Once a week or so, I take out the flour mill and grind enough einkorn to make biscuits, waffles and whatever else we’ll be munching the next seven days. This week I thought I’d bring you along while I make my wholegrain einkorn sourdough boule. We love this rustic loaf alongside meals or just by itself with lots of butter. I’m no professional, but we enjoy it! Here are my tips for making your own rustic wholegrain sourdough boule with einkorn flour.
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“Boule” is French for “ball,” which describes the shape of this beautiful loaf. Crunchy on the outside, soft and rich on the inside. One of the most beautiful things about einkorn is that even though it’s whole grain, the flavor is not an afterthought. It will still boast a sweet nutty flavor and soft center. Because we are using einkorn, which has a much weaker gluten, this loaf won’t be as puffy and light as your familiar bakery bread. In addition, we’re using wholegrain as opposed to refined flour, so it will be even more dense.
Baking a whole grain einkorn boule with sourdough may sound daunting. There are several differences than your typical yeast bread with white flour. I’m here to say, it can be made simple!
There are a few tips for making this wholegrain boule to make sure we create as tasty a loaf as possible. Let’s dive into the things I do to keep my boule turning into our kids craved delicacy!
The best sourdough starter is bubbly and active when you use it in your dough. The best way to guarantee a powerful starter is to make sure it’s in it’s prime eating time. Sourdough starters are made of lactic acid bacteria and wild yeast that feeds on the grain. When you feed a starter grain and water, it’s like dinner time. They eat and eat until gases are released presenting the air bubbles we see in an active starter.
I recommend feeding it with whole grain flour before using. Whole grain einkorn contains the highest amount to the organisms used to feed your sourdough starter. Why? The germ of the grain contains the highest amount. When you remove the germ to make all-purpose flour, you also remove much of those organisms.
Getting an Active Starter Ready
The best time to use a sourdough starter is usually about 4-8 hours after having fed it. Mature starters are best. My starter is years old making it mature. It will last through skipped feedings. Baby starters need more constant attention. This means wait at least a few weeks after starting a new sourdough starter before trying to use for bread making. You want it to build the strength it needs for a good rise.
Don’t feel you need to use einkorn sourdough starter. Any kind will do. If you want to make your own einkorn sourdough starter, check out THIS POST. I will walk you through simple steps to creating a sourdough starter with einkorn flour.
The folding of the dough is important because this will help give the bread an extra push to rise, despite it’s density and lack of gluten. We want extra air to get in which wouldn’t normally be present. Please note that whole grains einkorn should not be overworked! The more you work it, the stickier it gets. Soon, you’ll have put way more flour in than needed and it will be extra dense.
Einkorn naturally absorbs moisture more slowly than other grains so remember when making the dough, it may seem sticky. That’s ok! We want it a little more sticky because it will need the moisture during the bread making process of rising and baking.
How to Make your Wholegrain Einkorn Sourdough Boule
Pour your sourdough starter into a large mixing bowl. Add the warm water, flour, and sprinkle salt on top.
Mix together these ingredients until they pull together into a sticky ball. Let it sit for about 15 minutes, then turn out onto a floured surface.
Gently fold the dough for about 2 minutes. To do this you’ll stretch the dough into a rectangle, then fold into thirds. Turn it 90 degrees and do the same thing.
Roll back into a ball and place into a greased bowl, cover with a towel or plastic wrap and place in a warm area. After 15-30 minutes turn the dough again. You can set a timer or just do a few chores before coming back to the dough. You’ll want to turn it then set the timer for another 15-30 minutes and do it one last time. Three turning sessions in all.
Place your ball back into the bowl, cover and set in a warm place for about 8-10 hours.
When the dough has risen about 20 percent it will be ready. Remember, einkorn is very dense and won’t rise a lot. The fact that it’s whole grain also means it will struggle to rise so don’t expect much difference in the size. If there are bubbles on your dough, it’s most definitely ready to bake as this is a sign the yeast may not have much more eating to do. Time to bake!
Preheat your oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit with a covered Dutch oven. Fold your dough gently a couple more times, then place into a tea towel lined banneton just use what I use: a colander! Cut a few lines in your ball to allow for stretching and growth but know that it will tear. This is called scoring. Here’s some fun scoring ideas. cover with the towel.
After 45 minutes plop that ball into the preheated, parchment lined Dutch oven, cover and place in your oven for 20 minutes. Take off the lid, and bake for another 10-20 minutes. You should see cracking and edges will turn a darker brown. Take it out and allow the bread to cool on a cooling rack for an hour before slicing (I must confess, we rarely wait this long but it will help the bread to stay strong in the middle while cutting).
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Here’s The Recipe
- 1 Cup Sourdough Starter
- 1 Cup Warm Water
- 5 Cups Wholegrain Einkorn Flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Salt
- Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and let sit for about 15 minutes.
- Fold your dough on a floured surface a few minutes, then roll into ball and place in greased covered bowl. Let sit for about 20 minutes, then fold the dough again. Wait 20 more minutes, then fold one last time. Three folding sessions is a good number.
- Roll dough into ball and place into greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel and leave in a ward spot for 8-10 hours. It should rise about 20%.
- When dough is about ready, preheat the oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit and place Dutch Oven into preheating oven. Fold your dough gently one last time, then form back into ball and place in a tea towel lined banneton ( I just use a colander). Sprinkle with flour and "score," or cut small slices into the edge of the dough to allow for rising. Fold the towel back over the dough.
- After about 45 minutes, remove the Dutch oven from your oven, open and place parchment in before placing the dough into the Dutch oven.
- Cover and return to the oven. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for 10-20 more minutes. Take out of oven and let rest for one hour before slicing (ok, this may not happen but I can always advise). Enjoy!
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-The brand of Refined Einkorn Flour I like to use.
Places I purchase my einkorn grain
Thanks for stopping by! Happy Baking to you!
From the Hilltop,