Emmer and Einkorn are two pretty cool wheats. First, they’re some of the oldest domesticated crops in human history — both roughly 10,000 years old, with Einkorn thought to appear first in southeast Turkey and Emmer near Damascus.
But both are also supposed to be easier on the gluten-sensitive stomach, and that’s one of the reasons Shawn Saunders is baking the bread into loaves for his all-organic Sourdough Boulangerie.
First, he buys the grains from Golden Organics in Denver before sending them to Mountain Mama Milling in Monte Vista. Then he combines the flour with his standard sourdough starter, a bread-specific starter, salt and water. That’s it.
“I do not know of anybody [baking this kind of bread], and I Googled it and I looked — I couldn’t find anything,” Saunders says in an interview with the Report. “[I’m] trying to be a little ahead of the curve than behind.”
Saunders says the taste is very similar to a traditional whole-grain wheat bread, though the experience is “real interesting. I like the Emmer better in flavor, so far. I don’t know why. It’s got slightly different characteristics.” He recommends eating the bread, which you can find for $9 at Ranch Foods Direct or for $8 at area farmers markets, with wholegrain mustard, dry-cured sausages and unsmoked gouda; or go Scandinavian with smoked salmon, fresh dill and capers.
The Boulangerie is having fun elsewhere as well. Saunders buys eggs from a guy out east who raises Ameraucana chickens just for him. And you can already find his brioche buns at McCabe’s Tavern, ciabatta buns at Seeds Community Cafe, whole-wheat kaiser rolls at Skirted Heifer and more at places like the Burrowing Owl and Brother Luck Street Eats.
But the baker is also working on a spent-grain beer bread with Storybook Brewing, which he’s collecting the grain for, freezing it and then baking the bread with the spent material and the beer it was made from. “Maybe even do some whipped, infused butters with that specific beer,” he says.
“This is just what I really enjoy, so that’s the reason why I’m sticking to it. I started down at Phantom [Canyon Brewing Co.] in ’93 and was the corporate baker for them when they opened up new brewpubs. So I’d go out with John Hickenlooper and everybody when they opened these new places up and start on the bakery and get things going, and then move on to the kitchen.
“I’ve been doing this for a good minute.”
[Image: Courtesy Sourdough Boulangerie]