Bread Using Whole Grain Emmer Flour in place of whole wheat flour

Emmer is an ancient wheat that has been largely replaced by other varieties of wheat which are easier to grow and have a higher yield.  You protein oriented types will be happy to know that Emmer has a higher protein content than more common wheat flours.  However, Peter Reinhart in his Whole Grain Breads book (2007, page 49) noted that it has a low-quality gluten and a higher-quality gluten is better for breads.

Because I had just received a package of Emmer flour from Bluebird Grain Farms, I wanted to try it out. How could I not want to try an ancient flour!? Their website assures us that Emmer flour can be used as any other wheat flour.

To make today’s bread I followed the Whole Wheat Harvest Bread recipe from http://breadmakingblog.breadexperience.com/2011/01/celebrate-national-wheat-bread-month.html, except that instead of using whole wheat bread flour, I used whole grain Emmer flour.  With Reinhart’s comment in mind, I also replaced 2 tablespoons of Emmer flour with gluten flour.  I don’t know if this was necessary, but I thought it couldn’t hurt.  And, as far as I can, tell it worked out okay.

Another change I made was in the first rise time.  As I said before, one of the challenges many of us have in bread baking is fitting it into our daily lives.  Letting the dough rise in the refrigerator overnight gave me the flexibility I needed in order to have the time for baking.

Bread Experience Recipe                             My Changes

2 cups whole wheat bread flour                     2 cups minus 2 Tbl whole grain Emmer flour

2 Tbl gluten flour

First rise: 1 hour                                                First rise: overnight in the refrigerator

Results: An excellent bread.  Light texture with a pleasant taste.  The crust was a bit crunchy because I think I baked it too long.  My home oven’s thermostat isn’t very accurate, but I didn’t want to open the oven and let the heat out.  Next time, I’ll just open the oven!  In the end, however, the crunchy crust may have just added to the sensory experience, much as that from good French bread.

 

Bread Using Whole Grain Emmer Flour

Bread Using Whole Grain Emmer Flour

If you’ve tried baking with Emmer flour:

what results did you get; and

what, if any, changes did you make compared to if you’d used a whole wheat flour?

Enjoy!

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4 Responses to Bread Using Whole Grain Emmer Flour in place of whole wheat flour

  1. Michael Simone says:

    Just made it yesterday. 500 grams of emmer (farro) that I ground yesterday AM. I always use vital gluten (not gluten) and a bit of ascorbic acid as a dough conditioner. Salt, and for I oil I used roasted walnut oil though you could use anything. Agave syrup to sweeten.

    This is a very long rise. It barely rose to double in six hours at elevated room temp. The second rise I did in the fridge overnight. It did turn dark; and when I toasted it earlier today it got dark. Don’t know if that characterizes the wheat, or if it’s the agave syrup I used to sweeten it. But since I always use agave, I suspect this wheat tends toward darkening.

    I used a bread pan. Very tasty and light. I think if my dough had been stickier it would have been even lighter.

    • Pamela says:

      Your bread sounds wonderful and your use of roasted walnut oil intriguing. Why did you use this oil – for flavor or for some other benefit?

      I also have been using vital gluten flour, but didn’t realize there was a difference between it and gluten flour. Do you know how each would affect the results differently?

  2. Harriet says:

    I can’t seem to find Emmer Flour at retail. None of the stores near me carry it.

    Is there a good substitute? If there is, would I use the same measure as I would for Emmer Flour?

    • Pamela says:

      Hi, Harriet –
      I’m so glad you want to try Emmer flour. It is a delight in many ways. I wassn’t able to find it in the supermarket either, so I ordered it through Bluebird Grain Farms in Washington state. If you click on their name in the right-hand column in this blog you will automatically go to their web site. What we do seem to have quite a bit of around here is Spelt flour. It’s also a good alternative to wheat flours. You should be able to find it in your larger grocery stores.
      Besides taste, there are many good reasons to try these older grains. Good luck in your baking!

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