Emmer bread

Bread we eat a lot of in this house. Spelt, plain white wheat, dark rye. But almost always sourdough. Last week we took delivery of a load of flower from Shipton Mill. Some 15 kilos, in fact, as I got over-excited when browsing their stock. We now have chestnut flour, strong white flour, wholegrain spelt, white spelt, self-raising flour, dark rye, chopped rye, and emmer. Today I am putting the emmer to good use. It is a heritage type of flour that has witnessed quite a revival in Denmark over the past 10 years, but I have not seen it in the UK until now. Emmer has quite a strong flavour – nutty and sweet, and more rounded than traditional wholewheat. You find emmer a lot in the Middle East (e.g. Turkey and Egypt), and the grain (farro) is frequently used in Italy too, particularly in the north. It is excellent served alongside savoury dishes, but I like it with marmaladeas well. The structure is more dense than a standard white sourdough, but it is not at all cloying like a bad soda bread can be.

Makes 1 loaf

3 1/2 dl water (cold)

7g live yeast (or 1 tsp of easy bake yeast)

1 dl sourdough starter

300-350g emmer flour

200g stong white flour

10-15g sea salt

Day 1:

Dissolve the yeast in the water, then add the starter, flours and salt. Knead for 5 minutes on a low setting, followed by 10 minutes at a high detting (or knead by hand for 20 minutes).

Grease the dough with rapeseed oil and place in the fridge in a large bowl covered with cling-film. Leave for 24 hours, or over night if you are pressed for time (but the final result is inferior – much more dense).

Emmer whole

Day 2:

Take the bread out of the fridge and transfer to a basket (if you have one) dusted with semolina. Leave to rise again somewhere warm for 2-3 hours.

Place a baking stone in the oven (or a baking tray, if you do not have a stone). On the shelf below, leave a shallow dish full of water. Now preheat the oven to 240C.

Once the oven is hot, carefully take out the hot baking stone. Dust the bottom of your loaf with polenta, then gently tip it out onto the baking stone. Score the bread, transfer to the oven, and reduce the temperature to 220C. Bake for approximately 35 minutes.


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