If we were to go to our local grocery store and scan the aisles, we may not see the diversity of foods that were once commonplace in our world. Of course, this depends on what store we’re shopping at, but most stores don’t carry Inchelium Red garlic or Cherokee Purple tomatoes, or Peach Blow potatoes. Because of this, you may not have come across einkorn flour either. Einkorn is an ancient grain, well over 10,000 years old, and is definitely a grain worth familiarizing yourself with. This grain has not been hybridized over its long lifespan, allowing it to remain pure as it was when some of our ancestors were first grinding it into flour.
This lack of hybridization creates a wheat that is easier to digest than the modern wheats we have today, for einkorn still has its original 14 chromosomes, whereas modern wheat’s chromosomes, now at 42, have tripled over the years for mass production and yield increases. Because of this alteration of modern wheat’s genetics, gluten-toxicity has increased, creating larger numbers of gluten sensitivity and cases of celiac disease.
Gratefully, einkorn is still cultivated today, usually in small isolated regions, so we can still utilize this fabulous ancient grain. Coupled with einkorn’s availability is the fact that einkorn is an ideal crop for organic farmers since it is a “hulled” wheat that naturally protects itself from contaminants and insects.
Let’s touch on some of the benefits of einkorn, as well as some useful, along with a few recipes to get you started.
Einkorn is packed full of benefits like antioxidants, Vitamin A, carotenoids, protein, phosphorous, potassium, riboflavin, and a variety of B vitamins. These benefits add up to helping our bodies build a defense against cancer and inflammation, giving us energy and slowing the aging process, and supporting healthy organs.
One big benefit that I greatly appreciate is that einkorn’s gluten is structured differently than modern wheat, which means better digestibility, sometimes even for those who are gluten sensitive. The benefits of einkorn are between two to five times greater than modern wheat, which definitely offers a healthier alternative. And easier digestibility is always desirable, whether you’re sensitive to gluten or not.
Einkorn can replace modern wheat in most recipes cup for cup, which is fabulous if you have a favorite recipe you can’t imagine giving up, but no longer want to use a modern wheat flour with. One thing to keep in mind, though, in some recipes, you may need to reduce the pourable liquid amounts by 15 to 20 percent. Einkorn absorbs liquid slower than modern wheat, which means you will have stickier dough to work with.
A quick tip: don’t pour all of your pourable liquids in at once. I pour some in, mix, and assess the texture of the dough so the dough is not too dry or too wet, and then I pour more in if needed.
It’s important to not add more flour to create a “normal” texture because of what you’re used to seeing with modern wheat. With einkorn, too much flour will make your baked goods dry when it comes out of the oven. Remember, sticky is good when using einkorn, and because of its stickiness, a bread scraper is a great tool to have.
Another feature of einkorn that is pretty nifty is that it is a no-knead flour, so when you’re making bread don’t excessively knead the dough, just knead enough to combine all the ingredients. When you’re proofing your dough, it is important to not over-proof, because the gluten in einkorn is weaker than modern wheat. The old standard of “let the dough rise until it has doubled in size” is not the standard for einkorn, because the dough will collapse in the oven. I proof my bread dough twice, 30 minutes each, and then bake.
Einkorn flour has been a great addition to my pantry and one I use regularly for making bread, homemade noodles, or for any other delectable treat that tantalizes my taste buds. Einkorn berries can also perk up a bowl of warm cereal or salad instantly. Try substituting einkorn wheat berries for barley in this Lemony Pearl Barley Salad with Almonds and Herbs. Or, how about using them in this Mushroom and Kale Farro Salad? Another great recipe to try einkorn wheat berries in would be this Blood Orange and Raspberry Steel-Cut Oatmeal recipe; just use them instead of steel-cut oats.
You can find einkorn flour and wheat berries at your local organic food store or you can always order them online.
Recipes to Try
And since it’s so easy to supplement modern wheat with einkorn, you’ve got to try these recipes too, especially now that we’re moving into fall. Maybe this Whole Wheat French Bread could be a great addition to lunch or this Pesto and Tomato Swirl Loaf could complement your friend’s dinner. Of course, a sweet treat like Whole Wheat Cheesecake Brownies might be the exact dessert you need for a potluck or these Whole Wheat Chocolate-Filled Crescents may do the trick for a decadent Sunday brunch. The ideas are endless.
Have fun trying out einkorn flour. Sometimes when it comes to food, ancient is just as good as modern, if not better!
Lead Image Source: Einkorn Zucchini Waffles