is spelt flour better for your gut? ›

The fiber and other nutrients in spelt and other whole grains can help to improve the health of the good bacteria that live in your digestive system. It may help to reduce inflammation and promote healthy digestion.

Does spelt flour need more baking powder? ›

Spelt flour comes as plain flour therefore you need to make it into Self Raising Flour as required. – Add 2 teaspoons Baking Powder per 150 grams. – Add 1 teaspoons Baking Powder per 75 grams.

Does spelt flour rise? ›

Hello and thank you for writing: Spelt flour rises and bakes differently than wheat. Keeping this in mind, the first rising of just the dough should be the full hour or 'until doubled in bulk'. This is what activates the gluten, yeast, etc.

Does spelt flour take longer to cook? ›

Spelt pasta takes half the time to cook compared with wheat pasta – only 4.5 – 5 min. after the water comes to a boil, half a minute longer for whole grain spelt pasta. If you're not yet used to the taste or texture of whole-grain pastas, try a 50/50 mix of our whole-grain and white pastas.

What is the healthiest flour for diabetics? ›

The 5 Best Flour Options for Diabetes
  • Almond flour.
  • Coconut flour.
  • Chickpea flour.
  • Oat flour.
  • Spelt flour.
  • Flours to use less often.
May 6, 2021

Which flour does not spike blood sugar? ›

According to Macrobiotic Nutritionist and Health Coach Shilpa Arora, "Amaranth, buckwheat and ragi are the best flours to use in case you are a diabetic. Atta from these flours is low in carbohydrate content that makes it effective to maintain blood sugar levels.

Is spelt flour anti inflammatory? ›

Helps Boost Immune System

The vitamins and minerals in spelt flour help to boost the immune system and reduce inflammation.

Why is spelt so expensive? ›

Spelt is more flavorful than bread wheat and easier to digest. However, spelt promises lower yields than bread wheat and requires an additional processing step: hulling. Because of this, and because it is a niche product, spelt flour is more expensive than wheat flour.

Why is spelt flour easier to digest? ›

Yes, but . . . the gluten in spelt has a different molecular make-up than the gluten in modern wheat. It is more fragile and more water soluble, which makes it easier to digest. Spelt is also higher in fiber than wheat, and the extra fiber aids in the digestion of the gluten.

What is another name for spelt flour? ›

Spelt (Triticum spelta), also known as dinkel wheat or hulled wheat, is a species of wheat that has been cultivated since approximately 5000 BC.

What does spelt flour taste like? ›

Spelt flour has a mild flavor that is nutty and slightly sweet. The light texture means your baked goods won't be heavy or dense, making whole wheat spelt flour a welcome addition to all kinds of recipes.

What grain is similar to spelt? ›

An ancient form of the wheat grain, farro is an umbrella term used to cover three different wheat varieties – emmer, einkorn and spelt.

How much baking powder to use with spelt flour? ›

Do you know that by adding baking powder you can make your own spelt self-raising flour? Simply add 2 teaspoons of baking powder to 150g of spelt flour.

How long does spelt flour last? ›

Shelf Life: if stored in sealed containers or if tightly wrapped, spelt flour will keep for several months in a cool, dry cabinet and 6 to 12 months in the freezer.

Why does my spelt bread fall? ›

Bread that Falls or Collapses Can Be Caused By:

Too much liquid – Try decreasing water or milk by one to two tablespoons. Remember to look at your dough after a few minutes of kneading and see if it's a smooth, round ball. If the dough is too dry add liquid a teaspoon at a time until the dough balls up.

Does spelt flour thicken gravy? ›

You can use spelt to thicken sauces just as you would with ordinary flour. However, if you want a smooth sauce, sieve out the larger pieces of bran.

What is the closest thing to all-purpose flour? ›

Either cake flour or pastry flour can be used as a 1:1 substitute for all-purpose flour in most baking recipes.

Does flour go bad? ›

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), expiration dates do not constitute safety. Expired flour can be safe to use if the flour is still good. However, flour does go bad, which you can determine from smell and appearance.

What is the best flour for anti inflammatory diet? ›

Whole wheat: Swapping whole-wheat flour for white in your recipes will increase your nutrient intake and potentially lower inflammation.

What is the best flour for high cholesterol? ›

Use Whole-Wheat Flour

Most recipes call for all-purpose flour, which is more refined. Whole-wheat flour is a little coarser but contains more fiber — an ingredient that is known to lower your LDL cholesterol levels.

What is the easiest flour to digest? ›

02/10​Rice Flour

It is one of the most easily digestible flours. Rice flour is loaded with Fibers, Proteins, Carbohydrates, minerals like Magnesium, Copper, Thiamin etc. Its nutritional component makes it a great source of nutrition.

Is it better to store flour in glass or plastic? ›

Plastic Containers

You can easily store up to 2kg of flour in a 5L plastic container. They are also stackable which ensures they are easy to store in your pantry and use your space effectively. Plastic containers can be better than glass because it eliminates the risk of shattering in the freezer or from being dropped.

Should I soak spelt before cooking? ›

Other grains, such as whole wheat, spelt, or oats, should be soaked overnight due to their high phytate content.

Can you use flour 2 years out of date? ›

No, it is not recommended to use expired flour, as the flour can spoil due to exposure to humidity or oxygen. Flour that has been stored in an airtight container in cool, dry places will last up to 6 months while unopened, store-bought flour can last up to 8-10 months if stored properly.

Can you eat spelt everyday? ›

Regularly consuming spelt or other whole grains promotes health and could help protect against obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.

What are the side effects of spelt? ›

Side Effects of Spelt

Gluten intolerance: Spelt contains gluten, which can cause problems for people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. These individuals may experience digestive issues, such as bloating, gas, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Allergic reactions: Some people may have an allergic reaction to spelt.

Is spelt good for IBS? ›

Spelt products are often recommended by dieticians in the Netherlands to eat on the low FODMAP diet and many fodmappers think that spelt is a safe choice. There are also quite some people with IBS who tolerate spelt well and therefore, it is often named as a low FODMAP option.

Is white spelt healthier than white flour? ›

Spelt flour has a similar nutritional profile to common wheat. It is slightly higher in protein, but also slightly lower in insoluble fiber. Spelt is also higher in some important vitamins.

Is spelt flour better for you than white flour? ›

BENEFITS. Even though it is not 100% gluten-free, the grain is more water-soluble than wheat, therefore the body is able to digest spelt flour better than regular flour. Spelt is also a good source of fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals. Calcium, magnesium, selenium, zinc, iron and manganese.

Does spelt flour taste different? ›

What Does Spelt Taste Like? This ancient grain has a lighter flavor than traditional whole wheat, and is slightly sweeter, with a pleasing nuttiness. While the nuances are mild, it has enough of a taste difference that you may not want to sub it for whole wheat in dishes that relay on the blandness of basic flour.

What is a substitute for spelt flour in baking? ›

Wheat Flour, Einkorn Flour, Almond Flour, Coconut Flour, Oat Bran Flour or Oat Flour, Kamut Flour, Amaranth Flour, Barley Flour, and White Rice Flour or Brown Rice Flour are all suitable spelt substitutes and the list can definitely go on, however, a simple whole-grain flour or a blend of white and whole-grain flour ...

Is spelt flour easier to digest? ›

It is more fragile and more water soluble, which makes it easier to digest. Spelt is also higher in fiber than wheat, and the extra fiber aids in the digestion of the gluten.

Does spelt have gluten in it? ›

No, spelt is not gluten-free. Spelt is a gluten-containing grain closely related to wheat, so it is unsafe for anyone with celiac disease. Spelt (sometimes called hulled wheat or dinkel wheat) is actually a hybrid of two species of wheat. It has a higher gluten content than traditional wheat.

Is spelt flour high in carbs? ›

Like other grains, spelt is high in carbs. It's also an excellent source of dietary fiber, a good source of protein, and contains some vitamins and minerals.


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