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Einkorn Sourdough Bread

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Oh, that heavenly aroma of baking bread! Who can resist a warm slice of this rustic einkorn sourdough bread, fresh from the oven and slathered with butter?  It is an unbelievable treat!  We made our sourdough bread with 100 percent einkorn flour which makes the flavor and texture of this sourdough bread beyond awesome!  

einkorn sourdough bread
Einkorn sourdough bread

The long slow fermentation of sourdough makes a bread that is healthier and so much more delicious. Using the healthy ancient grain of einkorn amplifies the flavor and healthiness of sourdough bread.

Here are a few tips to make this sourdough einkorn bread.

Feed and ripen your sourdough starter.

Before you start, make sure your sourdough starter has been fed and had time to ripen. It generally takes between 4 to 8 hours for your starter to ripen after you feed it. That time will differ based on your personal starter, the temperature, the weather or the type of flour. You just have to get familiar with your starter and you will have a better idea of how long it will take.

How do I know when my starter is ready to use?

After you feed your starter, the hungry little yeasts will begin to feed and produce gassy bubbles. All those gas bubbles will make your starter “grow”. Eventually, it will double in size and reach its peak then it will start to fall back down.

At the point that your starter has reached its peak and begins to fall, you know that the hungry little wild yeasts have run out of food. This is when it is time to use your starter in the recipe.

Einkorn sourdough in a Dutch oven
Einkorn sourdough in a Dutch oven

What if I don’t have an einkorn sourdough starter?

If you don’t have a starter made of this ancient-grain einkorn flour you can still make this sourdough einkorn bread with a regular wheat flour sourdough starter. You have a couple of options if you have a starter that is made with regular wheat.

Your first, and easiest option is to simply use your starter after you feed it with regular flour, then continue making the bread with the einkorn flour.  The sourdough bread will have all einkorn flour EXCEPT for the flour you use in the starter.

Your second option is to feed your starter several times with einkorn flour. Each time you feed your starter with einkorn flour it will have a greater percentage of einkorn. By the time you have fed your starter the fourth time, it will have over 93 percent einkorn.

Wondering how that works? Keep in mind that each time you feed your starter, you will remove half of the starter and replace it with an equal amount of fresh flour and water.

So here is the breakdown of the percentages of einkorn the starter will have after each feeding. For more information, you can read how to care for your wild yeast sourdough starter

  1.  The first feeding it will have 50% einkorn flour.
  2.  Second feeding it will have 75% einkorn flour.
  3.  Third feeding it will have 87.5% einkorn flour.
  4.  Fourth feeding it will have 93.7% einkorn flour.
  5. Fifth feeding it will have 96.8% einkorn flour.

Whether you use a regular wheat flour starter or an einkorn flour starter, the bread will turn out the same so it really depends on how close to pure einkorn you want your bread to be.

Make sure you have enough starter.

When you feed your starter, make sure you feed it with enough flour and water to make this recipe PLUS have some left over to continue maintaining. This sourdough einkorn recipe calls for 180 grams of starter so make sure you have more than 180 grams available.

After you add the 180 grams of starter to your recipe, set the leftover starter aside, feed it, let it sit for an hour or two, then store it in the fridge until it is time to feed it again. If you’re going to bake another batch of bread right away then don’t put it back in the fridge, just keep it out and build it up for the next batch of bread. 

This recipe calls for a 100% hydration starter. That means it has equal amounts (by weight) of flour and water. 

Use a scale for best results.

I have written this recipe with both volume and weight measurements because, without the volume measurements, I always get bombarded with emails requesting measurements using cups.

I get it, that’s how I started out baking and I made a lot of bread that way. You can make this sourdough einkorn bread using cups instead of a scale but if your serious about baking and want to have consistent results, get a kitchen scale

Keep in mind that as the starter builds up gas bubbles, it will double or even triple in volume.  So 1 cup of unfed starter will weigh more than 1 cup of fully ripe, bubbly, gas-filled starter. If you do use measuring cups to measure the starter, make sure you stir the starter and knock out all the gas bubbles before you measure it. 

Working with einkorn flour.

Einkorn flour can be a little bit tricky to work with. Primarily, it makes a stickier dough that can be a little more challenging to shape. If you keep your hands wet or well-floured, the dough will be easier to shape.

The recipe calls for a range of water amounts. If you use the smaller amount of water, the dough will be easier to shape. If you use the larger amount of water, the final bread will have a softer, lighter texture but the dough will be a bit more challenging to shape. I recommend that if you’re just starting out with einkorn flour you may want to make a lower hydration bread the first time.

As you get more experienced with sourdough baking, try increasing the hydration of the dough by adding the higher amount of the water in the recipe. You could even add an extra 1 or two tablespoons more water which would be 15 to 30 grams more than what the recipe calls for

einkorn sourdough bread
einkorn sourdough bread

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einkorn sourdough bread

Sourdough Einkorn Bread

Yield: 1 loaf
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Additional Time: 12 hours
Total Time: 12 hours 55 minutes

A delicious rustic sourdough einkorn bread recipe that uses a natural sourdough starter. The ancient grain einkorn creates an amazing depth of flavor. This is real bread with real flavor.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup (180 grams) sourdough starter (see notes)
  • 1-2/3 cups to 1-3/4 cups lukewarm water (392 to 413 grams)
  • 5 cups (600 grams) all-purpose einkorn flour
  • 2 teaspoons (12 grams) salt

Instructions

  1. This recipe is based on a 100% hydration starter. Make sure the starter has been fed and is fully ripe or at it's peak when you use it. Make sure you have enough starter to use in this recipe and still have enough left over to continue maintaining.
  2. Combine all the ingredients in the bowl and stir until it is a chunky, loosely combined dough.
  3. Let the dough rest for 10 to 15 minutes then fold it in half 3 or 4 times. Repeat another 10 to 15 minute rest and fold it again 3 to 4 times. You don't have to knead einkorn because the gluten in einkorn will not strengthen with kneading but the resting and folding process will help strengthen the dough. At this stage, it will be wet and sticky. Don’t add more flour or your finished bread will be dense and heavy. If you get your hands wet, the dough won't stick as easily. 
  4. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for 3 to 6 hours (see notes) or in the refrigerator overnight. (A longer proof time in the fridge will give the bread a more tangy, sourdough flavor.)
  5. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and form it into a round ball. (See notes)
  6. Place the ball of dough into a proofing basket or any container that is the shape that you want your bread to be shaped. (See notes)
  7. Let the dough rise again a second time in the fridge overnight for 10 to 15 hours. Don't let it double in size like traditional bread, it should only rise by 50% to 75%.
  8. Pre-heat the oven to 450°F. When the oven is hot, tip the loaf of bread into a dutch oven or onto a baking sheet. Make a slash in the loaf with a sharp knife. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes.

Notes

  1. The amount of time needed for your bread to rise will vary depending on the temperature and humidity. You can slow the rise by placing it in the refrigerator and speed the rise by placing it in a warm room or a dehydrator. A slower fermentation time will help develop more complex flavors. 
  2. For best results, weigh the ingredients with a kitchen scale. Using measuring cups can significantly change the final outcome of the bread.
  3. When you knead and shape your dough, try not to add any flour to your countertop. Adding additional flour will create a denser and heavier bread. You can prevent the dough from sticking to your hands by getting your hands wet. 
  4. If you use a Brotform proofing basket give the basket a very generous dusting of flour. Regular flour will absorb too much of the moisture and make the dough stick to the brotform. We recommend making a 50/50 blend of rice flour and einkorn flour to dust your Brotform. If you don't have a brotform basket, you can use a bowl or a colandar to proof the bread in.
  5. A Dutch oven works very nicely to form a crusty bread but if you don't have one you can just bake the bread directly on a baking sheet or even on a hot pizza stone. 
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 30 slices Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 79Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 142mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 2gSugar: 0gProtein: 3g

Nutrition information is a guideline only, is calculated automatically by third party software, and absolute accuracy is not guaranteed.

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Nicole

Tuesday 3rd of November 2020

I’ve made the einkorn bread a few times now. Yesterday I tried letting it rise outside of the refrigerator for the first time. . I proofed it in a banneton P, it rose well, but and it stuck to the basket in several places. Once i put it in the the Dutch Oven, the loaf spread out. I baked it anyway and it was delicious But it didn’t have much rise. . The crust was perfect. My sourdough starter consisted of both einkorn and brown rice flour. Very bubbly. I substituted s out 1 cup of brown rice flour for the einkorn.

I weighed everything and put the full amount of water. Do you think this is what caused my loaf to first stick while proofing and then spreading out?

Thanks for so advice.

Dahn Boquist

Thursday 5th of November 2020

If you don't prep the banneton well then it will stick. Give the banneton a light spray of water then dust it with a flour blend of 50% rice flour and 50% einkorn flour. I found that using 50% rice flour is key. It sounds like you may have let the bread over-proof which would have caused it to spread out and flatten. The rice flour may have also played a role in the flatter loaf.

Sarah Giacoman

Saturday 31st of October 2020

Hello. Can’t wait to try this recipe. I would like to make this as a loaf for sandwich style bread. Do you know the size of the loaf Pan this would fit in? Or maybe I need two?

Dahn Boquist

Saturday 31st of October 2020

You can put it in two 4x8 pans or one 8-1/2 x 4-1/2 pan. If you use the 8-1/2 x 4-1/2 pan you will have a little bit of dough leftover to make a couple of rolls ;)

Rebecca

Tuesday 11th of August 2020

Having only made The Perfect Loaf's beginner sourdough prior to this, I used your recipe to experiment with einkorn (mostly because you gave fewer caveats about how difficult einkorn is!).

What a sticky dough it started out as, and even though I used the lower end of the hydration, it was still sooo sloppy when I turned it out for Step 5. The only way of working with it was wet hands. After folding it (probably far too often) as the only means of getting it to stay together, I eventually managed to get it into a banneton without falling apart. Oh, did I fear for that banneton. But, I was pleasantly surprised the next morning to find that it turned out with minimal sticking, and it actually scored perfectly compared to the sloppy rough edge I consistently get with TPL's recipe. Somehow, I got tension?! It was still very sloppy going into the dutch oven, but it rose well, I think the crumb looks pretty similar to yours, perhaps a bit denser, and it tastes delicious!

Just wanted to share my experience in case anyone else gets to the super sloppy dough stage and is tempted to bin it (as I was). Thank you so much for the recipe :)

Dahn Boquist

Tuesday 11th of August 2020

Thanks for the comment, Rebecca. I'm sure that will be very helpful. Wet hands is the best way I have been able to work with sticky dough as well.

Shirley Gonsalves

Friday 31st of July 2020

Hi there, New baker here. From what I understand; once dough is mixed, let rest 30 minutes total after folding, then choose to let rise on bench or OVERNIGHT in fridge.

If I chose overnight in step 4, then after taking out of fridge to turn the dough out and form ball to go into basket, I will go to next step 7 which is put in fridge again for another overnight rise, is that correct? 2 overnight rests?

Dahn Boquist

Friday 31st of July 2020

Yes. You want to put it in the fridge if it rises overnight. The fridge slows the rise down so it will not rise too much while you sleep. The lengthened time will also give you the most benefits of fermentation. That said, you could still let the shaped bread dough rise on the counter. If you do that then it will take anywhere between 3 to 6 hours depending on the temperature and humidity in your kitchen.

Nicole

Monday 27th of July 2020

The bread is delicious . What is the best wY to store this bread?

Dahn Boquist

Monday 27th of July 2020

It is best to store sourdough bread in a breathable container. A paper bag works well or you can wrap it in a kitchen towel or keep it in a bread box. If you are going to store it for longer than 5 or 6 days then I recommend freezing it. You can freeze it whole or you can slice it into individual slices that you can just pop right into the toaster.

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