All the wheat we have today is descended from einkorn, which has been growing wild in the Middle East for millions of years, way before humans came along. Wild emmer wheat is einkorn’s firstborn, the product of a natural hybridization between einkorn and another wild grass. These are the two wild wheats that Paleolithic hunter-gatherers in the Fertile Crescent would have encountered. And about 10,000 years later, the same two varieties (along with barley) were the ones that Neolithic humans started cultivating—the wheat and the humans each domesticating the other.
Einkorn is both familiar and not. Unlike more common wheat varieties, it has an inedible hull surrounding the kernel that has to be removed. (That’s where the saying “separating the wheat from the chaff” comes from.) It is finicky to grow and relatively low yielding, which is why it was almost abandoned, except in small pockets of Turkey and Europe. When ground, it has a yellow, carroty cast from lots of beta-carotene, and its gluten is different from that in today’s wheat. . .
Visit Saveur‘s web site to read the full article, Down with Boring White Bread.
Editor-in-Chief Adam Sachs and Test Kitchen Director Stacy Adimando talked with Faith about this recipe in a special fundraising edition of The Food Schmooze®. With a contribution of $5 a month, you can subscribe to Saveur and support The Faith Middleton Food Schmooze® at the same time. We hope you will. Thank you!