4 Ancient Grain Types Making a Comeback in Modern Baking

NNicholas September 26, 2023 4:32 PM

There's an exciting resurgence in the world of baking. Ancient grains, celebrated for centuries for their rich flavors and impressive health benefits, are making a comeback. Our modern baking practices are increasingly embracing these grains, and for good reason. They bring diversity in taste and texture, and they're often more nutritious than modern wheat. In this article, we'll explore four ancient grains that are gaining popularity in modern baking: spelt, kamut, teff, and amaranth.


First on our list is Spelt. This grain, known for its sweet and nutty flavor, originated in ancient Iran around 5000 to 6000 BC. Spelt offers a range of health benefits, such as improving digestion and boosting the immune system. It's also high in fiber and several essential nutrients, including magnesium, copper, and zinc.

When it comes to baking, spelt flour is an easy substitute for regular wheat flour. It's excellent in bread, cookies, and pastries, lending a delightful chewiness and a robust flavor. Just remember to adjust the liquid in your recipe, as spelt tends to absorb more water.


Next, we have Kamut, an ancient Egyptian grain known for its rich, buttery flavor. Like spelt, it's a great source of nutrients including protein, fiber, and various minerals. It's also low in fat, making it a healthy choice for those watching their caloric intake.

In baking, kamut flour is perfect for rustic breads and hearty pastries. It offers a lovely golden color and a wonderful texture to your baked goods, making them not just tasty but visually appealing as well.


Originating from Ethiopia, Teff grain has been a staple in Ethiopian cuisine for thousands of years. It's a tiny grain packed with nutrients, including calcium, iron, and protein. Teff is also naturally gluten-free, making it a fantastic option for those with gluten intolerances.

When used in baking, Teff gives a pleasant, slightly sweet, and earthy flavor. It's frequently used in traditional Ethiopian injera, a type of flatbread, but it's also great in cakes, cookies, and even pie crusts.


Finally, we have Amaranth, a grain revered by the ancient Aztecs for its nutritional power. It's full of essential nutrients including protein, fiber, magnesium, iron, and phosphorus. Also, it's gluten-free, making it another great option for those on a gluten-free diet.

Amaranth flour can add a unique, slightly nutty flavor to your baked goods. It works well in a variety of recipes, from pancakes and biscuits to bread and muffins.

Here's an overview of these four ancient grains:

Grain Origin Nutritional Benefits Baking Uses
Spelt Ancient Iran High in fiber and essential nutrients Bread, cookies, pastries
Kamut Ancient Egypt Rich in protein, fiber, and minerals, low in fat Rustic breads, hearty pastries
Teff Ethiopia Packed with calcium, iron, and protein, naturally gluten-free Injera, cakes, cookies, pie crusts
Amaranth Aztec Empire Full of essential nutrients, gluten-free Pancakes, biscuits, bread, muffins

Incorporating these ancient grains into your baking not only introduces new flavors and textures but also boosts the nutritional value of your baked goods. So why not give them a try? Your breads, pastries, and cookies will not only taste better but will be healthier too.

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