Some people turn their kids' rooms into dream spas or exercise studios or (don't shoot me) man caves once they move out. I turned my daughter's room into a kitchen annex. Everywhere you looked there were baking pans and rolling pins and proofing baskets and every gadget under the sun (many of them stupid but still)…and a commercial shelving unit filled with flours and grains. (Somewhere in there too was a mattress that we could put on the floor so Junior Dough wouldn't have to sleep in a cat bed when she came to visit. Yeah, we really know how to pull out the stops for guests, don't we? Fawlty Towers right here on Long Island.)
Despite the fact that I'm not exactly the most healthful eater you'll come across—although I do try…sometimes—I've always loved stuff like vegetables and whole grains. So whenever I come across a new grain, I add it to my collection and then look for ways to use it. Einkorn is one of those. I'd probably heard of it in passing but decided to check it out for real one day while trolling for new cookbooks on Amazon. Einkorn: Recipes for Nature's Original Wheat by Carla Bartolucci popped up as a recommendation so I figured "Why not?" and into the cart it went, along with a bag of einkorn wheat berries.
Fun facts about einkorn (thanks to Carla Bartolucci's company, Jovial Foods):
- It's been around for more than 10,000 years its cultivated form. It was one of the first foods planted at the dawn of agriculture and grew wild for millions of years before that.
- Unlike other grains, it's never been hybridized.
- It's got 40% more protein and 15% less starch than commercial wheat.
- The gluten in einkorn lacks the high molecular weight proteins that many people can’t digest, so it's good for people with gluten sensitivities to modern wheat. (BIG IMPORTANT NOTE: Einkorn does contain gluten so it's not okay for people with Celiac Disease.
- it means "one grain" in German, so named because it has one grain attached to the stem, unlike commercial wheat which has four.
- It was abandoned as a commercial crop nearly 5,000 years ago because it's difficultharvest and mill and has one fifth the yields of modern wheat. Just a few years ago, itnearly became extinct.
- That would have been baaaad, because it's a really, really nice grain.
So what to make, now that I had the grain? The book is loaded with great photography and wonderful recipes but the one that grabbed me was the focaccia. First, because well, focaccia. But throw in tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and rosemary? Made of win. What was particularly intriguing about this focaccia though is that, instead of just plunking the tomatoes and whatnot on TOP of the dough, it's all an integral part OF the dough. There's just a teensy bit of planning involved, since you need to make a yeast starter at least 6 hours in advance (or you can create an einkorn starter well in advance—which I was too antsy to do this time around, although I've got one bubbling away now), but otherwise it's pretty much a no-knead proposition. Just squoosh and go. The taste is wonderful, complex and savory, especially with tomatoes and rosemary straight from the garden, with the nutty whole grain flavor of the einkorn. (I went with whole grain, freshly milled, since this month's #BreadBakers theme is whole grains.)
So check out the grain, check out the book, check out Jovial (now the world's largest grower of einkorn and the story that made that happen). And check out the links below to see what the other #BreadBakers came up with.
Note: As always, none of my links or recommendations are affiliated or sponsored. I only talk about things I personally use and like.
Tomato Rosemary Einkorn Focaccia Rounds
- 6 Tbsp/80 grams extra virgin olive oil
- 8 oz. cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 1-2 cloves garlic, mined
- 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
- 1/8 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 cup/75 grams pitted and sliced olives
- Leaves from 2 3-inch springs fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1/4 tsp plus a pinch of active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp/130 grams warm water (100°F)
- 1 1/4 cup/120 grams whole grain einkorn flour (or all-purpose einkorn flour)
- All of the yeast levain
- 2/3 cup/157 grams warm water (100°F)
- 5 cups/480 grams whole grain einkorn flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- Extra virgin olive oil for forming the rounds
- The day before or early in the day that you plan to bake, make the yeast levain. Mix the yeast and water together until the yeast is dissolved, then add the flour and mix thoroughly. Cover and leave at room temperature for 6 to 8 hours. The levain will be very bubbly when ready.
- To make the tomato base, heat 2 Tbsp of the olive oil over medium heat, then add the tomatoes, garlic, salt and oregano and cook for about 5 minutes to break down the tomatoes.
- Turn off the heat and cool for about 10 minutes. Stir in the rest of the olive oil, the rosemary and olives and set aside.
- To make the dough, add the levain and the water to a large bowl and stir together until the levain has dissolved. Add the flour, then the salt and mix together with a spatula or dough whisk (or with your hands) until the dough comes together.
- Add the tomato base to the dough and squoosh the dough withyour hands until all of the oil is absorbed and the tomatoes and olives are fully incorporated. Scrape the dough into a rough ball, cover and set aside for 3–5 hours.
- Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and divide into 12 pieces.
- With lightly oiled hands, roll each dough piece into a ball and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Flatten each ball into a round, approximately 3.5" across, then press your fingertips into the rounds to make indentations.
- Cover the pans with oiled plastic wrap (or sheet pan covers) and let rest for 60–90 minutes.
- Bake the rounds in 425°F preheated oven for 18–20 minutes until lightly browned, rotating the pans and switching racks midway through for even baking.
- Definitely best eaten the days it's made, but the rounds will keep for about 3 days in a plastic bag or up to 1 month in the freezer.
Adapted from Einkorn: Recipes for Nature's Original Wheat by Carla Bartolucci
I milled my own whole grain einkorn flour from einkorn wheat berries. I love using different grains but since I don't use as frequently as I do white flours or standard whole wheat flour, I'm a little wary of storing them already milled for any length of time (rancid flour and unwanted critters? Shudder) so I usually keep the whole grains on hand and mill my own. The whole grains last a long time and I mill only what I need each time. I lurve my NutriMill, which also came with a nut and seed grinder at the time I bought it.
The recipe calls for cherry tomatoes but since I'm still harvesting San Marzanos from the garden, I used them instead. Perfecto.
I'm big on reusable stuff so I love using sheet pan covers and bowl covers for baking instead of throwaway plastic. No waste! I use CoverMate, which can be found in most grocery stores, silicone covers and even shower caps.
Whole Grain Breads from #BreadBakers
This month, the BreadBakers theme is Whole Grain Breads, either yeast or chemically leavened, but in the spirit of the USDA recommendation, half of the grains had to be whole (got that?)—hosted by Cali's Cuisine.
- Blueberry Banana Oat Bread from Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks
- Bublik - Russian Bagels from Sara's Tasty Buds
- Bulgur Wheat Bread from Food Lust People Love
- Cilantro and Garlic Oat Bread from Simply Veggies
- Corn Pizza on Multigrain Crust from Cook's Hideout
- Gluten Free Honey Oat Bread from A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Kitchen Sink Bread from What Smells So Good?
- Multigrain Country Bread from La cocina de Aisha
- Potato Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls from Passion Kneaded
- Rosemary, Garlic, and Parsley Whole Wheat Bread from Karen's Kitchen Stories
- Tomato and Rosemary Einkorn Focaccia Rounds from A Shaggy Dough Story
- Whole Grain Maple Oat Scones from Cali's Cuisine
- Whole Grain Oatmeal Blueberry Banana Bread from Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks
- Whole Grain Zucchini Macadamia Bread from The Schizo Chef
- Whole Wheat English Muffins from Spill the Spices
- Whole Wheat Date Nut Bread from Magnolia Days
- Whole Wheat Naan from Spiceroots