The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

farro(italian) emmer wheat

malalaro's picture

farro(italian) emmer wheat

After reading some comments on emmer wheat I came across this site.

Can anyone tell me what Italians use Emmer wheat for, has it any quality's that modern wheat has lost. I was told it translated to spelt but this is not true? Wednesday 30th july 2008 at 10.10 ireland.

dougal's picture

There's lots of confusion and opinion about the IDs.


My understanding is that the problem is with the italian word "farro" - and that the problem is that it is a general, not a specific, term.

Here's a reference:

... Triticum monococcum L., Triticum dicoccon Schrank (emmer), and Triticum spelta L. (spelt). In Italy, all three species are collectively referred to as farro ...
and that is from three Italian food scientists investigating contamination in "farro".

However, I believe that both Monococcum ("Einkorn") and Dicoccum ("Emmer") are rather rarer than Spelt.


What is it used for? Well, AFAIK in Italy "farro" is usually served as steamed or boiled grain as a starchy filler/carrier - in the same sort of way that rice (or pearl barley) is eaten. But its tastier than rice or barley...

Here's a hot veg dish

And a cold salad

And a soup


In the UK, you can buy pre-cooked "farro" grain - for example - the Valfrutta brand (available at least from Waitrose & Ocado):

interestingly, the big writing on the tin says "Spelt" and the small print ingredients listing says "Farro". Go figure!


I've used both the tinned cooked grains (occasionally) and spelt flour (often) in my bread baking. It has a pleasant slightly nutty flavour. But because of a lower gluten content, the dough (and bread) rises differently - less!

It makes good nutritional sense to eat a well-varied diet.

I think you'd do better to worry about modern industrial breadmaking than about modern strains of wheat. Check out the Chorleywood Bread Process...


EDITED the link to tinned steamed Spelt grain ("farro") at Ocado -- it has a strange "|" character which broke the linking, but hopefully, it works via tinyurl...

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven
dabrownman's picture

classify their farro (3 kinds) by size of kernel too..... einkorn - small, emmer - medium and spelt - large.  The current farro sold at Whole foods is Emmer but they also have sold einkorn as farro too in the past - you just  have to have to look at the size to know which one you are really buying - they sell spelt separately,