Welcome to my blog! This is a place of information and hope for fellow Canadians who are suffering from Lyme disease. I want to share with you the knowledge I have gained during my fight with this debilitating, frightening, and misunderstood illness. I hope you will be blessed.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Spelt - a healthier flour

I'm beginning to wonder why I don't have a food blog, instead of a Lyme blog!  In my search to find healthy recipies for my family and me, I keep coming across some good dishes that I must share.  And you know that somehow I'll manage to tie it into Lyme disease.  Here goes...

My first LLMD insisted on a yeast-free sugar-free diet for her patients.  Eating this way helps to prevent yeast overgrowth which is so prevalent with antibiotic use.  The sugar-free part is to help to stop feeding the Lyme bacteria, which loves sugar.

In some cases, people might even have to go gluten-free to feel OK.  As many of you will know by now, Lyme disease can wreak havoc on the digestive system, so it's important not to introduce foods into the intestines that will aggravate the already-inflamed tissues.

Over the years, I have learned about spelt flour, which is a cousin to wheat flour.  It is apparently more easily digested than regular flour, and has more protein and nutrients.  Therefore, it might be wise to switch to this type of flour for your baking, if you have Lyme disease.  A word of caution:  It still has gluten, so those on a gluten-free diet may need to stay away from spelt, too. 

The gluten in spelt has some different properties than the gluten in regular flour, so a few changes need to be made to your recipe if you choose to substitute spelt for regular flour.  Firstly, use 1/4 less liquid in your recipe.  The spelt gluten cannot absorb as much liquid as regular gluten.  Secondly, don't overwork your dough!  If you do, you may end up with an end product that is too flat, too dense, or hard.  So be careful!  I encourage you to do a little research online about spelt.  There are many bakers out there with much more experience than me in dealing with spelt.  I mainly use it in muffins or quick breads (e.g. banana bread).  I've never tried it in cookies or regular bread.

Tonight I was serving up a homemade soup, and I wanted some "bready" thing to accompany it.  I opened my cookbook called Babycakes, and there was a recipe for spelt biscuits staring me in the face.  By the way, BabyCakes NYC is a bakery in New York City that caters to those who need gluten-free products.  If you MUST eat gluten-free, then you MUST get a hold of this cookbook!  There are recipes for all sorts of breads, cakes, cookies, you name it.  And they look wonderful. 

Now to tell you the truth, I bought the cookbook long ago, when I thought I might need to go gluten-free.  But I never ended up pursuing that, and honestly, I don't really think I have a gluten intolerance.  So this cookbook, beautiful as it is, was just collecting dust on my shelf.  Until tonight.

Now let me reiterate that these biscuits are NOT gluten-free.  Most of the recipes in the book ARE gluten-free, but not the biscuit section.  They are a healthier choice, however, not only because of the spelt flour, but because of the coconut oil used in them.  They taste really rich, even without slathering them with butter.  And I love the salt sprinkled on top to give them a bit of extra flavour.
My batch didn't rise as well as I thought they would, but they were still delicious with the soup.

Spelt Biscuits

2 cups white spelt flour, plus more for dusting
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt, plus more for sprinkling
1/3 cup coconut oil, plus more for brushing
3/4 cup hot water

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Pour the oil and hot water into the dry ingredients and mix with a rubber spatula until fully combined and a dough is formed.  If the batter is dry, add more hot water, 2 tablespoons at a time, until the dough is sticky.
3. Dust the counter with spelt flour.  Place the dough on the prepared surface and drag it through the flour.  Pat the dough gently until it is 1 inch thick.  Using a 3-inch round cookie cutter, cut out biscuits and arrange them on the prepared baking sheet, leaving 1 inch between the biscuits so they can spread.  Brush each with oil and sprinkle with salt.
4. Bake the biscuits on the center rack for 8 minutes, rotating the sheet 180 degrees after 4 minutes.  The finished biscuits will have a golden, flaky crust.
5. Let the biscuits stand on the sheet for 5 minutes before serving.  Cool completely and store in plastic wrap at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Source:  Babycakes, by Erin McKenna

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