Oh ho a bread post!
Einkorn is one of the older forms of wheat that is cultivated in a domestic form to this day.
Once upon a time I hand ground some einkorn grain that my friend Mandy brought me from Germany and made a loaf with it and wrote a little post about it. That long ago loaf looked like this
In French this grain is called petit épautre and in English einkorn or little spelt, and in Italian piccolo farro or so Wikipedia tells us. Wikipedia also claims it is not good for making bread but I am currently making a 50/50 regular wheat/einkorn sourdough which rises well enough for me! It is more expensive to buy than ordinary bread flour, no doubt because the threshing is more difficult and the yields are lower and it is probably not grown in huge quantities for bread making purposes. From a value point of view it is quite a good idea to mix it with some less expensive bread flour and also you will then get a bit of lift from the gluten in the more modern flour. In the UK the easiest place to get hold of einkorn is from a store that stocks Dove Flours or online.
Whatever your reasons for using alternative flours, taste and texture figure strongly in my choices.
I like the softer crumb that using these older flours gives in the sourdough without having to go down the souped up high hydration porridge route of bread making which seems popular these days. I am lazy and like to work with a hydration of not much more than 68-70%. I have in the past risen to the challenge of making liquid doughs into bread, but I much prefer to be able to shape the dough easily and quickly and into a banneton and leave to rise and then bake it off without having to chill it first to get it to hold shape long enough to get it in the oven, or heat large heavy metal pots to dump it in, so the sides contain it and help it to rise, all things done successfully by younger and fitter bakers than me for the most part in their quest for soft squeezable sourdough crumbs.
I like the homogeneity of the flour too. There are no big particles or flakes of bran in the flour to cut through the gluten in the dough and I don’t miss the dusty taste of bran in the bread, some people love it, some not so much. A lot of the wholegrain flour that is offered for sale here is full of large particles of bran and often I sift wholemeal flour to remove the larger bits and then try and whizz them smaller, it doesn’t work very well. I think it is the English style, dating back to that whole thing about bran being roughage and oh so good for you. I think soluble fibre is far easier on the gut and foods like butternut squash are a good source of this and other vegetable fibres rather than high bran breads which have the reverse effect on me to that which they are reputed to have! I wish they would mill and sift the wholemeal flours more finely but that is a personal thing I guess.
But as I have always said, we eat the bread we like and if we can’t buy the bread we like then we need to figure out how to make something that pleases us and our tums and those who we feed too and if we can’t make it, then find a baker who makes something you like and worry not. I don’t know how it is where you live but cities like Bristol where I live have a growing and lively food culture and there are far more artisan bakers than there were ten years ago. I celebrate them all and buy a loaf or a savoury treat when I am nearby.
Unfortunately I can’t embed the interactive BreadStorm formula onto this sort of a blog as it is hosted by WordPress. But you can find the interactive formula by going to this link on the BreadStorm server where I have uploaded it. And you can find out more about BreadStorm here. It suits me very well as i am a Mac user.
Here are two snapshots (pdfs) of the formula, one giving the bakers’ percentages, the other the weights that I use most often
Old school style here is the formula for you too
50g of active starter
200g bread flour
When fully fermented (see notes) use the levain together with
437 – 480 g water
310g bread flour
494g einkorn flour
to make the final dough
These quantities give you approximately 3 lbs of dough or 1.75 kg in metric.
Finally my rather stripped down notes to self based as is often the case on the work of Jeffrey Hamelman in Bread. The formula is also based on his sourdough and proportions. If you like a really strong sour then this is not one for you and you will need to use the proportions of starter to new flour that give you the higher levels of acidity that you desire.
If you want more help with sourdough in general then have a look at some of my other posts or visit The Fresh Loaf or any of the wonderful bloggers who write for love of bread and are listed in the links page on my blog.
- Mix all ingredients except salt to shaggy mass, adjust water,
- I usually end up adding about another 40g of water at this point but depends on how absorbent the flours are and whether you like a looser or a tighter dough to work with
- Autolyse for 20 – 30 mins
- Add salt and mix in well
- Bulk Fermentation 2.5 – 5 hours hours
- Fold dough twice
- I tend to make three small loaves these days, 2 x 600 and one smaller one with the leftover dough, about 500 g as they fit on my oven stone (as in the image below) and each loaf gives enough for toast and a lunch sandwich for two people.
- I freeze the other two and eat them over the next ten days or so.
- Final Fermentation – 2- 4 hours depending on room temperature, the cooler the room the longer it takes
- or fridge for up to 18 hours at 42 F4 C
- Bake with steam at 230 C for the first ten minutes if you want a rich dark crust and then for a 1kg loaf at least another 45 minutes at 200-220 C, less for smaller weights, my 600g loaves take about 45-50 minutes in total
NB: This bread uses Carrs Bread flour and Doves Einkorn, both available in the UK