Thursday, January 8, 2009

Spelt and Hemp, Hemp and Spelt!

In my quest for better health and food for my family, I have been experimenting with different flours, grains, and milk alternatives. Periodically, I will let you know how the experiments turned out!

First, Hemp milk. I don't drink milk and try to avoid most dairy products. In my early days of vegan cooking I would use Soy milk. Personally, I really don't care for it and the bad after taste it leaves. I then started using Rice milk (which I will continue to use over cereals), but it is very thin and only bakes OK. Luckily, the choices in easily available alternative "milks" has really skyrocketed in the last year. While I enjoy nuts, I try not to go crazy overboard on them (i.e. Almond milk) and would really like to expand my diet. Thus, Hemp milk seems like a great alternative. It is thicker like soy milk and packed with vitamins, protein and healthy essential fatty acids. So far I have made scones and biscuits with it. Both of them turned out very well with no residual after taste. These recipes, though, were written to be vegan and I used the Hemp milk to substitute soy milk - not cow's milk. The color, though, is brown and a little off putting if you are expecting pure "white" milk. Another down side is that it is STILL illegal to grow hemp in the United States. Therefore, it can not be produced locally. Mine is Canadian, purchased at Whole Foods. I will continue to use it as a substitute for soy milk.

I have also been incorporating Spelt into my baking. It is a whole grain with a higher protein value than wheat and is more easily digested. It also has a lot of great B vitamins and fiber. I have been using it in recipes that call for whole wheat. I like its nuttier taste, but it doesn't rise as much as wheat. I made some biscuits with it and they did not get nearly as puffy, but the kids really liked them. I did, too. I also used them for the scones and it was only OK. I am not sure if they have a pastry flour variety of Spelt like they do for whole wheat, but I would imagine that would be a lot better in sweeter foods. I will continue to use it for bread, rolls, and biscuits; but I am not sure about scones, cakes and brownies. I will need to experiment a little bit more with those.

1 comment:

danack said...

Some of our friends brought over a casserole made with spelt crust, and it was divine!! It just seems so much more substantial than wheat. If you happen to live near a Wegmans, they sell spelt crusts that you can just roll out.