Recipe: 100% Emmer bread with pumpkin seeds and black barley malt

Recipe: 100% Emmer bread with pumpkin seeds and black barley malt

Ingredients

for the overnight ferment

350g water, room temperature

1/4 tsp fast-action yeast (or 50g sourdough starter)

70g live plain yoghurt (leave out if you’re using sourdough)

300g Organic Emmer Flour

For the final dough

15g Roasted Barley Malt (optional)

150g grated raw carrot

10g salt

200g pumpkin seeds

200g Organic Emmer Flour

Extra flour to finish

Ok, here’s the lowdown on getting great bread from Emmer, the heritage grain which has an undeserved reputation for being a tricky customer that won’t behave itself. In truth, we bakers are the problem when it comes to unusual ingredients. We have a tendency to obsessively search out these curious flours, then complain to the moon and back when they don’t behave like ultra-refined roller-milled wheat flour and produce the lofty, bubbly, highly aerated bread that’s overly fashionable these days. When in doubt as to how a new flour will perform, my rule is “treat it like rye flour”. That is, assume it has no extensible gluten at all and use recipes that work perfectly with 100% rye flour, even though in this case we know that Emmer is part of the wider family of wheat.

Emmer is the perfect flour when you want bread with heartiness and body, something finely milled everyday wheat flours never really achieve, as they’re not milled for that purpose. In this recipe, I’ve used Gilchester’s Organic Emmer Flour in a method typically used for 100% rye flour breads, where at least half of the flour is fermented overnight – using either yeast or sourdough – then made into a soft batter-like dough the following day, with the addition of grated vegetable (maybe pumpkin or carrot), seeds, more Emmer flour, salt and some dark malt to give it a deep, almost blackish colour. The resulting loaf is firm, packed with flavour and heavily seeded. Slice it thinly as you might a Scandinavian rye bread, and it's perfect for open-faced smoked salmon sandwiches, or as I’m eating it right now: toasted with some great marmalade.

Method

The night before baking, make the ferment: put the water in a mixing bowl, whisk in the yeast and yoghurt (or use sourdough starter in place of both), then stir in the Organic Emmer Flour. Cover the bowl and leave it overnight at room temperature – say 20°C – to bubble and rise. If it’s warmer or cooler, or if you leave it 15 hours rather than 12, don’t worry, as it’s a forgiving recipe.

The following day, mix the roasted barley malt in evenly, then stir in the grated carrot, followed by the salt and seeds. Then stir in the remaining 200g Organic Emmer Flour. Line a very large loaf tin (a 2lb one is ideal) with non-stick paper and spoon the bread mixture in. Bang the tin a few times on the worktop to knock out any air pockets.

Sprinkle a few teaspoons of flour evenly over the top and smooth it flat. Cover the tin and leave somewhere pleasantly warm, rather than chilly, to rise by just a quarter, about 2-3 hours.

Heat the oven to 200°C fan. Bake the loaf for about 40 minutes until it pulls in slightly at the sides, with the flour on top cracked and just beginning to colour. Remove from the oven, remove from the paper and leave until completely cold before slicing.