Today, we tried a regular challah and a spelt challah. The more I read about spelt, the more I'm fascinated by it. It's actually mentioned in the Bible (Exodus 9:30, Isaiah 28:25, and Ezekiel 4:9) and is a very, very ancient grain.
That said, boy I found it really hard to work with! I had read online that since spelt lacks the elasticity of wheat flour (something about the proteins breaking down... I think...?), not to knead it very much and to cut down the water used. I did both of these things, but my dough was almost polenta and certainly not elastic or stretchy at all. SUPER DENSE. Here's what I did.
1/2 c water
2 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 tbsp honey
1/4 c vegetable oil
3 c flour
1 1/4 tsp salt
Proof yeast in hot water with honey. Add oil and eggs. Mix in spelt with spatula and knead by hand, adding more spelt if super sticky. I basically just kneaded until combined and then gave it a few good turns. While I usually use my Kitchen Aid, most of what I read said not to, so I kneaded everything by hand.
Let rise LESS TIME than you would regular dough. I let it rise about two hours, until it had gotten larger, but not really doubled yet. This is where mine got weird. While I trust not to let it rise very much, my dough had no elasticity. Braid in your desired style. Let rise an additional 30 minutes. Bake 30-35 minutes (it was longer than wheat dough) at 350.
The verdict. We like it. I made a couple rolls so that we could sample it before Shabbat (shhh...). It's definitely a little flakier that regular dough, but we really don't like all whole wheat challah. I think this would be a good substitute. So, I give it an A-. Weird to work with, but it's got a lovely nutty flavor.