There is an exciting resurgence of people starting to grow ancient and unusual wheats and other grains, and I picked up a bag of Emmer flour from a healthfood shop. Around the same time a friend gave me a bag of slightly-past-its-best Einkorn. Sometimes people do that when you're a baker - it's a bit of a test; a sort of 'show us what you're made of'.
I love a challenge but until this week I've been pretty busy making the things I always make with the ingredients I always use (strong white, strong wholemeal and rye, mainly) and those bags of flour kept nagging mean. So finding myself with a little spare time this week, I decided to break out of my comfort zone.
Ancient wheats such as Emmer, Einkorn and Spelt, and grains such as rye and barley have a lower protein content than the wheat milled for our modern strong flour, so produce a shorter, crumblier bake. What they have in droves, however, is flavour.
I've been working on my new flatbreads class and decided that this was the perfect opportunity to introduce some of these new flavours, so yesterday I had a little bake-off by myself, and the results were superb!
You see, flatbreads made with 100 percent strong white flour can be a bit too chewy. Replace some of that flour with Emmer or barley and the result is a really flavoursome, soft-as-you-like bread to fill or wrap around something delicious. So the barley and wheat pittas (pictured) and what I'm going to call ancient and modern coriander flatbreads will definitely make it onto the course.
Just one more thing... I came across a recipe for flatbreads made with 100 percent barley flour and although sceptical, I thought I'd give them a go. The result - well let's just say they made good frisbees! Which just goes to show that even published recipe books can be wrong so it's good to trust your instincts.