80% Ethiopian Blue-Tinge Emmer Sourdough Boule

It’s ages since I posted anything. A week ago I ordered a bunch of different whole wheat berries from Breadtopia: Blue Emmer, White Sonora (a must, as pie season is upon us!), Einkorn, and Rye. After refreshing my starter, last night I whipped up the dough for a mostly Blue Emmer boule comprised of 80% Blue Emmer and 20% organic bread flour. The loaf is flattish, but it’s delicious; it might rise more if I reduce the water a bit, though the dough was very easy to handle (like spelt). The consistency is kind of like a rye bread; in fact, the dough cracked quite a bit in the oven, much the way a mostly rye dough will crack (not unattractive, in my view). It’s very, very good, and distinctive. It would/will be excellent with goat or cream cheese, as well as with butter and jam.

As I often do when making mostly whole grain bread, I followed a modified version of Eric’s whole spelt recipe posted on the tutorial & recipe page. As per that recipe I aim for 530 grams of flour and between 66%-72% hydration, sometimes more if I’m feeling daring.

424 grams Blue Emmer
106 grams bread flour
375 grams water (about 70% hydration)
10 grams salt
70 grams 100% hydration starter (org whole wheat)
2 T agave

My steps:

  1. Ground the blue emmer berries.

  2. Mixed up the water, starter, and agave in one bowl, and the flours and salt in another. Then mixed the dry into the wet ingredients, and let sit for an hour.

  3. After one hour, began a series of four stretch and folds, in the bowl or by picking up the dough, stretching and folding it over in my hands a couple of times. Did three more after half hour intervals. Total bulk fermentation was about 14 hours.

  4. Pre-shaped, bench rested 15 minutes, then proofed in a floured banneton for about 1 hour 45 minutes.

  5. Baked in an enameled cast iron dutch oven at 450 degrees for 30 minutes with top on, then 12 minutes with cover off.

  6. Let cool about 1 hour 20 minutes (I probably should have let it cool more but I couldn’t wait).

I’m very pleased how well this turned out; I really wanted something with definite whole wheat flavor and nutrition, not too much bread or AP flour.



Wow that’s lovely. The blue emmer color is so deep. Thanks for sharing the recipe and method too. I’m now craving toast with goat cheese and maybe fig jam : )

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Latest installment: a blue-tinge Emmer pancake. I decided to live on the edge and increase both the water content and the Emmer percentage and reduce the bread flour percentage. I initially went with 69-70% hydration (as w/version at top) and tried a one hour autolyse. The dough was so dry, plus I needed to add water to later incorporate the salt, starter, and agave, so by the time I was done mixing everything the hydration was up around 75%.

The result is very tasty but flat flat flat. Also, there’s this weird hole in the middle of the score smack in the center of the loaf. I wonder if I under-fermented the dough…I don’t think so, though, since total bulk ferment time was around 14 hours. it’s cold here, averaging around 67 in the house, though occasionally up to around 70 when the wood stove is really going.

The good news: the bread is still crusty, chewy, and delicious. It doesn’t “taste” like a brick, though it looks like one.

Next time I’ll either use the recipe I first tried (above), with 20% bread flour, or try @Fermentada’s recipe for 100% whole emmer. Or maybe 25% bread, 75% Emmer. I will also go back to the mix everything up all at once approach, a la Eric, since that has worked so well for me.

Note hole (deep cavern) in middle of score.

Flat, though with that crackling similar to what one gets with rye.

Slice taken from close to the tallest part of the loaf. FYI I have small hands. Like I said, flat, flat, flat. Crumb looks a little gummy; I cut into the loaf after it cooled for about an an hour and fifteen minutes because it smelled so good.

It’s got nice fermentation! My whole emmer wasn’t particularly tall either :slight_smile: Is this 100% blue emmer?

85% blue emmer, 15% bread flour. The hydration was a lot higher, which might explain some of the flatness. My 80% blue emmer wasn’t especially tall, but it was definitely taller. But it sure tastes, smells, and feels adequately fermented. It’s really good, and I’m very pleased to have discovered emmer.