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While a lot of us have switched to a gluten-free diet, the fact is that true Celiac Disease is extremely rare. I think it is pretty clear that a lot of people do have a sensitivity to the commercially produced wheat and wheat products in the United States.
There are plenty of wheat sensitive people that can drink beer for example. A person with actual Celiac disease cannot drink regular beer.
If someone has Celiac they will not be able to eat Einkorn wheat without it causing a lot of trouble. Einkorn is a possible solution for those that have trouble digesting wheat products but do not have Celiac.
So if it is not gluten then what is it? Is it the glyphosate or is the wheat modified?
As much as I would like to blame the glyphosate, I don’t believe it is the actual underlying problem. For example, I can eat corn that is sprayed with glyphosate and not have any ill effects.
For two years I did not eat any wheat products because when I did, I paid for it with a day or two of stomach issues and pain. It was extremely disappointing and hard to change my diet. For most of my life, I have been someone that could eat anything I wanted without getting major heartburn or pain.
My husband was very good about switching over to a largely gluten-free diet. We both lost weight too but the fact is that some foods are a lot harder to cook without using wheat. Pre-made gluten-free products can be very expensive as well, especially if you are eating convenience food from the freezer section or if you have to eat out at a restaurant.
We both missed biscuits made with wheat. It is very hard to get anything close to that type of biscuit no matter what gluten-free flour or baking process you use.
Matt suggested to me more than once that I should look into wheat flours from Europe. This made a lot of sense and I wish I had listened to him sooner.
What got us thinking about alternative wheat was the fact that we had heard from those that were wheat sensitive in the USA traveling to Europe and being able to consume bread products without any stomach issues whatsoever.
Later on my friend Daisy Luther over at the Organic Prepper wrote about her trip to Croatia to attend Selco’s survival school. Daisy noticed that people ate a lot of bread and no one seemed to require a specialized diet.
In the United States, it seems like a lot of us have had to change our diets a lot over the years due to sensitivities or allergies. To a lot of the world, so many people on a specialized diet is quite odd.
So what is the difference between Einkorn wheat and regular American wheat?
While I still say that GMOs and glyphosate sprayed grains are bad for you and your long term health, the actual difference in Einkorn has to do with the size of the proteins that it contains. The proteins in the modern wheat we grow in American are much harder to digest than Einkorn. The gluten in einkorn is also a lot weaker so it is easier to break down.
Einkorn Wheat Facts
Einkorn wheat is supposed to be the only wheat that has never been hybridized or genetically modified in some way. The Einkorn grown today is supposedly largely unchanged from what it was 12,000 years ago.
Regardless of how old a variety it is, I am really excited to have a wheat option that I can digest with no problems. I can now make a lot of dishes I used to enjoy without having to learn how to perfect a gluten-free technique.
Einkorn wheat is higher in protein, phosphorus, vitamin B-6, and potassium than that found in modern forms of wheat. The nutritional profile is different enough that even people that are not sensitive to wheat, choose Einkorn for baking, cooking, and snacks.
Einkorn is not gluten-free but the gluten is weak and easier to digest.
Einkorn is not gluten-free. The difference is that the gluten structure of Einkorn wheat is far different than the gluten structure of mass-produced wheat. The modern wheat that so many of the calories in the average American diet come from have glutenins that have a high molecular weight that makes then much harder for some people to digest.
Einkorn actually has just as much gluten as any modern or commercial wheat on the market today so you can replicate favorite recipes that call for standard wheat-based flours. This means you don’t have to add a bunch of specialized binders like xantham or guar gum like you do when cooking gluten-free. While the grocery stores in my area are good about carrying these gluten-free binders, they are not inexpensive and they are still not as easy to come by as just picking up some basic flour, baking powder, and salt.
If you have digestive issues, einkorn may be able to help.
Do you experience digestive issues when you eat a filling meal even if you watch your portion size, eat slowly, don’t eat before bed, and all the other commonly suggested solutions?
Einkorn’s protein and gluten structure make it easier for everyone to digest. This means you might want to consider it if you are experiencing symptoms like heartburn and indigestion frequently.
This could help reduce the intake of medications for gastrointestinal distress. I will not tell you that einkorn is going to stop all your stomach problems but if it reduces your symptoms and medication intake, that would be a very positive thing indeed.
Is there an einkorn wheat self-rising flour?
As far as I know, there is no einkorn self-rising flour but that is not a huge problem because it is very easy to make your own self rising flour. You can make as much as you want at a time and have it on hand whenever you need it. Sifting the flour well is key so you may want to limit how much you mix at once for a good result that is easier to mix.
To make 1 cup self-rising flour simply mix in 1.5 tsp baking powder and ½ tsp salt. Sift and mix very well. It is really that simple. Making your own also allows you to choose the baking powder brand and the type of salt in your flour. The recipe doesn’t call for a lot of salt. Remember this is just to make a basic self-rising flour, the recipes you choose to make will likely call for additional salt just like when you cook with a commercial self-rising mix.
Einkorn wheat is a lot more expensive than regular wheat because it is grown on small family farms and it is often organically produced. The brand I found and I use regularly now is called Jovial. Einkorn is also low yielding wheat so you get less per acre grown which adds to the cost.
Jovial is the largest producer of einkorn wheat products. Their roots stem from the founder trying to find a wheat that their gluten and wheat sensitive daughter could eat.
They found Einkorn and now they farm einkorn wheat in Italy and have a thriving company that offers options to those of us that miss being able to eat regular wheat-based foods.
Buying at least 10 lbs at a time helps reduce cost.
I know that at around $3 per lb this is not cheap stuff but it is still comparable to a lot of gluten-free flours, it is organic, and allows you to enjoy the flavor and texture that is missed when you go gluten-free. I cannot even begin to tell you how many times I have messed up a recipe just because I was trying to achieve a gluten-free version.
Consider that if you eat traditional wheat products, it is really easy to eat too many of them because your diet is not so limited. Cutting out a lot of the wheat-based foods helped me drop 15 lbs fast. Remember the old food pyramids that recommended that you eat 5-10 slices of bread products per day? Well, that is a great way to gain a lot of weight and keep it on.
Now that we have wheat that we can eat again, we are just going to eat it occasionally and use it for breading and coatings. Too much of anything is not a good idea.
The premade pastas and crackers made of einkorn are pricy enough that I will be either making my own or continuing to buy gluten-free.
What I am saying is that due to the cost, it may be wise to still try to avoid eating bread at every single meal.
Makes baking and cooking simpler in households with more than 1-2 people
Einkorn is a good solution for families that have a member or two that is wheat sensitive. When I had to stop eating wheat, my husband did too even though he did not have to do so. In a larger family unit, it can be difficult to cook multiple menus for specialized diets so finding a flour-like Einkorn can help simplify things in the kitchen.
Einkorn products available from Jovial Foods
Cooking With Einkorn
Learning how to cook with a different type of flour can take a few tries sometimes. Matt and I have both cooked more than a few times using the Organic All-Purpose Einkorn Flour from Jovial Foods. We have found it is not hard to work with. I do recommend sticking to recipes well when starting out. Like any bread, you want to make sure that you don’t get the dough too wet or sticky.
I noticed that a lot of recipes call for more time for the dough to rest and rise so you want to make sure to get your bread going early in the day. When I made rolls it took 3 hours of rising time total.
This cookbook features a variety of recipes. If you are nervous about trying out baking, especially with a new grain, this book is a good way to start out with tried and true recipes that yield great results.
Some of the recipes that stand out include Yogurt Blueberry Muffins, Spinach Lasagna Bolognese, Neapolitan Pizza Margherita, and Soft & Chewy Ginger Cookies. With 100 recipes, this book is an amazing deal for any baker.
You can purchase whole einkorn berries and use them in a grain mill. If you are putting back grain for a long emergency, this is a wise way to store it because it will last a lot longer in storage and maintain better nutritional value than if you buy the ground flour and seal it.
James Wesley, Rawles at Survivalblog.com states in his books that you should not plan on storing flour for more than 18 months but whole grains that are packaged well will last for decades if the packaging stays intact.
Gluten-Free grains and nuts can be blended with einkorn
Since Einkorn is such uncommon wheat and the cost is significantly more than some other grains, I want to include a list of gluten-free grains that you can put back. Some of these grains can be blended with einkorn flour in bread recipes and such.
- Brown Rice
- White Rice
- Macadamia ( Just remember this nut is toxic to dogs so don’t bake any pet treats with it.)
Future recipes we are going to try out with einkorn
Since it has been so long since Matt and I could eat wheat, we have a bit of a list of favorite dishes to try out. We look forward to being able to bread and fry chicken and fish.
There is a bread roll filled with meat, cheese, and veggies that Matt’s mom used to make. She showed us how but it was really hard to achieve using gluten-free flour so I look forward to trying it out with einkorn.
I will definitely be posting more about cooking with einkorn and sharing some recipes in the future!
Where can you purchase einkorn flour?
I recommend buying direct from Jovial Foods for the biggest cost savings. Jovial also sells a lot of gluten-free flours and products while offering discounts on larger purchases of single items. Amazon does carry Jovial products but they tend to be overpriced. Vitacost is another great resource for trying out a variety of einkorn products.