Khorasan (also know by the brand name Kamut), teff, amaranth, and millet are just a few of the amazing old world grains and seeds I was introduced to while spending a week at the San Francisco Baking Institute. For five days my classmates and I mixed, kneaded, fermented, shaped, and (most importantly) ate an incredible variety of breads, pies, rolls, scones, and crackers. I only have one word to describe my week in San Francisco: Delicious. And I’m not even going to address the additional health benefits these ingredients provide. But just know there are a multitude of healthy reasons to include the ancient grains, whole or not, into our diets.

As ancient grains become more available to us, learning how to incorporate them successfully into our recipe repertoire is both exciting and challenging. Many of these grains and seeds require higher amounts of hydration while at the same time need less mixing time. Most of  the grains have lower amounts of protein which means less gluten will develop during the mixing process, and the seeds do not have the capacity to develop gluten at all, so combining flours will be necessary to get the crumb and texture we expect.

So here is my plan to help us include new and interesting grains and seeds into our recipe boxes: Using our existing successful bread, muffin, and scone recipes, I will begin re-developing our recipes to incorporate as many of the ancient grains as possible. Stay tuned and check back, because I think we will be in for a real treat.