Cheddar crackers with garlic, made with Einkorn flour – an ancient grain – and olive oil in place of butter.
When I was in culinary school, my favorite thing beyond everything else was baking bread. It was the one time I really felt connected to the food, where I felt the give and take of a relationship. There’s nothing like kneading your own bread, witnessing the magic of it doubling in size or more, and shaping it, to put you in awe of the food we eat. And trust me, there’s nothing better than warm bread fresh from the oven. Nothing.
I kept up my bread baking for awhile after graduation, but drifted away in my constant pursuit of the next new thing to try in the kitchen. But I missed it. So when I spied this bread baking group in someone’s post recently, I asked to join, and this is my first month with them. We take turns hosting, and post once a month around a theme set by the host(ess). This month our hostess is Robin at A Shaggy Dough Story, and it’s all about ancient grains. And the bar was set high — this meant we could ONLY bake with ancient grains. None of this 80% traditional flour – 20% quinoa/spelt/etc flour nonsense. We had to commit ourselves completely. All or nothing. Thanks Robin for all your hard work at keep us all in line this month!
If you’re wondering what constitutes an ancient grain, the Whole Grains Council generally defines ancient grains loosely as grains that are largely unchanged over the last several hundred years. Modern wheat, constantly changing, is out. Quinoa, spelt, sorghum, and millet (among others) are in.
Since I’m just getting back into bread baking, I admit I took an easy way out and chose Einkorn wheat flour. Not familiar with it? Well first of all, it was one of the first plants to be cultivated. Ever. According to Wikipedia,
the earliest clear evidence of the domestication of Einkorn dates from 10,600 to 9,900 years before present (8,650 BC to 7,950 BC) from two archaeological sites in southern Turkey. Remnants of Einkorn have been found with the iceman mummy Ötzi.
Additionally, Einkorn is more nutritious than traditional wheat flours and has a higher percentage of protein. And evidence suggests einkorn may not be as toxic to sufferers of celiac disease, although it isn’t a formalized recommendation for those who must follow a gluten-free diet.
To my knowledge, there’s only one company providing the flour – Jovial – and I was happy I was able to find it in a few of my local grocery stores ranging from big chains like Whole Foods to my small, local, family-owned grocery store I walk to most days.
The texture of the flour is very silky in contrast to all-purpose or bread flour, and the dough is soft and luxurious. My first test drive with it was to make these cheddar crackers. I’d been wanting to try making some with olive oil instead of butter, and decided it was high time to give it a go.
- 2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated
- 2 ounces Cheddar cheese, grated
- 2.1 ounces (1/2 cup) Einkorn flour
- ½ tsp seasoned salt (I used one with garlic)
- 2 Tbsp garlic olive oil
- 1 – 2 Tbsp ice water
- Sea salt
- Place the cheeses, flour, salt, and olive oil in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade. Pulse until the oil and flour are completely incorporated into the cheese. Add the water and pulse a few times until a dough begins to form. Place on a lightly floured work space and gently knead a few times. Shape into a disc, wrap in wax paper, and refrigerate for at least one hour - and as long as overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 350˚F, and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Place the disc between two pieces of wax paper and roll it out to no more than ¼" thickness. Rolling the dough between wax paper makes this go very quickly and easily. Every few rollings, flip the dough over, peeling off and readjusting the wax paper sheets as necessary. I readjust the wax paper every time I flip it.
- Peel off one of the wax sheets of paper and discard. Using a pizza cutter, slice the dough into one inch squares, and place them on the cookie sheet. Unlike cookies, they're not going to spread, so you can place them one inch apart.
- Bake for 15 - 17 minutes. Remove and cool on a cooling rack.
Now, please go check out what the creative bakers in this group worked with, and what they baked up for you.
- Ancient 4 Grain Breakfast Bread from Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Ancient Grain Carrot Bread from The Schizo Chef
- Barley Flour Donut Muffins from I Camp in my Kitchen
- Blueberry Peach Quinoa Oatmeal Muffins from Magnolia Days
- Buckwheat Savoury Pancakes from Mayuri’s Jikoni
- Dimbleby’s Breastfeeding Bread from Food Lust People Love
- Eggless Sorghum and Pearl Millet Banana Muffins (Eggless Jowar and Bajra Banana Muffins) from G’Gina’s Kitchenette
- Foxtail Millet Bagels from Cooking Club
- Garlic Cheesy Einkorn Crackers from The Wimpy Vegetarian
- Injera Bread from Spiceroots
- Little Millet Banana Bread from Sara’s Tasty Buds
- Millet Idli from Gayathri’s Cook Spot
- Multigrain Seeded Loaf from What Smells So Good?
- Quinoa Banana Bread from Wholistic Woman
- Seeded Spelt Boules from Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- Spelt and Buckwheat Soda Bread from A Shaggy Dough Story
- Spelt and Einkorn Sourdough with Caramelized Onions from Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Spelt Bread from Hostess at Heart
- Spelt Sweet Potato Paratha from Cook’s Hideout
- Teff Crepes with Spinach and Mushrooms from A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Yeasted Jowar Naan from Sneha’s Recipe
#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our of lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the #BreadBakers home page.
We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to firstname.lastname@example.org.