January 31, 2012 - 3:01pm
Einkorn Bread Overnight Sponge
I love to try new and unusual flour when I bake and here is one of my loaves using Doves Einkorn Flour, I was really impressed with the quality of the flour, lovely to make bread.
Nice looking bread. I like baking with unusual flours, too, and used Farro (Einkorn) in a Pain au Levain. Have you tried Grünkern, yet?
I haven't seen it in the UK yet, but I miss it.
Farro is Einhorn? Who knew? I guess they are in the spelt family of grains.
It's the generic name of the wheat family. The name Farro is commonly confused with a few types of grain.
Long before Spelt which is a hybridised grain unlike Einkorn. Spelt comes from Emmer, (which is often wrongly named Farro), also another ancient wheat (for want of a better name) variety. I don't think Einkorn is a direct ancestor of the modern wheat. I may be wrong but think Emmer is the predecessor of all variants.
Why they are all called wheat grains when wheat came much later is rather like calling Baroque music Classical.
Einkorn is the direct ancestor of all modern wheat as we know them today (Spelt, Emmer, etc.) in its wild form, Triticum baeoticum, or its domesticated form, Triticum monococcum. All other wheats are naturally occurring or manmade hybrids of Einkorn and/or its descendants.
Wheat evolution: integrating archaeological and biological evidence
by MARK NESBITT Institute of Archaeology, University College London, UK
Centrefor Economic Botany, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 3AE, UK
Or for a quick reference:
there are 3 kinds of 'farro' Small, Medium and large. These are determined by the length of the grain. Einkorn is small farro, emmer is medium farro and large farro s spelt.
I thought my einkorn sourdough very sticky but I was using a rye sourdough starter. Just curious.
is always super sticky. Its the only flour I bake with and I'm still trying to get used to its unique characteristics. In addition to very high levels of stickiness, I find that the raw dough is very runny. Moments after several stretch and folds its running all over my board, it just seem stop refuse to hold shape like a typical wheat dough would do so well. I've tried hydrations from 50% to 85%; I've tried letting it rise overnight; I've even tried a two or three day retard in the fridge and its still the same. Each time I try to lift it to put it into my French Oven its oozing between my fingers and I don't know if I'm going to make it to the oven. (I now just use two board scrapers to lift it but they introduce their own problem, in that the super sticky dough sticks to both the stainless steel and plastic scrapers so I wind up depositing a rather oddly shaped lump of dough off center into the screaming hot French Oven),
Regardless of the weirdness, we still enjoy the bread and its the only one we make at home.
Nov 30, 2014
Just restocked with Whole Einkorn flour yesterday and will try a few basic uses. So far it is great for dusting fine veal bratwurst. Today is Bratwurst Sunday, the first Sunday in Advent. Passed the "bratwurst test" without a hitch.
I picked up an old cast iron/aluminium Wagner-ware waffle iron somewhere in Missouri, and imported it to Austria, since cleaned it up. Works well with AP on my wood burning stove. Might try Whole Einkorn in waffles next.
You've made me curious enough to test just a small ball of dough. I don't remember the dough ever going slack, sticky yes, but slack... not yet. Thiol compounds? Will report back soon.
if its just me but I find it very slack and very sticky so its very hard for me to handle (i.e. lift it to get it int the French Oven), if you have a technique for making it more manageable, I'd love to hear about it, please. I'm headed to the kitchen in an hour or so to pull my dough from the fridge and start the S&F process.
snatching up that Wagnerware! Have lots of fun with it!
Einkorn experiment going? I'me very curious to see how well others are doing with it.
I've found the same, even when mixing in 1/3 AP or whole wheat flour. But, since my present goal is to get away from the particular gluten found in modern wheat, success with 100% einkorn is what I am aiming for.
I've been using einkorn flour from Jovial foods, which is 80% whole grain. On the package, they recommend using 20% less liquid than a recipe using modern wheat would call for. Also, one of the recipes from Jovial gives directions to mix, not knead. I tried it and it did work -- rose the same as dough I had kneaded. Clearly, the different type of gluten responds...differently. :)
Thus far all my loaves have been in pans. Forget shaping -- just getting it in there is success. Today I'm doing an einkorn sourdough which will rise overnight -- not expecting it to be any different.
Wondering what type of bread our ancestors made with this grain. It must have been more of a flatbread?
Always interested to find out how others are coming along with einkorn!
In a few days I will be celebrating my one year anniversary making nothing but 100% Einkorn with absolutely o other flours in in any way. I also have used Jovial Einkorn floor exclusively and have tried their recipes. I found Einkorn to be a real handful, make even more challenging by the fact that I'm not a baker. I got into it because my family wants to go 100% gluten free and the store offerings were crazy expensive or disappointing. Einkorn was a real handful at first, and I found that most recipes call for less water, but what I found is that with less handling (i.e. no kneading) and more water (I run 67% to 85% hydration) that I get nice loaves. I used to get pitiful rise out of it at low hydrations, but of course Einkorn is a a sticky gloppy mess at higher hydrations, so I have been baking exclusively with dutch ovens because the Einkorn is too runny (they way I do it) to place on a sheet or a stone unless you enjoy flatbread. I now own two dutch ovens because I found that although the larger one worked, when I switched to a smaller one I got better rise. It took a lot of metal figuring to select just the right size and width dutch oven that would hold the dough (keep it from spreading) but I made the plunge several months ago and now all my loaves have approximately one inch higher rise. I do think that our ancestors ate mostly flatbreads because they used Einkorn which seems determined to resist all efforts to make it rise, cooked it on flat stones (for eons before they invented iron pots) so they had no steam effect. That was fine for them because they are for survival and all they needed to do was to cook the grain so the nutrients could then become digestible by humans. I also found that I had to manipulate the baking temp, starting out very high (presumably to give the Einkorn some oomph to start rising) then lower it down at precisely the right time so it wouldn't burn. I did this because I was getting scorched loaves with raw interiors (no where near the optimum baking temperature in the center of the loaf) but now I have full baked loaves that neither look nor taste scorched. Its been a massive uphill challenge for me but now my family has a lovely gluten free bread that tastes good (I still have not been able to fin the words to properly describe the flavor of my Einkorn, suffice it to say that store bought or even restaurant bread now tastes bland to me, so its all been worth the effort). A very odd thing I noticed through this journey is that online videos I've seen of people making Einkorn bread show there toweringly tall incredibly airy loaves that got from dough kneaded into springy spheres that held their shape with no effort. I have no idea how they do that, I've never been able to replicate it and the lack of the characteristic yellow Einkorn tint (from the high beta carotene levels) makes me wonder if they are using conventional flour with just a dash of Einkorn thrown in or if there is any einkorn in them at all. My experiments continue, as this has turned into a permanent part of my family's lifestyle now.
Thank you, Bob, for sharing so generously from your experience. There is a lot to absorb in your words! It sounds, then, as though I have been heading down the correct pathway. :) Haven't yet tried baking in a Dutch oven as ours is in storage following a move, but looking forward to that.
On the rise -- how much do you look for? The standard line is, "once the dough has doubled in size," but do you find that accurate with einkorn? I've had some loaves fall. Thought perhaps the hydration was too high, but you have proved me wrong on that. I'm wondering if they might have been overproofed instead. Any thoughts?
Edited to add info from Mini Oven's link (below)....Aha! (the light bulb goes on, and thank you M.O.)
I switched to dutch oven baking because Einkorn was such a fussy dough that I could not get consistent results. I think that it must be handled very gently, this is just my opinion, I don;t have decades of experience so I'm still learning a lot on each bake (they didn't have baking classes in engineering school, now I wish that they did!) I have gone all the way up to 85% hydration and never had it fall on me (once I switch to dutch oven, to be precise). During bulk fermentation the dough will easily double in size, in fact it often triples, no I'm not worried about overdoing it, my loaves always come out good. then i retard in the fridge for a few days (yes days, anywhere from three to five days) and then when I bake I get decent oven spring. Getting oven spring was always a challenge for me with Einkorn but I've polished my process so well by now that I always get decent spring and the loaves are now coming out relatively light and airy and not so dense like they always did. I don't knead at all. My interpretation of No-Knead, is literally no knead. Its a soupy sticky mess to knead so I just don't do it. I mix using the Muffin Method and the moment that it all comes together I leave it alone. Seriously, just walk away. I am now incorporating some stretch and folds after retardation but I have done many great loaves with no kneading and no stretch and folds at any time in the process. What I do success is that you get the dough into the dutch of very gently, Einkorn is so weak that you will pop a lot of the bubbles that the yeast worked so hard to create and then you'll lose some oven spring. If you have an authentic pyrex casserole dish with lid you could try that until you get to your dutch oven. All my original loaves were in a small Pyrex and had to upgrade to a Le Creuset because I got enough rise to flatten the top of the bread. I have many more tips, too many in fact. Just be extremely gentle with it and hydrate as much as you can. Good luck.
Hi again, Bob --
I would love to have a look at your typical formula/recipe as a comparison. It seems you have hit the nail on the head!
Re: retarding in the fridge, are you typically doing sourdough? If not, I'm guessing you must be using a much-reduced amount of active or instant yeast? I've only tried a cool overnight retard with sourdough, and did not reap much of a rise...but I wasn't using a Dutch oven or similar either. Thanks for suggesting a Pyrex casserole with lid. I might find a thrifted one (as tall as possible) to make do until the dutch oven can be brought out of storage (of course that will involve first purchasing a house..... :)
Definitely with you on the weak structure of Einkorn, esp if it proofs too quickly.
Also relate to the engineer comment. We have one in the family who claims to be afraid of cooking. He nearly sent himself to the hospital with a lovely case of underdone chicken during the college years...but I do think if he could get over that scenario he would be quite the cook/baker.
Although my original intention was to make a classic sourdough, Einkorn proved to be such a handful that I'm still using yeast. I think that I will illuminate my entire process in a separate post, so i'll start looking for some photos. (Remind me in a week or so if I haven't posted anything.)
Basic No-Knead Einkorn Specifications
1% instant dry yeast
Follow the basic no-knead technique but after standing overnight on the counter place it in the fridge for three days.
Place on 500 degree F pre-heated dutch oven
In five minutes turn temp down to 450
Bake another 45 minute (for a total of 50 minutes baking time)
Let stand for at least an hour (it seems to me that Einkorn takes a lot longer to set).
That is the basic approach. I have lots of notes with many details but I don't know if they are specific to Einkorn or are what everyone else already knows and does for all bread.
I started with a 2 1/2 quart Pyrex and found it to be too small (I think that its mislabeled because my 2 1/2 quart Le Creuset seem significantly larger, so try to find a cheap 3 1/2 quart Pyrex for now to see if that works for you. It does work it just doesn't give as much rise or as crunchy a crust as cast iron does.
Notice that I do not take the lid off the dutch oven to crisp up the crust. Mrs Boule was having a tough time cutting through the crust so I now don't bother taking the lid off and she can cut through the crust without having to resort to the electric knife. This and maybe a hundred more tips are in my notes, which is why I don't know which are important to post and which are common knowledge. Another one is that I follow the rule of 240 which seems to result in a nicer crumb.
I also don't slash any more because I now get a nice craggy broken up crust naturally. I can't tell you which part of the technique resulted in that but everyone loves its naturally cracked crust and it saves me from embarrassment (I'm a terrible slasher).
Let me what other details I can help you with, I'm very happy to share with my Einkorn brethren.
Bob, I'm following most of what you outline here, but a couple questions: After retarding in the refrigerator, do you bring the dough up to room temp. before doing the stretch and folds? How many stretch and folds do you do, and how many minutes apart? Finally, after baking, you recommend letting the loaf rest an hour. Is this in the dutch oven, and with the lid on or off, and do you take the dutch oven out of the oven or let it rest in the oven as the oven cools? And am I reading this right: After mixing the dough, you leave it on the counter overnight, then retard in the fridge? My first bag of Einkorn is arriving this week. I've been researching this flour for a while now, and am very anxious to try it. You have saved me a whole year's worth of experimenting. Thank you so much.
I mix the dough and let it ferment overnight in a covered container overnight (12 to 18 hours)
I bring the dough up to room temperature (at least two hours in my case) after removing from the fridge.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F for 30 minutes (in my oven) with the dutch oven and its lid inside.
Putting the dough into the screaming hot dutch oven is challenging for me because its either runny like thick oatmeal or sticky like thick glue or a bit of both, depending on hydration percentage.
Three days in the fridge, retarding in a covered container.
I don't stretch and fold, this stuff is like thick oatmeal and I can't make it behave like a regular dough. Back when I did stretch and fold it would tighten up like a rubber ball quickly, I would then let it rest and a few minutes it would be like a runny slurry and nearly ooze off the board (and nearly onto the floor) so I stopped doing stretch and folds.
I do use a dutch oven, 50 minutes lid on then 10 more minutes lid off (my dough is 1 kilogram before baking) and I do let it rest an hour (after making sure that its finished temperature is at least 200 degrees F).
Once baked I remove it from the dutch oven and let it rest in open air on a wire rack.
Good luck, keep experimenting until you find the formula and technique that works best for you.
Bob Boule and Mimi Oven, thanks for your posts on experience with Einkorn baking. I have been experimenting with sourdough exclusively (Einkorn or spelt starter or a mix based on what I've been baking recently.) Having bought a Mockmill grain mill, I invested in Einkorn berries. My goal has been to make 100% whole grain Einkorn sourdough loaves. I bake it in a Hartstone loaf pan, which provides some structure. Apologies that I am too lazy to measure and record hydration levels. I did take precise weight measures the first few times I baked, but now just go by "feel." I'm still experimenting!
The dough can appear to be firm but then when trying to form it for a loaf, it rebels and just flops all over my hand. Like you mentioned, Bob, it spreads all over the bread board given the chance. I gave up on kneading it early on since that only seemed to encourage it to become more sticky. I almost gave up completely because the clean up was so messy, but we enjoy the flavor of the sourdough Einkorn so much I kept going. I did a few spelt loaves in between to give myself a break.
My husband and I eliminate salt and oil from our diets for health reasons, so I make the loaf from just flour and water. The sourdough starter provides so much flavor that we don't miss the salt. I just have to test it to avoid overproofing. That seems to result in the best oven spring.
After fermenting the dough, I put it into a loaf-shaped couche with a linen liner, into which I have sprinkled some brown rice flour, which is slow to absorb liquids. This helps me tilt it out into the hot pan when ready to bake.
Like you, Bob, I heat the oven up to 450 degrees, putting 2 Hartstone loaf pans inside. When I'm ready to bake, I take one pan out, dust it with a bit of rice flour or corn meal to prevent sticking, and get the dough into the loaf pan. I slash the loaf horizontally along each long side to help guide the oven spring. With the dough in the oven, I cover it with the other Hartstone pan inverted on top to mimic a Dutch oven, then lower the temp to 425 degrees. Depending on the loaf size, I bake it for 30 minutes, remove the top pan, then bake uncovered for 10 more minutes. If the loaf measures 200 degrees internally when I take it out, it's done. If not, it goes back in for 5-10 more minutes depending on what the temp showed. I let it rest outside the loaf pan on a rack. If I remember, I wrap it in a tea towel to soften the crust a bit for future slicing.
Tonight's experiment is to do an autolyse of all the flour and water. In the morning, I will add the starter. This is following the technique of Trevor J. Wilson. However, he does not bake with 100% whole grain flour, never mind Einkorn, preferring to incorporate some AP flour to get a lighter loaf. (At least, I have not read any posts by him indicating he has tried 100% Einkorn.) I will likely have to do some modifications due to the nature and properties of Einkorn whole grain flour. For example, I will omit the stretch and folds or any kneading.
For shaping, I will try to get the dough into a ball, lightly dust it with more flour, and attempt to scrape it up and flop it into the lined couche. It's vital to work very fast and not add too much flour, which only leads to more of a mess. We'll see how it goes! I used to try to shape it conventionally for a loaf, but was unsuccessful. It seems that if I can just get the dough into the couche, it will expand to fill up the loaf shape. I generally put this in the fridge overnight or for 4-6 hours, then bring it to room temp for a few hours before baking.
I keep experimenting with amounts of water and flour. I will try to document this better in the future. For now, each loaf has been quite different, yet we've never been disappointed with the results. I think I'm getting better at achieving a decent crumb, and the oven rise is satisfactory to me. It still produces a "dense" loaf but I like having a substantial texture. It's not raw or gummy at all inside as long as the internal temp has reached 200 degrees. I do wait several hours or overnight before slicing.
I should mention that the original recipe I used came from Wardee Harmon for Artisan No-Knead Sourdough Einkorn Bread. Her tip for getting a good rise is to incorporate a small amount of baking soda in the last rise before baking. I tried that in the beginning but no longer feel I need to use it to get a good crumb.
Oops; I meant to type Mini Oven.
Job well done! I'm now convinced that Einkorn is the greatest challenge that a baker can ever face! LOL
I did think of experimenting with Baking Soda (sodium hydrogen carbonate) a few years ago but stopped using it because sodium hydrogen carbonate is a salt and I was trying to manage salt intake. It also adds a weird taste that I can do without.
Do post pictures please, I'd love to see your results!
seeds or chopped nuts (nut flour?) might also be a choice. Spread seeds out on a towel, place dough in line or lump and roll the spooned on dough by lifting the edges of the cloth, when coated, place on parchment or drop into a cold tin or pre-soaked clay baker. Then transfer to the oven.
The parchment can even be loosely rolled around the dough or corners of the parchment crimped, twisted or stapled. Dough is easily moved using a peel, cardboard or rimless cookie sheet into the oven.
Thank you, will have to look out for Grünkern haven't seen it, what's it like?
I was really impressed with the dough, but only used about a quarter Einkorn to strong white bread flour.
It's rare that i'd just use a flour like that by itself.
= green kernel is unripe, roasted spelt. It has a nice, nutty flavor and is well known in Germany. I brought some home from my trip to Hamburg, but here in the US you can buy it online from a German specialty foods store. I will bake something with Grünkern and post about it.
I will have to look for whole grain einkorn. Your bread has a lovely color and its sounds delicious. My one experience with einkorn was with an all purpose flour and I am curious to try the whole grain.
success with higher hydrations. !00% Whole Einkorn flour. I would not follow a recipe with low hydration because of the added bran and more absorbent bits. I found that there seems to be a high ash content (high fibre too) that can take a lot of SD abuse. After a long ferment, if the dough is wet enough, it can be stirred to stimulate yeast and distribute the sticky goo (?) and dumped into a form. Would like to know what makes Einkorn dough so sticky. Anyone know the specifics?
Just found that there are differences between Einkorn flour and Whole Einkorn flour.... Logical!
Check out this site, and note the third dotted "guide."
I know that I've been using Whole Einkorn flour and will make corrections to my Einkorn entries as best I can.
I've read through most of the posts in this thread and find a lot of the comments very interesting and germane to my experience. I have a lot of gluten intolerant family and friends, so when I started my "COVID-19 baking journey" (suddenly designated a permanent Work-From-Home employee) this year, I quickly gravitated to using Einkorn flour.
Given I didn't know what I didn't know, I tried using a sourdough recipe meant for wheat flour, and produced what amounted to bricks. After lots of experimentation using 50/50 Wheat/Einkorn mixes and 40/60 Dark Rye/Einkorn mixes, I recently tried baking an all Einkorn loaf. The good news is, wow, amazing bread.
The secret, at least with my starter, is to do the starter/water/flour ratios by volume, where I use 2/3 cup starter, 2 cups water, and roughly 5.5 cups flour; the result is a dough which rises well, and gets nice and sour (especially if I do the first proof in the refrigerator for four or five days). And like others here, I use a Dutch Oven for the baking.
Feel free to ask for any suggestions as I've gotten pretty familiar with Einkorn (I use the Jovial brand) baking over the last eight months.
Sure would be nice to see those cups in weights. Do you happen to have a scale?
Yes, I can weigh a cup of Einkorn; I'll probably get back to you tomorrow.
Okay, I got a chance to weigh the one cup measure of Einkorn flour:
The weight of water is:
A recent all Einkorn loaf.