The Fresh Loaf

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Grano Arso, “burnt wheat flour”

JustJoel's picture

Grano Arso, “burnt wheat flour”

In the course of my research into all things yeasty, I’ve come across a few references for grano arso, literally translated as “burnt wheat.” I’ve found a few recipes that use grano arso, but they’re all for pasta, and I don’t do pasta. Yet. 

I found a couple of articles about pizza with grano arso, but no recipe, or even a hint about how to “burn” the flour, or how much to incorporate into the dough.

The whole idea intrigues me! It looks to be a unique way to add a smoky, nutty flavor to otherwise standard dough. It’s just that the information about it seems to be sparse.

Do any of you have any experience using grano arso? Or a link to anything that can inform and instruct me? My google searches haven’t yielded any great results. And the chat rep at King Arthur Flour doesn't know jack about burning flour (although she was very helpful with another question I had).

I have a sneaky feeling that this may be the next fad in bread making. I wanna be in on it!

breadforfun's picture

I also came across an article in the past few weeks that rekindled my interest in grano arso. I tasted it several years ago in Puglia where the (possibly apocryphal) story was that after the landowners harvested their wheat and grains, they torched the fields prior to digging in the plants to prepare for the next season. The poor people who worked the land (call them peons, serfs, slaves) would retrieve any of the remaining burned grains for food, and established a taste for them as part of their "cucina povera," or poor-people cuisine. We had it in pasta, mostly, and in pizza one time. I brought some home to use in pasta, and the flavors truly enhance the dishes. Interestingly, the pizza maker recommended a lighter style with a simple Bechamel-like sauce over which they put a small amount of a balsamic reduction - the sweet-sour brought out the subtle flavor of the burnt wheat where a big, tomato-rich sauce would have covered it up.

Enough of an introduction. As I said, your timing is good, because after reading the recent article I tried last week again to make bread. I am in the throes of writing a post about it and hope to have it done soon.  Sorry for the teaser, but stay tuned.



Edit: My post is done and can be found here.

Alex Bois's picture
Alex Bois

If you can find unmalted barley with the hulls intact, it makes an amazing, flavorful flour when burned and finely ground. A very good substitute (or improvement IMO) to the commonly available grano arso flour.

trailrunner's picture

you are referring to ?

it isn't common to see it with the hulls intact. Bob's Red Mill has no hulls. What is the difference in the taste/technique etc if one uses the hull free barley for burned flour ?  I am very intrigued by this whole process. Thank you c