Breads with Heritage Flours: Emmer Flour and Mesquite Flour

Comparison of whole grain breads with & without Mesquite flour

Comparison of whole grain breads with & without Mesquite flour

I have just discovered Mesquite Meal (aka Mesquite flour) which Indians in the American Southwest used in their breads.  In a quick trip to southern Arizona this past week we stopped at the Casa Grande Archaeological Site between Tucson and Phoenix. The shop there sold 4 oz size packets of Mesquite Meal. Mesquite Meal is made from the beans of the Mesquite tree.  Yes, the same tree that produces the wood people use in barbequing to get that special mesquite flavor in their meats.  Mesquite flour apparently is packed with nutrients and is especially good for diabetics.  A traditional, heritage, flour and highly nutritious, what’s not to try?  So, I bought 2 packets [4 oz isn’t very much flour] at $6.50 per packet.

I decided to use Father Dominic’s Basic Whole Wheat Bread recipe from his book Breaking Bread with Father Dominic (by Father Dominic Garramone, OSB), page 18.  The recipe produces two loaves, perfect for me since I wanted to do a comparison between breads with and without Mesquite flour.

Father Dominic’s recipe                                       My Changes

 3 to 3 1/2 cups Hodgson Mill Best                         Divide dough in half,

for Bread Flour                                                           use 1 1/2 cups Emmer Flour in first

half; and

1 cup Emmer Flour plus ½ cup

Mesquite Flour in second half

Although both rose beautifully before baking somehow during the baking process they dropped.  Not bad, but why? What caused them to “deflate”?  Any ideas?

I baked one (the non-Mesquite bread) in a loaf pan and the other (the Mesquite bread) as a round in order to be able to tell them apart after baking.  However, as you can see from the pictures, I needn’t have done this since the Mesquite loaf turned much darker than the straight whole wheat and Emmer loaf.

The result was a nice hardy, dense, whole grain bread.  There is a hint of another flavor, but probably using ½ cup of Mesquite flour to 2 ½ cups of other flours (whole wheat and Emmer) couldn’t produce much of a flavor difference.

Overall, I’d say if you have a chance to try Mesquite flour in your bread or rolls, go ahead and give it a try.  It’s part of another bread tradition – Southwest American Indian – and is highly nutritious.  The down side is the cost.  In checking the Internet to see where I could purchase Mesquite flour, I found the prices, including shipping, to be quite steep for frequent baking use. Nevertheless, it is worth a try, an experiment, and maybe you live close enough to a source to not have to pay shipping, which seems to almost double the cost.

The address on the Mesquite Meal from the Casa Grande Archaeological Site is Native Seeds/SEARCH 3061 N Campbell Ave, Tucson, AZ 84719-2816; www.nativeseeds.org.

Enjoy!

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4 Responses to Breads with Heritage Flours: Emmer Flour and Mesquite Flour

  1. Peter Felker says:

    Good evening Pam
    That was a great article about using mesquite flour in baking. If you get into serious baking you can buy mesquite wholesale for $3.25/lb if you buy it in 22 lb boxes direct from Casa de Fruta. The mesquite flour from Casa de Fruta is almost 50% sucrose(none has been added this is the way it comes). So you can expect your yeast to work really well and make it rise. Since the mesquite flour has alot of insoluble fiber and doesnt stick so well together, I keep dipping the dough ball into the yeast water mixture until it gets like play dough before I put it in the oven. This also keeps it from cracking so much.;
    Peter
    (Partner in Casa de Fruta)

    • Pamela says:

      Thanks so much for the information. And, what a price! Certainly worth looking into. Given the high nutrient content of Mesquite flour I think it is worth using more often in the future. Your information is really helpful. I also appreciate your tips on working with the dough – I did wonder why it cracked so much.

      • patsy says:

        i am looking to buy hertiage flour but can’t seem to find it anywhere.i live in louisiana
        and i have yet to find it here. I don’t mind ordering on line just not sure where to go.
        is there any way you can help me.

        thank you in advance
        patsy

        please reply

      • Pamela says:

        Patsy –
        I have bought Emmer flour from Bluebird Grain Farms, ordering through the mail. If you click on their name in the right hand column under “bread baking” a link will take you to their site and you can read more about them and their flours.
        Mesquite flour can be bought from native seeds.org and from Peter Felker’s site – click on his name in this blog and you will go to his site. I’ve not ordered from either of these sources. I happened upon a store selling mesquite flour when we were in Arizona.
        Just to let you know, I don’t have any connection to any of these flour sources, but – like you – I want to try heritage flours and so have to order through the mail when they aren’t available locally. If you’ve read my most recent blog, you know that I messed up ordering flour through the mail, so I’d advise carefully double checking your order before sending it out. 🙂
        What kinds of heritage flours are you interested in? Spelt is also an old flour and I believe it can be found in many larger grocery stores.

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