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Here you will find all the latest news from Craggs & Co along with some interesting snippets from the farming, wheat and food industries.

The science of spelt

The science of spelt

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Here at Craggs & Co we are extremely passionate about what we do, we loyally grow and harvest our crops year in, year out.  We carefully monitor our wheat from drilling to harvest, take huge pride in maintaining our farmland and machinery, we nurture the nature on our land and our dedicated team work tirelessly in sun, hail, wind, rain and snow to ensure everything runs like clockwork.  We love nothing more than sharing our passion for wheat, in particular spelt, with anyone who will listen!  So, when we had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Jibin He there was an instant connection over a shared passion for wheat!

Farmer meets Scientist

Jibin is a Senior Lecturer of Food Science and Technology in the School of Science and Engineering at Teesside University. He has carried out numerous studies on wheat including his PhD research into the distribution of chemical composition within wheat grains.  Although we have very different qualifications and backgrounds (Us being Farmers and Jibin being a Scientist / Statistician) we very much share an obsession for wheat.

We are delighted to be working in conjunction with Jibin and the University of Teesside with on-going research into our British spelt wheat, grain and flour.  The first of many investigations which have been undertaken is research into the protein content and digestibility of Craggs & Co white and wholegrain spelt flour in comparison to common wheat flour.

Protein content of spelt flour in comparison to common wheat flour

It won’t surprise you to hear that our white and wholegrain spelt flour is higher in protein than white and wholegrain common wheat flour.  The high protein and fibre content is one of the reasons why spelt is increasing in popularity and why it is making an appearance in many bakeries and supermarket products.  However, what is interesting to see from the research is that both the white and wholegrain Craggs & Co spelt flour has virtually the same amount of protein per 100g (16.5 for white spelt flour and 16.7 for wholegrain spelt flour) unlike common wheat flour which had a staggering 4g difference between wholegrain and white (with white having as little as 12.7g of protein per 100g)

What does this mean?

Generally, the protein content of white flour would be expected to be lower than wholegrain flour as a significant amount of protein is stored in the bran and aleurone layer of wheat which would be lost in the milling process of white flour.  However, our data shows a very similar protein content between our white spelt flour and wholegrain spelt flour.

Why is this good?

Customers are increasingly appreciating the health benefits associated with products that are naturally high in protein, fibre and vitaminsWhite flour is often seen as much more versatile than wholegrain flour so it’s great to know that by simply using white spelt flour instead of traditional white flour you can instantly increase your protein consumption by 30% per 100g. Also, higher protein flours tend to produce better quality baked goods.

How much of that protein is actually digested?

For a person to benefit from of a high protein diet the protein needs to be digested / absorbed into the system.  Which may sound obvious, but actually not all of what we eat is fully digested into the system, some simply passes through without all of its nutrients digested.  The composition of some foods are better than others for nutrient digestion.  As you can see in the graph / image a larger amount of the protein in both the white and wholegrain spelt flour is digested.

 What does this prove?

In summary, our first investigations proved the following:

  • Both white & wholegrain spelt flour has more protein than white and wholegrain common wheat flour
  • Your body will also absorb more protein from spelt flour
  • Both white and wholegrain spelt flour have a similar protein content

Are the results applicable to all spelt flour?

Obviously, the flour is only as good as the grain that is used to produced it.  This research was carried out on Craggs & Co spelt flour 2017 / 2018.The composition of any grain is affected by the environment and agronomy, although we can’t predict the weather we can (and do) expertly manage the agronomy to maintain consistent spelt grain.

Future investigations

Other than protein, there are also many other interesting aspects of spelt that require more research, including:

  • How does the protein transfer into the baked products?
  • Starch content and properties
  • Dietary fibre
  • Minerals and bioactive compounds.

We are also keen to investigate the potential spatial distribution differences between Craggs & Co spelt and common wheat.There has been limited research into this and it would enable us to scientifically explain why the protein content of our spelt flour is virtually identical for both white and wholegrain. Watch this space for our next research results.

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