Ancient Purple Wheat and Heirloom Wheat, both unhybridised species of ancient wheat grains, have recently become available in Australia and are now being grown either organically or sustainably in the northern part of NSW. Even better the ones I have been able to get my hands on are stoneground, so they have retained the wheatgerm where all the goodness (vitamins, minerals, beneficial oil) lies. I have never been this excited since I found stoneground Australian organic Khorasan (aka Kamut)!
Purple wheat has the added benefit of the high antioxidant anthocyanin, which gives the same purple colour that exists in blueberries. All three ancient grains above (Khorasan, Purple Wheat, Heirloom) also have the added benefit of high protein but of a different variety than the usual kind; hence they are much more easily digestible compared to modern wheat protein/gluten. Though of course in my opinion, every grain must be either soaked, sprouted or lacto fermented as it is in sourdough bread fermentation prior to consumption.
I like to support this new wave of using ancient grains and the organic and/or sustainable farming of it here in Australia, as these grains are naturally drought and pest resistant, and are therefore much easier for our farmers to grow in Australia’s desert-like climate. Spelt on the other hand, is better suited to colder climates as it requires a lot more water to grow. So with this being said, lets support our farmers or these ancient varieties will become extinct and we will end up with only hybridised types of wheat.
And did I mention that it is so DELICIOUS ??? So here is a recipe for an amazingly delicious and highly digestible sourdough loaf. If you don’t already have a starter culture, you can make your own or purchase my 35+ year old starter culture from the online shop.
Do not over-knead or over-rise… the protein/gluten in these ancient varieties cannot tolerate vigorous kneading or over rising and high temperatures (26-28C is perfect).
For those of you on a FODMAP or low GI diet this bread may be suitable for you, but consult your health practitioner for advice.
Sourdough starter - Activate starter 6-12 hours prior to making dough. Whisk/Stir well and leave covered in the warmest spot in your house, but not in direct heat.
Use when bubbly
Measure ingredients -
Beginning with the starter, weigh and place the wet ingredients into your bowl. Then weigh and add the dry ingredients, except salt
Mix ingredients -
Mix with a strong spatula or a small scraper until well mixed. The mixture will look dry at the beginning but the final dough mixture will be wet and homogeneous
Rest - AUTOLYSE
Turn your bowl upside down and let the dough rest for 30-60 minutes.
First rise -
Unload the dough into a container with a lid or inside a freezer bag to rise for 1 hour in a covered container at a comfortable room temperature, around 20–25°C (68–77°F).
ADD SALT, then Stretch and fold -
Stretch and fold your dough two or three times (and no more than three times) every half an hour, three times.
Make sure you cover your dough in between stretch and fold.
AT THIS STAGE, you can retard or refrigerate your dough overnight or up to 2 days in a cold (1-3C) fridge.
Divide and shape -
Shape the dough into a ball and put it into your medium tin or floured banneton. If your tin is uncoated please brush tin with coconut oil and line with baking paper.
Final rise/double the dough volume -
Rise the shaped dough at a comfortable room temperature, around 20–25°C (68–77°F), until almost doubled. This will take 3-5 hours or longer if your room temperature is colder or shorter if your dough has risen substantially in the fridge.
Preheat your oven to 250-260°C (455-500°F) with a Dutch OVEN to fit your loaf when your dough is almost doubled.
Bake dough inside your dutch oven for 15 minutes at 250-260°C (455-500°F), then reduce the oven to 225°C (437°F) for a further 15 minutes. Take lid off the dutch oven and bake for a further 15-20 mins at 205°C (401°F) until the loaf has cooked through, turn the oven off, and let it sit for 10 minutes. If you are unsure, insert a thermometer, the inner temperature of the dough should be 95°C (203°F) or higher. Remove loaf from the oven, unload to a cooling rack taking care not to burn your fingers!
Let the bread cool before cutting.
Suitable for freezing and will keep for a couple of months frozen.