Making Homemade Einkorn Bread

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Einkorn, an ancient strain of wheat similar to spelt and emmer, appeared on a documentary I recently watched about the sustainability of current farm practices, including the growing of wheat. (This one! Right here! Its called Sustainable.)

Why is einkorn important?

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Einkorn is a grain that promotes genetic diversity in the grain crop, which helps nearly every element of the farm from the land and animals, to the crop itself. Regular wheat is one single strain of grain that is constantly mass produced, draining the soil, forcing the use of pesticides, and losing nutrition from the wheat itself.

On the other hand, a grain like einkorn helps restore the soil, and because it is genetically diverse, limits the need for the protection from bugs or disease that pesticides provide. It also hasn’t lost its nutrient value like regular wheat has. Eating einkorn provides more protein and potassium (along with other nutrients) than regular wheat.

The documentary discussed how this kind of wheat grows so well and interviewed a baker who uses einkorn in his bakery every day. I was very curious to try some einkorn bread of my own, so yesterday I made my first loaf. (In the future I’d also like to make more bread using other kinds of ancient grains! The taste is similar to whole-wheat bread, rather than regular white bread flour, which is exactly what I love from my bread).

How to make einkorn bread:

I followed this recipe from Live Simply.

The ingredients are very simple:

Water, yeast, olive oil, honey, and salt along with all-purpose einkorn flour. (You may use whole wheat, but the author of the recipe, Kristin Marr, suggests using the all-purpose for this particular recipe.)

After the yeast has been activated, the ingredients combine quickly into a sticky dough. It is important to not overwork the einkorn dough because it won’t rise correctly if you do.

The bread then proves for an hour before another 30-minute prove in the loaf container. Finally, it goes into the over at 375 for about 35 minutes. When I pulled my loaf from the oven, I was initially worried it was burnt. Actually, it really wasn’t burnt (well, maybe just a tiny bit on the very top), since the einkorn flour turns a darker color after it has been baked.

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Overall, this first try at making einkorn bread was a success! I definitely want to make another loaf, since this one is mostly gone already and I plan to eat the rest with some homemade soup tonight. This particular recipe doesn’t make an overly sweet or salty bread, so it goes well with nearly any dish.

Here is some more information about einkorn!

 

Mulberry Jam (Or Not)

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The berries on the mulberry tree were so ripe that even just touching the tree branch shook several of them free. The ground around the tree was littered with fallen berries and both my fingers and the bottoms of my shoes were quickly stained purple from the sweet juice. My plan was to use my full Tupperware container to make my first batch of homemade jam.

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Mulberry Jam

My first attempt at making homemade mulberry jam didn’t go exactly as I expected. I’m sure that many experienced jam makers know this, but jam needs something to help thicken it, usually pectin.

When I initially googled mulberry jam the first recipe that popped up was this one.

Here’s a closer look at the ingredients:

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups mulberries, rinsed (the tiny green stems do not need to be removed)
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water

As you can see, there is no pectin mentioned. So I continued on, oblivious to my error.

I did change the recipe a bit, switching the sugar for homemade honey (you have to use less honey than sugar) and added a little lemon juice. If I were to do this again, however, I would use even less honey and add more lemon to bring back some of the tartness of the fresh berries and reduce the overpowering sweetness.

The first step in making jam is to put your mason jars into boiling water to sanitize them. This should take about ten minutes.

 

Then, combine the ingredients in a medium saucepan (I added 2 ½ cups mulberries, and 1 cup honey, along with 3 tablespoons water, and the juice of 1/3 of a lemon). This must be brought to a boil for one minute before dropping it to simmer until it loses the foam. (The recipe says about 7 minutes).

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Once your jam is cooked, it should be transferred into the clean mason jars, sealed, and cooled at room temperature for several hours before you can use it. Make sure all your jars have a good seal on them! You should hear a pop as they cool, which means they have fully sealed.

By the time I started transferring the “jam” into the jars I was beginning to see that I had not made a jam, but a mulberry syrup. I held out hope that it might thicken more as it cooled, but, sadly, it did not.

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Still, even if it doesn’t work as a jam it does work as a syrup! I plan to use it on pancakes, in yogurt, and as an ice cream topping.

Overall, I was surprised at how easy it is to make homemade jam. I loved making a small batch of fresh mulberry jam, even if it didn’t work out perfectly. The sweet smell of mulberries and honey lingered in my kitchen for the rest of the afternoon.

So that’s the lesson of the day, folks! Make sure you use pectin when you make jam. At least I know for my next batch.

🙂 Sarah