Organic Khorasan Sourdough
King Tut's Wheat
I'm obsessed with ancient grains. Khorasan is the fourth one that I've added to my larder. The others are Red Fife, Emmer and Spelt.
These grains are expensive compared to flours typically sold in supermarkets, but they're worth every cent. Both flavor and nutritional value are leagues ahead of modern wheats.
I can purchase a 22 kg (50#) bag of unbleached white flour from my local big box store for less than $13.00. By comparison, 20 kg of Khorasan whole grain flour is $83.00. (20 kg of the grain itself is $69.00 at my local supplier.The price differential between whole grain and straight kernals illustrates why I prefer milling my own, even though I did have to invest in the mixer and family grain mill. In time, I'll come out ahead.
Then, of course, there's the flavor... which is another reason I bake with ancient grains. Read on...
Milling Your Own Flour
As the title suggests, I mill my own flour using a grain mill I located on the net (see the Internet Resources section for the links). Rather than reinvent the wheel, I will simply refer you to my lens about milling Red Fife wheat, where you'll find all the details.
My grains are purchased here on Vancouver Island, but a quick Internet search for "Kamut" or "Khorasan" will doubtless help you locate a supplier close to you.
I use a Kitchen Aid 600 Professional stand mixer. As you can see, the grain mill is attached to the mixer via the Kitchen Aid's power take-off.
The process is slow - and a bit messy if you simply catch your flour in a cup or bowl. That's why I use a bread bag to control the delivery. Channeling the flour directly into the bag also means I don't have to stand around and watch while the mill's doing its job. In addition, I never mill more than a few pounds of flour at a time, since the wheat's readily available and I want my flour fresh.
A caution: You should not run the mill any faster than #2 on the control, and not for more than 10-15 minutes, as the motor could overheat and damage your mixer. After milling for 15 minutes, I let the mixer cool off for 45 minutes before milling again.
KitchenAid 600 Professional Stand Mixer
This is my mixer of choice - the attachments available for the 600 make it an invaluable addition to your kitchen - and there are a LOT more than I'm listing here.
Khorasan Kernals - Twice the size of other wheats
That's Khorasan on the left, and Red Fife on the right - the size difference is apparent.
Khorasan & Red Fife - A closer comparison.
Active San Francisco Sourdough Starter
This type of baking (based upon Jim Lahey's method) requires an active culture or "starter." Anything less will yield disappointing results. When I use the term "active culture," I mean warm (70-85 degrees F.) and visibly bubbling. (Cold starter can also be used in baking sourdough breads, but the process takes quite a bit longer and isn't employed here.)
- 2 1/2 cups Organic Khorasan Flour
- 1/2 cup cracked organic Red Fife, Emmer or Khorasan wheat
- 1 1/2 cup of water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of Kosher salt
- 1/2 cup of active sourdough culture
- 1 TBSP Organic Chia Seeds
- Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl
- Add 1 1/4 cup of the water, mix & let stand for 5 minutes
- Add your active sourdough culture
- Blend until you have a even dough - it will be slightly heavy
- Oil a 4 to 5 quart bowl (I use olive oil)
- Shape the dough into a round ball and place it in the oiled bowl.
- Cover with plastic wrap and leave it to proof (rise) for 16 hours.
- Remove the dough from the bowl, punch down, and shape into a round loaf
- After 30 minutes, heat your Dutch oven (in your oven) to 475 degrees - this will take from 20-30 minutes, depending upon your range.
- After the dough has proofed for a full hour, place it in the Dutch Oven, replace the lid and return it to your hot oven.
- Bake @ 475F for 30 minutes, then remove the lid (careful, it's HOT!) and bake for another 15 minutes to brown the crust.
- Remove from the oven and cool on a rack for 30 minutes or more before sampling.
All we need now is a dollop of butter
The crust is thick, chewy and delicious!
Lodge Five Quart Dutch Oven - My Secret Weapon
Here's my Lodge Dutch Oven, ready for heating to 475 degrees.
Lest I forget - Handle with care - 475 degrees is HOT.
Lodge Dutch Ovens
What makes these cast iron jewels so special? When you bake with the lid on, the moisture in the dough generates steam. The steam, in turn, creates the chewy, flavorful crust sourdough lovers crave. That's the purpose of baking the loaf covered for the first 30 minutes. The next 15 minutes (with the lid off) brown and thicken that crust.
This is a must for baking sourdough. I've had mine for a year or so, and absolutely love it. It's not only great for baking, but also for delicacies like Hickory-smoked Baked Beans!
- Pleasant Hill Grain
Pleasant Hill Grain - my source for the Messerschmidt Family Grain Mill - these folks carry an outstanding collection of cooking and survival items for preppers and just plain folks like me.
- Sourdoughs International
The best source for exotic sourdough cultures. Owner Ed Woods collects cultures from around the world.
- True Grain Bakery
True Grain is one of two suppliers of ancient grains on Vancouver Island that I'm aware of, but you'll find theirgrain variety and price lists of interest no matter where you live.
"Khorasan wheat or Oriental wheat (Triticum turgidum ssp. turanicum also called Triticum turanicum) is a tetraploid wheat species. It is an ancient grain type; Khorasan refers to a historical region in modern-day Afghanistan and the northeast of Iran