For many, the answer to “What is Einkorn?” can be life-changing. Have you noticed the epidemic of gastrointestinal disorders in the U.S.? Even for those who don’t suffer from these conditions, finding a healthy alternative to the modern wheat supply is critical. The answer lies in returning to the old ways and the rediscovery of Einkorn Wheat.
Einkorn is an Ancient Grain
Einkorn is the oldest surviving form of unhybridized wheat we have in the world today. It has NEVER been hybridized! For thousands of years, it was the grain of choice worldwide because of the high nutrition content, versatility of use, and hardiness in the field.
Einkorn wheat offers the promise of higher yields and earlier maturity compared to common wheat. It is a tall wheat, especially when compared to the wheat crops grown by Big Ag today.
Modern wheat varieties are bred to have shorter stalks with larger heads for mass production. All mass-produced wheat crops are GMOs and heavily contaminated with herbicides and pesticides.
Significant Points in the History of Einkorn
- In the early 1900’s, wheat was chosen as the crop to feed the growing world population.
- Plant breeders created new varieties of wheat for increased yields.
- Wheat was dwarfed with cobalt radiation.
- Crops were altered for maximum production but lost vital nutrients.
- Varieties of wheat were altered to make them easier to harvest and thresh than the hardier Einkorn Wheat.
These all combined to decrease the amount of Einkorn wheat grown in the world. This is unfortunate for us because Einkorn is easier for the body to digest while still containing more protein and anti-oxidants than the newer modern wheat varieties.
Fun Fact: When Ötzi the Iceman was found preserved in a glacier in the Italian Alps, Einkorn wheat was found in his stomach. This is amazing and shows just how long this wheat has been around.
How Does Einkorn Differ from Other Wheat?
Einkorn has a 30% higher protein content than modern wheat varieties and 15% less starch. It also has a higher concentration of minerals and a robust flavor. The most important distinction to most of us is that Einkorn wheat not only has a lower gluten content than modern wheat but the gluten it has is totally different from that in modern wheat.
Einkorn Has Many Health Benefits
As an ancient grain, it is more nutritious than the mass-produced wheat of Big Ag in America. For people who are gluten intolerant or have any gluten related disorder, becoming aware of the health benefits of Einkorn can be life-changing.
Einkorn lacks the proteins found in modern wheat that trigger gluten sensitivity. Most people who try Einkorn report they do not experience the symptoms they do when eating modern wheat breads or products.
There has been a resurgence in demand for genuine einkorn products since the dangers of modern wheat production have become more well-known and the population of gluten sensitivity has increased to epidemic proportions over the last few years.
The health benefits of Einkorn are believed to be due to its long germination and sprouting time. These cause it to have a much lower content of phytic acid and increases all the essential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals that are naturally present in it.
Nutrition Facts for Einkorn Wheat
- Vitamins B6 and A
What Does Einkorn Wheat Flour Taste Like?
The flavor of Einkorn wheat flour is a deeper, nuttier essence than bland modern commercialized wheat. I love it in comfort food dishes like pancakes and banana bread.
Whole einkorn berries are a crunchy popcorn-like treat when popped. They are better than rice to me when they are soaked and then simmered.
Can Einkorn Flour be Substituted for Regular Flour in My Recipes?
You can substitute Einkorn flour cup for cup with regular whole wheat flour in most recipes with some adjustments to the amount of liquids called for. Because Einkorn wheat flour absorbs liquids at a slower rate than modern wheat you may have to decrease the amount of liquid by roughly 15-20%.
Baking with einkorn is a healthy, nutritious way to feed your family. The same properties that make it easier for your body to digest also make it different to cook with. This is mostly due to its gluten not being as stretchy as the gluten in modern wheat.
Learning to adjust your recipes for Einkorn Wheat Flour is simple and easy. To make it even easier for you, I’ve compiled my best tips for cooking with Einkorn. If you’re adventurous and have a family like mine who will consume even your failed attempts, trial and error won’t be a problem for you with the learning curve.
If you’re on a tight budget, or trial and error aren’t for you, it’s a good idea to use recipes that are specifically written for Einkorn flour. You’ll find more recipes than you can imagine available for incorporating it into your family favorites.
Is Einkorn flour the same as all-purpose flour?
No, it is not. Jovial Foods makes an all-purpose Einkorn flour and personally, I love it!
All-purpose flour is wheat flour that has had some of the bran removed. It’s finer-textured because, without the extra bran, it mills easier. All-purpose Einkorn flour resembles the white flour you’re more familiar with. Some people find it even easier to digest than whole wheat Einkorn flour because of the extra bran being removed.
Einkorn Whole Wheat Flour or Einkorn All-Purpose Flour?
Like standard whole grain flours vs all-purpose flours, Einkorn whole wheat flour is ideal for rustic breads, artisan loaves, and yeast breads. All-purpose Einkorn flour, to me, is better in pastries, cookies, pancakes, and other baked goods.
Why is einkorn flour so expensive and How Can I Save Money?
Because of the increasing demand and lack of growers here in the U.S. the price is higher. However, when you consume more nutritious foods, you will find you need less to satisfy the body’s cravings for nutrition. This will save you money.
Another way to save money requires a little more upfront investment but in the long run, saves more money. Purchasing Einkorn berries is less expensive than the milled flour so by purchasing a good grain mill and Einkorn wheat berries, you can mill your flour at home.
Freshly milled flour will also increase the nutrient value of your Einkorn wheat flour because milled flours oxidize and lose nutrients over time.
How Long Can Einkorn Berries or Einkorn Flour Keep in Storage?
To store Einkorn wheat berries properly, put them in an airtight food-grade bucket or mylar food storage bag. Keep the container out of direct sunlight, in a cool, dry place. Some people freeze their berries, but I don’t trust the power supply enough to do that. Once stored properly, they will be good for years.
Because Einkorn wheat flour is not filled with preservatives like other wheat flour, its shelf life is shorter than modern wheat varieties. Each bag will have a best by date on it so be sure to check that when storing it in your flour canister. The shelf life is 6 months.
You can prolong the life of the flour by freezing or refrigerating any unused portion. I’ve always put the flour that didn’t fit into my canister in the fridge and have never had a problem with it. If you do freeze or refrigerate your Einkorn wheat flour, be sure to let it come to room temperature before using it in your recipe.
Where to Buy Einkorn Wheat Berries and Einkorn Flour
The best way to add this ancient grain to your diet and to see if it works for you is to purchase bags of all-purpose or whole wheat Einkorn flour. I purchase Jovial Foods Einkorn products on Amazon and from Jovial Foods’ website depending on which has the better deal.
In fact, it was the Jovial Foods company founder, Carla Bartolucci, who brought Einkorn wheat back from the old ways to rediscovery on her journey to find a substitute for refined and modified wheat flour for her family.
Now that you know all about Einkorn Wheat, what will you bake first?