Spelt and Flax Seed Bread Rolls – Lower FODMAP & Vegan

Spelt and Flax Seed Bread Rolls

About 6 months ago, I accidentally bought 25 lbs of spelt flour instead of 5 lbs. Whoops. The moral of this story? Always check your orders before submitting them.

Anyway, it’s been 6 months and I am being generous if I say I’ve used half of it. I don’t want it to go bad – not that flour usually goes off within 6 months, it’s just a lot of flour to lose if it does – so lately I’ve been baking and freezing. Spelt flour works well in my banana cake recipe (just omit the xanthan gum), I’m working on a sourdough starter made of spelt (and rye but Ev isn’t a huge fan of rye) and then there’s these little rolls.

These rolls are soft, flavourful and can be used as a lunch roll, or as a dinner roll when you’re having a party, with some good extra virgin olive oil and Balsamic vinegar. May I also suggest that they go really well with soups like this roasted pumpkin and tomato soup.

Notes:

  1. Spelt (Triticum aestivum subsp. spelta) is an ancient form of wheat that has not been tinkered with and contains gluten that is said to be more readily digestible (due to it being more water-soluble than that in modern day wheat), so is potentially better tolerated by many who react to normal wheat. More information here.
  2. Like rye, spelt flour is generally better tolerated than wheat flour among fructose malabsorbers. Also like rye, spelt does still contain fructans and is not tolerated by everyone on a low FODMAP diet. For this reason, I would recommend not overdoing it until you know your spelt limits.
  3. Spelt is NOT gluten free. The gluten it contains is different than that in wheat. If you have coeliac disease or non-coeliac gluten sensitivity then spelt is not safe for you, regardless of the different fructans. There is some evidence that completely fermenting wheat will degrade gluten such that it is safe for gluten sensitive people, however not enough research has been done yet to say so definitively.

Spelt Dinner Rolls

Makes 8.

  • 250 g + 1 tbsp. white spelt flour
  • 155 ml filtered water, chilled
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. activated yeast
  • 2 tbsp. mixed seeds – optional, I chose flax and sunflower seeds

Add all the ingredients into a mixing bowl (except for the 1 tbsp. spelt flour) and thoroughly combine. I use my stand mixer with the dough hook attachment and knead for 5 minutes on a medium speed, let the dough rest for 10 minutes and then knead it for a further 10 minutes on a low to medium speed.

Next, lightly dust your bench with the 1 tbsp. spelt flour and knead the dough (with your hands this time) for 2-3 minutes. Roll it out into a log and then divide into 8 even chunks. Arrange them on an oiled baking tray (I use a 9 inch cake pan or pie dish) and then place into a cold oven with a dish of boiled water – this will help the rising process. Leave the rolls in the oven for an hour, until they have doubled in size.

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Remove the rolls from the oven and let them sit on the bench while the oven pre-heats to 230 C/450 F, then place them in the oven on the bottom shelf (leaving the water dish in their to help keep them moist) and bake for 15 minutes, until they have turned a light golden brown and sound hollow when tapped.

Let them cool for 30 minutes before serving, or cool completely for 2 hours until you store them in an airtight container in the pantry.

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Oregano, Olive Oil and Sea Salt Spelt Focaccia – FODMAP & Fructose Friendly for Some, NOT Gluten Free

Oregano, Olive Oil and Sea Salt Spelt Focaccia - FODMAPs and Fructose Friendly for Some

Who doesn’t love a focaccia?

When I first started my science degree (pre-FM diagnosis), my Mum informed me that I needed to learn to take care of myself and that part of that was to make my own lunches from now on. Say WHAT?! I had to be an adult? Initially, my dad took pity on me and made some awesome sandwiches with Mama’s (his mum) homemade bread; I think that making a “school lunch” was such a novelty for him that he even had fun. Well, it turns out that Mama’s little bread maker couldn’t keep up with the increased demand – more like the doubled fruit in the fruit loaf that she also made for Dad – and it carked it not long after. Nice work, Dad!

What was I going to do? I’d gone from Wonder White bread to fresh, thick cut deliciousness and I didn’t want to go back. I hit on focaccia bread as a good solution and went from there… for about 4 more months until my FM diagnosis meant no more wheat for me. It was a good run while it lasted.

I haven’t had focaccia since then (2006)… until now. It took a few attempts but I’ve finally perfected a spelt focaccia loaf. All is right with the world.

This focaccia has a light oregano flavour, combined with a crispiness from the olive oil and a delicate sea salt finish. Evgeny and I might have finished one in a day. Whoops.

Notes:

  1. Spelt (Triticum aestivum subsp. spelta) is an ancient form of wheat that hasn’t been tinkered with and contains gluten that is said to be more readily digestible (due to it being more water-soluble than that in modern day wheat), so is potentially better tolerated by many who react to normal wheat. More information here.
  2. Like rye, spelt flour is generally better tolerated than wheat flour among fructose malabsorbers. Also like rye, spelt does still contain fructans and is not tolerated by everyone on a low FODMAP diet. For this reason, I would recommend trialling a small piece before you go all out and scoff the loaf.
  3. Spelt is NOT gluten free. The gluten it contains is different than that in wheat. If you have coeliac disease or non-coeliac gluten sensitivity then spelt is not safe for you, regardless of the different fructans. There is some evidence that completely fermenting wheat will degrade gluten such that it is safe for gluten sensitive people, however not enough research has been done yet to say so definitively.

Oregano, Olive Oil and Sea Salt Spelt Focaccia

Makes one 12 inch/30 cm focaccia.

  • 250 g spelt flour
  • 125 ml/g filtered water
  • 50 g + 1 tbsp. olive oil – and more for oiling the pan
  • 1 tbsp. dried oregano
  • 2 tsp. activated yeast
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1-2 tsp. sea salt

Place your mixing bowl on a set of scales and weigh in the spelt flour, water and olive oil. Add in the rest of the ingredients (except for the sea salt) and, using the dough hook, knead on a low speed for 2 minutes until everything has combined. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and let it sit for 10 minutes.

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Now, knead on a medium speed for a further 7-10 minutes before the dough is left to rise. Alton Brown has a really nifty trick – he boils water and pours it into a baking dish placed on the bottom rack of the oven. Put your mixing bowl with dough in the oven and close the door, leaving the oven OFF. The warmth and humidity will help the dough rise; this normally takes 1-2 hours, just keep an eye on it.

If you want to start this the night before, cover it with a slightly damp tea towel and leave it in the fridge overnight before continuing on the next day. If you do this, the dough should double in size overnight but if it hasn’t, just leave it in a warm spot (or use AB’s oven trick) until it has doubled from its original size.

Pre rise

Pre rise

Post rise

Post rise

Once the dough has doubled in size, knead it gently on a lightly floured bench for a couple of minutes and then dump it into a well oiled cast iron pan (or your pan of choice). Press the dough softly to gradually spread out over the base of the pan – it should end up approx. 3 cm thick and it doesn’t have to reach the very edges of the pan. Let the pan sit in a warm (neither hot nor cold) location for about an hour and let it rise some more but it won’t rise much.

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Pre-heat your oven to 230 C/450 F – this is important, bread must go into a piping hot oven to help a crust form. Meanwhile, if you like your focaccia to have the dimples in it, just press your fingers in and make evenly spread holes. I like mine to remain a little fluffier, so I don’t do this. Finally, sprinkle the sea salt over the top of the unbaked focaccia.

Bake for 30 minutes. The focaccia should be a light golden brown colour and it will smell amazing. One important thing to remember is that there will be residual cooking after you remove it from the oven, so if it looks completely done just out of the oven, it will be over done by the time it’s cooled.

Enjoy fresh as is, pair it with a hearty soup, or use it as a sandwich bread once cooled.

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Spelt Shortbread Pastry – FODMAP & Fructose Friendly

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After discovering that I could tolerate spelt pasta, I looked into buying the flour to use in recipes in place of gluten free flours, for both price and performance reasons – although I have figured out my own gluten free flour blend, because I don’t want to push myself too much with spelt and rye flour in case I go too far. At approximately $3/lb the white spelt flour (Vita Spelt) from Amazon is much cheaper than pre-made gluten free flours, although the average of the flours that I bought to try out my own gluten free flour blend was about $2.50/lb, much better than King Arthur gluten free flour’s price of $7/lb!

After researching online, it appears that spelt tends to perform the same as wheat in most circumstances (breads might be a little tricky as spelt has different gluten than modern wheat) but a shortbread pastry shouldn’t pose a problem so I fructose friendlied up a shortbread pastry recipe from my Beechworth Bakery cookbook, Secrets of the Beechworth Bakery. My book is about ten years old, so I’m not sure what recipes are in the current edition. But if you can have spelt or are proficient at making normal recipes gluten free, I highly recommend it. If nothing else, it is an enjoyable read as the recipes are mixed up with some humorous stories.

Notes:

  1. Spelt is an ancient form of wheat, called Triticum aestivum subsp. spelta. It contains gluten, although the ratio of gliadin:glutenin is higher than that in normal wheat. It behaves in much the same way as modern wheat does in baking.
  2. Spelt contains gluten, so it is not suitable for those with coeliacs disease.
  3. Spelt does contain fructans, although less than modern wheat. It isn’t tolerated by every fructose malabsorber but there are quite a few out there, myself included luckily, who can eat it without issue in varying amounts. Unfortunately it is something you will have to test for yourself.
  4. I increased the ratio of rice flour to spelt in this recipe to lower the fructan content even more.
  5. If you can’t find white spelt flour, just buy whole spelt flour and sift out the whole grain bits.

Shortbread Pastry

Makes 80 mini tart shells that are approx. 4-5 cm in diameter.

  • 1 cup dextrose or 3/4 cup castor sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups/300 g softened unsalted butter/coconut butter
  • 3/4 cup white spelt flour
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup spelt flour
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Sieve the sugar, 3/4 cup spelt flour and 1/2 cup rice flour into the bowl of your stand mixer and add in the butter, then beat on a low to medium speed until smooth.

Meanwhile, sieve the second cup each of spelt and rice flour, the xanthan gum, baking powder and salt into a separate bowl.

When the wet mixture is smooth, scrape down the edges and add in the egg. Beat on medium until it is smooth once more, before adding in the rest of the dry ingredients and mixing thoroughly for 5 minutes.

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Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour before rolling it out for use.

Preheat your oven to 190 C/375 F. Roll out the pastry dough; the thickness that you roll it out to will be determined by the diameter of your pie dish. For these mini tarts I kept it at about 3 mm thick but for a bigger tart I would probably go up to 5 mm thick. Grease your tart dish of choice and then carefully lay the pastry down.

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Blind bake the pastry (with baking paper and pie weights/uncooked rice). These small tart shells were perfect after 9 minutes in the oven but a larger tart shell might need a minute or two longer. As this is a biscuit pastry, you don’t want the shells to be completely firm when they come out of the oven or they will be like rocks when they have cooled. If they are slightly soft to the touch then they will cool down to be deliciously crumbly.

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Fill your tart shells with some delicious fillings. The photo below includes my fruit and custard, chocolate hazelnut and passion fruit blueberry fillings. The passion fruit filling is my personal favourite.

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