Let’s talk about flour. In particular, einkorn flour. Made from the most ancient species of wheat.
There’s a good chance you’ve never heard of it. As of a few months ago, it was all new to me, too. But I must admit that I am intrigued by the whole thing. You see, this grain came very close to being extinct …until a young couple from Connecticut entered the picture. Carla Bartolucci and her husband, Rodolfo, had many years of experience in the organic food industry as owners of Jovial Foods and (my family’s very favorite gluten-free pasta) Bionature. It turns out that their young daughter had been diagnosed with a considerable intolerance to dairy and eggs at the very young age of two. Even though those items were immediately eliminated from her diet, she continued to experience serious various symptoms. It wasn’t until quite a few years later that the doctors realized that those symptoms could be caused by gluten sensitivity. Why do so many folks live with this condition these days?
The Bartolucci’s had already been researching the ancient grains …with a focus on the significant changes in our agriculture over the last century. The introduction of pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, GMO’s, the over-processing of our grains. The point here is that einkorn wheat is very different than what we’re used to. It is pure and simple, with fewer chromosomes than any other wheat. More nutritious with about 30% more protein, antioxidants, vitamins & minerals. But here’s the most important fact…
“In genetic testing, einkorn was found to lack certain proteins that people with wheat intolerances cannot digest.”
The Bartolucci family proceeded with their own clinical study. They made everything from scratch at home with einkorn flour. Within two months, their daughter’s symptoms vanished. Quite remarkable. Their story is encouraging and inspiring. Especially for those who deal with gluten intolerance or sensitivity.
Since this is very different from modern wheat, the flour is not easily substituted in your average recipe. But have no fear. Carla has written an excellent cookbook, with detailed instructions on how to use einkorn wheat in your everyday cooking and baking. She has also shared her knowledge with us on all that she and her husband have learned about this ancient grain in their extensive research. I plan to bake and cook my way through this one …it just may take some time. I’ll be happy to report my findings.
It would be worth your while to check it out. Einkorn: Recipes for Nature’s Original Wheat: A Cookbook.
Einkorn flour is not found in many stores, but I have recently noticed it on the shelf at my local Whole Foods. I purchased my supply as a pack of five sacks on Amazon, where it was offered at a slight discount.
For my first attempt, I decided to go easy on myself and make some cheese crackers. It was an excellent decision. They were fun to make and the crispy results reminded me of an upscale Cheezit cracker. With a definite parmesan flavor to it.
It is very important that your cheese is finely grated so that it can be well incorporated into the dough.
This dough is super easy to work with. The final texture reminds me of Play-Doh. The next time I make these, I’ll be sure to have some grandkids nearby to assist. They’ll love it.
The original recipe directs us to divide the dough into 5 equal pieces so that you can work on a piece at a time. Don’t worry about measuring the pieces to be exactly the same. The main thing to remember is that you’ll be rolling out each piece of dough as thin as possible …right on the parchment paper. Cut out as many 2-inch rounds as you can, then lift off and remove the excess dough. As I mentioned earlier, it’s like messin’ with Play-Doh.
Those scraps will be saved to re-roll at the end so that you’ll have an additional sheet of crackers. Maybe two.
The parchment paper covered with the seasoned cracker cut-outs is lifted right onto the preheated baking pan. While they’re baking, work on the next batch. The process is a quick one.
Keep an eye on the baking process so that the crackers don’t overly brown.
These guys are delicious on their own. Or enjoy them with your favorite dip.
parmigiano-reggiano einkorn cheese crackers
Crispy and full of flavor. Enjoy on their own or with your favorite dip.
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
- 1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (50 grams)
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose einkorn flour (150 grams)
Add 1 1/2-inches of water to a baking dish and place it on the bottom rack of your oven. Place a rimmed baking sheet on the center rack. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
In a large bowl, mix together the water with the melted butter and salt with a fork until combined. Add the grated cheese and continue to mix until it is thick and creamy. Stir in the baking powder. Add the flour and continue to mix with a fork as much as you can, then use your hands to knead the dough in the bowl until it holds together.
Rub the dough against the sides of the bowl to collect any remaining flour, then turn it out onto your work surface and knead by hand about 20 times until smooth. Divide the dough into 5 equal pieces, and cover with plastic wrap to keep moist.
Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit your baking sheet. (To save time, cut a second piece of parchment so that you can work on the next batch while the first one is baking.) Roll out the first piece of dough as thin as possible on the paper, lifting frequently, until you have a 10-inch round. Sprinkle the surface lightly with salt. Cut out the crackers with a 2-inch round cookie cutter as closely as possible. Pull up the outline of the dough, leaving the round cutouts on the paper. Slide the paper onto the preheated baking sheet. Save the scraps for the end to re-roll and make an additional sheet of crackers.
Bake for 7 to 9 minutes until the crackers are lightly golden. Remove the pan from the oven. Lift up the paper and gently shake the crackers into a large serving bowl to cool. Return the tray to the oven to warm up, then proceed to roll, season, and bake the remaining pieces of dough in the same manner.
The crackers can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
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