Kamut® (Khorasan) Sourdough Bread

(Melissa) #1

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(MTJohn) #2

Thanks for sharing your experiment with Kamut. I use a lot of Kamut, usually in combination with other flours, but am still learning how best to work with it. But, I am not as disciplined as you in following a good scientific regimen with my experiments.

The Tartine Kamut recipe is 60% whole grain Kamut; 20% high extraction (bolted) flour; and 20% strong (high protein bread/AP) at 85% hydration with 15% starter and 2.5% salt. Chad Robertson’s method is to reserve 5% of the water, autolyse with the remaining water, all of the flour and starter. Then, after a couple of hours, work in the remainder of the water and the salt.

I have been trying his method, except to reduce the hydration to 75%. My initial observations are that, although the dough is still pretty wet, the structure is somewhat improved over the method that I used to use, i.e. flour/water autolyse at 100% hydration, using some/all of the water; followed by the addition of the remaining ingredients.

I think a shorter bulk fermentation helps to hold the structure. I usually do an overnight BF at room temperature which, in my kitchen is 65 - 68 (cooler in the winter). At that temperature, a 10 hour BF and 2 hour final proof seems to work.

(Stuart) #3

Very nicely documented experiment and good looking loaves. I recently made a 100% except for the flour in the starter Kamut loaf that was done at 70% hydration and using some yeast water as well as the starter. I did notice a lack of elasticity and a quick relaxing after stretch and folds. The flavor was wonderful and definitely worth the effort. I look forward to your next writeup.
The following is an addition to the original comment: Kamut also makes an excellent pasta. I found this out when out of my preferred durum and having read someplace that Kamut is a direct ancestor used it instead. It does add a unique taste to whole grain pasta.

(deborah.k.willoughby) #4

Did you use the bolted kamut flour or the unbolted variety?

(Frederick C) #5

I have made quite a few Kamut breads with varying degrees of whole grain (freshly milled). I have come to believe that Kamut does not absorb nearly as much water as other whole grains, especially wheat. My last loaf was about 36% Kamut. I kept the hydration at about 70%. It was still fairly wet. However, with enough stretch n folds, the loaf kept its shape fairly well and still had a fairly open crumb. Sorry, no pics this time.

(Melissa) #6

Thanks for sharing your technique and ratios. I’ll try leaving out the salt and small amount of water at some point and see how it goes. Of course to do a real test, I’d need a second dough with the salt and leaven withheld…and maybe a third with all in from the beginning. This could be fun :slight_smile:

Thank you for the tip on the pasta. I made gnocchi recently and I was tempted to try kamut instead of AP. Since it was my first gnocchi ever, though, i stayed simple, but next time, I’ll use Kamut. Glad you enjoyed the blog.

I used the whole grain Kamut from the breadtopia store.

Would love to see pics next time. Kamut is an interesting flour, no doubt. It is less thirsty than conventional wheat, though Einkorn to me is still the least thirsty.
Of note, a cup of whole grain Kamut is much heavier than other whole grain flours too. I got 150g for it, and 130 for most others (emmer, einkorn, spelt, rye). Red fife was 145g, which is heavy too. Surely we would all get slightly different measurements, but I thought this was interesting.

(MTJohn) #7

Inspired by your post, I just tried a bake that was 40% whole Kamut; 40% bolted Kamut; and, 20% white Kamut at 75% hydration, using the Tartine method, i.e. adding the salt and the balance of the water 2 hours after mixing everything else. Based on the way the dough felt after the last stretch&fold (see pic), I was hopeful. But, the result was similar to your result with 100% Kamut. It didn’t pancake in the cloche but I didn’t get much spring and the crumb is pretty tight. The upside - it tastes pretty good and it is nutritious.

I bolted the flour with a 30 mesh screen. It only removed 2-3% of the weight of the flour that I had put into the sieve and the result wasn’t even close to white Kamut which, according to Montana Flour & Grain, which is where I purchased the flour, the white Kamut has 20% of the bran removed. I don’t have a smaller mesh screen.

(Melissa) #8

Nice stretching photo!

It is interesting that despite the relative lack of bran, your test bread had a tight crumb and little spring. I guess that indicates the Kamut gluten is pretty different from conventional wheat, even when the bran is pulled out.

I’m working on a 47% whole grain kamut bread – I dumped the remaining contents of a bag of kamut flour into a bowl to get this number lol. I have house guests coming and am stocking up on bread and clearing fridge space.

I did a 1 hr autolyse with leaven; watery salt added after. Looking forward to seeing the results, though there are differences that will make any comparison bad science: 1) I’m compressing the stretch and folds 2) I made it higher hydration for kicks 3) I used more leaven to hopefully shorten the bulk time.

Ok, so this isn’t science at all :slight_smile:

Also, I’m tempted to turn the two loaves into breads with accessories during the preshape (olive rosemary, cheddar thyme) because my guests will go bananas for that stuff!

When I read Tartine No.3 I was a bit confused about Robertson’s instructions for the autolyse. Specifically, like you said, he has the leaven in and the salt out…for 40 min to 4 hours or overnight. The longer end of this range seemed odd to me - that a dough would be well into fermentation before starting the stretching and folding if you went 4 hours or overnight.

So, I googled the heck out of this subject and found a person who had Robertson as a guest blogger in order to clarify this exact issue. The long and short of it being, yes he puts in the leaven for short autolyses, but no leaven for the longer end of the range. Here is the blog in case you want to check it out (though perhaps you already have!). The comments section goes into what “short” and “long” mean for everyone lol

(MTJohn) #9

Actually, there was still a fair amount of bran in the bolted Kamut. I put 105 grams of flour in the sieve and got 102 grams of flour and 3 grams of flour back. I also noticed that the bran was finer textured than the bran that I remove with the 30 mesh sieve when bolting Bob’s stone ground whole wheat.

Thanks for sharing the link. I am considering a “double” autolyse - an initial step with the whole grain, all the water, minus 50 grams and sufficient additional flour to make @ 100% hydration; a second step adding starter and the rest of the flour; and, the third step adding the remaining water and the salt.

(Melissa) #10

Ahh, so you had a lot of bran in there still.

Here is a photo of my 47% Kamut. I overproofed it because my kitchen was sizzling hot and I was distracted by pickling jalapenos and making dinner. I even ran out of extra bowls to use as proofing baskets at one point and had to do dishes while the dough spread ever farther across my kitchen counter lol

(I did save a third loaf from this fate by putting it in the tiny bit of fridge space I had.)

(MTJohn) #11

That loaf with the cheese (and jalapenos??) looks good, too!

(Melissa) #12

Thanks - it was cheese and dried thyme. I couldn’t sacrifice any jalapenos to the bread. Here’s how I prepped the proofing basket. The bran flakes and thyme soak up cheese grease in a delicious way!

(Marilyn) #13

I grind my own grains and have Kamut, and have long wanted to make a loaf of Kamut bread using sourdough. But most of the recipes on Breadtopia go for HOT ovens, HEAVY containers like Dutch ovens … I keep hoping for recipes that use regular bread pans, don’t need a cover, and use a reasonable baking temperature. I am not into no-knead stuff. Is it possible to treat Kamut like regular whole wheat? And bake like we did in the 40’s, 50’ and 60’s? I’m too old to switch to methods that use baking equipment too heavy for me to lift (arthritis in wrists), and temps that scare me. I don’t think my oven will go to 500 degrees. Any help?
Marilyn Blessum

(Melissa) #14


How about this Breadtopia recipe, substituting the conventional wheat for Kamut, and the yeast for 75 or more grams sourdough starter – with a much longer rise, of course. (It bakes at 350 F)

Also, check out this recipe that a breadtopia member contributed to the forums. I think it would work well in a loaf pan, and with some (all?) Kamut flour.

I have a few relatives who can’t risk their teeth on crusty artisanal bread, so I bake loaf pan bread for them. (350 F oven. Loaf pan on a sheet pan 30 min, rotate, bake 15-30 more minutes. 190’F in center when done.)

If your only issue is baking vessel weight and temp though, I want to mention that I think the Breadtopia recipes do well in 450’F ovens. Many people have clay bakers that can’t go higher. Moreover, the breadtopia clay baker (which can go to 500, but doesn’t have to) is not heavy at all. Nothing like a cast iron dutch oven.

All that said, there is no reason not to put your sourdough in a loaf pan if that is your preference!

(Marilyn) #15

Dear Fermentada Melissa

Thanks for your speedy input. I’ve seen the regular Breadtopia whole wheat recipe. My point is that I want to avoid conventional wheat, and commercial yeast, and don’t care a fig for artisanal bread with tough crust and big holes for butter and jam to drip through. Just want sandwich bread made with a heritage wheat. Maybe I’m just too picky, but I’m 84, have some physical limitations and no money for pricey things like clay bakers, so my options are limited to what I have (metal bread loaf pans) and what I’m used to doing, except switching to the heritage wheat, if that’s possible. I’ve had some success with Turkey Red, but Khorasan seems quite different. Sorry if I sound like a curmudgeon! Trying to avoid turning out yet another 2-inch high anvil!

(Melissa) #16


I wrote up the recipe I use for sourdough sandwich bread.

I used 2 cups of whole grain einkorn and 2 cups of all purpose flour. I don’t have kamut flour at the moment, but einkorn is a bit floppy and I believe presents challenges similar to kamut. You can work the recipe toward more and more whole grain flour if you want.

I hope the write up helps - I realize you may have wanted 100% whole grain, but I think this is a good start.


(Marilyn) #17

Thank you, Melissa. How nice of you to follow up. I have used a recipe a lot like yours but it used much less heritage flour. I might have been afraid the sourdough starter I had would not do well at raising more whole grain than that. But now I have Eric’s starter, so I’ll give your recipe a go.I don’t have celiac issues, I just wanted to quit using conventional wheat whenever possible. Thanks again!

(Melissa) #18

You’re welcome! Happy baking :slight_smile:

(syros) #19

Hi Melissa
I am looking for a recipe using Kamut flour and wanted to know about the long bulk fermentation with this recipe. Is it that Kamut needs such a long bulk fermentation vs other flours? I don’t think I have ever gone longer than 6 hours and have never used Kamut before, so any advice is welcome. I would probably use the 40% or the 20% recipe just to see how it handles.
Thanks, Sharon

(Melissa) #20

My house is pretty cold, making for longer fermentation time. Kamut is no slower to ferment than other wheats as far as I can tell. Just keep an eye on it as you normally would. Enjoy!