Category Ancient Grain

Einkorn Miche

This hefty einkorn miche epitomizes community. It’s substantial and baked with the intention to share, to break with others, to enjoy its hearty flavor and nourishing quality gathered at the dinner table. A loaf so heavy it practically requires two hands to lift — and oh what a statement it makes.

Traditionally, miche are large, round country-style loaves meant to sustain a family for the days between their turn at baking in the communal oven (and with natural leavening, and all the subtle acidity built up through lengthy fermentation, it certainly will1). If you think about it, a massive round loaf is probably the most efficient way to bake large quantities of dough: It takes up less space in the oven, has plenty of crust, it can be divided and wrapped up, and finally, if meant to go to a single destination, a single loaf makes sense. A true daily bread.

Over time as the central community oven became more and more scarce, these large loaves began to fall out of favor, replaced by more ephemeral bread meant to be consumed entirely on the day of baking. But there’s still a place for this beautiful, and enticing, loaf.

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  1. As you know, sourdough breads have incredible keeping quality due to the natural acids produced as a byproduct of lengthy fermentation.

Kamut Demi-Baguettes + KoMo Mill Giveaway!

Baguettes are something I’ve had my sights on for some time and they’re also probably one of the most requested. I’m really happy these are the first ones to share here. These demi-baguettes are comprised of close to 50% whole grain, most of which is fresh milled kamut1, an ancient wheat variety. Kamut imparts a sweet and nutty flavor to this dough that contrasts beautifully with the baguette’s rustic and craggy crust. I’ve talked in the past about spelt which also has some of these characteristics, but kamut, to me, is even sweeter and also brings a very appealing creamy, yellow color to the crumb. The hallmark of a good baguette is a thin, crispy crust and ultra tender interior — I’d say this recipe yields just that, and more.

But first, let’s talk about the mill giveaway.

I’ve partnered with Pleasant Hill Grain to give away a brand new KoMo Classic electric grain mill to one lucky reader of The Perfect Loaf. I’m very excited about this giveaway; it’s the first one of its kind here, and I love the idea of getting more people into baking sourdough with fresh milled flour. Entry to the giveaway is at the bottom of this post, so read on and enter!
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  1. Kamut is the commercial name for khorasan wheat.

Multigrain Spelt Sourdough

This is the second spelt recipe I’ve posted here, mostly because I am transfixed with the flavor of spelt, but also because I developed this formula for a short article I wrote that will appear in the Bread Baker’s Guild of America Bread Lines magazine early next year.  The article has some background information on me, my process, and my motivation for baking sourdough — most of which if you’ve read my entries for a while you already know. I went into how I started baking, how both the scientific and artisanal processes captivate me each and every bake and how baking not only reminds me of my childhood growing up in an Italian restaurant but also because good, healthy food really just requires time.

So why another spelt recipe? When thinking about the article I went back and forth on what recipe to include, swaying between a few sourdough recipes I’ve been experimenting with and some of my old tried-and-true favorites. I knew I wanted to use one that had fresh milled flour and without a doubt my previous spelt sourdough recipe is among my most favorite; but I wanted to take it a bit further. I began to think about what things I’d change if I was looking to try and improve it and I decided to start with that formula as a base and rove from there, to explore and find something that really struck my palette as different or something that produced a substantial structural difference — or perhaps both.

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Spelt Sourdough

Having just recently devoured every episode of the inspirational Michael Pollan series Cooked on Netflix1, I came away with a sudden urge to drop everything and get some fresh dough between my fingers. Throughout the entire series he was on screen rallying behind slow food, especially so in the “Air” episode where Pollan points out that humanity really lost something when we transitioned from quality, slow food to abundant, fast food — most significantly when it comes to bread. There’s truth to the old saying that all good things take time, right? I agree.

With this amped up baking gusto I’ve been baking more and more this past month, not only baking my staple weekly bread but also milling fresh spelt flour and testing a spelt sourdough formula. Chances are you’ve heard of spelt, a very old species of wheat that has been used since long ago and as Pollan alluded to, you feel a sort of connection with ancient bakers when baking bread this way, and especially for me with this ancient grain.

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  1. I just picked up the book and can’t wait to get further into it, more information on fermentation and bread!