Thursday, November 24, 2011


Farro, or Emmer, an ancient kind of wheat, is popular in some parts of Italy, and, ever since I purchased Maria Speck's wonderful book "Ancient Grains in Modern Meals", also in our family.

Creamy farro with honey roasted grapes became our new breakfast favorite that even my picky, normally no-breakfast-type son wolfed eagerly down:

With this delicious experience in mind, I felt inspired to come up with a recipe for a bread with farro. I wanted a straightforward bread, with sourdough, but not too tangy, to showcase the farro. I used whole farro kernels that I ground in my little hand cranked mill (with the additional "benefit" of a good arm muscle workout).

I am very happy with the result, a pleasantly mild, nutty tasting bread.  


1. step
20 g wheat or rye mother starter (100% hydration), OR 16 g of apple or raisin yeast water
8 g water, lukewarm
20 g bread flour

2. step
42 g levain 1. step (all)
16 g water, lukewarm
42 g bread flour

3. step
100 g levain 2. step (all)
100 g water, lukewarm
200 g bread flour

314 g farro flour
236 g water
6 g salt

all soaker
all levain
314 g bread flour
6 g salt
202 g water
rolled wheat or other flakes for topping

DAY 1:
Mix soaker ingredients, let sit at room temperature.

For the 3-step levain: mix ingredients for mother, and proof in a warm place (like oven with light on) for ca. 6 hours. Repeat procedure with next two steps (chef and levain). Refrigerate overnight.

DAY 2:
Remove levain from refrigerator 2 hours before using.

 Cut levain in small pieces (to make mixing easier). Place all ingredients in mixing bowl. Mix on low speed until dough comes together, 1 - 2 minutes. Knead on medium low speed for 4 minutes (dough should be very tacky, bordering on sticky). Let dough rest for 5 minutes, then resume kneading for 1 minute more (dough should be still very tacky, if not sticky).

Place dough in lightly oiled bowl, cover, and let rest in a warm place for 90 minutes. Transfer to lightly floured work surface, and, (with your hands from from the middle of the dough to the sides), push out air, then stretch and fold. Place folded dough with seam down back in bowl. Let rest for another 80 minutes.

Push out air again, let dough relax for 10 minutes more.

Divide into 2 equal pieces, shape into boules, place seam-side down on parchment lined baking sheet, mist with water and sprinkle with rolled wheat. Mist breads with oil spray, cover, and proof for 75 - 90 minutes in warm place, until grown to 1 1/2 times their original size. (Preheat oven after 30 minutes.)

Preheat oven to 250ºC/485ºF, including steam pan.

Place breads in oven, steaming with 1 cup of boiling water, and bake for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to 200ºC/400ºF and bake for 15 minutes. Rotate breads 180 degrees, remove steam pan and continue baking for another 20 minutes (internal temperature 98ºC/209ºF). Leave for 10 minutes in switched-off oven with door slightly ajar. Then cool on wire rack.

A pleasantly nutty tasting bread