Einkorn is civilization's first wheat, grown by farmers 5,000 years ago. It's healthy and tasty — and my family has been exclusively baking with it for more than a year.
Why? Because of the gentler, older form of gluten, we find we digest it better than modern wheat. And where modern wheat can trigger slight seasonal allergies for me, einkorn does not.
You'll get to hear about all the differences between einkorn and modern wheat from my guest in today's podcast, Jade Koyle from Ancient Grains — the complete transcript is below as well as the audio version.
It's fascinating! I enjoyed every moment of learning more about einkorn and its comeback.
If you're ready to try einkorn (or want to try US-grown einkorn), be sure to try out Jade's einkorn! It's my favorite and bakes the every day no-knead bread we love (you can get that recipe here free).
Won't play for you? Try here. Mobile or desktop users, you can hear my podcast with Stitcher, on-demand and on-the-go. (What's Stitcher?) You can also get it on iTunes or subscribe in the Podcasts app.
Wardee: Welcome everyone! This is a great episode. I'm calling it Einkorn 101 because it's a great introduction to that wonderful, ancient grain Einkorn.
In our family we've been enjoying it for a year or more and I have to say it's a grain that I can eat, that doesn't trigger my seasonal allergies, and it's one key part of the reason that I have been seasonal-allergy free for several years now. Beginning with starting the GAPS diet, doing the GAPS diet, and then staying off of modern wheat and keeping sugar low. So it's just a key part of my maintenance and being allergy-free.
So I love Einkorn and I'm thrilled to introduce you to it. My guest is Jade Koyle, and you're going to hear all about him in a bit, but it's just going to be a wonderful episode.
Before we get to that, I want to talk about the tip of the week. And it actually comes out of this episode. Jade talked about something near the end, and I just want to pull it out and put it up here at the front. I moved something else out of the way because this was so appropriate.
So, if you're baking with einkorn… Einkorn doesn't absorb water as much as other grains, especially modern wheat, so you end up with wet dough. You want to resist the strong feeling to add more flour, because that's not good. You could end up with dry, crumbly mess.
One thing that you can do is to reduce the amount of water you use in the recipe, but another thing you can do is just to help the einkorn along to absorb excess water, so you want to add a small amount of coconut flour to your recipe.
Depending on what the recipe is, that's how much you add, and this is going to be up to your experimentation. I just heard about this for the first time today from Jade, so I'm going to be trying it, but I didn't want to waste any time before telling you about it. So, if you're experimenting with einkorn, just try adding a tablespoon of coconut flour. If it's a big recipe, go up to a half-cup.
Be sure to let me know your results, but that is the tip of the week. If you end up loving it, I'd love to hear from you. I just think it's awesome, because wet dough is an issue when baking with einkorn, and so to add that coconut flour that absorbs the water is going to be a great tip to help us all in our kitchens.
Okay, so it's time to hear from Jade Koyle. He is einkorn.com, and his story is amazing. He has some great things to share with us about einkorn, to further our einkorn education. I'm going to turn to my visit with Jade now.
Be sure to visit the shownotes, http://knowyourfoodpodcast.com/122, if you have any questions. Thanks everyone.
Wardee: Hey everyone! This is Wardee, and I'm here with Jade Koyle. Hi, Jade.
Jade: Hi, Wardee.
Wardee: Welcome. I'm so glad you could join me today.
Jade: Thanks for having me, man. I'm glad to be here.
Wardee: Great. Well, this is going to be a fantastic episode because Jade is the “ancient grains man.” Specifically, we're going to talk about einkorn.
My vision for today is that Jade and I would be giving you all a great education about one of the best ancient grains out there that my family loves, personally, and that's einkorn. So, this is Einkorn 101, everyone.
Before we get into that, though, I would like our listeners to get to know you, Jade! So, tell us a bit about you and your family.
Jade: Okay, great. Well, we live in Teton, Idaho. Most people know where the Grand Teton mountains are; Jackson Hole area. We are on the Idaho side of that, in the foothills, and a lot of grain is grown up here in the hills with it being a cool climate, generally, and dry. It's ideal for growing wheat. But I didn't grow up here, I actually grow up in south-central Idaho, in a town called Gooding.
I grew up with my family there, on a family farm, and I had the best upbringing that a boy could ask for. There were twelve kids in the family, a large family, and we obviously worked on the farm. Meals were prepared from scratch, and by hand, and we worked hard, and we ate well. I grew there with an appreciate for [health and natural solution], because of my mom since she focused a lot on health and natural solution, which in those days, was very unusual. And then on the farm, my dad was very good about getting us involved in the farm, and I grew to love farming. I loved planting, and watching the plants grow and caring for them. It was a big part of my life, and even when I moved out of the house, I left with a love for the farm, and I hoped to come back to it at some point.
But obviously my parents encouraged us to go and explore the world, and learn, and gain experience, which I did and went on to start a career in online marketing after I got some education and experience. The next few years I did great in that industry, but obviously my heart was still on the farm.
My wife and I are both from Idaho, so we wanted to move back. We were really happy when we were able to do that back in 2012, and bring our family up here. We have six children, and my wife Julie is very involved with not only what doing here, but we work closely together with our family in order to try to teach and learn together. Eating well is a big focus of ours; it's something we're passionate about, not excessively so that we don't enjoy eating a lot of different kinds of food, we do, but we try to provide really healthy food for the family and teach the family how to prepare and live in a way that they will be able to take care of their bodies and feel good.
You know, as we experience that journey, Wardee, I think the biggest thing is, as a family, we've learned the importance of not just how you prepare your foods — which has been critical to learn. Learning how to prepare foods, I go back to my mom preparing sourdough. Hard, red, whole-wheat bread, on the farm, and learning how to do that. That was really a challenge for her to learn how to do that with that whole red wheat. Hard white wheat came out since then, and it got a little better – but you start looking at all these products that agriculture has produced and we've realized as a family, and I think that a lot of people are realizing, that it's in how we prepare it, and it's also in what we use, and that's been a big focus of ours as a family.
Wardee: Yes. Well, it sounds like you've had a wonderful life and you're providing a wonderful life for your family now.
Everyone who's listening, if you'd like to see a beautiful picture of Jade's family, just visit the show notes: http://knowyourfoodpodcast.com/122
So, Jade, let's talk about what we're going to get into today, which is ancient grain, specifically einkorn. I'd like you to start though telling us about your initial interest in ancient grains. Because it's more than just einkorn for you, although it seems like einkorn is a particular focus now. But, how did you get into ancient grains?
Jade: Well, a friend of mine and I were talking — and this was back in probably 2008, when we started discussing this — I had a real interest in getting back into agriculture, and working on something that could really benefit the family; get my family involved and do some good in the world. He is a scientist, a brilliant person, that is great at research, and his family was having a lot of issues with gluten and in those days… Today gluten-free diets are the rage in some cases, but back then, it wasn't as much.
But he was really researching gluten and concerned about the effects on his family, and so he started researching, and kind of came across some initial stuff around, well, maybe it's in the wheat that the actual source ingredient. Like I said, really smart guy, had access to a lot of research, and that's when he stumbled upon einkorn and began researching it, and there were even some studies that had been done at that point that said that einkorn may have dietary possibilities for sufferers of Celiac disease. Which is a big statement to make — it wasn't a claim — but it was kind of opening the door of possibilities.
Anyway, he shared that with me. One day we were at a meeting and after the meeting, we just were visiting, and he brought it up to me. I thought ‘well, that's really interesting.' I went home and I started researching it and I was just so interested in what was happening, because I had never considered the possibility that wheat might, you know, the actual wheat that we grow, even if it's grown organically, just the makeup of that wheat could be the problem.
Wardee: If I could interrupt you, your friend had issues, health issues, and your family, you or your wife or any of your children at that point, were you experiencing anything or was your interest purely, sort of, your eyes were opened?
Jade: Well, I had a lot of interest. So my interest was in the agricultural side, and in the health benefits. Even though our family was not having gluten sensitivities per se, I still was concerned about the digestibility of wheat, which we will talk more about here a little bit later on in comparing the different types of wheat with einkorn, because I think that's important, but, more than even the gluten issue, einkorn has a lot of other benefits, in terms of, you know, it's high in lutein, high in protein, has a lot of anti-oxidative qualities. Those antioxidants obviously help our bodies with how they deal with free radicals that ultimately lead to cancer. Those benefits, and just general health, it was a big interest of ours.
Wardee: So, you were already open and receptive to this idea of health benefits and such, and a strong interest in agriculture, and then your paths sort of coincided with your friend who had a health need, and that just opened a big huge door it sounds like.
Jade: It did. And I didn't expect it to go anywhere, honestly. We were able to buy the domain name, einkorn.com, and put up a blog, and being in internet marketing, that wasn't a big thing for me, I just kind of did it, and expected it to be a little bit of a journey and interesting, but we were immediately contacted from people around the world. And I mean that from all over.
Initially, it wasn't like average house calls, it was researchers, and farmers who were dabbling in some of that stuff, or universities that were looking — research people at the universities — that were looking at this. And so, they were asking questions, they were asking me questions that I didn't have answers to, but good questions, and I immediately got context on what was happening, and it was a big interest and focus among this group of people, and not for the commercial aspects of it, which, again, I didn't expect it to turn into commercial endeavor, but it just continued to blossom and grow into that. These people were immediately asking for sources of it, testing on it, and I was asked about all the kinds of different tests that I didn't even know existed as related to me.
So I learned a lot, I learned a lot about what what makes einkorn unique, as we started to be exposed to those things which we don't need to go into, some of it we'll cover a little bit later here, but our eyes were just opened to the different types of issues that related to wheat and what people were working on. Some of them were disease-related, so, more on the agricultural side, and some of them were more culinary, some of them were more health-related, and all of those groups of people were excited about einkorn, and interested in getting something they could begin testing with.
Wardee: Well, how amazing. I love stories like that where people put themselves out there, something they're learning, and it just happens to be the right timing because there's all kinds of other people interested. The opportunity is there, then, for people to make contact, and collaborate, and communicate their needs. And then you rose to the occasion, you know, you've been facilitating this interest with testing and growing and helping with sourcing, and all that, so, pat on the back to you.
(Wardee and Jade laugh)
Jade: Thank you.
Wardee: And also, just how wonderful it is that, you know, facilitated this; this kind of world-wide resurgence or interest.
Jade: You bring up a good point, and for me, learning is what excites me every day. I love to learn, and learn how to do things, and understand things, and einkorn has definitely — if you want to call it that — scratched that itch for me. Sometimes my wife will say ‘Jade, why are you doing this? What drives you to keep doing this?' and I just feel like it's really something that needs to be done.
I enjoy doing it, there's obviously now a really great need for it out there, and we'll talk about why a little bit later. But I didn't realize that at first; the issues around it, and supply, and all of that. Einkorn isn't the easiest grain to work with, from an agricultural standpoint.
Wardee: So, let's get into einkorn now. Starting with just the very basics. So, if you could explain to us what einkorn is, and some of its main benefits.
Jade: Yeah, so, einkorn is a German word that means ‘single spikelet.' If you go out into a field of wheat that's ready to harvest, and you pull the head of the wheat off, as we call it, which is the portion at the top which holds the grains, and you look at that, in most — and there are a lot of different types of grains out there — in your hard white, hard red, soft white, wheat, you're going to see double rows of kernels on both sides of that head. But einkorn has just a single row on each side.
The people who classify species are called taxonomists, and so some taxonomists even consider einkorn to not be wheat, because genetically speaking, it is such a different plant. It's a diploid species, which means it has fourteen chromosomes, whereas most wheat we eat today has forty-two chromosomes. Does that matter, from a health standpoint? We don't know. But it's different.
Einkorn began in the Fertile Crescent in the mountains of Turkey, and then it spread from there and although the first wheat to be domesticated at that time, einkorn crossed with a goat-grass, and formed emmer wheat. Emmer wheat was higher yielding, it was more advantageous for the farmers in the area. They were able to grow it, it basically overtook einkorn really fast, once it came out. So, even though einkorn continued, and there were pockets of people who farmed it — they probably didn't know there were different types of seed, they just grew what they had — it was able to continue. Even today, there are still wild and domesticated grains of einkorn seeds growing out there in Turkey, and Iraq, and Syria. But from a commercial standpoint, if you want to call it that, back then, the focus was on emmer.
Emmer eventually crossed and developed spelt wheat. Most people know what spelt is, that's more common today, but you can see that although einkorn and spelt are related, they're really two different branches of the tree, so to speak. So, spelt, then, well, I won't go into the history of spelt, but anyway.
Einkorn is a different branch of the tree. It has a different history, the same genetic, chromosomal, what would you call it? Taxonomy-wise, it's similar to roots and vegetables — they're also a diploid species. They're not as complex, genetically. If that means anything, we don't know. But I consider it to be significant, and one of the biggest things about einkorn that differentiates it from any other type of wheat.
Another one that is really important is that einkorn is assimilated into our blood more slowly, so it's not going to spike your blood sugar as much. I love what you're doing, Wardee, in terms of teaching people traditional methods for preparing foods, because even though we believe einkorn and have seen the health benefits in our family — it's the only wheat that we eat — we also use these traditional methods, like sourdough and natural leavening, to prepare it, because it helps our bodies above and beyond what it does if you use yeast. Yeast, in and of itself, isn't as health as natural yeast. So, even though there are different levels and different ways in which we can prepare these foods to make them healthy, we try to use the best ways out there.
Wardee: So, what you're saying though, even without using traditional methods, einkorn is easier to digest and better for us than modern wheat. Then, if you combine that with traditional methods, you're getting the best of both worlds.
Jade: Yeah, and I'm glad you clarified that. Einkorn has half the amount of phytic acid as modern wheat. Anyone that does sourdough knows that phytic acid is what keeps our body from being able to assimilate the nutrients in the food, and so if you just were to, for example, go make cookies, and not make them through natural leavening, or sourdough — which they are reasons why sometimes they're not as tasty, right? — but if you make a cookie and you don't use natural leavening for it — which is usually how we do it, we don't use natural leavening in our cookies — you're getting more benefit out of that.
But going back to the glycemic index in einkorn, even though it doesn't spike our sugar, it's still a carb. Einkorn is a carb, and it will affect your blood sugar. And the more that we refine it, the more it will affect our blood sugar more quickly. When we mill it, and turn it into flour, that has the effects. And that's why natural leavening is really important too, because again, it helps, once you use the natural leavening, it helps the assimilation to our blood sugar that way.
Wardee: Right, because the sourdough starter, those organisms, are consuming some of that starch for us, so that we have a reduced carb load, or starch load, when we then consume the end product.
Jade: Exactly. It's really important — and I always emphasize this with people — that einkorn is still healthy, but we still want to use these traditional methods whenever we can, because there are health benefits from them. And in our audience, our customers, it's one of the big things that they're trying to learn. Generally, people out there, they don't realize that these traditional methods have so many health benefits. They thought that was just how it was done because that's the only way we knew, but there are a lot of health benefits to it.
Going back to einkorn, the three-legged stool that I say einkorn is really important. One is the genetic makeup. It is genetically primitive, it's the most primitive form of wheat on earth. Two is the glycemic index. Three is the phytic acid.
Jade: And there are a lot of other benefits that we've talked about. It's high in lutein, high in protein, and it's high in other antioxidants as well. These all are definitely health benefits, but I think those three are the biggest ones when it comes to einkorn.
Wardee: Great. That was a great summary. Thank you for that.
So, if you were going to contrast it with modern wheat, and let's skip the emmer, and the spelt, and the kamut, and the rye, and everything else that's in between, what are the main differences then? Just summarize that, of einkorn versus modern wheat. You could even get into telling us the implication of them. Like, ‘einkorn is different from modern wheat in this way, and this is what it means…'
Jade: Yeah, so one of my first exposures to this on a research level was with some plant breeders. I was interested to see how they looked at einkorn. I knew that they knew about it, and as a plant breeder, your job is to produce — you have two main customers. You have the farmer, and the mill. And you have the end consumer, but the mill is really kind of encapsulating the end consumer's needs and I'll come to that in just a minute.
But they're trying to produce for the farmer a grain that has a short stock, so that when it gets later in harvest, and they're watering it, so that the grain doesn't lay down; it's called lodging.
Lodging is a big issue with farming, because if the grain lays over, it may not mature fully, and it can be difficult to harvest. So they want to develop a variety that has a short stock, and then they want to have a high yield.
And there are other factors that they'll look at, in terms of the overall lifespan, days to match duration, how long it takes to grow, can you plant it in the fall or only in the spring, is it facultative, meaning, you can plant it in the fall and the spring. A plant breeder is concerned with all of that.
A plant breeder is also concerned with milling. Is it going to be used for bread, or cookies, or cakes, pastas? And so, depending on the application and use of it, they have to have a different product.
So they're really trying to balance these different factors and produce the right product that everyone needs. When those are your main goals, which is important from their perspective because that's what they're getting paid to do, they look at einkorn and it's so far away from modern wheat.
Einkorn, like I said, it only has a double row of spikelets, one spikelet on each side of the head. Right there, that tells you that einkorn is going to be lower yielding.
But it's worse than that, from an agricultural standpoint, because a farmer looks at it and says ‘well, I could grow einkorn. It's really tall, so I have the lodging concerns. It's lower yielding, but then once I do harvest it, it has this hull on it.'
The husk, or the hull as we call it, and that hull has to be mechanically removed, and because the husk is so bulky the seeds don't fit into the containers as well. A bushel of einkorn weighs 32lbs and a bushel of wheat weighs 60lbs. It's twice as expensive to ship, the yield is a fraction of what modern wheat is, and then you have to pay these de-hulling expenses.
So it's easy to understand from a farmer's standpoint, why einkorn is not necessarily attractive. Which has been part of our challenge in getting farmers onboard; helping them to understand the mission, what we're trying to do, and begin just taking a chance with it. In most cases, what we're doing is we're guaranteeing them a certain level of productions so that they'll feel comfortable doing it.
We're taking the risk. But they are taking risks as well, and they have, and we've appreciated those farmers that we've worked with.
Wardee: I want to come back to you talking about the differences, and this is kind of a rabbit trail, but you started einkorn.com, and people all around the world are looking for information. In some ways, you're talking to all these people who are probably willing to absorb some of that extra cost involved to get the quality product that they're looking for for health reasons, or because they're purely interested in ancient rather than modern. Have you seen that to be true?
Jade: Yes, to some degree. Probably the biggest challenge is the mechanical equipment to de-hull it. If we were going to go and grow it regionally in Alabama, for example — and not that a lot of wheat is grown there, it's not an ideal place to grow wheat. There may be some places, but generally speaking — they don't have the facilities down there to de-hull it, so you have to ship it somewhere where they have the special mechanical equipment for de-hulling it. So, it really is a regional project in that sense.
Wardee: So, the de-hulling is really the biggest production issue. I mean, the others are significant as well; the lower yield, the less density, but the de-hulling is really the biggest thing. Is that what you're saying?
Jade: Exactly, yes.
Jade: And it's developing. You would think that because spelt also has to — there are other varieties of spelt that are free-threshing — but spelt has to be de-hulled but not all spelt de-hullers will de-hull einkorn, because einkorn doesn't de-hull as easily, and it's a smaller grain.
The insides of these de-hullers in terms of how they remove the hulls have to be different, the screens sizes all have to be different, and they have to be different types of screens, and multiple screening processes, and it changes the whole process.
Anyway, we've used some de-hullers, and this is the challenge with this, we've used some de-hulling operations where we will lose 60% of the crop going through de-hulling. And so, the first year that we planted einkorn, the crop was ruined. The farmer got nothing off of it. We paid the farmer, but we were not very excited about that, obviously, so we had to start over.
And then, you go to de-hulling, and by the time you finally get some, you get to de-hulling and that doesn't work…
We've had a lot of failures in the process, but that's where I find joy; where we can really learn it and get it working.
We're harvesting einkorn right now in western Idaho and it looks really good. This is the first year we can say that. The farmer is happy about it, and excited about it, and so we're excited, too.
Wardee: Well, I'm glad to hear that, because you pretty much talked us all out of einkorn at this point.
Jade: Oh, no. From the farmer's standpoint, you pretty much think ‘wow, well, what's the hope there?' But there is hope, and that's what we're working on.
People may not realize this but there are a lot of different types of einkorn out there. When you say ‘einkorn,' it's like saying ‘wheat.'
We already know there's hard red wheat, hard white wheat, soft white wheat. There's all these different types of wheat, and einkorn is like it's own classification, kind of like wheat.
There are different varieties of einkorn. Visually speaking, if you were to compare them, song are blond, some are brown, some are black. There are different sizes of einkorn seeds, and these different varieties have different properties for bread-making, for agriculture.
We're studying that. We're conducting tests with one of the universities nearby to compare these different types, and then look at them not only from the agricultural benefits, but also looking from the end customer's standpoint and the milling, because a lot of our customers do their own milling.
Not only would we look at these medium-sized organic mills that we'll take the product to, but also to the home and looking at the different types of einkorn and comparing them, and really try to evaluate what's going to be the best long-term.
The success that we're having in the field is very significant for us. It's part of the long-term process, and effort to find solutions will be beneficial to people and that eventually we can get the cost of einkorn down, which is ultimately the goal, because if you look out at the marketplace, ancient grains can be quite expensive.
But we're not as used to that when it comes to ancient wheats, like spelt, and so when you compare spelt to einkorn, einkorn is quite more expensive for all the reasons I've talked about. But it has a lot of health benefits spelt does not have.
It's that trade-off with where we are right now, but ultimately with the long term goal of finding the right variety in these seeds. We got these seeds through contacts that originally got them in the sixties and seventies from Iraq and Afghanistan and the area of the Fertile Crescent where it originated. These are the original einkorn seeds that we verified, and we're beginning to develop them to the point that we can begin to study them.
Wardee: So, what are your preliminary results showing in terms of varieties that are really good for the home-baker? I think probably home-millers and home-bakers are the ones listening today. So, what's a good variety, and if someone wants to purchase einkorn for you or from Jovial Foods, can we even ask for that variety? If you told us, get the blond, you know…
Jade: Right. Well, with me, you can. We would love to begin having a dialogue with our customers on that kind of a level. That is our goal eventually, because I have some mills that will prefer the brown, and some that will prefer the blond. From the customer's standpoint, they don't have the technical wherewithal to test it, so they pretty much just use it and the results they get they live with, right?
Jade: There's the Jovial einkorn which I consider a blond einkorn. We have a blond einkorn as well, as well as a brown einkorn. These are available commercially, and you should test with them, but then also realize, for example, Jovial has a great product line of the blond einkorn.
You might buy the whole berries and have one experience with them, but if you're buying their white flour — I probably don't need to say this to this audience — that white flour has had the germ and the ash taken out so that it's white, and it's going to bake differently.
Whereas if you take the brown einkorn that you buy through einkorn.com, and you mill it in your home flour-mill, and you sift it out, and you make your own white flour, that would be an apples-to-apples comparison, to see for whatever you're comparing how you like it. Does that make sense?
Wardee: Oh, totally, that makes sense.
Jade: Yeah. We have some customers who say ‘I want the blond einkorn,' I have some who say ‘I want the brown.'
I don't know how they're using it well enough to say why they prefer one or the other.
I can tell you that the milling quality for bread of the brown einkorn seems to be better, this year, than the blond.
But, you know, we'll test it once we get the harvest in this fall. We'll test all those factors again, and look at those, because we're constantly changing and tweaking things to make improvement. And learning a lot through that.
Wardee: Goodness, this is fascinating. I love this.
Jade: Yeah, I kind of geek out sometimes with it. I have to be careful, but I really enjoy learning this stuff, because it is fascinating. We don't realize how much goes on under the hood of bread and the grains, even when we eat whole-grains, we think it's whole-grains, but there's still so much to learn and research.
Wardee: Right. Well, and, like I've sourced ancient grains through various local farms, and I notice differences season to season, or farm to farm, or what I use at home to mill it, or whether I have them mill it versus me milling it. So, it is very hard to get apples-to-apples comparison on the kind of artisan foods we're talking about.
Jade: It is. It's part of the art of it. In these large mills, they'll produce 100,000 pounds of flour a day. In a mill like that, the large brand mills, you could call them, they have this down to a science, where the product that they put out is exactly what the bakery needs, and then that bakery is going to go out that day and make tens of thousands of loaves of bread with it.
It's just a system that they have down. I have a lot of respect for all of that, because I admire how they've been able to do that, but some of that process isn't in our best interests ultimately.
I think it's really wise for people to take ownership of this, and not to get overwhelmed with it or feel like you have to understand it all, but continue to learn and explore and navigate it all, because in the long term, the more ownership we take of our health and our future, the more we'll be able to control it.
I love seeing that in the marketplace, where customers, educated customers, are able to come to me and say ‘I like this, and this is why.' I get a lot of those, and I love having those conversations because I can really help them to navigate it based on exactly what they're trying to do.
I'll have people on the east coast, I've got this gentlemen who was taught to make this specific bread by his mother — they're Italian — and he wants to make this specific bread, and we spent probably an hour on the phone, talking through exactly what his process was with it, and so how to prepare the einkorn for that same process.
Not only are you dealing with a different properties, but einkorn… with different types of wheat, you deal with different properties, but einkorn is in a class of its own, in that you use less water when you're baking with einkorn, and you don't want to knead the dough nearly as much, especially if you're natural leavening; we don't knead it at all.
Anyway, some of those key things with einkorn are really helpful when people are just beginning to get started with it, because it's really frustrating at first, because einkorn has less gluten than modern wheat, and so learning how to work in that environment, the different type of gluten…
I have to say one more thing about that, it just struck this in the mind. So, this is getting down to the detailed science, but einkorn, it contains the A chromosome. And einkorn, when it joined with the goat-grass to make emmer, it received the B chromosome. Spelt has the D chromosome.
Wardee: I'm lost already.
Jade: That's important because, in a gluten free facility, what they're testing for is the D chromosome. It's called the Elisa test, and they're going to test, is the presence of the D chromosome below a certain level? If they detect that it's above that level, then it's not meeting the requirements of gluten-free.
Einkorn contains only the A chromosome, and will not trigger the Elisa test at all, but it does have gluten, and that throws people off sometimes. It actually does have gluten, it's just a different type of gluten.
Jade: I kind of went off on a rant, a rabbit-hole, I hope I didn't go too far.
Wardee: Well, you know, that very well might be the most interesting tidbit of this whole episode.
(Wardee and Jade laugh)
Wardee: If anyone has ever been confused on that test, that's why.
Wardee: Well, you started talking about peculiarities of einkorn in baking. I'm hoping you'll go into that a little bit more. You said, use less water, don't knead hardly at all… What other adjustments would someone have to make to bake with einkorn?
Jade: Yeah, so, if you're making something… The natural tendency is to feel like you have to keep adding more flour, because everyone who bakes, you're used to how it looks, and einkorn's going to throw you off.
Even if you decrease your water by 25-50% — and depending on what you're making, you may need to adjust that — but it can really throw you off when you look at your batter or at your dough, and you're like ‘that is not going to work.' It's too sticky, or it's too runny, and the thing though, it may not work…
(Wardee and Jade laugh)
Jade: I won't say that it's going to work for you at first, but it probably will if you just reduce the water by 25-50%, and then don't fall into the temptation of adding more flour. If you do, not much, or it's going to change your flavor profile. Just bake it, and gain the experience, and pay attention to what you did.
Depending on your elevation, depending on where you are, all of those factors are going to contribute. That's why I can't say it's 30% percent less water, and depending on what other ingredients you have…
You know, there are some recipes where ultimately you can't reduce the liquid, and in those ones you might need to add a little bit more flour, and some of the other key ingredients to keep the flavor profile right. But typically, that's going to be the best way to handle it.
I will share a nugget here, which anyone who has baked with einkorn will appreciate, and I hope my wife doesn't mind me sharing this.
Wardee: Is it a secret?
Jade: This is a secret.
Wardee: Oh, cool, well, tell her thank you.
Jade: I don't have the exact ratios on this, but if you are making einkorn bread, a very, very small, I'm talking like a half of a cup, of coconut flour will do wonders.
Wardee: Oh, because coconut flour is very water absorbant, where the einkorn is much less than modern wheat or even the other ancient grains.
Jade: Right, exactly.
Wardee: Totally. That is a great tip.
Jade: There's a great little tip. And you can use coconut flour in a lot of different ways, too.
Wardee: You could probably use flax seed meal, or ground chia seeds, or something else that's water absorbant, too.
Jade: Basically, something to take up the water, and that's the main goal of it.
Wardee: So, what other adjustments? Could you talk about the stickiness factor? I would just want to say that my first introduction to ancient grains was spelt, so that's kind of the first ancient grain we used moving away from wheat, and I noticed that spelt was very gloppy, and you can't add too much flour, you just have to deal with that sort of wetter, gloppier texture.
And now baking with einkorn, I would say ‘sticky' is the word.
Jade: Yes, it is.
Wardee: So maybe you could talk about that a little bit.
Jade: Yeah, well, the first thing is to recognize that it is going to be sticky. Don't be frustrated by it. You can still make a beautiful loaf that will rise well.
If you're really concerned about the rise, and you're not as worried about keeping the raw, whole grain in there, you can sift the flour. We don't, as a family we don't do that, but I know a lot of people who do. They'll sift their flour, and they will remove some of the germ and the ash, and it will help it rise better. It won't necessarily be less sticky, but it will rise a bit better. We're able to get a good rise on our bread, and not have to deal with the sifting So, it just depends on what your goals are.
I mean, obviously, if you're making a cake or something, you want to grind it really fine, and then sift it. That's going to be a given, but some people are doing it with bread as well.
Wardee: Alright, so, Jade, we've got to wrap up here, but you have a special offer for our listeners.
And listeners, I just want to tell you, you can find details about what Jade's going to tell you at http://knowyourfoodpodcast.com/122, or you can go directly to it through http://knowyourfoodpodcast.com/ancient, or http://knowyourfoodpodcast.com/einkorn.
Jade, you and I were talking beforehand about the carrier company takes with shipping. Can you talk to us about how, even in the future on biggest packages, what you guys have gone through to make sure that shipping is as efficient and economical as possible?
Jade: Okay. What we've seen with the people who are ordering wheat through the internet is that shipping is a big concern. I have to say that I'm grateful for what's available for shipping because einkorn would not even exist without it. It's a relatively small community of people that are interested still in einkorn, it's been growing steadily since we've become involved, obviously, becoming a substantial effort, but still, if it wasn't for people being able to order from different parts of the world, really, and being able to ship that to them, it wouldn't said that, but having said them, grains are heavy and they are expensive to ship.
So we use flat-rate shipping and have worked it so we can pack the most einkorn into the smallest flat-rate box. We've taken the dimensions of the standard USPS boxes, the US postal service boxes, the flat-rate priority boxes, and we've designed bags to fit specifically inside of those boxes. That way, we know when we're shipping them out, we're getting as much in there as we possibly can. You're getting the most you can out of your shipping for those. We try to waste as little space as possible, and get the most out of the flat-rate shipping.
We also have customers that want to store it, or they want to acquire a larger supply, so we do do larger purchases in sealed buckets with Millar bags for long-term storage. We have those options available, too.
Wardee: Can you just tell us, this US only, or…?
Jade: Yes, that's right. US, you know, anywhere you can ship a flat-rate package… Hawaii and Alaska are included in that, but outside of those, we do ship it internationally. We can ship up to 20 pounds internationally.
Wardee: So if you're international, be sure and just contact Jade through einkorn.com. He can tell you all your options, and if you're coming through from here, then of course tell him you're coming through from Know Your Food With Wardee podcast.
Well, thanks so much, Jake. It's been amazing, all the information about einkorn, your generous flat-rate shipping options, and especially just your time that you've shared with us. Thanks so much.
Jade: Well, thank you. It's been great to be here. I hope it was helpful, and if anybody needs to reach out to me with questions, I hope they'll do that. I'm glad to help, and I'd love to continue the conversation.
Thanks for your time, Wardee.
Wardee: Thanks. Bye-bye.
About Jade Koyle from Ancient Grains, LLC
Jade Koyle is married to the lovely Julie Ann Schlegelmilch Koyle, and they are the parents of six energetic children. Jade grew up on a family farm in Idaho, where he learned to love working with the earth at the feet of his father and how to eat healthy at hands of his mother. He has a deep appreciation for that time of year when the crops rise from the soil, the first fruits of the family's labors.
But Jade left the farm in 1997, and went on to build a career in online marketing. He longed to return to the farm life. In 2009, one of Jade's good friends and scientist, Stan Ness, told him about the discovery of the world most primitive wheat, Einkorn, and about studies that had been conducted finding it to have possibilities for sufferers of gluten intolerance.
The health benefits interested Stan and Jade and their families, and restoring this ancient grain became their mission. They launched Einkorn.com, and were soon contacted by researchers, farmers, and health food experts across the globe.
After many hours of research and work, they were able to obtain authentic Einkorn seeds. Farming began and research continued. Julie and Jade moved their family back to their home state. Stan decided he needed to focus on his career full time and discontinued his work on the einkorn project.
Julie and Jade continued the Einkorn restoration effort conducting agricultural research with universities and developing recipes to share. Together, they started their company, Ancient Grains, LLC. They are building their organic farm in Idaho for growing Einkorn, and working with a network of small organic farmers and researchers throughout the west to meet the ever growing demand for Einkorn.
Today, Ancient Grains, LLC is the largest US-based producer and distributor of organic einkorn. Click here for more information on Einkorn produced by Ancient Grains.
- Wardee's recipe for No-Knead Sourdough Einkorn Bread — FREE!
- Shop for U.S. grown einkorn from Jade — flat-rate, cost-effective shipping options available!
- Einkorn.com on Facebook
- Einkorn.com on Twitter
- Einkorn.com on Pinterest
- How to bake naturally leavened einkorn bread
- Pumpkin Bread
- Tips for baking with Einkorn
- Pizza Crust
- Nutritional Comparison of Different Types of Wheat
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