Dr Bob performed a mash up between Jim Lahey’s No Knead Bread, Serious Eats The Food Lab: The Science of No-Knead Dough and the Jovial Einkorn recipes, along with his own techniques to create a home made, artisan loaf of bread that has all the nutritional health benefits of Einkorn combined with the taste, texture and appearance of traditional artisan breads that are now making a comeback. Here is the tale of how that union came to be.
This is the story of my experience, jump to the end of this post if you’re already familiar with all the background information about Einkorn’s idiosyncrasies and just want to get right to the recipe.
March 2014 Dr Bob- I love bread but it was too difficult to maintain the optimum level of health that I worked so hard to achieve so I gave it up. It wasn’t easy and I missed it so much. It wasn’t until Dr Oz introduced the book Wheat Belly on his show that I understood that the problem with the bread (and my much beloved pasta) was not “carbs” but rather the specific type of wheat that is in widespread use in the US.
This “dwarf wheat“, as its commonly known, had been hybridized for commercial purposes but the result of that is an undesired side effect on our weight gain and addiction to the sugars that this wheat produces so much of. Unfortunately our entire wheat supply in the U.S. is all dwarf wheat so there is no escaping it in bread, cakes, pancakes, bagels or pasta.
Health food stores do carry alternatives to (dwarf) wheat, which I do use, but I still would like to enjoy the occasional slice of bread with my dinner, that actually tasted and felt like bread. Substitutes feel and taste unnatural and are hard to work with, so their products are not generally acceptable by the average person. The awakening to Einkorn wheat (Triticum monococcum) was startling and I hope that by now you have read the book Wheat Belly just so you can understand the massive impact that this innocent grain has on our society and that for many of us there can be a simple solution to the wheat belly problem, which is to go back to the original, un-hydridized, ancient wheat known as Einkorn, that all other wheats hybridized from.
According to Wheat Belly, Einkhorn is not addictive, has more nutrients than dwarf wheat and is acceptable in healthy diets. Its the only wheat which is not hybridized and not GMO. Although some folds will argue that hybridized grains should not be lumped in with GMO grains, but its pretty obvious that the negative health impact of hybridized wheat illustrated in Wheat Belly essentially and functionally is the same to us as GMO products. Both are undesirable so the obvious and logical choice is to go with the only safe alternative. Einkorn
Einkorn also is far higher in nutrients than any other wheat I have ever seen, I’ll include the nutrition information in this page.
I thought that the search was over once I learned about the existence of Einkorn, but like most of life’s convoluted journeys, this was only the beginning for me. It turned out that there were no Einkorn based products on the shelves in US stores because this ancient grain yields less than half the grain that hybridized wheat produces, our profit centered society has completely abandoned this healthy, non-addictive grain.
The solution was obvious, learn to bake bread. I knew this would be no trivial task for me, I had never learned to bake so I envisioned a huge daunting task. Fortunately I always do very thorough research when delving into a new subject area and I got lucky this time, I stumbled onto Jim Lahey’s No Knead Bread recipe which completely changed the possibility of baking my own bread from iffy to highly likely.
Jim’s recipe has taken the Internet by storm and is so successful that many folks have taken ownership of his recipe because of its simple technique and extraordinary success. It requires no kneading and when interviewed, Jim commented that a six year old child could make this bread. This was at a level I thought I could handle.
So now that I had the technique, I just needed some Einkorn flour and I was happy to find that Jovial Foods offers organic Einkorn flour so I ordered a package and studied the recipe one last time so I could get started the next day.
True to what everyone had said on the Internet, this technique is super simple, truly requires no kneading and it really is simple to understand. Just mix the basic ingredients in a bowl, flour; water; salt; yeast, then stir, cover the bowl, let stand overnight, coat with flour then put into a screaming hot cast iron pot, put the lid on and place in a preheated 450-500 degree oven for 40 minutes.
Yes, that really is all there is to it and if you use the typical hybridized wheat flour I’m sure that it world perfectly well, so I gave it a shot.
My experience was a little different than what everyone else was reporting. I was stunned to find that the dough was extremely wet and sticky when I tried to get it out of the bowl it was a gooey mess that I could not work onto a nice ball, it just stuck to my hands and started to ooze onto my counter. I quickly threw the whole mess into the screaming hot vessel (I used a clear Pyrex casserole dish because I did not want to buy a cast iron pot and lid), put the clear lid on it and quickly put it into the oven.
Much to my surprise, 40 minutes later I had a half decent loaf coming out of the oven, for which I was grateful because the aroma of the freshly baking bread was excruciatingly delightful torture. I had a completely edible loaf of bread which actually looked rustic and tasted good, with a light nutty flavor. It was quite dense and did not rise as much as I expected, so it was time to do more research.
What I discovered was that Einkorn does not accept anywhere near as much water as hybridized dwarf wheat needs to make a loaf, Ok now I knew that I had to adjust the water to flour ratio. Also of interest was that wet doughs make better crusts so thats why the crust came out so nice.
Einkorn is always super sticky so just be sure that you flour your hands before handling or use alternative techniques (olive oil on hands, using nitrile gloves, etc.)
This is when I realized that Jovial Foods had a recipe for Einkorn bread and that the flour component had been increased rather significantly with respect to the water.
Switching to regular yeast instead of rapid rise/instant/bread machine yeast, I baked a second loaf, letting it stand a full 24 hours (purely for my convenience) and it smelled wonderful, the aromas of the fermentation were awesome once I uncovered the saran wrap (I like peeking in that the dough’s progress and tea towels are opaque). This time the dough was more manageable and I could lift each of the four corners and fold it over, as Jim suggests, but it was still too wet for me to smooth it into a ball and it started oozing across my cutting board so I dusted it with flour, quickly tilted it into the preheated pyrex and gave the top another dusting.
Using my sharpest serrated knife I cut the traditional San Francisco pattern onto the top of the dough, seeing as how I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, covered it and gently placed it in the oven.
I had read that rough handling could deflate the tiny CO2 bubbles that the yeast worked so tirelessly to create, thus reducing how much the loaf would rise, and the clams that cutting the top would allow for better expansion as the steam built up sounded logical to me so I was sure to try that to see if it would affect my rise.
The second loaf was even more spectacular than the first, it rose well, giving a nice domed shape. It looked truly hand crafted, artisan and the cuts across the top made it look even better (OK so I didn’t cut all slashes deep enough but it still looked good to me). I let it stand for 30 minutes and it rewarded me with a nicely developed crust once I cut into this beauty. I almost didn’t but it at all, wanting to just look at this beautiful creation I had made but my inner beast wanted satisfaction and so I sacrificed my beauty for the needs of my body.
As is evident in the photo, I threw a lot of flour onto the loaf because I was trying to get it into the 50 degree casserole dish before it oozed out between my fingers, it was a bit too much flour but the good news is that it dusted off just fine, leaving a perfectly rustic artisan loaf.
This was a very satisfying experience but I know that I have just a bit more to go. Each slice felt incredibly heavy, The center of the slices seems a bit moist, they look completely baked but did not have exactly the same springy nature as the rest of the bread so I suspect that it needs more baking time or a bit more flour, or both.
Even the crumb looked quite good with nice, irregular, random holes. With the natural earthy color the Einkorn brings to the party, each slice looked quite artisan and smelled wonderful. This is no bleached white, limp, gassy, insubstantial, wimpy mass manufactured bread, Einkorn bread is the real deal, this is a bread that my grandparents would have enjoyed.
This is no ordinary bread, it feels good to eat it and does not gee me any of that empty feeling that used to cause me to rep gig back to the kitchen for more and more bread. This bread is completely satisfying and with a tiny tweak I’ll be ready to share my final recipe with you, so you too can enjoy this amazing experience.
23 April 2014 This is an ongoing experiment. I’ll be updating it as each successive experiment has been completed. There are several techniques and variations worth loping into that are coming up.
All the recipes I experimented with were performed using Jovial Foods Einkorn flour which I found to be consistently good, with excellent flavor.
My most recent loaves are just awesome. Everyone that has seen them enjoys the hand crafted rustic arisen look and is thrilled with the flavor profile which just makes eating such a healthy loaf of bread extraordinarily enjoyable.
See for yourself:
Here is the recipe that made this exact loaf:
- Einkorn Flour: 600 grams
- Water: 410 grams
- Salt: 1 1/2 teaspoons
- Yeast: 1 teaspoon
- Mix all ingredients into an 8 cup Pyrex measuring cup until just barely mixed together
- Put cover on Pyrex
- Let stand on counter overnight at room temperature, away from direct sunlight (cover with cloth if necessary).
- Move to refrigerator for three days
- At the end of the three days, preheat Le Creuset in oven for an hour at 500 degrees (with the cover off but in the oven)
- When preheat has been completed, dust cornmeal lightly onto clean work surface (cutting board or counter)
- Remove dough from refrigerator, scrape out gently with a plastic bowl scraper, onto the cornmeal dusted work surface
- Allow to come up to room temperature, approximately two hours
- Gently roll the dough around the board until it is covered in cornmeal and is roughy a round shape
- Roll the dough onto a clean tea towel and cover it with tea towel
- Open the oven and slide out the shelf that the Le Creuset is on
- Slash the dough with a very sharp knife
- Place your hand on top of the dough and flip it over onto your hand
- Uncover the dough
- Extremely carefully place the dough into the hot Le Creuset (flipping it back, so the slashes are right side up) (ti might be easier it you use a towel to do the transfer).
- Use an oven mitt and put the cover on the Le Creuset, slide the shelf back in and close the oven door
- Start timer for 30 minutes
- When timer expires remove lid and close oven
- Start timer for 10 minutes
- When timer expires use oven mitts to remove the Le Creuset from oven and place on one of the stove's burners
- Check the temperature, make sure that it's between 200 and 211 degrees F, if not put it bake to bake a little longer (if you have scorching or other problems, then try my other recipe).
- Carefully tilt the bread out onto a wire rack when its reached the target temperature
- Let bread cool for an hour (preferably two) to finish setting internally
- Einkorn dough does not accept water very well, although this is only a 68% hydration dough, it will be loose and challenging to handle for a newcomer this is normal for Einkorn but easily mastered quickly.
- When transferring from the fermentation vessel in the refrigerator to the work surface, be gentle, you don't want to damage all that wonderful structure that took three days to develop. It will be sticky and gooey, this is normal.
- Rolling the dough on the cornmeal coated work surface will temporarily tighten it up. It will never get as firm as conventional dough and it will relax into an ooze very quickly, this is normally for Einkorn, be gentle but don't dawdle,
- Get the cornmeal rolled dough into the Le Creuset Dutch Oven (or whatever you're using) quickly, at room temperature the Einkorn dough will loosen up and get hard to lift in one piece all by itself.
- If the dough does get too loose and droops or oozes before getting it into the oven, don't give up, just get it into the oven anyway, you might be surprised at how nice a loaf you'll get anyway.
- If possible don't drop the dough into the Dutch Oven, to avoid breaking up the delicate structure.
- Of course, the safety of your hands when working in the hot oven and the hot Dutch Oven is paramount so be careful and practice your movements ahead of time, just to increase your safety factor.
December 2014 Update
Its been 9 months of experimentation and it finally dawned on me that the style of bread making that I naturally gravitated towards is called “Pan De Agua” in the Caribbean, where my grandparents parents were from. Literally meaning Water Bread, this bread is essentially a lighter crispier version of a classic french bread. They also had another bread that was the other staple in their region which is known as “Pan De Manteca”, literally Bread with fat. In this case fat actually means olive oil and this is their variation of what is commonly known as Italian Bread.
The realization that came to me was that I was making French bread but Einkorn just doesn’t have gluten which is necessary to get a very high rise. My experiments with very high hydration (from 55% to 85%) resulted in loaves that just would not rise any more regardless of how much water was in it, so the classic French method of making a light fluffy loaf just would not work so I embarked on switching to my grandparents’ classic Pan De Manteca recipe and much to my surprise the loaf came out even better.
Essentially the difference is that I’m adding 60 grams of high grade olive oil, that makes all the difference in the world. The crust is lighter and easier to cut through (home made artisan breads can have very tough crusts, and mine was so tough that I recorded to using an electric knife, plus the lighter crust makes it easier for the kids to eat) and it rises even better than before. Keep in mind that this is 100% Einkorn with no other flours mixed in, I’ve never seen any other Einkorn loaves anywhere on the Internet rise as much as this one so I’m hoping I’m on the right track here.
An interesting, if obvious, observation was that after allowing the dough to develop its sourdough flavor in the refrigerator for three days, I used to just place it into the screaming hot Dutch Oven, but I would get very slightly undercooked loaves and they would scorch if I baked them longer. What I do now is to remove the dough from the refrigerator, transfer it into any stainless steel vessel (oiled with olive oil) and allow it to warm up to room temperature (it currently is winter and that is taking more than two hours), checking it with a thermometer every half hour or so.
You can place the dough onto a floured towel and pick up the towel to transfer it to the Dutch Oven or you can just use a bowl scraper to scrape it out of the stainless vessel as you gently pour it into the Dutch Oven.
Start the oven (preheated) at 500 degrees F and drop to 450 degrees F when you place the dough into the oven and bake for 55 minutes with the lid on the entire time. Yes I know that’s is different from the classic no knead recipes, if I take the lid off the crust gets too tough to cut, so it stays on and if I leave it at 500 it tends to scorch. The 500 degree initial temp seems to give a good oven spring and I suspect that I probably could leave it at 500 now that I’m allowing he dough to come up to room temperature.
I found that transferring the dough to the screaming hot dutch oven is easier for me if I place an oiled silicone baking mat into the dutch oven (vertically) so the dough doesn’t touch the sides of the oven and just slides right into place slowly.
To make sure that your loaf is fully cooked, check the center with a thermometer and try to get as close to 211 degrees F as possible (anything above 205 degrees F seems to result in a fully baked loaf). When I pulled the loaves at 190 or 195 degrees , they all had a bit of gooeyness so they were underdone. Waiting until its at least 205 dehires F has worked perfectly for me every time. The theoretical maximum is 211 degrees so if you get there, pull the load out before you begin to scotch or burn the bottom. Everyone who has tried this version has really liked it and if you’re gluten sensitive or a Celiac then from what I’ve read online, this is the bread for you.
I’ll keep experimenting, of course, so stay tuned for future updates.
- Einkorn Flour: 600 grams
- Water: 410 grams
- Olive Oil: 60 grams
- Salt: 1 1/2 teaspoons
- Yeast: 1 teaspoon
- Mix all ingredients into an 8 cup Pyrex measuring cup (or a similar covered vessel) until just barely mixed together
- Put cover on Pyrex
- Let stand on counter overnight (12 to 18 hours) at room temperature, away from direct sunlight (cover with cloth if necessary).
- Move to refrigerator for three days
- Preheat oven to 500 degrees F, with empty Dutch Oven (and its lid) inside
- Remove dough from refrigerator allow to warm up to room temp (at least 2 hours)
- Gently pour/scrape dough into hot Dutch Oven and cover immediately, close oven
- Turn temp down 450 degrees F
- Bake 55 minutes or until the internal temperature of the bread reaches 210 degrees F (anything above 205 degrees seems to be fine but don't go below that.
- Cool on rack for at least an hour before cutting.
- Einkorn dough does not accept water very well, although this is only a 78% hydration dough, it will be loose and challenging to handle for a newcomer this is normal for Einkorn but easily mastered.
- When transferring from the fermentation vessel (the 8 cup Pyrex) in the refrigerator to the work surface, be gentle, you don't want to damage all that wonderful structure that took three days to develop. It will be sticky and gooey, this is normal.
Dr Bob’s Olive and Herb-De-Provence Einkorn Bread
If you’d like a nice variation to, or are just a fan of olive bread, try this out. Simply start with Dr Bob’s Pan De Manteca No-Knead Einkorn Bread (above) and add:
Herbs de Provence 2 teaspoons (dry. If you use fresh you should reduce by at least half because they are stronger)
Olives (a variety of good ones) 56 grams
Thats it! Obviously you want seeded olives, they are not easy to deseed yourself, then halve or quarter them (depending on how hearty you want them to feel in your mouth. Get the Herbs de Provence from a good high quality provider, you want the best possible flavor from them so also make sure that it contains Lavender to give it that extra special something extra that your friends and family will love.
I do not change the salt level in this recipe. many people do for traditional olive bread because the olives can be so salty but Einkorn really takes well to salt, and really needs it anyway. You’ll adjust say and herb levels to your family’s taste, over time, anyway so only worry about it.
If you want to make an Herb De Provence bread (i.e. without olives) just leave out the olives and increase the herbs a lot. Its a completely different flavor profile without the olives so you will have to put a lot more herbs in it. I plan on starting with a half cup of the herbs and would not be surprised if it took as much as one and a half cups (Einkorn has a distinct flavor profile and my recipe is essentially an easy way to make a sourdough, which adds more flavor, so I suspect that it needs more herbs than a bland dwarf wheat loaf would need.
This recipe turned out to to be my family’s favorite and is so yummy that it disappears as as quickly as I slice it. Its one of those foods that everyone thinks should be classified as its own food group, its that satisfying.
Latest Nutritional Information
Einkorn has significantly better nutrition than any other wheat but is relatively unknown in the US so there is little documentation for it. Here are the latest studies I could find to fill in our knowledge gap.
|Vitamins & Minerals|
|Carotene, beta (μg)||19|
|Carotene, alpha (μg)||53|
|Vitamin A (IU)||312|
|Lutein +zeaxanthin (μg)||769|
Einkorn has natural resistance to disease that is threatening the world’s wheat crops
Lack of intestinal mucosal toxicity of Triticum monococcum in celiac disease patients , Daniela Pizzuti, Department of Surgical and Gastroenterological Sciences, Via Giustiniani 2, IT-35128, Padua, Italy, Objective. The treatment of celiac disease is based on lifelong withdrawal of foods containing gluten. Unfortunately, compliance with a gluten-free diet is difficult mainly due to its low palatability. In evolutionary terms, Triticum monococcum is the most primitive cultivated wheat. Conclusions. Data show a lack of toxicity of T. monococcum gliadin in an in vitro organ culture system, suggesting new dietary opportunities for celiac patients to safely eat einkorn. Alternative Wheat Cereals as Food Grains: Einkorn, Emmer, Spelt, Kamut, and Triticale G.F. Stallknecht, K.M. Gilbertson, and J.E. Ranney