Medicinal plants

Spelled - the healthy ancient grain

Spelled is a relative of wheat and one of the oldest known cereals. Modern wheat yields more and is easier to process than spelled, which is why it largely displaced the ancient grain. However, recently spelled has returned: firstly, it is considered healthier than wheat, secondly, it is also suitable for a harsher climate.

Spelled - the most important facts

  • Spelled is a very old crop. The grain was cultivated at least 7500 years ago.
  • Spelled contains a lot of silica, plus proteins, minerals and trace elements.
  • Spelled contains all the important amino acids to synthesize proteins and is therefore particularly suitable for a vegan diet.
  • Spelled contains ATI proteins that are also found in wheat. As an alternative to a wheat intolerance resulting from these substances, the grain is therefore not suitable.
  • Products made from spelled flour dry out faster than comparable products made from wheat and rye flour.
  • Spelled has a more intense taste of its own than wheat, which connoisseurs describe as nutty. This aroma is one of the main reasons why the grain finds friends again.


In general, the ingredients of the spelled are similar to other wheat cereals. However, the silica content is significantly higher, and the gluten components differ just as clearly. Spelled gluten does not contain w-gliadin, unlike wheat. 100 g of spelled contains 10 g of protein and 63 grams of carbohydrates. Vitamins are riboflavin, niacin, B2, B 6, A, C and E. Spelled provides minerals with sodium, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, a high proportion of magnesium and a lower proportion of iron. Spelled trace elements are zinc, copper, manganese and silica.

In addition, the grain contains phytic acid, which makes it difficult to absorb the nutrients. Traditionally, the grain is soaked in water and the water is then poured away. This is how phytase is created, which releases the phytic acid from the minerals.

Spelled's advantages over other cereals

Spelled is currently a star in the "organic scene" and is considered healthier than other types of grain. On the one hand, this is due to its "age": As "ancient grain" it is considered to be particularly powerful - a wolf compared to the Chihuahua. On the other hand, the Christian medical scientist Hildgard von Bingen praised him in the Middle Ages in her work "Physica", and "Hildegardmedizin" enjoys unbroken popularity among esotericists.

What is the benefit of spelled's advantages over other cereals? It is scientifically unclear whether spelled can be processed better than wheat in the case of food intolerance - at least if there is an intolerance to certain proteins. This is because it also contains spelled. Spelled is high in fiber and unsaturated fatty acids, which promotes healthy digestion. Spelled contains significantly more of the amino acids tryptophan and phenylalanine compared to wheat. Spelled is ideal for a vegan diet. It contains the important amino acids that the body needs to synthesize protein.

Spelled as a medicinal plant

The respectable amount of silica promotes body tissue, keeps it elastic and strengthens hair, nails and skin. Silica also increases the ability to concentrate.

Phenylalanine is important for the formation of dopamine, adrenaline and noradrenaline, i.e. the happiness, action and stress hormones. A low level of these hormones can lead to depression. Adrenaline and noradrenaline regulate blood pressure. As with all hormones, however, the following applies here: a supply is only correct if there is a deficiency. Serotonin cheers up the mood and leads to feelings of euphoria such as enthusiasm.

Spelled contains cyanogenic glycosides, which are split and released by saliva. They then act against microbes in the mouth and promote the biochemistry of the immune system in the body.
Spelled is suitable for diabetics, because the fiber extracted from the spelled is processed more slowly than that in wheat.

Incompatible proteins

Cereals from the wheat genus contain gluten and other proteins such as the amylase trypsin inhibitors. Both are considered prime suspects when people suffer from wheat intolerance. Does this also apply to spelled?

Scientists for food systems biology at the Technical University of Munich examined 40 samples of various modern and ancient grain types, a total of eight types of five different types, including wheat, spelled and einkorn.

They published the results in the journal "Agricultural and Food Chemistry". Accordingly, only einkorn contained extremely little of the proteins that inhibit digestion.

The ATI proteins protect the grain from being eaten in nature because it blocks the digestive enzymes of the predators. They also stimulate transmitters that promote inflammation and this can lead to bowel problems, pain in the joints, chronic fatigue and depressed states. They can also trigger allergies to plants from the wheat genus.

In the study, spelled even had a higher level of ATI protein than ordinary wheat, whereas einkorn contained no or only extremely small amounts of these substances. The scientists clearly stated that, according to the current study situation, only one grain can be recommended as an alternative for wheat intolerance - spelled not unspoken. Further studies are still pending.

An old nutrient plant

Spelled is an older crop than wheat and cultivated from Emmer. The Germanic people of the Alemanni in southern Germany, in Swabia and Switzerland, grew the grain. Even today, place names like Dinkelhausen are reminiscent of this early cereal culture. Spelled varieties like "Schwabenkorn" also show this old spread. In the esoterically inspired “natural” diet, spelled is particularly important thanks to the clergyman Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179) who praised him as the healthiest of all cereals and recommended it for various diseases.

The oldest known cultivated areas are in the lowlands of the Ararat Mountains and are approximately 7500 years old. Spelled cultures have been preserved in Sweden since around 2500 B.C.E., and around 1700 B.C.E. in German-speaking Switzerland.

Spelled cultivation fell sharply in modern times. This was mainly due to the fact that wheat produces higher yields and processing the spelled, in which the shell and core have grown together, requires additional work steps. Dinkel has been booming again for some time. This is due on the one hand to the fact that it is considered to be "ancient grain" in organic agriculture, secondly to the followers of "Hildegard medicine" and thirdly to its nutty and spicy taste, which many see as an alternative to "neutral" wheat flour. Today spelled is grown on 50,000 hectares in Germany.

Spelled flour - advantages and disadvantages

Spelled is harder to process than wheat flour. Because spelled contains more gliadin but less glutein, spelled dough becomes more unstable than wheat dough; they are easier to knead, but also easy to knead too soft - they also tear quickly. Baking professionals therefore add a few drops of ascorbic acid to a spelled mixture, which provides the necessary hold.
Spelled biscuits and spelled cakes dry out faster than comparable pastries made from wheat and rye because spelled absorbs less water.

Nevertheless, spelled sticks enough to produce bread and baked goods with the flour. It can also be mixed with other cereals. Other spelled products include semolina, a type of couscous and grain coffee. Spelled grains can also be cooked without grinding and are popular as a soup ingredient or side dish in whole food kitchens.
The big advantage is the aroma. The grain tastes of nuts and has a much more noticeable taste than wheat. In contrast to wheat flour, spelled flour is not only a “foil” for other tastes, but also sets its own accent.

Bake spelled bread

Spelled bread tastes hearty and contains more nutrients than wheat bread. It can either be prepared easily (as a yeast dough) or with doughs that require preparatory work such as a leaven. Sourdough leads to a stronger aroma and tastes fine acidic and complements with the nutty of the spelled. In addition, a spelled bread with sourdough remains moist.

Sesame, pistachios, linseed and walnuts are particularly suitable for spelled bread dough. To give it taste and juice at the same time, carrots, onions, potatoes and pumpkin are suitable. Bread spices that go with spelled are coriander, fennel, cumin, caraway and anise. Spelled bread also goes well with black olives, dry tomatoes / bruschetta, pine trees, and green and red pesto.
Make sure that moist ingredients such as carrots (grated) or onions (grated) extend the baking time as well as the cooking time before. This does not apply to the spices, they have no influence on the time of preparation.

You have to be careful with spelled dough when kneading, otherwise it will become too soft and the desired bread dough looks like a cow patty. A dough on the edge of kneading announces itself with a shine. The dough is ready when it can be pulled thin with your fingertips. In the oven, spelled dough needs a small bowl of water so that the bread crust does not dry out. When the spelled bread is ready, let it cool down before eating, otherwise the crust will tear easily. (Dr. Utz Anhalt)

Author and source information

Video: Einkorn Wheat: Change the Way You Think About Living Gluten-Free (January 2022).