The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bread of the Pharaohs or Einkorn sourdough

Danni3ll3's picture

Bread of the Pharaohs or Einkorn sourdough

This was a change from my usual routine as I made only one batch of dough! It’s a long weekend and I got orders for only 2 loaves. This turned out to be a good thing since my daughter ran her trial half marathon and I biked behind her to keep her company. Some celebrating and having to go back to the starting point ate up more time than planned as did a side trip to the Farmers Market. Therefore bread making was quite delayed. Making one batch was a nice change. 

This week’s bread is Einkorn with barley porridge. I thought that barley would go nicely with the Einkorn and it turns out that both were grown in Ancient Egypt so that’s how I came up with the name. 😊



Makes 3 loaves



75 g barley flakes

150 g water 



675 g strong bakers unbleached flour

300 g high extraction Einkorn flour (315 g Einkorn berries)

575 g filtered water + 50 g 

22 g salt

30 g yogurt 

250 g levain (procedure in recipe) 


The afternoon before:

  1. Mill the Einkorn berries for the main dough and sift to obtain the needed amount of high extraction flour. Place the required amount in a tub. Save the bran for dusting the bannetons. Reserve any leftover high extraction flour for feeding the Levain in the evening and the next day. I had very little left over. 
  2. Add the unbleached flour to the tub. Cover and reserve. 
  3. Take 18 g of refrigerated starter and feed it 18 g of filtered water and 18 g whole grain flour (whatever you have on hand). Let rise in a warm place. 

The night before:

  1. Add the water to the barley flakes and cook on low until quite thick and all the water has been absorbed. I ended up with 221 g of porridge. Cover and put into the fridge for the night. This can be done in the morning if you wish.
  2. Before going to bed, feed the levain 36 g of water and 36 g whole grain flour. Let that rest in a warm spot overnight.

Dough Making day:

  1. The next day, feed the levain 72 g of filtered water and 72 g of AP flour and let rise 3-4 hours in a warm spot. My warm spot is the oven with the door cracked open and the lights on. I get an ambient temperature of around 82F. Mine doubled in 3 hours. 
  2. One hour after feeding the levain, put the filtered water in a stand mixer’s bowl and add the flours from the tub.  Mix on the lowest speed until all the flour has been hydrated. This takes a couple of minutes and makes a very stiff dough. Cover and autolyse for 2 -3 hours at room temperature (73F). Because the levain matured so quickly, I only autolysed for 2 hours. 
  3. At the same time, remove the porridge from the fridge and let it warm up to room temperature.
  4. Once the levain is ready, add the salt, the yogurt, and the levain to the dough. Mix on the lowest speed for a minute to integrate everything, then mix on the next speed for 4 minutes. I reduced the mixing time because I read that Einkorn doesn’t like to be over mixed. 
  5. Add the porridge and extra water, and mix for another minute or two until well distributed.
  6. Remove dough from bowl and place in a lightly oiled covered tub. Let rest in a warm spot to begin bulk fermentation.
  7. Do 2 sets of stretches and folds at 30 minute intervals and then 2 sets of sleepy ferret folds at 45 minute intervals, and then let the dough rise about 30 %. It should have irregular bubbles visible through the sides of the container and  bubbles on top as well. This was one hour after the last fold for this particular dough. 
  8. Tip the dough out on a bare counter, sprinkle the top with flour and divide into portions of ~715 g. Round out the portions into rounds with a dough scraper and let it rest 30 minutes on the counter. 
  9. Do a final shape by flipping the rounds over on a lightly floured counter. Gently stretch the dough out into a circle. Pull and fold the third of the dough closest to you over the middle. Pull the right side and fold over the middle and do the same to the left. Fold the top end to the center patting out any cavities or big bubbles. Finally stretch the two top corners and fold over each other in the middle. Roll the bottom of the dough away from you until the seam is underneath the dough. Cup your hands around the dough and pull towards you, doing this on all sides of the dough to round it off. Finally spin the dough to make as tight boule as you can.
  10. Sprinkle some Einkorn bran and barley flakes in the bannetons. If your bannetons are not well seasoned, sprinkle rice flour first, then the bran and the barley. Place the dough seam side down in the bannetons. Cover with plastic bowl covers or shower caps. Let rest for a few minutes on the counter and then put to bed in a cold (38F) fridge overnight. My total proof time was 12 hours. 

Baking Day

  1. The next morning, heat the oven to 475 F with the Dutch ovens inside for an hour. 
  2. Turn out the dough seam side up onto a cornmeal sprinkled counter. Place rounds of parchment paper in the bottom of the pots, and carefully but quickly place the dough seam side up inside. 
  3. Cover the pots and bake the loaves at 450 F for 25 minutes, remove the lids, and bake for another 22 minutes at 425 F. Internal temperature should be 205 F or more.

I got really good oven spring. The boules might have been slightly underproofed, which I suspected might happen since I only had three loaves in the fridge rather than 12, and that would cause the 3 to cool down more quickly. A bit more of counter time before retarding might be a good idea. 


ifs201's picture

I have some Einkorn flour and wasn't sure what to do with it so I'll need to try this. Now I just need to get some barley flakes. 

Our Crumb's picture
Our Crumb

Only three???  Such a slacker.  Einkorn + barley: ancient grainy goodness.

Bike pursuit mom?  Is that T-Bay's equivalent to Helicopter Momming? 

Pretty baking.


Danni3ll3's picture

Yes, it was just 3!

And that’s a title I can add to my resume: Bike pursuit mom. Ha ha ha!

Actually she says it keep her distracted and the miles go by faster. She did 13.1 miles in 2 hours and 27 minutes which was under her goal of 2:30 hrs. So pretty good for a practice run. She wasn’t aiming to break any speed records, just be able to run the whole distance. I am really proud of her! Oh and did I mention she has arthritis which they think is the rheumatoid type even though she doesn’t test for the factor but that’s  a whole other story. 

Abe's picture
Abe (not verified)

Another lovely bake. I do think that barley adds a lovely flavour to breads and Einkorn does so too when handled correctly. From what I can see it had the magic touch. Well done to your daughter's achievement and to a mother's never ending support. I have a cousin who had something similar. Very debilitating. So I know how far she has come to manage a marathon. 

Danni3ll3's picture

it’s a half although I did mention that if she ever decided to run a full, we now know where she would have to turn around to go back. I got the evil eye! 😂

Danni3ll3's picture

Not bad! I’m happy!

dabrownman's picture

beer making is a travesty but it had to help the Einkorn taste quite a bit for sure I guess it is OK:-)  The crumb really came out nice too!  I hadn't baked in so long all my flour had evil weevils crawling around in it  They say this won;t happen if you keep your milled flour i the freezer but mine is too full of other stud=ff that I can't identify.  They say that won't happen if you label stuff but that takes all the fun out if it later and seems pretty anal for retired people to even think about.  The only way I would bike behind my daughter is if we were on a tandem bike and she was in front doing all the peddling:-)  Talk about padding a resume -  pay no attention - you go on peddling girl!

Nice bread as usual!

Danni3ll3's picture

The one benefit of living in a place where the temperature dips to ridiculous lows is that when I buy my grain, I ensure that I get it during the winter, then I can put it outside for several days and freeze all the little critters if there are any! So far this has worked out great for me. Unfortunately I believe you don’t get freezing temp where you live. Maybe leaving the flour out in the scorching heat would do the same thing? Might have to research that!

As to the biking, trust me! It isn’t too energetic! We are going very slow and the only thing that happens is that I get pretty stiff in the wrists and sore in the shoulders. Not my bike so not fitted to me although I don’t if that would make a difference. 

And thank you for the compliment!