Good Questions: Einkorn, Spelt, Emmer, Farro and Heirloom Wheat

Einkorn, Spelt, Wheat, Ancient Grains

In recent weeks, a glut of questions about ancient and heirloom grains and wheat have arrived in my inbox.  I hope this means that readers are beginning to re-embrace the idea of enjoying grains once again, though they still tend to be viewed as the “bad boy” of the ancestral health movement, with books like Grain Brain and Wheat Belly even taking the idea of grain-free diets mainstream.  And while many people benefit from grain-free diets, many people also benefit from including whole grains, ancient or not, in their diets regularly.  For our family, we enjoy a wide variety of grains prepared through traditional means of soaking, sour leavening or, to a lesser extent, sprouting.

Here’s the answers to some of the most common questions emailed to me about choosing and preparing ancient grains and heirloom wheat varieties.

What is Farro?

Farro is an Italian word that encompasses three varieties of heirloom grains: einkorn, spelt and emmer wheat.  These are referred to respectively as farro piccolo, farro grande and farro medio.  So rather than being a single grain, farro is a collection of three grains and the term farro can refer to any of these three grains.

In a culinary sense, the word “farro” on a menu usually refers to any of these three grains cooked as the whole wheat berry, and left whole.  If you’re eating out, and you see “farro” on the menu, be sure to ask what kind of farro the chef is using in the dish.  Is it einkorn, spelt or emmer?

Which grain is better: einkorn, spelt, emmer or heirloom wheat?

While I often receive the question, “Which is better?” or “Which is healthier?” I struggle to answer that question.  I don’t think that any individual grain is necessarily better; rather, they’re marginally different from one another.  The nutrient profile of any given food also changes depending on how you prepare it in your home; sour leavening, for example, increases the folate content of grain.

Compared to modern varieties of wheat, ancient grains and heirloom wheat berries typically are lower in gluten (though still higher in protein), as well as higher in micronutrients like minerals and antioxidants. Einkorn has a higher concentration of beta carotene and lutein than modern wheat varieties.  However, spelt has a marginally lower concentration of B vitamins and phosphorus compared to modern wheat varieties.

Beyond the three grains collectively called farro, there’s also heirloom varieties of wheat – notably Turkey Red Wheat which was brought to the US by Russian and Ukrainian immigrants in the 19th century.

In terms of which is better, they each offer slightly different flavors, with slightly different attributes in baking and marginal differences in the content of their micronutrients.  In Nourished Kitchen: Farm-to-Table Recipes for the Traditional Foods Lifestyle, which becomes available in April of this year and is available for preorder now, features a chart outlining a wide variety of grains, their individual flavors, their micronutrient profile and how to prepare them.

Are heirloom and ancient grains Organic?

Heirloom and ancient grains can be grown conventionally or organically.  Just because a farmer grows heirloom varieties doesn’t necessarily mean that he or she will also adhere to organic standards; however, farmers interested in heirloom and ancient grains are more likely to be similarly interested in organic and sustainable farming.  The lack of organic certification doesn’t necessarily mean that the grains weren’t grown using sustainable methods, and asking questions of your producer directly is your best avenue for determining whether or not the growing methods of the farmer meet your family’s standards.

Third-party certification programs like the National Organic Program help to provide reassurance  and information about growing standards, when direct connection to the farmer or producer is impossible.

What is high extraction flour, and how is it made?

High extraction flour is a traditionally milled flour that has been sifted to remove some, but not all, of the grain’s original bran and germ.  I favor this kind of flour for baking, for long-term storage and to use with the whole grain flours I mill myself.  Traditionally milled high extraction flour is prepared first by soaking the grains (upwards of 24 hours) drying them, then grinding them to form a whole grain flour.

The resulting flour is then typically sifted to remove most, but not all, of the bran and germ and is a traditional practice in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.  Removing a portion of the bran and germ increases the stability of the flour, decreasing the odds that the fragile fatty acids found in the bran and germ will go rancid.  You can find traditionally milled high extraction flour online.

Do heirloom wheats need to be soaked, soured or sprouted?

Soaking, sprouting and souring grains helps to deactivate components of grains like food phytate that can bind up minerals found in the grain and prevent their full absorption.  When food phytate is deactivated or partially deactivated through soaking, souring or sprouting, the bioavailability of trace minerals like zinc and iron is increased.

In his studies of traditional diets compared to modern diets, Dr. Price who penned Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, describes how traditional diets were considerably more rich in these trace minerals than modern diets, thereby increasing the health and resilience of the populations who consumed their native diets without heavily processed foods.

Recently, researchers have investigated traditional practices of soaking and souring, and found them to be effective at decreasing food phytate and increasing the bioavailability of minerals; however, they also find that on an otherwise nutrient-dense diets, the benefits are likely marginal at best.  My family favors soaking and souring our grains, and you can find several recipes for traditionally prepared sourdough breads and soaked whole grains in Nourished Kitchen: Farm-to-Table Recipes for the Traditional Foods Lifestyle.

Do ancient and heirloom wheats have gluten?

Yes.  Ancient and heirloom wheats contain gluten.  What many people don’t understand is that all grains contain gluten – even “gluten-free” grains.  The exception to this is pseudocereals like buckwheat and amaranth which are not true grains at all, but, rather, grain-like seeds of broad leafed plants. Gluten is simply a composite of various proteins found in wheat and other grains.  The question is whether or not you are sensitive to those individual proteins.  For people sensitive to “gluten,” they are typically sensitive to gliadin and glutenin.

Owing to a difference in protein structure of the gluten in individual grains, people who react to modern wheat may or may not react to ancient varietals; however, people with celiac disease should avoid them completely until research into grains, gluten and celiac disease indicates otherwise.  The idea that ancient grains have “less” gluten than modern grains is misleading as for people who are truly sensitive to the individual the complex of proteins in gluten, a little or a lot, they’ll still react.

Isn’t all wheat genetically modified (GMO)?

No.  For the love of God, STOP repeating this rumor.

Modern wheat has been progressively hybridized over several generations to improve yield, to increase gluten (which improves bread quality) and for various other reasons.  After WWII, as part of the Green Revolution, scientists made some significant changes to heritage wheat that resulted in increased yields and higher gluten content.  It has not been genetically modified through bioengineering, until very recently, and then GMO wheat is not currently on the market, though a small patch of it escaped and was found growing in a field where it was not intentionally planted for testing.  For the record, that’s not the same thing as ever bit of wheat flour in the world (or in the US, depending on the rumor you heard) being a biotech crop.

How do I use ancient grains and heirloom wheat?

You can use ancient grains and heirloom wheats just as you would any modern what and flours, though, in baking, you may need to adjust the hydration levels slightly by adding more water or flour until the dough feels right in your hands.  A fantastic book to get started is Ancient Grains for Modern Meals which not only includes heirloom wheat varieties, but also other whole grains.  Keep in mind that the book’s author, Maria Speck, who is an astoundingly talented chef doesn’t call for soaking, sprouting or souring the grains so if you wish to soak your grains prior to making her recipes, you’ll need to adjust the recipe slightly.

Here are some of my favorite recipes featuring ancient grains and heirloom wheat:

Where do I buy heirloom wheats and ancient grains?

Most well stocked health food stores or gourmet foods shops will offer einkorn wheat berries, high-extraction einkorn flour, spelt flour and spelt berries.  Some will also offer emmer wheat varieties as well.  If you cannot find them locally, you can purchase them online here.

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What people are saying

  1. Angie says

    Thank you Jenny for this wonderful clarifying information. Love your site and newsletters – you have educated me in this field of food preparation during the past couple of years. I recently acquired 5kgs of organic spelt berries here in Australia from a reputable retail source. My first attempt at sprouting went just OK, the initial soak water remained cloudy after lots of rinsing and the sprout ‘tails’ were not obvious on all the berries but I went ahead and began the dehydrating process. Second attempt I let them soak and sprout a bit longer and it developed a pungent odour. I went ahead and dehydrated them but the odour has lingered………. could I have I reached an intentional souring and are they edible?

    • Jenny says

      I’m glad you asked. When sprouting grains, the sprout should *barely* emerge from the tip of the grain. You’re looking for a whiff of a sprout. Prolonged time sprouting does two things: 1) it can introduce harmful microbes and mold into the sprouted grains (which is not typically a problem at home, but can be a big problem for commercial operations) and 2) if the grain continues to sprout, you run the risk of malting it when it dries. This will make breads and baked goods very sweet and gummy – like they never finish baking.

      • DOUG MICHAEL says

        Mold is always an issue when sprouting but, at the point of the radical? And precisely what is the harm if you’re baking the sprouts into bread? We do not want to see mold in our sprouts because of the risk of it getting into our starter. But I’m wondering if you’re overstating the concern for mold for home bakers. I would think that it would be worse to obtain wheat that was treated with a mold inhibitor. If mold does appear, I would recommend that the home baker rinse the sprouted grain with a citric acid (lemon water) bath. It’s our experience that a LOT of grains grown in the Northeast are going to show signs of mold because the harvest season can be rather wet but the sprouted grains can be carefully rinsed and kept cool enough to stave off mold growth.

    • Aldo says

      Hi Angie,
      I have been hunting for Einkorn Flour or berries. But so far have been unable to find a stockist. Is it a seasonal thing? Would you be able or willing to share where you acquired your Einkorn in Australia? My little girl has recently been diagnosed with Gluten intolerance. I would love to try and see if the Einkorn has any affect or less of an affect on her. I really would appreciate any help you can offer. Thank you in advance. Aldo

  2. says

    Modern wheat has been hybridized using chemical processes that would never have occurred in nature. So it really depends on your definition of genetic modification. If you are fine with a plant’s genetic expression being changed through chemical alteration, even though it would never happen in nature, then no organic wheat has not been genetically modified because there was no genome splicing. However, some people consider an unnatural change in genetic expression brought about by chemicals to be genetically modified which makes modern wheat, even organic modern wheat, genetically altered. It’s not as simple as you are making it sound.

    • Jenny says

      When people says “Wheat is GMO!” they are misleading others since we now associate “GMO” with gene splicing and biotech. You should also be aware that many, many vegetables have had their genetic expressions altered through similar means as modern wheat (not gene splicing) but I don’t see the ancestral health community falling over themselves to condemn those.

      • Kristin says

        What they have been doing to wheat is exactly the method that has created “super weeds”. They are plants naturally resistant to whatever the chemical they have been exposed to. Are they mutated because of the chemical? I do not think so. They are adapting to the chemical. And that’s a good thing, imo. Because the more plants that are resistant to the chemical, the less effective those chemicals become the more likely the world is to return to quality farming methods. Look what has happened with antibiotics.

  3. francoise says

    Hi Jenny, thanks very much for this. I would be really interested in reading the research you mentioned about the effect of soaking and souring (suggesting that as part of a nutrition dense diet it has only a marginal effect – it’s the first time I come across this). If this is so, may I kindly ask why you still prefer soaking and soaring as I assume you would be having a nutrient dense diet?

    Kind regards


    • Jenny says

      Francoise, is a good place to start looking at the research on soaking, sprouting and sourdough fermentation as it relates to the breakdown of phytic acid and the increased bioavailability of trace minerals.

      There researchers are pretty quick to acknowledge that traditional preparation increases the bioavailability of minerals, and some make a strong case for re-introducing traditional grain preparation in underserved populations (like developing nations where food security is an issue). Here, a return to traditional methods can make a HUGE difference in eliminating or addressing mineral deficiency and insufficiency; however, if you eat an otherwise mineral-rich diet, the increase in bioavailability of minerals made through traditional grain prep, is not likely to dramatically improve the mineral status of someone who is already consuming plenty of minerals.

      That said, there’s a few reasons why I continue to soak and sour: 1) I think any improvement (even marginal) in the bioavailability of minerals is a good thing, 2) there may be other benefits of soaking, souring and sprouting beyond mitigating the effects of food phytate (like increased B vitamin content or the “predigestion” of complex starches), and 3) I really enjoy both the process and results of soaked and soured baked goods.

      I also believe in honoring traditional food pathways, because just as our ancestor’s didn’t understand the mechanisms behind why these practices benefited them (though research later often reveals that the practices were strongly associated with positive health), we still might not fully understand why these practices will continue to benefit us.

  4. Jackie says

    Interesting post, thank you! I am wondering why I should “ask what kind of farro the chef is using in the dish” if einkorn, spelt or emmer are so similar? Do you avoid one or more of these when you eat out?

    • Jenny says

      I think the chef should be able to tell you exactly what he’s serving you. It would also help to dispel the myth that farro is its own grain rather than a term for any of three different grains.

  5. Judy Grieve says

    I was buying farro at Costco for some time. Now they don’t sell it and I can’t find it at any health good stores either. Is it perhaps under another name? I love farro salads….

  6. Justine S. says

    Thank you, Jenny, for reassuring people again that grains are not the bad guy! I was wondering why you have never mentioned Red Fife wheat in any of your discussions of heritage wheats? )r, maybe I’ve just missed it somewhere…

  7. Kirk says

    Although modern wheat is not Genetically Modified (in the modern sense, aka gene-splicing) plant scientists since the Green Revolution have subjected wheat not only to extensive hybridization and back-crossing but also to chemical-, gamma-, and x-ray mutagenesis, which created proteins completely new to the human diet in “modern” wheat (I believe Wheat Belly discusses this at some length).

    That said, I am not opposed to grains or wheat, but I try to avoid modern wheat, and only eat bread-products that I make myself via sourdough fermentation.


  8. says

    WONDERFUL !!! Ancient grains are my “new thing” and I am enjoying trying them in all sorts of dishes. Information on many of these grains is hard to come by or tainted by the GMO panic. Thanks for a wonderful article !!

  9. Jodie says

    Thank you! I’ve had a lot of anti-grain articles in my email and such so it’s nice to read this. Thanks for laying it all out ~ it’s a great referral!

  10. Mirian says

    Thank you for clearing up the definition of farrow. I enjoy your writings and have gone back several times reading recipes and articles such as this. Very clear and easy to understand.

  11. Jacqui says

    Thanks Jenny, we are using spelt in our home because that’s all I can manage to find in our part of the world. I will search out Farro now!

  12. Cindy Green says

    We grow our own wheat but I would like to know where to get seed for growing heirloom and ancient wheat varieties…

  13. sam says

    Hello Jenny,

    Thank you for such informative information on heirloom grains. I have completely switched my family from wheat to spelt, but I never knew about eikorn. I would like to make to this switch but was wondering couple of things. You mentioned you liked the high extraction eikorn as it is lighter and stays fresh longer. Is this process of removing most of the germ and bran the same process that happens to regular white flour? and does this mean it is less nutritious if most of the germ and bran is removed? Can you please clarify? Also, would eikorn that is not subjugated to high extraction be available and have you tried to bake with it? If so, what were the results compared to the high extraction one?

    Thank you and look forward to your reply,


    • Jenny says

      Yes. The bran and germ is a source of minerals, B vitamins, and when it is removed, you lose the bulk of those micronutrients. With white flour, generally MORE of the bran and germ is removed, the flour is also bleached and vitamins are added back in.

      So, high-extraction flour is “less nutritious” than whole grain flour; however one thing you need to consider is that if you’re eating an otherwise nutrient-dense diet, the lack of nutrients in high extraction flour compared to whole grain flour is relatively negligible. Secondly, the moment you grind grain to make whole grain flour, the nutrients start to degrade anyway and, further, the fragile fatty acids in that flour begin to oxidize with the potential to go rancid with prolonged storage. Lastly, the process of making high extraction flour is a traditional practice that supported the health and well-being of generations for thousands of years.

      If you have a choice between high extraction flour and whole grain flour at the store, I’d choose high extraction flour. If you want to reap the full benefits of whole grain flours, I’d recommend getting a grain mill so you’re eating *freshly* milled flour. The vitamins will be intact and the fats won’t have a chance to oxidize.

      For our family, I use high-extraction flour in combination with freshly milled flour, and I use whole (soaked) einkorn berries. I avoid purchasing and using whole grain flour that is not freshly ground.

      • Mr. M says

        Aloha Jenny,
        Thank you for sharing your knowledge on the subjects. I am planning to get into juicing and I am going to be purchasing Kamut this week along with a couple other wheat grasses. Do you know where I may be able to find organic Einkorn seeds for sprouting? I am going to add this to the many that will be juiced.

        Thank you,

  14. Carolyn Singer says

    I think it is important for people who choose to eat wheat to be aware that even though the wheat is not GMO, glyphosate is often sprayed on it just prior to harvest. So buying organic or carefully sourcing the wheat is necessary.

    • Jenny says

      I agree, but don’t see why this is a suggestion specific to wheat. For people who value organics, presumably most people who read Nourished Kitchen, shouldn’t they also be careful of how they source all their foods?

      • Carolyn says

        I agree that all our food should be carefully sourced. That means educating ourselves about the toxic chemicals used in our food supply so we can make educated decisions. Because the post was about wheat and you did not mention the common practice of glyphosate spraying on wheat, I thought it was pertinent.

  15. candice says

    I can’t by looking at the recipe for the pita breads if they are using the all purpose einkorn flour? Also how do you soak your all purpose flour? The more I read lemon, apple cider vinegar are better mediums then kefir? Just curious. I still haven’t figured out how to soak grains for different recipes if it doesn’t already say how to. So I just don’t make many. Mostly soaked oatmeal I have a young toddler we are mostly paleo and I am overwhelmed on rather to follow wapf or paleo. This is my favorite website though. I can’t seem to afford to pay for fresh ground eikorn a grocery store 45 min from carries the einkorn all purpose flour there is a bakery near me that makes sourdough that is rested for 7 hours they don’t add yeast but there is malt in their bread. I tried taking care of a sourdough but feel better off grains. Seemed like to much work and then I found einkorn all purpose flour I could feed my sourdough but wouldn’t know what to then add to it to bake. I am able to get fresh ground spelt buckwheat and organic wheat but no einkorn its too expensive. Therefore my daugther 16 months is mostly paleo.

  16. says

    Hey Jenny,

    I make so much sourdough bread, most of it whole wheat, and I find myself realizing how much I need a grain mill. I have access to locally grown organic wheat (and heirloom varieties) and they are sold milled and as whole berries. Do you have a recommendation for a particular grain mill? I’m thinking way ahead to my birthday… next December!

    Thanks for tons of awesome info!!


    • Neal Mattison says

      Jon, I bought a “Diamant” for a thousand dollars as a long term sustainability investment from Lehman’s several years back and love it. It weighs about 60 lbs. and has to be bolted to a surface. I hooked up a motor with a V-belt and it works great. I have ground wheat, rice, corn and dry peas. This is a grinder that you will pass on to the next generation. As a scavenger I also use a coffee grinder that you find in the grocery stores that you use to grind small quantities of various coffee types. I modified it so it grinds finer, mounted it and put a nice little hopper on it. My friend who worked at a recycling place got a bunch of them and my buddies and I are using them with great success. I still run the wheat through twice. I do small batches so it does not heat up and kill the germ because of the heat level. I use it because it is convenient and it takes a lot of work to set up my Diamant as I presently do not have space to leave it set up. But make the investment, You will not be sorry, nor will the next generation who receives it. Happy grinding, and eating, Neal!

  17. Tiffan says

    We planted 10 acres of Turkey Red this fall…can’t wait to see how it grows and how the quality of the grain will be better. We use no chemicals and have had very poor yields from saving seed over the years. We believe the wheat has had to learn to adapt to the drought we have had and is putting all of it’s energy into the plant surviving and not producing berries. With a wet summer and early fall, and some winter precipitation we are hoping for a wonderful first crop of heritage wheat.

  18. intactavist says

    Hi, does Kamut fall under the catagory of ancient wheats you are talking about in this article, and if so would you add it to the article as well? I have heard that it contains more nutrients than modern “wheat”, and when people say it contains less gluten, well, it really does, it contains a more natural amount. Due to modern breeding, scientists have bred modern varieties of wheat to contain about 400x the gluten content as the wheat that our ancestors ate. Yes, those who are sensitive to gluten are likely still sensitive to these varieties that contain a lower amount of gluten, but for those of us who are wanting a natural amount of gluten rather than an extreme amount as exists in modern wheat varieties, the ancient varieties may be a good alternative. Quinoa is also a seed as is buckwheat as you mentioned above. (I have read, too, that the gluten in ancient varieties has a slightly different make up than gluten in modern wheat, so may be ok for certain people who are sensitive to gluten)

    • Jenny says

      I didn’t include Kamut because I have mixed feelings about it. Kamut is the trademarked name of Khorasan Wheat, and I don’t buy the whole story of it being found in an ancient Egyptian tomb or whatever. It was likely first cultivated in Anatolia. I spoke with a few farmers who simply said that khorasan wheat is essentially more or less the same as durum wheat – which also doesn’t appear to be entirely true. One study found that people who ate Khorasan Wheat saw a marginal reduction in cholesterol compared to other people eating modern wheat.

      I don’t like using it for baking, as my experiences baking with it are sub-par; I think it’s fantastic in salads though.

      • says

        Hi Jenny: You are correct, the khorasan wheat that was trademarked under the KAMUT(R) brand name probably didn’t come from an ancient Egyptian tomb. The seeds that came to Montana after World War II though, did come from North Africa. It was from these few seeds that the KAMUT(R) Brand khorasan wheat project emerged.

        KAMUT® Brand khorasan is an organic, non-genetically modified, ancient wheat variety similar to durum. In 1990, “KAMUT” was registered as a trademark by the Quinn family in order to support organic farming and preserve the ancient khorasan wheat variety. Under the KAMUT® Brand name, this khorasan wheat must always be grown organically, never be hybridized or modified, and contain high levels of purity and nutrition. Today, Kamut International owns and has registered the KAMUT® trademark in over 40 countries, and is responsible for protection and marketing of all KAMUT® Brand khorasan wheat throughout the world.

        KAMUT® wheat is grown on dryland certified organic farms primarily in Montana, Alberta, and Saskatchewan. The grain is prized by consumers who appreciate the grain for its high energy nutrition, easy digestibility, nutty/buttery taste, and firm texture. KAMUT® khorasan wheat is higher in protein, selenium, amino acids, and Vitamin E than most modern wheat and contains essential minerals such as magnesium and zinc. It is used as whole grain berries, whole grain flour, white flour, flakes, and puffs to make a variety of products. Some specific benefits of using KAMUT® khorasan are receiving more nutrients, protein, and taste than most commonly consumed whole wheat – plus supporting organic agriculture and helping to preserve an ancient grain.

        KAMUT® khorasan is a variety of wheat thus has gluten content. A lot of people who are not able to tolerate wheat tell us that they are able to tolerate KAMUT® khorasan wheat. KI has ongoing research to understand why – it is our theory that because KAMUT® khorasan is an ancient grain, it retains the qualities that made it desirable so many years ago.

        I’m sorry to know that you have not had luck baking with it. Many bakers find that it requires a lot more liquid than they’re used to using due to its high absorption qualities.

        My kind regards – Jamie

        Jamie Ryan Lockman | Regional Director – North America
        Kamut International, Ltd.

  19. says

    Dear Jenny:

    Very interesting, informative and engaging article, I believe.

    One suggestion: Modern wheat has definitely been improved through breeding = cross-pollinating selected parents and then choosing the best from among the progeny, which are often grown under controlled conditions (e.g., drought stress), and repeating this process over successive generations. But I don’t believe “breeding” and “hybridization” are synonyms. No hybrid wheat exists in farmers’ fields yet; only in labs and experiment fields to date (this in contrast to corn, for instance, hybrids of which have been marketed and grown since early last century).

    Best regards,

    Mike Listman
    Science writer / editor
    International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT)

  20. Chris says

    Hi Jenny

    I used to do a lot of sourdough baking and would like to start again with the einkorn flour(available locally.) Do you have a suggestion for which sourdough starter to buy from Cultures for Health?

    • Margo McIntosh says

      The starter for Einkorn is very different from other starters I’ve found. I started with my rye starter and fed it with Einkorn so that over time I have a pure einkorn starter. I have a form of celiac that affects my skin (Dermatitis Herpetiformis) and can eat einkorn bread that has been sourdough soaked for 48 hours without reaction. I make sourdough wheat, rye and spelt breads for my family even though I can’t eat them. i keep two different starters. The einkorn starter is more fragile in my experience and responds differently. The bubbles in it are very small and the texture is very elastic. I find it does better a little more liquid than my other starter as well. I add a tsp. of raw milk kefir whey or a bit of potato water to the starter every 6 weeks or so to keep it strong. The bread is lovely and has an awesome flavour. I find using stretch and folds before the long soakimg period in the fridge has given me the best results. It doesn’t like to be kneaded too aggressively.

  21. Mandy says

    Hi Jenny,
    You said above “Traditionally milled high extraction flour is prepared first by soaking the grains (upwards of 24 hours) drying them, then grinding them to form a whole grain flour.”
    So you would then take this flour and soak it? So it really gets soaked twice? If my goal is to get the most out of the flour,nutritionally speaking, as I can, then are two soaks better than one? What I was hoping is that by buying “high extraction flour” I wouldn’t have to soak it, because it had already Been soaked.
    Thanks so much for all the info you share!

  22. Lee says

    It seems to be impossible to get einkorn (in any form) in Australia :( Your sources won’t/can’t send it over to us, and although I’ve read about it being farmed in Australia, there are no products available to buy online or in any stores near me. If any aussies read this and can point me in the right direction, that would be ace!

    PS, Jenny, thanks for your take on kamut – I have a bag of ‘Egyptian Gold’ flour in my pantry which cost a fortune and has failed to impress me.

  23. Laurie says

    You wrote,

    “many people also benefit from including whole grains, ancient or not, in their diets regularly.”

    But I didn’t find any mention of what that benefit is. You wrote about how they really aren’t BAD for someone who isn’t sensitive, and how they contain some “trace nutrients”, but considering that even if every single molecule of nutrition was 100% bioavailable, they’re still the least nutrient-dense “food” you can eat. What is the benefit of replacing more nutrient-dense calories with grains?

  24. star says

    all grains has gluten ? oats as well ?
    been seeing oat variety of gluten free
    einkorn isent better then common wheat as far causing host of problems ,call it intolerance, sensitivity,allergy , …
    Protein Structure (this becomes important for digestibility):
    Einkorn, Emmer, and Spelt all have variations in their gliadin to glutenin ratios compared to modern wheat varieties.
    Gliadin and glutenin are two of the ‘peptides’ that form the protein complex in wheat called ‘gluten’.
    These individual peptides are what can cause various reactions in the small intestine and create discomfort during digestion for individuals with sensitivities.
    Einkorn is lower in some specific gliadins than modern wheat so has been reported to be more digestible by certain individuals.
    Emmer and spelt are missing some gliadins that might also make them more tolerable.

  25. Rick Hantz says

    Einkorn and Emmer wheat are diploid. Modern wheat is polyploid, making it more complex and our bodies don’t digest it as well. Also means more complex gluten.
    Small amounts of einkorn based bread and pasta don’t cause me the problems that modern wheat does.
    Amazon sells einkorn products, at least the US Web site does. Probably sells other ancient grains, too.

  26. Pris says

    ” For people sensitive to “gluten,” they are typically sensitive to gliadin and glutenin.” Not true. The glutens in barley and rye are different. They are not gliadin and glutenin.

    “All grains contain gluten”- Also not true.

    Look, the advice you are giving here? It’s incorrect to the point of being dangerous. It is irresponsible of you to make these statements. Active Celiac disease is very dangerous. It’s more than just gut discomfort: in addition to causing malabsorption issues and a host of other immune problems, it is a pre-cancerous condition. You are giving people advice that is WRONG and very dangerous. Please stop.

  27. momof5 says

    if i buy the farro at costco (i don’t know which of the 3 grains it is), could i grind it up in my mill to make flour like i could if i purchased einkorn wheat berries? thanks! this was a very informative article!

  28. Stephanie says

    Thank you for this. My daughter and I are highly allergic to modern wheat in any form, even the tiniest trace of it and our bodies react. Yet spelt, einkorn, kamut are digested without any problem. I’m so glad.

  29. Ronald Woodhouse says

    I read on another site that “white wheat” was developed in the 1970’s and grown mainly in the Northwest and some in the Midwest. I am confused. When my father quit farming in 1958, about half of the farmers in southern Kalamazoo county were growing white wheat, the rest grew red wheat. My father was a “red wheat man”. The local paper, “The Kalamazoo Gazette” printed each day how much the grain elevators were paying for most grains. White wheat and red wheat were listed separately, almost always the same price. How is it possible that my neighbors were growing white wheat before in was developed?

  30. Audun Haug Nilsen says

    “People” sensitive to gluten include all humans, because GLUTEN BREAKS THE BLOOD-BRAIN-BARRIER and drops everything you have in your bloodstream right onto your brain.

  31. Patty says

    I recently received your book and am enjoying it. My hubby has Type 2 Diabetes & he can not do without cornbread. We’ve had great success lowering his gi …. I am going to be purchasing a grain mill & have researched wheat for weeks until my brain is exhausted … I am trying to determine which wheat would be best for him before I buy a large amount. It seems the white wheat would be best but after all the reading I am thoroughly confused… Hoping you could recommend a specific type…. I use self rising but plan to be grinding all I use….Thx bunches

    Btw… We have been eating how you recommend for a couple years. From scratch & natural …. I was so excited to find your site I immediately ordered your book Nourished Kitchen….God’s blessings on you @your family..

  32. says

    Hi Jenny,

    I’ve visited this post several times. The ancient grains fascinate me and it’s a topic I continue to study to better understand. While it’s always an ongoing lesson the more research I do from the information I have found is spelt isn’t as closely related to Einkorn, Emmer and Khorosan wheat as many think. Yes, it’s an older grain, but it’s chromosome count is actually the same as modern wheat. Einkorn is a 14 chromosome wheat (diploid) with a much higher protein content than any of the other grains (I’ve read as high as 40%). Emmer and Kamut (khorasan wheat) are a 28 chromosome wheat (tetraploid), with still a high protein content, but lower than Einkorn. Kamut (trademark name for khorasan wheat) is my favorite grain to bake bread with because of it’s wonderful flavor that is unlike other wheats (more nutty and not harsh like many modern whole wheats) and because of the companies integrity in guaranteeing GMO free while also building nutrients in their soil. If you aren’t familiar I’d highly recommend checking it out. It’s more affordable than Einkorn, although Einkorn in the end is still my favorite for flavor, especially in quick breads and overall digestibility. Spelt, which again this is from my research, and the research is ongoing, is the most closely related “ancient” grain to modern wheat. It’s around 350 years old. The interesting things about spelt, while yes lower in gluten than modern wheat, it’s actually not that much lower and it’s protein content is more similar to modern wheat. It also has 42 chromosomes like modern wheat (hexaploid). I think it would be very interesting if more research was done on what the actual change in chromosomes does to our bodies overall ability to digest the grain and use the valuable nutrients that bread and these grains where once highly valued for. I sell bread casually and my customer can often eat my fermented sourdough because of the Kamut flour when normally they can’t eat any other bread made with either spelt or modern wheats. I always freshly grind my grain just before making the dough so the flour won’t be rancid. I think those two things (28 chromosome wheat and freshly ground flour) along with the slow fermentation does wonders for people who ordinarily have a hard time digesting regular grains.

    Just thought I’d share. Thank you for your post. I appreciate it and the balance perspective you take with including grains in our diet.

  33. says

    I have been searching for a scientific paper that covers gluten in grains other than wheat, barley, rye and oats as I have seen a few people mention that all grains contain gluten. I don’t believe this to be true, but I’m willing to keep an open mind in the interests of science. As I understand it, the proteins that make up the complex that we call gluten are gliadin + either glutenin, avenin, hordein and secalin. Proteins contained in other grains such as corn, rice, millet, teff and sorghum are not glutens – even though they are sometimes colloquially referred to as gluten in products like corn gluten fertiliser or glutinous rice. I know that people do often react adversely to corn and some others react to rice, sorghum, teff and millet, but asfar as I know, they are not reacting to gluten, but to one of the proteins contained in the grains. There are proteins in all plant foods, but that doesn’t mean that all plants contain gluten either. I would love to see some evidence if you have something that you could point me to? Just so we’re clear – I’m not criticising your article, I love your site and find lots of inspiring and wonderful things on your blog!

  34. Zoe Lloyd says

    I think your article is somewhat inaccurate. Gliadin is a toxic substance and is found in all wheat products and to a lesser extent barley and rye. It disrupts endocrine function and acts like morphine to the brain. The latest scientific researches proves this causes gut permeability even in subject that do not have celiac disease of sensitivies. The gut permeability is unique to homo sapiens and is extremely deleterious to health, causing inflammation and auto immune problems. Stick to buckwheat and amaranth….these are the only truly safe options. Spelt has less gliadin but it still contains it

  35. Fred says

    I have both books by Dr Perlmutter and the one by Dr Davis. They do not categorize all grains (or even all wheats) as bad. In fact they both make a distinction between ancient grains and the real possibility that folks who suffer from actual gluten sensitivities tend NOT to experience those sensitivities when ingesting ancient grains.

    The problem – they say is in the way modern wheat, aka dwarf wheat was modified in the lab and the resultant negative effect it had on the gluten proteins resident within that wheat.

    There is also increasing evidence that too jften, today’s wheat (as well as high fructose corn syrup) can create leaky gut syndrome.

    In the end Perlmutter and Davis both argue that getting hold of ancient grains is far better than eating the many products containing today’s wheat.

    You make it appear as though Drs Perlmutter and Davis teach something they really do not teach.

    Have you read the entirety of Grain Brain, Wheat Belly, and Brain Maker? If not I would encourage it because you’re giving a wrong impressiin, with all due respect.

  36. Alison Myburgh says

    Hi. I’m South African, your info on ancient grains is fascinating…but Amazon doesn’t deliver here.

    However, one ancient grain one can affordibly find here, is sorghum. Most of us know about malted-sorghum porridge for breakfast.
    But, can one bake wirh it?

  37. Rhiannon says

    All of our bread (my father bakes a lot) is made from spelt, rye (occasionally einkorn, it’s expensive here in the UK) or a spelt-rye mix, with poppy seeds. If only he would sour it!

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