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Kamut

I’ve experimented with Kamut flour a couple of times before, but haven’t had a great deal of success with it.  The discovery of a bag in the deep freeze inspired me to have another go!

Kamut is the registered trade name for khorasan wheat, an ancient grain believed to have been grown in the Fertile CrescentAccording to Wiki, there are many legends surrounding its origin, with some claiming it was found in the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs.

The gluten structure of Kamut is relatively weak, and my previous attempts have resulted in quite heavy loaves with a tight, cakey crumb.

On the advice of Craig, who bakes amazing bread, I made a hybrid bakers flour and whole Kamut loaf.  The results were delicious –  the crumb was still quite fine-grained, but it lacked the cakiness of my previous attempts. The Kamut flour gave the loaf a nutty sweetness which we all found most appealing.

Craig advised that Kamut takes up a lot of water and needs a gentle touch – if it’s overworked it will collapse and the grain will tighten up.  He also recommended a long bake to compensate for the high moisture content.

Here’s the formula I used:

  • 300g active sourdough starter (166% hydration, fed at a ratio of one cup water to one cup bread flour)
  • 600g water
  • 75g olive oil
  • 650g bakers/bread flour
  • 400g whole Kamut
  • 16g fine sea salt

This 74% hydration dough made two 1kg boules which were cooled, then wrapped in paper and left to rest overnight before slicing.

. . . . .

With my leftover flour, I tried Joanna’s Russian Rye technique to see if it would work with Kamut.

The method is intriguing – there is no kneading involved, and the dough is simply mixed, then poured into loaf pans and left to rise until it’s ready to bake.  It’s a two-part process – an overnight sponge, followed by mixing and proving the following day.

Overnight Sponge

  • 100g active sourdough starter (hydration is not overly important here)
  • 400g whole Kamut flour
  • 600g water

Dough

  • All of the overnight sponge
  • 180g lukewarm water
  • 30g molasses (I used date molasses)
  • 20g fine sea salt
  • 460g whole Kamut flour

1. Combine all the sponge ingredients together in a large bowl and mix well.  Cover and leave overnight.

2. The following morning, add all the remaining dough ingredients to the sponge and stir well to combine (I used my Danish dough whisk).  Scoop the dough into two greased loaf tins, sprinkle with sunflower seeds, then cover and allow to rise in a warm spot for several hours.

3. When the dough has risen almost to the top of the loaf tins, preheat the oven to 210C with fan.  The loaves won’t rise any further in the oven, so they need to be fully risen before baking.  Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 175C with fan for a further 30 minutes – as the Kamut holds a lot of water, it needs a long slow bake to ensure it doesn’t end up gummy.

4. Remove the loaves from the tins and allow them to cool, then rest them overnight, wrapped in paper.  Resist the urge to cut them too soon, as they really are better the following day.

We loved these 100% Kamut loaves – they sliced well, kept well and made a perfect foil for our open sandwiches!

If you’re in Australia and want to buy Kamut (khorasan) flour, it’s available online from Santos Trading (although the shipping can be expensive, so it’s worth waiting until you have a few things to order).

For more detailed instructions on how to make these loaves, please see Joanna’s post here!

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