The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Blue Tinge Ethiopian berries available in Northern California

Crider's picture
Crider

Blue Tinge Ethiopian berries available in Northern California

I have next to my desk a 50 lb. sack of organic Blue Tinge Ethiopian hard wheat I got today from a grower in Capay, near Esparto, Northern California. Last Sunday I was searching the California Certified Organic Farmers website for growers nearby who had wheat berries. There were several East of me in the Sacramento Valley. So out went a few emails and the next day a grower named Fritz Durst replied:


 


Yes I grow organic hard red wheat, a variety called "Ethiopian Blue Tinge". The protein is 16% and a 50# bag is $25 fob.

 


Today I had some spare time, so we went out to his farm and got a nice bag of beautiful berries. He isn't a retail farmer, but said he 'wanted to get it out there' so I was happy to buy. No way is he equipped to sell mail order, and I doubt he could handle small amounts, but with 50 lbs, there's plenty for my friends. One of his workers said they have about 8,000 lbs. It was harvested two months ago.


 


His email is fritzdurst@sbcglobal.net


I can't wait to try this stuff . . . as soon as my little Retsel hand mill arrives, if ever!

flourgirl51's picture
flourgirl51

Have you baked anything with this wheat yet?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

:)

Crider's picture
Crider

My Retsel hand mill did arrive, after more than nine weeks! That Ethiopian stuff has got me scratching my head. The farmer said it was 16% protein, and it grinds harder than 'hard red winter wheat' but it has less gluten -- not enough to raise a loaf! I haven't tried anything such as adding vital wheat gluten to the dough, but I have been making biscuits, scones, pie, tabouli from it. 


What makes it so unique is the aroma and flavor. The berries themselves have an aroma that regular wheat doesn't have, the so does the flavor. It isn't a strong wheaty flavor/smell, just something unique. I think of it being on it's own, like Basmati rice is so unique. The flavor lends itself to both sweet and savory projects. Saying it has a nut-like flavor is so cliché, but that's the best I can do.


The bran seems very thin and doesn't separate from the kernel. When I make doughs, it looks like chocolate. Here's a photo of a Ethiopian-flour pie crust next to a pizza dough ball of hard red winter wheat.


 Ethiopian Blue Tinge dough ball


As for the Retsel Uni-Ark, I've already scrounged up a motor and ordered pulleys, bearings, and v-belts to motorize it. It's too much work for a getting-old guy like me -- lower back soreness and blisters on the hands. It does make a nice, fine flour, though.

flourgirl51's picture
flourgirl51

I bought some of this to try as it seemed interesting. I couldn't get it to raise much either and I added a bit of vital gluten to it. The flour has a strong almost bitter flavor to it. After some research it seems that it makes a great grain to eat as a grain. It is an ancient variety in the same category as Kamut which also doesn't rise much. I will keep playing with it to see if I can make some bread with it. It has a really pretty color to it and is darker than the wheats that I normally deal with.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

to the flour and see if that helps pull it together.   Milk & yolk binds with many bitter flavors reducing them somewhat.   The egg white works as a binder.  Neat colored dough!

kstephens's picture
kstephens

I also purchased some ethiopian blue tinge from Durst in the Sacramento, CA area and have grown a trial plot of the grain in San Luis Obispo, CA at Huasna Valley Farm (www.huasnavalleyfarm.com). I wanted to add some information about the protein.


According to Monica Spiller of the Whole Grain Connection Ethiopian Blue Tinge is a triticum dicoccum, also known as Emmer or Farro. This is not very closely related to common bread wheat and therefor doesn't have the same gluten molecules. I have worked with the flour a few times and can tell by kneading that there is no gluten development at all, and once you bake it this becomes even more obvious. So yes it may have 16% protein, but it doesn't equate to gluten protein like a normal bread flour would and the grain shouldn't be considered a hard red wheat.


However, I have been mixing this flour with a white whole wheat flour for pancakes and fast rising yeast breads with some vital wheat gluten and the resulting flavor has been really good and very unique. The breads do come out dense but you could play with the ratio of blue tinge to common wheat and see what happens.


Thanks Durst for growing this unique variety. I could tell from the trial plot that it isn't an easy one. The grain shatters (or falls) off the plant pretty readily after it is ripe and I know on a large scale it would be tough to harvest all the grain before this happens.


Kevin


Pleasant Grove Farms


pleasantgrovefarms.com


 


 

Crider's picture
Crider

I don't know why I hadn't tried this before, bit I got some really nice pasta out of this wheat. I sieved the flour through a #50 screen before I used it.