Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Einkorn Bread

I've been experimenting with Einkorn flour for a little over a week now. Einkorn wheat is also known as the first wheat, more ancient than faro or spelt. It has 14 chromosomes to modern wheat's 42 chromosomes and may be better tolerated by those with wheat and gluten sensitivities.

I'm using my family as guinea pigs: my youngest was diagnosed (by an allopathic medical doctor) with celiac disease at age 6, however, that diagnosis was based on symptoms, challenges, and the absence of symptoms when on an elimination diet rather than on a biopsy or even genetic markers. I've always wondered if he truly has celiac disease, but keeping him away from gluten reversed the damage and has kept him healthy. Also, I was allergy tested and the test, followed by elimination and challenge, indicated an IgE-mediated allergy to wheat and several other gluten containing grains. When Papa did a gluten elimination his sinus issues decreased significantly. We came to see gluten as a food enemy as it didn't seem to be doing any of us any good.

(I wouldn't test Einkorn if we had a true celiac diagnosis confirmed by biopsy, and none of the companies producing and selling Einkorn wheat recommend using it if a person has celiac disease.)

So why try Einkorn?  I've read that it is different and I am curious to see if we can use it in our diets. J-Baby and I didn't have immediate reactions to Einkorn, but that could indicate gut healing rather than a lack of sensitivity, so we are on the the second stage of our experiment, which is using Einkorn for six months (of course we'll stop earlier if there are obvious reactions).

Ideally, I will move on to making sourdough so that we benefit from fermenting our dough (which reduces phytate), but I haven't started that yet.  Last week I worked with the high-moisture content artisan bread dough recipe with so-so results and also made two different overnight soak batter/dough recipes (those turned out great). Today I decided to try using Einkorn flour in a regular bread recipe, one that doesn't try to conform to traditional practice but one that also is basic in its composition, containing fresh milk, butter, salt, sugar, water, yeast, and flour. It's the kind of bread my grandmother, or more likely, my great-grandmother, would have made on a regular basis.  I followed the recipe for white bread in my KitchenAid mixer recipe book since the Einkorn flour I purchase is made with an 80% extraction flour which has most of its bran and germ removed.

I haven't found Einkorn to work all that well in the artisan bread recipe; in forming boules it spreads rather than rises and while baking it in loaf pans contains the spreading it doesn't rise very much nor does it get the oven spring that the artisan dough made with wheat flour gets. The bread is still good, just rather dense.

This is the rise I got using the very basic recipe I outlined above. This kind of dough doesn't rely on oven spring so you want an excellent rise to add lightness to your bread. My first rise took a little less than an hour to double (it is summer and the kitchen is probably at 76°) and the second rise took about 30 minutes.

These are the baked loaves. The crust browned beautifully; I love my Pyrex loaf pans because I can see what is happening with the entire loaf as it bakes.

And wow, what a delicious bread it is! The entire family remarked on how much lighter it is and how it is more like bakery bread. T-Guy mentioned how it is going to make better sandwiches than the artisan loaves and I know it will make better toast.

So those is one of those places where I will sometimes deviate from traditional foods dogma and simply choose real food. I'll likely tweak the recipe to use honey instead of sugar, or I'll use Rapadura whole sugar, but loaves like these are worth forgoing the sourdough process. Not that I don't love sourdough, because I do and I am looking forward to eating it again. But I can make two loaves of this bread in a morning without having to prep anything ahead of time, and the results are outstanding.


  1. I don't have the Kitchenaid book, can you post the recipe?


  2. Oh gosh, I didn't get notification of this comment! I'll post the recipe a little later.