The Fresh Loaf

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50% Einkorn

tpassin's picture

50% Einkorn

After trying my hand at a 50% spelt loaf - see

I made a similar loaf with 50% einkorn flour. The stone-ground flour comes from a local restored water mill.  I've read a lot, mainly on this site, about how einkorn flour is runny and sticky and won't hold its shape.  E.g.,

I did recently make a loaf of mostly einkorn that I had to bake in a loaf pan - it had a very fine taste -  and I wondered if I could make a 50-50 formula hold a shape better.  I have also read that you won't really taste the einkorn difference until you get to a much higher percentage of einkorn flour.

The formula and procedure were nearly the same as for the 50% spelt loaf, with one exception I'll talk about in a minute.

220g sifted einkorn (Locke's mill)
all the soaker
200g white flour
150g white sourdough starter
270g water
10g salt

I increased the salt from 9g to 10g in the hope of strengthening the gluten.  My kitchen sifter sifted out about 7% of the flour weight, the same as for the spelt flour from the other post.  I poured 150% of the weight of the bran in boiling water to make a soaker, which I added back during initial kneading.

The big difference with the spelt loaf was that I didn't use bread flour for the 50% white component  By a mental lapse, I started adding all purpose flour, and only realized when I had put in 150g of the planned 200g. The remaining 50g was King Arthur bread flour, and I added another 10g for good measure.

Otherwise, the dough and its development went almost exactly like it did with the 50% spelt loaf.  I did proof it about an hour longer (I was out on a visit to a local farm market), and the bulk ferment volume had tripled.  Nothing wrong with the rising ability!  Overall, I did two stretch-and-fold sessions as for the spelt loaf.

Now for the shaping - gulp - the dough was pretty extensible and sure enough, didn't want to hold its form.  I rolled it and re-rolled it about 4 times and finally got to a point where I thought there might be some chance for a free-standing proof.  If it didn't work out, I figured I would convert the loaf to a pan loaf.

After 45 minutes, the loaf was proofed enough but it had spread out a lot sideways.  I suppose that was to be expected.  I thought it could make a successful bake anyway, so I went ahead and slashed it and baked with steam.  It baked to an internal temperature of 208° F in 30 minutes at 410° F.

You can see from the pictures that although the loaf did end up very wide, it rose decently and the crumb is quite open for this kind of flour.  I think this bread would work well in a pain rustique form factor.

The flavor?  It was very pleasant, but I thought the distinct einkorn taste was not very prominent.  This fits in with other's remarks that a higher percentage of einkorn is needed to let its distinctive flavor come forward.


Abe's picture

The height of your loaf is to be expected being 50% wholegrain einkorn. But for a 50% wholegrain einkorn the crumb is excellent! The more you knead einkorn the stickier it gets. On the packet of einkorn flour (11% protein) I buy it comes with the advice to not overwork the dough as the gluten is weak. When I make 100% einkorn i'll make it 70% hydration, mix it till the dough is formed then bulk ferment till well risen and it has become spongy. Then i'll portion it out into a loaf pan and final proof till holes begin to appear on top of the dough just like a rye. This is a local einkorn mind you so i'm not sure if your flour will behave in the exact same way. If you try it let me know. 

P.s. I did try Tartine's Country Loaf with this Einkorn as the wholegrain flour and even at just 20% the flavour was excellent. 

tpassin's picture

Hi, Abe.  The way you describe working with 100% einkorn is pretty much the same as I pictured myself doing it.  As for getting sticky with more kneading, that's not what I experienced.  All I noticed was an increase in extensibility.  But then I do very little kneading when I can avoid it.  I rely more on time and gentle stretching.

I don't know anything about the source of einkorn berries that my local mill grinds.  The day I visited, the staffers didn't know either.  The mill is Locke's Mill:

They have most of the interesting grains (in small bags) and they can ship.  The flours include durum, rye, einkorn, spelt, emmer, kamut, and malted barley.  The mill is located in Northwestern Virginia, in case that would be convenient for anyone. (I'm not affiliated in any way, but some of these flours are inconvenient to get).