Saturday, May 24, 2008

Spelt and Bluberries Spiff Up Muffins

When Sweetie and I visited Calistoga for our anniversary last month, one of the places we visited was the Bale Grist Mill a little south of town. A strong volunteer group and lots of enthusiasm and some grants have made it possible for this old mill with a 30 foot water wheel to be restored. It's really fun to see the wheel spinning and the water falling as it turns, and to see the mill stones turning and the milled grain spilling into the bags. Makes you appreciated how easy it is to just purchase flour at the store anytime you want it. The State Park docents are very enthused and explain how it all works, also giving a lot of history and milling terms, like 'nose to the grindstone'. The miller keeps his nose close to the grindstone because if the stones get too close together that can damage the grinding surface...and you can tell only by smell that they are getting to close. If you get to the Calistoga - St. Helena area of Napa, make time to visit if you can.

The day we were there they were milling polenta. In the gift shop I was able to purchase some of the polenta and some spelt flour, too. I've been reading about spelt and wanted to try baking with some spelt flour. Wikipedia gives the following information (through"green grain"):

Spelt, an ancient grain, is pretty healthy. It contains about 57.9 percent carbohydrates (excluding 9.2 percent fibre), 17.0 percent protein and 3.0 percent fat, as well as dietary minerals and vitamins.[9] As it contains a moderate amount of gluten, it is suitable for baking. In Germany, the unripe spelt grains are dried and eaten as Grünkern, which literally means "green grain". It predates bread wheat, which may have been hybridized from spelt.

This weekend is chilly and rainy. We invited Grandma L to breakfast and I made some Spelt Blueberry Muffins to go with the scrambled eggs and fruit bowl and coffee. Since spelt doesn't have a lot of gluten, I used all-purpose flour for 3/4 of the flour and used spelt flour for 1/4. I added some lemon zest and lemon juice, an overflowing cup of fresh blueberries and both baking soda and baking powder, plus egg substitute and buttermilk. The muffins are not very sweet because they only have 2 tablespoons of sugar, so they would be great with the addition of some honey or even lemon curd.

The spelt added a nutty flavor and some nice texture.The muffins were a little flatter than usual, but really delish.

Spelt Blueberry Muffins
makes 12 muffins

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup spelt flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
finely grated zest of one lemon
1 egg, beaten or 1/4 cup egg substitute
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
juice of 1/2 lemon, seeds removed
1 cup buttermilk
1 heaping cup fresh blueberries, washed and drained

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a 12 cup muffin pan with baking spray. Set aside.

In a bowl, sift the dry ingredients together. Add the lemon zest and stir to distribute.

In a second bowl, whisk together the egg, butter, lemon juice and buttermilk.

Add the blueberries to the dry ingredients and gently stir to coat with the flour mixture. Add the wet ingredient mixture all at once and stir together with a fork, just until all the dry ingredients have been moistened. Don't overmix.

Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tins, distributing evenly. Bake in preheated oven for 20 - 25 minutes until tops are golden brown.

Eat while still warm. Garnish with butter, honey and/or lemon curd if desired.


  1. Is is just me or are those blueberries gigantic? Haven't made much with spelt but I bet these were tasty.

  2. I'm with Peabody, those do look like super blueberries there. And the muffins look super good too! Wonderful trip to the mill, I really enjoy days like that.

  3. Ohh, we lived right up the hill from there for years. I love that place -- great picnics, etc. near there. And the blueberries look tasty, too!

  4. those might be the best-looking blueberries my eyes have ever seen. oh, how i crave that big burst of blueberry sweetness in my mouth. nice recipe! :)

  5. I have read so much about the good qualities of spelt, Elle, but have never tried it - these are some yummy muffins!

  6. Yum! I'm glad they're restoring the old mill - it's a wonderful place!

  7. I am a spelt convert. I made my first spelt muffins the other day. I love the slightly cakey texture, I shall be experimenting with different spelt flours over the coming weeks.

  8. I have never used spelt flour, but I love the idea of the additional nutrients. They look delicious!

  9. Anonymous1:34 PM

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