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 wheat which has 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.
Helpful Tips for Einkorn sourdough bread
The secret to good Einkorn sourdough bread is in the bubbly sourdough starter. (You can buy my live starter here.) Feeding your starter before making bread so your starter should be bubbly and ready to go at room temperature.
1. Take the starter out of the fridge and measure out 2 teaspoons (10 grams) of the starter.
2. Add 1/4 cup (59 grams) of water.
3. Add ½ cup (60 grams) of All-Purpose Einkorn Flour OR ½ cup (48 grams) of Whole Wheat Einkorn Flour. Mix well. Einkorn flour absorbs water more slowly, so it will get wetter over time as it ferments.
4. Leave it on your counter for 4-12 hours or until bubbly.
5. Once it’s bubbly, measure out the amount of starter called for in your recipe. Leaving some of the starter in the jar to make more bread. Feed the extra starter 2 tbsps of water and 2 tbsps of flour.
Always feed the starter the night before (or at least 4 to 12 hours before you make your bread). This all depends on the temperature in your home. The warmer it is, the sooner it will rise and be bubbly. Once your starter begins getting bubbly and rising in the jar it's ready to go.
Make sure that you have been feeding the starter at least once a week if you have been keeping it in the fridge. If you haven't been feeding your starter this often, then feed it twice a day for a day or a couple of days until it's bubbly again.
Feeding Your New Starter
Feeding your starter for the first time
- Add 57 grams (¼ cup) of lukewarm water (80° F) to the starter jar, and stir to partially dissolve the starter & loosen it from the jar. Pour the water/starter into a large jar.
- Add another 57 grams (¼ cup) of lukewarm water to the bowl.
- Add ½ cup (60 grams) of All-Purpose Einkorn Flour OR ½ cup (48 grams) of Whole Wheat Einkorn Flour. Mix well. (see *Note below)
- Stir until well combined and seal with a lid. You should now have a little more than 1 cup of starter.
- Let it sit on your counter for 4-12 hours. If it is bubbly on top and on the sides of the jar, it’s ready to use. If it does not appear bubbly, measure out ¼ cup of the starter and discard the rest. Feed the ¼ cup of starter another ½ cup of flour and ½ cup of water. Let it sit another 4-12 hours on your counter and see if it gets bubbly.
- Once it’s bubbly, it is ready to make bread! (Measure out the amount of starter and use it in the recipe. The remaining starter is what you will use for your next batch. Add 2 tbsps of flour and 2 tbsps of water to the starter, mix well, then put it in your fridge with a lid until you are ready to make more bread.
Types Of Flour To Feed Your Starter
You can use Einkorn All-Purpose Flour or Einkorn Whole Wheat Flour to rehydrate and 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. You can purchase Einkorn flour at jovialfoods.com/einkorn/
Water And Salt To Use In Sourdough Bread
You can use almost any type of water to feed your starter, although filtered or purified water works the best. I've even used tap water but some bakers say this is not the best. Spring water with minerals is my preferred choice. Fermentation loves minerals and will help with the end product.
My two favorite salts to use are finely ground Celtic Sea Salt, or Himalayan Salt is wonderful too. I think salt with minerals is important, but almost any salt will work. I just think that since my body and my cultures love salts with minerals, I should give my bread the very best I can find.
Helping A Neglected Starter
If your sourdough starter has sat in the refrigerator for more than a week, you can usually revive it. You will probably have to feed it for 2-3 days on your counter (twice a day, morning and night) to get it up to snuff.
After feeding the starter twice a day for 2-3 days, your starter should become strong and healthy. You should see bubbles everywhere and it will have a nice aroma. Once this happens, it should be ready to make bread again. Or just put your starter back in the fridge and go back to feeding it once a week.
- Take the starter out of the fridge and measure out 2 teaspoons (10 grams) of the starter.
- Add ¼ cup (59 grams) of warm water.
- Add ½ cup (60 grams) of All-Purpose Einkorn Flour OR ½ cup (48 grams) of Whole Wheat Einkorn Flour. Mix well.
- Leave it on your counter for 6-12 hours or until bubbly.
- Once it’s bubbly, measure out the amount of starter called for in your recipe.
- Always leave a little starter in the jar to make more starter. Even a few teaspoons will be enough to make more starter.
When you see a dark liquid on top of your starter, don't be alarmed. The alcohol might have separated and come to the surface. This is called the hooch and can be dark in color and look alarming. No worries, it's not harmful and you can discard this liquid. The hooch is a by-product of the starter eating all the food and it means it's hungry and wants to be fed.
Feed it fresh flour and water and it should get back up to snuff.
Recipe And Starter
Listen To My Podcast
Have you heard about the ancient species of wheat called einkorn? Many people who were gluten intolerant seem to thrive on this bread since it's missing the troublesome protein contained in regular wheat. Check out the podcast to hear more.
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