Einkorn Flour Baguettes

Miscellaneous

Jan 06

Einkorn wheat is considered our most ancient wheat. It comes from the fertile crescent and is still grown there today, in what we call the Middle East. It is more nutritious than modern wheats, contains fewer allergens, and has less gluten. People with gluten intolerance should still avoid it, while people who have problems with modern wheat bread, might benefit from this because it’s easier to digest and, as mentioned, more nutritious. It’s not lower in carbs, but because it is so digestible, bread made from einkorn flour doesn’t spike your blood sugar as other wheats do.

The world seems to run on greed, and since the beginning of agricultural development, farmers were heavily focused on profits. And they began breeding their crops to get better outcomes, or more money per acre. And that began the hybridization of wheat. Today, we now have Frankenfoods and digestive issues as well as food allergies. For people with food allergies, especially to wheat products, and they miss having bread, it might be a good thing to experiment with more ancient wheats like einkorn, emmer, and spelt.

You can go google the nutrition in einkorn, but the purpose of this page is to teach you to make baguettes using this flour, and you’re not about to get my autobiography or pretty photos, but I am going to brief you on some of the problems you’ll run into using this flour.

Sticky

Yes, this is the stickiest dough I’ve ever made. Oiling up my hands didn’t work. It was so sticky, how bread was ever invented in the first place is truly a mystery to me. I can imagine a conversation two thousand plus years ago: “Hey, I added water to this grain and look at this. It’s sticks to everything.”

“Can we patch up the ceiling with it?”

“Might as well. Unless you want rock-hard pita bread.”

The Solution

I oiled up my knuckles to knead the dough, and used one of these dough scrapers [on right] to turn up the corners and continue kneading.

Additionally, everywhere I looked, I was told to not use an electric mixer to work with this dough. Just a wooden spoon handle. Well, I broke the first one. But finally got a pile of dough on my breadboard.

And the bowl I proofed it in was first lightly coated with some MCT oil although I’m sure olive oil could have been used.

Some More Differences

If you’ve made bread in the past, you’ll want to know about a few differences working with einkorn flour.

The starter will not turn out like the poolish in our French Baguettes. It will look like little, hard, light brown cat turds sitting in your bowl. When the recipe called for me to add them, I was confounded on how to add them equally throughout the dough. Perhaps next time I’ll make the starter with a bit more water. But this time, I simply pinched off small bits and stuck them here and there and went back to kneading the dough. Oh, and don’t beat it up. Just gentle kneading.

Autolysing the Dough

I had never heard the term autolyse before, and perhaps you haven’t either, but it’s simply adding water, warm water to the dough and let it sit for fifteen minutes to make sure the flour is fully hydrated. You do this before adding anything else to it. No salt, no yeast, no nothing. The dough has to sit by itself to get fully hydrated.

Proofing

You don’t want this dough to double in size, so stick to the times in the recipe. Don’t beat it up, and when you’re shaping it into a circle or square, you’ll find that it’s no longer very sticky, and doesn’t require that much flour on your breadboard.

Finally, When is it Done?

Baking baguettes must be an international hobby, and we’re always told that they’re finished when the crust turns golden brown. Well, this baguette starts out brown. It was very had to tell when it was finished, so you’re probably going to have to go by time and temp. They won’t turn golden brown.

Credit Where Credit is Due

Normally, when I find a recipe, I make it, and then I modify it and make again, but better, and that’s the recipe I post. Also, recipes are not copyrighted and anyone can take them, but really, it’s best to give credit. The place I found this was https://jovialfoods.com/recipes/einkorn-french-baguette-recipe/. I haven’t modified the recipe, but I am adding some insights that I picked up while working with this flour. I’m new to baking, and as an educator, I learned long, long ago that the best way to learn something is to teach it. (Most good teachers will tell you that.) So I thank the Jovial Foods people for this recipe.

Measuring the Flour

This is a very thick flour and I looked everywhere for the weight of one cup. I found three different answers. So I stuck to the recipe and I measured the flour with a kitchen scale. This is always the best way to go.

Ingredients

Starter (Pate Fermentée)

  • ¾ cup + 1 ½ Tablespoons (100 g) Einkorn  Flour
  • ⅓   teaspoon active dry yeast or instant yeast
  • ¼ cup less 1 teaspoon lukewarm water

Directions for Starter

  1. Dissolve yeast or sourdough starter in the water, then add flour and knead until you have a firm dough.
  2. Store in a sealed container in a dark place for 10-12 hours.

Dough

  • 5¾ cup plus 1 Tablespoon (700g) of jovial all-purpose einkorn flour
  • 1¾ cup plus 3 Tablespoons (450g) of warm water
  • 2 teaspoons (12 g) of sea salt
  • all of the starter from the night before
  • 1 teaspoon (3 g) of dry active yeast, dissolved in 1 Tablespoon (14g) of warm water
  • plus ¾ cup (90g) of einkorn flour for dusting your work surface

Directions

Do not mix all the dry ingredients together. We’re going to autolyze the flour.

Heat the water. Not to a boil, but pretty warm. I’ve got an electric teapot with a temperature gauge. At 110° F, you have your lukewarm. I let it rise to 150° F and used that.

The original instructions advised against using a mixer, so I used the handle of a wooden spoon to mix in the water. Cover the bowl and let it stand for 15 minutes.

Next you’ll add the starter, and the yeast (which should be dissolved in water by now), along with the salt. Dust your breadboard (¼ cup flour) and turn out the flour. It’s very sticky, but the old trick of wetting your hands or even using a bit of oil on them really doesn’t work. I found that if I oiled the tops of my hand and then kneaded with my fists, the dough didn’t stick. But you’ll need a dough scraper (as mentioned above) to turn it in from the outside. Keep kneading the dough for a few minutes till it’s nice and firm. We’re told to add additional flour if it’s too sticky. But what is “too sticky?”

Place it in a lightly oiled bowl and cover (I use Tupperware) and place in a nice, warm, dark place for one hour. I use the stove with the light on.

After that hour, you’ll see that the dough has not doubled in size and has no air bubbles. Dust your bread board with ¼ cup flour and using the same technique for your first kneading until all the flour has been absorbed. You’ll notice that, finally, the dough isn’t crazy sticky. Roll it into a ball and place it back in the container, cover it, and put it back in your oven and let it sit for one more hour.

Take out the dough and turn it out onto your bread board. You might need just a bit of flour for dusting, but you should notice that it’s not very sticky. Preheat the oven to 470° F, and fill a baking pan with water on the bottom shelf. Arrange the top shelf so it’s in the middle of the oven.

Separate the dough into three equal parts and and roll them into balls and cover for 15 minutes.

We’ve always used a baguette pan, and we cover it with baking paper. This just works best.

Roll out each baguette and shape them, pressing from the center outward. If you find an air bubble, press down, flatten the dough out, and start again. Try to make them equal in length. Some like to pinch the ends, some don’t. Your option. Place them on the baking pan, cover and let stand for 30 minutes.

Next turn the baguettes over, spray with water, and slash the loaves angularly with a bread razor (or a very sharp knife).

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, rotating the pan at ten minutes, then rotate them two more times during the final ten minutes for even baking.

Place them on a cooling rack, and let them cool for at least an hour before slicing.

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