I was talking to a woman the other day who told me that almost all of her friends have stopped eating wheat over the past few years. She said she has too and now if she has a piece of regular bread, she feels like it sits in her stomach like glue for hours. She says now she eats a lot of quinoa. So, I told her about einkorn and how it has just as much, if not a little bit more, protein as quinoa. Of course, quinoa is gluten free and einkorn is not.
So what is it about the gluten in einkorn that is different than regular wheat? Well, einkorn does not have less gluten than regular wheat, it has the same amount. Some scientists broke down the DNA of einkorn and other wheats and found that einkorn is missing a set of High Molecular Weight proteins that are present not only in soft and hard wheat, but also in spelt.
In our own lab at the pasta factory, we tested the Gluten Index of einkorn. The Gluten Index is a typical test done at pasta factories because the higher the gluten index, the better the pasta, in theory. Producers strive to use the ‘best’ durum wheat varieties with the highest Gluten Index for the best pasta. This index measures the strength of the gluten and we were completely shocked and thrilled when we found the results for einkorn to be 0 compared to more than 70% in durum wheat. And, we and our pasta artisans both know that einkorn makes better pasta.
We suppose the weak gluten in einkorn makes it more digestible, but the gluten difference is noticeable when you are working this flour to bake breads and cakes at home. Einkorn doughs can be very sticky and rise differently and the amount of water you need to form the dough can be difficult to pinpoint because the dough might seem dry but after a minute or two of kneading, get overly wet. Don’t get discouraged though, you really can make great flavorful bread with einkorn.
Here is our recipe for a classic sandwich loaf that we have tested many times. Depending on the heat and humidity in your kitchen, the proofing times may vary. The dough is stiff but a bit sticky, but try not to add too much extra flour when you are kneading. Knead the dough with your hands and don’t overdo it. We recommend measuring the flour with a kitchen scale because everyone packs flour in a cup differently, and this can cause inaccuracy. Let us know if you have questions- we really want your bread to come out great. There is nothing like having your loved ones wake up to the smell of freshly baked bread, especially when the bread is baked with one of the most ancient foods around.
- 4 cups (480g) of flour
- 1 cup water, warm
- 2 tsp. dry active yeast
- 1 tbsp. honey
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- Dissolve yeast and honey in water. Let stand for 5 minutes.
- Combine salt and flour in a large mixing bowl. Pour in wet yeast mixture and knead in the bowl until mixed well.
- Remove dough from the bowl and knead on a clean work surface until smooth. The dough will seem dry at first, but as you knead, it will become smooth and shiny. If the dough is too dry and you have used cups and not a kitchen scale to measure the flour, carefully add 1 tsp. of water at a time and keep kneading until the dough is smooth, but not sticky.
- Transfer back to mixing bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 45-60 minutes.
- Remove dough and roll into a loaf, then place in an oiled loaf pan covered with plastic wrap.
- Let rise for 30 minutes.
- Cook in preheated oven at 375F for 35-40 minutes.
- Let cool before slicing.
Please note: This recipe will not work with flour ground from einkorn wheat berries because you will need more water. Visit the recipe section on our website for whole grain sandwich bread made with wheat berries.