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Einkorn Sourdough Bread

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A few years ago, I started hearing about the ancient species of wheat called einkorn. People who were gluten intolerant were writing me letters about it and saying it was allowing them to eat bread again without the problems regular wheat had caused them, and I wanted to know more. I learned a lot about einkorn when I started working with it to make sourdough bread. It was then that I fell completely in love with this bread and became obsessed, making a fresh loaf every few days. It took me a while to figure out how to make it work with my sourdough starter, but figure it out I did; and I’m gonna show you how to do it too. But before we get to that, I want to tell you why I love this bread so much.

Most ancient species of wheat

Einkorn wheat is the most ancient species of wheat. All wheat that we consume today is descended from einkorn wheat which has about 14 chromosomes as compared to other wheats which have 28-42. This is important since some studies show that ancient wheat, with its fewer chromosomes, has lower levels of gliadins. Gliadins are proteins that can cause sensitivities in those who struggle with gluten. Gluten is defined as a stretchy protein that is left behind after starch is washed away from a wheat flour dough. When you consume bread, the gluten proteins break down into smaller units called peptides, which are strings of amino acids. Certain proteins in most wheat products have been found to cause harm to those with sensitive guts.

Different type of gluten

The wheat we eat today is far different from ancient einkorn wheat. Wheat is a hexaploid, containing sets of chromosomes, with three complete genomes termed A, B, and D in the nucleus of each cell. Modern wheat has been crossed with two different goat grasses. Goat grasses contain the D genome, which is the source of most gluten intolerance. Einkorn does not contain this troublesome D genome, only the A genome, and most testing for gluten intolerance is based on the D genome. And while einkorn does contain gluten, it is a different type of gluten and allows for easier digestion and nutrient absorption. Einkorn has 50% less phytic acid than regular wheat which also wreaks havoc on people’s guts. When you use a sourdough starter to make a loaf of bread, you deactivate phytic acid. Phytic acid can inhibit absorption of vital nutrients and can even lead to nutrient deficiencies, so making bread with a sourdough culture and einkorn flour is a win-win when it comes to deactivating phytic acid.

So why did they change and hybridize our wheat from ancient Einkorn wheat? The biggest reason is that einkorn only gives a fifth of the yield as compared to modern wheat. In their efforts to get higher yields, wheat was modified without realizing the effect it would have on our health. Einkorn flour has not been altered or hybridized, thereby being one of the most natural grains available.

High in protein, vitamins, and minerals

Einkorn has 30 percent more protein and is high in vitamin B6, zinc, and other vitamins and minerals. These are all crucial nutrients our bodies need to keep our immune systems running strong. I love that one sandwich can give me 30% of the magnesium I need in a day along with extra protein to keep me full and satisfied. I’ve seen a decrease in how much food my family craves throughout the day since I started making einkorn sourdough bread. We seem to thrive on this ancient bread. And here’s another interesting finding – studies have found that ancient wheats decrease cell production relating to glucose and fat metabolism, and also help prevent or delay diabetes development while increasing digestion and nutrient absorption.

I have to tell you that I am grateful so many of you sent emails asking me about this bread and if we could make it with the sourdough starter purchased from me. I do really listen to you and am always looking for ways to help you. Spending days in my kitchen making this bread has been sheer joy. The first loaf I took from the oven almost made me cry, it was so beautiful. The flour is unlike regular flour in that it absorbs fats more slowly and is more sticky, but what a loaf of bread it can make! I remember one day when I was making a loaf of bread, I looked at the flour and felt like I was stepping back in time. This wheat is the original wheat and it had much to teach me. I love the flavor of the bread and the way it digests with ease and efficiency. You will too, but a  couple little rules to remember; if the dough is too dry, it won’t rise well. If it’s too wet, it will be very sticky, so keep that in mind and you’ll make a wonderful loaf by following my instructions.

Convert your sourdough starter to an einkorn sourdough starter

I’m going to teach you how to convert your regular sourdough starter to an einkorn sourdough starter. I thought about selling one but wasn’t sure there would be a demand. If you already have a sourdough starter, this will be easy for you and you can have both. It’s pretty easy to convert a portion of your regular sourdough starter to an einkorn one, so you can try and experiment as to which one you like best. So let’s get started!

Check out the bread recipe. Below the bread recipe you’ll find information to help you convert your sourdough starter to an einkorn sourdough starter.

Einkorn Sourdough Bread
You'll need an einkorn sourdough starter for this bread and I can show you how to convert your regular sourdough starter to an einkorn sourdough dough starter.
Einkorn wheat is the most ancient species of wheat. So many people who are gluten intolerant thrive on einkorn bread. Modern wheat has been crossed with two different goat grasses. Goat grasses contain the D genome, which is the source of most gluten intolerance. Einkorn does not contain this troublesome D genome, only the A genome, and most testing for gluten intolerance is based on the D genome.
You'll need a few things that make a huge difference in how the bread turns out. I highly recommend using a 5 Quart Dutch Oven - a roaster pan or deep casserole dish with a lid will work too. A dough scraper is my new favorite tool while working to fold and knead my bread. You'll also need a Kitchen Scale for measuring all ingredients. I found that my cup of flour and your cup of flour can vary greatly, and will affect the outcome. I promise you this bread will be worth it. This has made a huge difference in my bread making and it will help you too.
~Donna
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Servings: loaf
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Instructions
  1. You need to make sure your sourdough starter is bubbly and ready to go. If it has not been fed recently, take a few spoonfuls of sourdough starter from your fridge and give it that much flour and water and let it ferment for 6 - 8 hours. The best way to tell if your starter is ready is to drop a small dollop in a glass of water and if it floats it's ready to go. Here is more help for a bubbly sourdough starter. How to care for your sourdough starter
    You need to make sure your sourdough starter is bubbly and ready to go. If it has not been fed recently, take a few spoonfuls of sourdough starter from your fridge and give it that much flour and water and let it ferment for 6 - 8 hours. The best way to tell if your starter is ready is to drop a small dollop in a glass of water and if it floats it's ready to go. Here is more help for a bubbly sourdough starter. How to care for your sourdough starter
  2. Close to your bedtime, add the bubbly sourdough starter and warm water to a ceramic bowl. Mix them together with a whisk until well combined.
    Close to your bedtime, add the bubbly sourdough starter and warm water to a ceramic bowl. Mix them together with a whisk until well combined.
  3. Add the flour and salt to the sourdough mixture and combine together with a stiff spatula to incorporate the flour.
    Add the flour and salt to the sourdough mixture and combine together with a stiff spatula to incorporate the flour.
  4. The dough will be sticky. Then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise for 10-15 hours - until the dough has risen or doubled.
    The dough will be sticky. Then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise for 10-15 hours - until the dough has risen or doubled.
  5. Flour a work surface and your hands. Place dough onto floured surface. Fold the dough in half and then again into thirds. (Using a dough scraper is recommended)
    Flour a work surface and your hands. Place dough onto floured surface. Fold the dough in half and then again into thirds. (Using a dough scraper is recommended)
  6. Flour surface again if the dough starts to stick and form into a round bowl shape. Generously flour the top of the dough.
    Flour surface again if the dough starts to stick and form into a round bowl shape. Generously flour the top of the dough.
  7. Line an 8-inch bowl with a towel and dust generously with flour. Make sure your hands are still floured and pick up the dough and place it in the bowl with seam side up. Cover the bowl and let it rest for 30 to 60 minutes. In the meantime, preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
    Line an 8-inch bowl with a towel and dust generously with flour. Make sure your hands are still floured and pick up the dough and place it in the bowl with seam side up. Cover the bowl and let it rest for 30 to 60 minutes. In the meantime, preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
  8. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit your pot, leaving excess so you can grab the bread and take it out of the pot. Place your parchment paper over the bowl and invert the bowl to allow the bread to release onto the paper.
    Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit your pot, leaving excess so you can grab the bread and take it out of the pot. Place your parchment paper over the bowl and invert the bowl to allow the bread to release onto the paper.
  9. With a small razor blade or serrated knife, score the bread with four slashes.
    With a small razor blade or serrated knife, score the bread with four slashes.
  10. Pick up the parchment and carefully place your bread in the pot.
    Pick up the parchment and carefully place your bread in the pot.
  11. Place the lid on the pot and place in the oven for 40 minutes at 450 degrees. Then remove the lid and continue baking for 5 minutes longer to darken the bread if you'd like.
    Place the lid on the pot and place in the oven for 40 minutes at 450 degrees. Then remove the lid and continue baking for 5 minutes longer to darken the bread if you'd like.
  12. When bread is done, take bread out of pot and place on a wire rack to cool for about 20 minutes to an hour, although we often can't wait to eat it!
    When bread is done, take bread out of pot and place on a wire rack to cool for about 20 minutes to an hour, although we often can't wait to eat it!
  13. Store loaf in a bag on the counter, or this bread freezes beautifully.
    Store loaf in a bag on the counter, or this bread freezes beautifully.
CulturedFoodLife.com
Einkorn Sourdough Starter
Here is an easy way to convert your sourdough starter to an einkorn sourdough starter. You might want to have two starters, one for einkorn and one for regular sourdough and you can always  dehydrate them so you'll always have more starter.

You can use Einkorn All-Purpose Flour or Einkorn Whole Wheat Flour to make an einkorn sourdough starter and for more information see the *note below.
~Donna
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Instructions
  1. Gather ingredients and a jar that is large enough for your starter to expand and grow.
    Gather ingredients and a jar that is large enough for your starter to expand and grow.
  2. Place 1 tablespoon of sourdough starter into your jar.
    Place 1 tablespoon of sourdough starter into your jar.
  3. Add 1/4 cup of water to the jar
    Add 1/4 cup of water to the jar
  4. Add 1/2 cup einkorn flour to jar and mix all the ingredients until all the flour is combined.
    Add 1/2 cup einkorn flour to jar and mix all the ingredients until all the flour is combined.
  5. Seal the jar with a lid and let it ferment for 6 - 8 hours.
    Seal the jar with a lid and let it ferment for 6 - 8 hours.
  6. Remove and discard all but 1/4 cup of your starter. Add 1/2 cup flour to your jar and 1/4 cup water stir well to combine all the flour and let sit for another 6- 8 hours. Continue doing this step two more times or until your starter is bubbly and you see tiny pin size holes in your starter and bigger holes on top. Then it is ready to bake with or to store in the refrigerator. (This picture is a starter fed with Einkorn Whole Wheat Flour.)
    Remove and discard all but 1/4 cup of your starter. Add 1/2 cup flour to your jar and 1/4 cup water stir well to combine all the flour and let sit for another 6- 8 hours. Continue doing this step two more times or until your starter is bubbly and you see tiny pin size holes in your starter and bigger holes on top. Then it is ready to bake with or to store in the refrigerator. (This picture is a starter fed with Einkorn Whole Wheat Flour.)
  7. Feed your starter once a week, 1/2 cup of flour and 1/4 cup water to 1/4 cup of starter. Keep this ratio to make sure your starter will be bubbly. If you have more starter to flour and water the starter will eat all the food and won't be bubbly. (This picture is showing and einkorn starter made with Einkorn All-Purpose Flour)
    Feed your starter once a week, 1/2 cup of flour and 1/4 cup water to 1/4 cup of starter. Keep this ratio to make sure your starter will be bubbly. If you have more starter to flour and water the starter will eat all the food and won't be bubbly. (This picture is showing and einkorn starter made with Einkorn All-Purpose Flour)
  8. When you ready to bake bread take your starter from the fridge and feed your 1/4 cup starter, (discard if you have more starter than this) then add 1/2 cup flour to your jar; add a 1/4 cup water; stir well to combine until all the flour is incorporated and let sit for another 6- 8 hours until bubbly. If it's not bubbly then feed it again (ratios above) every 6-8 hours until it's bubbly. If your keeping your starter in the fridge then feed it once a week the ratio above. This will ensure that it will stay healthy and bubbly and you'll only have to feed it once before your bake with it.
    When you ready to bake bread take your starter from the fridge and feed your 1/4 cup starter, (discard if you have more starter than this) then add 1/2 cup flour to your jar; add a 1/4 cup water; stir well to combine until all the flour is incorporated and let sit for another 6- 8 hours until bubbly. If it's not bubbly then feed it again (ratios above) every 6-8 hours until it's bubbly. If your keeping your starter in the fridge then feed it once a week the ratio above. This will ensure that it will stay healthy and bubbly and you'll only have to feed it once before your bake with it.
Recipe Notes

You can use Einkorn All-Purpose Flour or Einkorn Whole Wheat Flour to feed your starter. They both work equally well to  rise your sourdough bread. The Einkorn Whole Wheat Flour will be more bubbly since it contains more minerals than Einkorn All-Purpose Flour. A whole wheat starter will ferment faster than Einkorn All-Purpose Flour and is more thirsty (give it an extra tablespoon of water if your starter is too thick) but they both work really well to make your bread. My recipes use Einkorn All-Purpose Flour to make the bread since it makes for a lighter, fluffier, and higher rising loaf.

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