I’ve baked with whole wheat flour for several years now. I certainly haven’t given up white flour, but I often replace up to half of the white flour with whole wheat in a recipe that I’m comfortable with. In some recipes you can get away with using all whole wheat flour (brownies!), and some recipes are designed to showcase the nutty flavor of whole wheat (remember these chocolate chip cookies?). I’ve been meaning to try baking with some other whole grain flours, but that meant planning ahead and making a special trip to Whole Foods or Bulkfresh Pantry.
After months of flipping longingly through the pages of Good to the Grain and La Tartine Gourmande, both of which are full of recipes with unusual flours, I finally spent a couple of hours stocking up on a variety of whole grain flours. I bought about two pounds each of barley, rye, spelt, millet and buckwheat flours. While I was at it, I bought oatmeal, and raw sunflower and pumpkin seeds, too. I also contemplated quinoa and amaranth flours, but balked at the price. I had plenty to experiment with, so I stopped there.
At home, I labeled each bag of flour and dropped it into a zippered freezer bag. They all pack nicely into the freezer where they’ll stay fresh until I’ve worked my way through some more recipes. I can’t wait to try these Rye Crumble Bars, and Sunday morning might be the perfect time for some Five-Grain Cream Waffles.
But my first attempt was the currant scone recipe with spelt flour from Good to the Grain. It was already late in the evening and I wanted something for an easy breakfast the next morning. I made two small changes: using raisins instead of currants, and making 14 smaller scones instead of 9 large ones. And if I haven’t confessed this before, I’ll tell you now: I almost never sift. Unless it’s a wedding cake or there’s cocoa powder (that stuff really clumps) in the recipe, I just dump the dry ingredients in the bowl and whisk them together well.
The scones were lovely, and we each had two for breakfast and finished them off the next morning. They were incredibly tender, but with a slightly crunchy golden crust. The spelt flour has its own subtle sweetness, so there’s only a little bit of sugar in the mix, just waiting for a bit of butter and your favorite jam.
Spelt and Raisin Scones
adapted from Good to the Grain
1 1/4 cups spelt flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 T. sugar
1 T. baking powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
2 ounces cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
1/2 cup raisins
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a large baking sheet. Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add the butter chunks and rub the butter into the flour with your fingers until the mixture resembles cornmeal. Stir in the raisins. Pour in the cream and stir just until the dough sticks together and all the flour is incorporated.
Using an ice-cream scoop or two spoons, scoop out 12-15 mounds of dough onto the baking sheet, leaving a couple inches between the scones. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the scones are golden brown. If you bake them the night before, just pop them back into a 300 degree oven until they are warm.