Spelt and Kamut

Spelt and Kamut are heirloom wheat varieties that contain gluten. In recent years, they have been promoted as healthy wheat alternatives. Unfortunately, they are not. Today people suffering from memory fog, overweight and digestive issues do better avoiding all grains, even sprouted grains. People who substitute spelt or kamut for common wheat products typically react to these grains as well!

If you’ve a food sensitivity, restoring your intestinal integrity is the way to resolve it. Whereas, if you simply exchange one type of wheat for another, you’re not getting at the root cause; therefore your digestive symptoms typically resurface. To reestablish digestive integrity see my ebook, Clean and Free.x.baguette boywith type (1)

If, however, you can enjoy spelt and/or kamut with no side effects, then you’ll find that both have a rich flavor and excellent nutritional profile. Spelt is a bread wheat in use since Biblical times. Kamut is a comparably old durum wheat and is unusually high in lipids giving it a buttery taste. Both grains are nutritionally superior to common wheat in both protein and trace minerals.

Spelt is highly water soluble, which means the body can easily absorb its nutrients. Hold a few spelt kernels in your mouth and—unlike other wheat varieties—they immediately soften.

In natural food stores you can find both of these heirloom wheats in breakfast cereals, pasta and baked goods, including bread. It’s also available in whole grain form, as you would buy rice or barley.

Kamut is available as a whole grain flour whereas spelt comes both “whole” and white (refined) flour. Kamut flour makes the best pasta and it’s superior in Indian-style flat breads or a traditional Sicilian bread.

Substitute spelt or wheat flour, cup for cup, for all-purpose or bread flour in any bread recipe. However, for spelt make two adjustments: reduce the amount of water by 25% and reduce the mixing or kneading time by one half.

Whereas a Kamut bread requires more kneading and, as its gluten is less elastic, the addition of coarse ingredients (such as nuts, dried fruit or seeds) tends to tear and, therefore, compromise its leavening power.



May you be well nourished,

Rebecca Wood

20 Responses to Spelt and Kamut

  1. […] Spelt and kamut, which I also occasionally use in this salad, are ancient or heirloom grains related to wheat. You can cook and eat the whole berry, which has a nutty flavor and a texture similar to cooked wheat berries. I especially love that you can cook the spelt or kamut and toss it, hot, with whatever vinaigrette you choose to use. That way, the spelt berries themselves soak up some of that awesome flavor. […]

  2. In your article you stated “Kamut is available as a whole grain flour whereas spelt comes both “whole” and white (refined) flour.”
    Kamut now comes in both a white (refined) and whole. I buy all my grain/flour from Montana Flour (Montanaflour.com). We have a local organic buyers group and place orders every two months. I have no relation to the company/farmer other than as a happy customer but I definitely love the organic buyer’s group. What I like most is the farmer who grows the grain also mills it. (Unless I buy the grain and do it myself). I switched to Kamut completely and I’ve tried literally every recipe for Kamut bread I could find on the internet. There are still some kinks I don’t have the baking experience to understand the mechanism but adding a tablespoon of vinegar has really helped my Kamut bread rise. It must relax the gluten and it makes for a softer, lighter loaf. Now that I add the vinegar (and also a tablespoon of vital wheat gluten which I shouldn’t need d/t the higher protein content of Kamut) my bread comes out as light and fluffy as any white bread. Now I’m preparing to take on spelt and also the whole wheat Kamut. I wish I had the technical expertise behind the bread baking but it’s all trial and error with me.

  3. From Weston Price, “Against the Grains”
    Culprit Genes
    Recent genome mapping of modern bread wheat with an eye to its toxic influence in celiac disease has isolated a small chain of peptides on a portion of the gluten protein which is directly responsible for stimulating the reaction in those with the celiac genetic inheritance. The plant genes responsible for contributing these peptides in wheat gluten are located on the third set of chromosomes that the hexaploid variants inherited from their wild parent. It is very interesting to note that neither the diploid nor the tetraploid cereal grains contain this genetic material. That is, cultivated diploid einkorn, and tetraploid,Einkorn, emmer wheat along with certain of the durum pasta wheats as well as durum variants such as Kamut® (a brand name for T. turgidum or T. turanicum) and T. polonicum (Polish wheat) do not contain this genetic material.

    Hence not all gluten is the same for celiacs and those with gluten/wheat sensitivity.

  4. KAMUT® Brand khorasan is an organic, non-genetically modified, ancient wheat variety similar to durum. In 1990, “KAMUT” was registered as a trademark by the Quinn family in order to support organic farming and preserve the ancient khorasan wheat variety. Under the KAMUT® Brand name, khorasan wheat must always be grown organically, never be hybridized or modified, and contain high levels of purity and nutrition. Today, Kamut International owns and has registered the KAMUT® trademark in over 40 countries, and is responsible for protection and marketing of all KAMUT® Brand khorasan wheat throughout the world.

    KAMUT® wheat is grown on dryland certified organic farms primarily in Montana, Alberta, and Saskatchewan. The grain is prized by consumers who appreciate the grain for its high energy nutrition, easy digestibility, nutty/buttery taste, and firm texture. KAMUT® khorasan wheat is higher in protein, selenium, amino acids, and Vitamin E than most modern wheat and contains essential minerals such as magnesium and zinc. It is used as whole grain berries, whole grain flour, white flour, flakes, and puffs to make a variety of products. Some specific benefits of using KAMUT® khorasan are receiving more nutrients, protein, and taste than most commonly consumed whole wheat – plus supporting organic agriculture and helping to preserve an ancient grain.

    KAMUT® khorasan is a variety of wheat thus has gluten content. A lot of people who are not able to tolerate wheat tell us that they are able to tolerate KAMUT® khorasan wheat. KI has ongoing research to understand why – it is our theory that because KAMUT® khorasan is an ancient grain, it retains the qualities that made it desirable so many years ago.

    Please visit the Kamut International website at http://www.kamut.com to learn more. And follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with the latest news!

    My kind regards – Jamie

    PS – It’s Great Falls, Montana!

    Jamie Ryan Lockman | Regional Director – North America
    Kamut International, Ltd.
    P.O. Box 4903 | Missoula, MT 59806 | USA
    406.251.9418 phone | 406.251.9420 fax
    jamie.lockman@kamut.com | http://www.kamut.com

    • The relevant question is: are you sensitive to gluten? If so then no form of wheat bread is suitable for you. To determine gluten sensitivity see my book Clean and Free or consider a Diet Consult and Face Reading.

  5. As soon as I eat spelt – which I love – I regret it. That is a little confusing as I seem to be ok with other flours. Might I have a stand alone sensitivity to spelt?

    • The only way I’d know that, is if we were to do a diet consultation. The only way you can know for sure on your own, is with an elimination diet such as Clean and Free.

    • Better get involved my friend and fight Monsanto; right now they have a zoning application in Grand Falls, MT for a wheat testing site.

    • Yes, starting in the 1950s, many commercial wheat varieties were genetically modified; but not all of the countless thousands of varieties were modified. The problem is that our compromised digestive systems no longer tolerate gluten no matter its source.

  6. Hi. My husband has discovered that if he goes off wheat, he is much less congested (he suffers from seasonal allergies almost all year long). He also has sleep apnea and IBS. He is NOT overweight. I read your article about substituting spelt or kamut for wheat. Which do you recommend in his case? This would be mostly be for baked goods (cakes, challah, etc.)

    Thank you!

    • The great news is that you’ve identified a cause of his “seasonal” yet chronic congestion. Good work. Think of all the people who haven’t yet discerned a dietary connection and are suffering unnecessarily!

      The bad news is probably spelt and kamut will be equally problematic as they both contain gluten. The same is true for sprouted wheat products. You might consider my book Clean and Free as a way to verify if there’s another sensitivity and/or if he can eat spelt. Then, “good-by” to “seasonal” allergies.

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