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.
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?