Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Experimentation with Spelt (aka Late Nights with the Baking Midwife)

Honestly, I've always been a recipe tweaker.  This has mostly been out of necessity, the poor college baking pre-midwife didn't have the right oil (or other ingredient) and she sure didn't want to be going to Publix at that hour.  I had a thing in college about baking at odd hours of the night.  I'd get home from "socializing" at the pub and break out the baking supplies.  I actually pulled an all nighter once to make Gingerbread People - seriously. 

But over the years necessity changed to taste (hey I really prefer dark chocolate to milk) and experimentation.  I've bragged before that I always tweak at least one thing in a recipe.  Now that I'm trying to learn more about the building blocks of a recipe, I'm doing it on purpose. 

* A quick note on the adapted recipes in my blog.  If I post a recipe, I have changed something or multiple things from the recipe I've adapted it from.  If I'm writing about a recipe and I haven't changed anything, I will post a direct link to that recipe (unless it's unavailable).

Friday morning, just off call and getting psyched for some daytime baking, I perused Good to the Grain before hitting the grocery store and the farm stand.  This book is amazing.  I think I want to make everything in it.  I was sold on the Ginger-Peach muffins and picked up a basket of incredible yellow peaches, which I've been devouring ever since.

I've eaten the peaches in the muffins but have also enjoyed them in my cereal, and, my favorite method of eating ripe peaches - hunched over the sink taking large juicy bites.

I also decided to play with a Spelt Yogurt Pie Crust that I'm excited to say I put together on my own and it was functional, delicious, and contained only 1/2 a stick of butter. 

For dinner Friday night, I filled the Spelt Yogurt Pie Crust with a simple quick quiche filling - 5 eggs whisked, large splash of milk, halved garden cherry tomatoes, diced yellow onion, and herbed goat cheese.  Apparently spelt flour cooks a little quicker than all purpose because about 15 minutes in, I started to smell a delicious nutty bread-like smell and realized the crust was already beginning to brown, so I ended up tenting the quiche until about the last 5-10 minutes.

I did end up tweaking the muffins and I think in doing so, they lost some of their stability.  The main thing I did wrong was using 5 Grain cereal (which contains Oats, Rye, Triticale, Barley and Golden Flax) in place of oat flour.  Originally I planned on using whole Oats instead of oat flour, but I didn't have any and apparently had bought this 5 Grain cereal as an Oatmeal substitute.  I used spelt instead of whole wheat flour and yogurt instead of sour cream.  These subs don't seem to have the ability to compromise a recipe as much as the 5 Grain cereal.

Even though the muffins came out delicate - they were still delicious.  There have been several people to blog about these muffins already so look here to find the recipe (The Dirty Oven).

Spelt Yogurt Pie Crust
Makes one 9-10 inch single crust             

2/3 c spelt flour
2/3 c all purpose flour
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 c cold butter, cubed
1/4 c whole milk yogurt (you can use low fat here as well)
1/2-1 Tbsp ice water

Sift together flours and salt.  Add butter and mix in with the tips of your fingertips until the pieces of butter are smaller than a pea.  Make a well in the center of the flour and add the yogurt.  Mix together and dough will begin to come together.  You will need to add a small amount of ice water, since spelt soaks up more moisture than other flours.  Add in 1/2 Tbsp increments until you are able to just work dough into a ball.  Flatten into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour before use.  Can be made up to 24 hours before use.


  1. Mmmmm....Peaches- can you bring some of those with you?

  2. I'm not sure I could get peaches through customs? But I have some ideas...