Einkorn Sourdough Bread

I constantly experiment with baking at home. We haven’t bought bread from a store in at least a year, except for occasional ‘fun’ sourdough. Since we discovered ancient varieties of wheat like einkorn and spelt, sprouting and home milling, we have been searching for a perfect loaf; trying different combinations of flour to water, different proportions of sugar, fat, etc. I’m pretty sure reached the end of the internet looking for einkorn bread recipes.

What I did learn is that there is not a perfect, one-size fits all, recipe. The outcome of a bread depends on your environment, and even your intuition, you have to watch the dough and often change the way you handle it based on your observation. Good bread comes with experience… With all that said, there is no reason not to make an awesome loaf the first time around! πŸ™‚

Why einkorn wheat is a lot healthier than modern wheat:

  • Einkorn has significantly more vital nutrients like Zinc, Copper, Iron, Magnesium and Selenium than modern wheat (1)(2).
  • Einkorn is a lot lower in gluten proteins that cause negative reaction not just in people with celiac disease but even in those with sensitivity, or plain regular folks! (3).
  • It’s better for your good old arteries, keeping down inflammation (4).

HOW TO MAKE EINKORN SOURDOUGH BREAD

HIGH HYDRATION EINKORN SOURDOUGH BREAD

einkorn-sourdough-bread
100% EINKORN SOURDOUGH BREAD – HIGH HYDRATION

Ingredients
150 g leaven (see how to make below)
750 g all-purpose einkorn flour (I use Jovial, it is 80% whole grain, they only remove 20% of the bran)
575 g filtered water, divided
15 g fine sea salt

Instructions
Make leaven:
75 g all-purpose einkorn flour
75 g filtered water
1-2 tablespoons recently fed active sourdough starter

Mix the ingredients together, cover with an air tight lid or plastic, and keep at room temperature for 4-6 hours, or until leaven becomes very bubbly.

Make dough:
Sift the flour into a medium bowl.

In a large bowl, combine leaven (150 g) with 550 g of water. Whisk to combine. You’ll get white milk-like liquid.
Place the flour into the leaven/water, and mix gently with a spoon to just combine, so no dry bits remain. Don’t over mix.
Cover, and leave at warm room temperature for 3 hours. (this is autolyse stage, to hydrate the dough).
Add 15 g of salt, and 25 g of water. Fold the dough on top of itself several times to incorporate.
Next step is bulk rise. During this stage the dough should be developed by folding and stretching.
30 minutes after salt/water addition, dip one hand in water, grab the underside of the dough, stretch it out and fold over itself. Rotate the container one-quarter turn and repeat three or four times. You should do folding and turning every 30 minutes for the first 2.5 hours of the bulk rise.
After 3 hours and 6 foldings you should see 20-30% increase in volume. If not, continue bulk rising for 30 minutes to one hour.

At this point, depending where you are with time, you can move on to basket (banneton) fermentation. Or, if you are running into night time, put the dough into the refrigerator until morning. In the morning, bring the dough to room temperature (about an hour), and proceed with basket.

Here is where I don’t follow the Tartine instructions. Tartine recommends shaping and bench rest, which are difficult to handle with the grains that I use in this recipe. All Tartine recipes use modern wheat flours in some form. That makes it fairly easy to develop surface tension in dough. Since I only use ancient grains, and like to keep hydration high (I think it produces much better crumb) – the dough gets too sloppy during the bench rest because there is not enough gluten to keep things together. I just dump the dough into a basket lined with a flour sack towel and sprinkled with flour and rolled oats.
Let the dough rise in the basket for 3-5 hours at warm room temperature, or overnight in the refrigerator. Whatever your time allows for.

Bake:
Place a Dutch oven with a lid in the oven, turn oven on 475ΒΊF and preheat for 20 minutes. I use the middle rack.
Carefully remove Dutch oven from your oven, and transfer the dough into it. It’s okay if it’s sloppy, or comes out in pieces. The sloppy doughs make for prettier loaves, like the one I have on the photo here. You can score it, if you like – make one or two small cuts with scissors.
Close the lid, and bake for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, remove the lid, and bake 20 minutes. Or a bit longer if you prefer darker crust. I like mine like you see on the picture here, so I stop at 20 minutes.

8 Comments

  1. This looks so awesome! I have sourdough culture growing, and I have never baked with einkorn flour, so it sounds like a good experiment . . . I will look for it at the health food store on the weekend. So excited:)

  2. Hello again Valeria, thank you so much for your input on the baking of the einkorn bread. I’m going to try the recipe next week with home ground einkorn flour. The tartine bread sounds wonderful, but, yes, it does seem like it would be more work and more time consuming, especially for a homeschool mom.

    On the all-purpose einkorn flour, I thought that the whole grain flour that is properly fermented was supposed to be healthier than the flour that has the bran and germ removed. I was unfortunately not taught this by my grandmother as she baked with white flour as was the American custom; so I have had to learn how to prepare healthy bread on my own and from others like yourself. What type of einkorn flour did your grandmother in Russia use, whole grain or all-purpose?

    Thanks a ton,

    Michele

    • Hi Michele πŸ™‚ , I agree completely that whole grain flour has more nutrients, but I also feel good about fermentation adding extra goodness to any flour (like B-vitamins, etc) so I feel comfortable about using all-purpose ancient flours. Here we eat so much whole sprouted milled grains like oats, buckwheat, rye, along with raw dairy and fermented goodies that not getting enough nutrients should never be a problem. And we like carbs, with all the toddlers running around!!
      My grandma used white flour a lot, but also rye, which wasn’t processed, and I remember she made lots of porridges, fermented and soaked, and added them to our baked goods, everything from millet to rye to oats would ferment in warmth for many hours, and then used. I’m using some of the fermenting techniques right now.. I’m sure I’ll eventually blog about them too πŸ™‚

  3. Thanks a ton Valeria! You’ve been very helpful. Going back to the Einkorn Sourdough Bread Recipe, why does the dough need to go through two rises? Does this improve digestibility?

    You mentioned sprouting the grains. We tried this once with ancient spelt (and maybe some rye), and it made us sick. (maybe we did not tolerate the rye). I’ve read from the WAPF that some sprouts have toxins in them and must be lightly steamed to destroy the toxins. Do you prepare sourdough breads with your sprouted grains? Did your grandmother also use the sprouted grains? Thanks again, Michele

    • Of course, Michele! Do you mean two rises in the Tartine sourdough recipe? The first is autolyse, which is not really a rise, but a process that splits enzymes in flour down to starch and protein. The starch becomes sugar, and protein becomes gluten. Gluten gives structure to bread, and sugar feeds the yeast, while also breaking the gluten protein into simpler compounds. Without autolyse, the dough might be lacking in flavor, color and texture. The bulk rise is the only process that I think of as rise.
      I sprout a lot! For the most part, I dehydrate the sprouted grains at low temperature in the oven, and mill them into flours. Sprouted oats that I use, even though not toasted before put into the dough, get cooked with the bread. If toxins from sprouted grains are a concern – I wouldn’t worry about including them in the sourdoughs πŸ™‚ . I often include sprouted grains, like barley, buckwheat and millet to my breads, because it gives me a larger variety of nutrients.
      Sprouting rye berries was a common things when I was growing up and my grandma used to do that a lot. She made porridges from it, and this double fermented dessert called Kulaga.

  4. Hi there! Old post but, I just tried your recipe. The dough turned out amazing, fermented and rose nicely in the oven, but…it did not cook all the way through! Its so heavy and spongy in the center. Even after lots of extra time in the oven. Any advice? It could be my old dutch oven just not containing the heat well or maybe I should bake 2 loafs. Just wondering if you had any insight? Thanks!

    • Hi Megan, I noticed that I get heavy and wet bread inside if I accidentally overproof it, since it kinda collapses over itself without any space for air pockets. Lower oven temperature might have something do it with it, I believe. I normally make this recipe as one loaf, and it worked well for me. My guess is dutch oven age shouldn’t matter much if it is good quality. Let me know if you figure it out! πŸ™‚