Einkorn Bread and the Hand Mill

Those of you who habitually grind your own grain bear with me while I write this post. This was my first time!

The einkorn goes in

I had a bag of Einkorn from Germany which has been sitting on the shelf waiting for this moment.  I had read about this fabled grain and nagged my friend Mandy to bring me some next time she went over. She brings me rye and all sorts of lovely baking ingredients and I make bread for her. It’s a good trade!

Brian found a much reduced handmill in the Lakeland sale the other week, so we thought we would try it out.  It doesn’t make what I would call the finest grind of flour, but it was very exciting trying it out.

First milling test

Einkorn is meant to be one of the oldest forms of wheat around. It produces a lovely golden flour with a sweet smell when newly ground.

500 grams worth

I fed my starter with some of the flour. Left it for 8 hours and then fed it some more. I ended up with about 150 grams of starter, it was very happy eating einkorn, no complaints there!

The following day I sieved the remains of the einkorn,  I returned half of the bran to the flour and reserved the rest for lining the banneton with.

I mixed up this dough, with the 150 grams of starter, the rest of the flour (about 300 grams) 8 grams of salt and enough water to make a soft and sticky dough.

A bowl of Einkorn dough

Proved in a warm kitchen for 3 hours, then into a banneton, dressed with einkorn bran,  for another 3 hours, it didn’t rise hugely, I wasn’t expecting miracles,  as I had heard it has lower gluten levels than modern flour. There were lots of little gas holes in the top of the dough and so I thought I would bake it at that point.

I baked it on a stone with steam, giving it all I had.  It didn’t rise hugely, but it didn’t collapse either.

Einkorn boule

I sliced it the following day with some trepidation.  I thought, oh no it’s going to be a brick. Well, it wasn’t. It has a wonderful sourdough flavour with nutty wheat aromas and reminds me of German vollkornbrots more than anything else.    And I was quite proud that I had managed to make it at all.  :)

The Einkorn Crumb

17 thoughts on “Einkorn Bread and the Hand Mill

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      I suspect there are loads of people out there milling away at home, …. but you have to know you want to do it I guess before you spend out on a decent quality home mill as they are quite expensive. I fancy this one the Fidibus 21, which Nils recommended. It’s on my wishlist. Though you could of course attach one to your bicycle and then exercise and grind wheat at the same time. Many videos of ths activity on YouTube! :)

      If you are very allergic to wheat or nuts or something like that it is probably the only way to make sure that what you use is as free as it can be from contaminants….

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      I am sure you did the right thing mixing the grains Ulrike! I thought about doing that, and then decided just to make it with only einkorn out of curiosity. Your bread looks super! :)

  1. C

    I think you should be very impressed with yourself! It hadn’t really even occurred to me to grind my own grain! The crumb looks really good (to my untrained eye at any rate!) and it sounds delicious.

  2. Abby

    Love this post, Joanna! What a great feeling! I’ve been contemplating/dreaming about grinding my own grain for a while . . . the mills just seem so expensive. I keep hoping to stumble on a good used one!

  3. Paul

    Great post and photos. You’re edging me closer to possibly grinding my own. Not sure but the Mother in Law may have a mill she doesn’t use, maybe we can take it off her hands…

    “Old World grains” is interesting. It would be fascinating to see, hands on, what people were making breads with way back before genetic engineering and such advancements.

    Keep at it!

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      Thanks Paul ! I am going to play with some rye grain next and see what I can get from that.

      Have you read Farine’s Meet the Baker blog post on Gerard Rubaud. That’s what made me think about grinding grain, that and having bags of grains I didn’t know quite what to do with apart from boil up for pumpernickel and the like.

  4. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

    Hi C, mostly it was just fun. I kind of knew I should mix the flour with something else, but I just wanted to see what came of one flour all on its own. It was delicious and more digestible than very high gluten bread. Or so I tell myself.

    Abby, I would love a good electric used mill too! I kept looking at my three little bags of grain and thinking how can I possibly justify that cost for these? I know in Germany the wholefood shops have grain grinders and will grind grain for you. Why they can’t do that here I don’t know….

  5. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial

    Fantastic job! It looks wonderful and nutty, and I can just imagine it with a strong hard cheese like a Manchego…

    Our miller friend once told me that flour needs to age before baking for about six weeks to get the best results – maybe you could mill a little and leave it for a while and see if you get more rise? Not sure how much grain you have to play with though, nor really if it applies to grains other than wheat.. :)

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      MIlano salami is pretty good too :) What I have read, and it is always reading with me, is that yes your miller friend is right, flour is better being allowed to oxidise for six weeks, but there is also a school of baking where you bake with freshly ground grain and get great results too, see the comment above referring to Gerard Rubaud, so either fresh or aged for the six weeks, not somewhere in the middle….but having said that, I don’t know enough about it in practice. This is like being a beginner all over again, which is great!

  6. Blue

    Breaking new ground again!
    You are quite an inspiration Joanna – (clap hands smiley :)

  7. steve

    Another breakthrough! That really is intriguing. I love your sense of adventure.

    I have several hand mills; it is a long story, I sort of inherited one, but I have tried neither. One more thing on my bucket list, but it will have to wait until a motor gets attached, as I do remember grinding as a kid and it was really hard work.

    That is a good looking slice! Thanks for the inspiration, J!

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      How much grain did you grind as a kid Steve? I bet it is hard work if you have to do a lot, miles away from hobby baking… I was just pleased to finally have a go at it, and it could be useful for those rye breads with the chops and so on – the little bit I did didn’t take very long at all. I hope to read about your handmills soon :D

  8. heidiannie

    I loved seeing your secondhand foodgrinderand the results!
    I bought one many years ago at a garage sale ( boot sale) for only $1 and have used it in bread baking demos and classes for children over the years.
    I especially like using it with children as they have the most energy and can mill many cups of flour before they quit!
    I liked your idea of sifting the flour to use the rougher portion for the crust in the banneton. Great post! Thanks.

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      I know there are loads of people out there milling, in little and large quantities, and I always wanted to join in. Wish I’d been to your classes as a kid, Heidiannie, they sound great :)

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