The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Experimenting with Kamut

tikidoc's picture

Experimenting with Kamut

I like the idea of getting the nutrition of whole wheat flour, but I have trouble getting the kids (and husband) to eat breads made with whole wheat and white whole wheat flour.  So I recently read about the nutritional value of Kamut, and the mild nutty taste.  I went to my local Whole Foods and picked up a few pounds of the whole grain and ground it.

I tried two breads today with Kamut.  I made "Jason's Ciabatta" which I frequently make with half KASL flour and half semolina, but substituted half the semolina with Kamut (so half KASL, a quarter semolina and a quarter Kamut), and Ciril Hitz' recipe for challah, using kamut for the sponge (which is 1/4 of the total amount of flour) and KASL for the rest.  Both turned out well.

The ciabatta had a little less oven spring than my usual version, and although the crust was crispy immediately after baking, it softened quickly.  The holes in the dough were a bit smaller than usual but the flavor of the bread was excellent.  If someone gave it to me to taste, I never would have suspected it was made with any whole grain.

The challah was really good.  Good oven spring, easy to shape, and again, no "whole wheat" bitterness or texture.  The color is pretty similar to my regular challah, slightly yellow inside.  Flavor is virtually identical to the same recipe with 100% KASL, although it took a bit longer to proof.


So far, I like this stuff.  Nutritionally at least as good as regular whole wheat without the assertive flavor.  My kids like the fluffy crap from the grocery store, so this is a good way to sneak in some whole grains without them noticing.  It will certainly take some tinkering, because this stuff makes for a more slack dough but I think it will be better accepted by my family.  I'm thinking a Pullman loaf next.

nicodvb's picture

I love your challah, but I didn't understand one thing. Kamut is nothing else than another cultivar of durum wheat with a trademark on the name. It has bran like all grains. Did you mill it so finely that the bran can't be distinguished from the flour or did you sift the flour you ground?


tikidoc's picture

Yes, I understand Kamut is just a branded cultivar of durum wheat (also known as khorasan wheat), albeit an old one that has been genetically distinct from our usual cultivars for a long time, similar to an heirloom vegetable. The wheat berries do look different than regular wheat berries, lighter in color, and each individual grain is quite a bit longer than a regular wheat berry.  I am comparing the appearance to standard hexaploid wheat berries (such as hard winter what), not durum or tetraploid varieties, since I have never seen other durum wheats in berry form.  

I milled it pretty finely, but there was still bran visible in the flour.  I used the fine setting on my Whisper Mill.  I did not sift it.  When I tasted the flour, I was surprised at the complete lack of bitterness or tannic flavor.  The color is a light golden, just a little darker than commercial semolina flour, which makes sense  because both are durum varieties.

I was also surprised at how little it changed my bread's flavor.  The texture of the ciabatta did change some but the challah's was pretty much the same.  I had high hopes when I started baking with white whole wheat but my family begged me to go back to regular flour.  With the Kamut, I think I can get away with leaving in the whole grain.  I need to tinker with the ciabatta recipe to improve the crust (maybe some steam in the oven) but I really loved the challah.  I made a loaf of the challah the day before using 100% bread flour, and the loaves are virtually identical in flavor and appearance.  I'm not sure how much I can get away with substituting but at 25% of the total weight of the flour, it makes a really nice bread.  

I will update this thread as I continue to experient.  I'd love advice on how to work with this wheat, so those of you with more experience, please chime in!

clazar123's picture

I use it as a portion of the flour, like you did. It adds such a lovely golden color and I thought it had a nutty taste. I found it benefits from being panned, due to the nature of its stretchy gluten. I also found it goes from proofed to overproofed very quickly, when it is 100% kamut. Keep that in mind.

Lovely breads!

tikidoc's picture

Thanks!  If you have any good recipes with kamut, I'd love to give them a try.