If you are new to baking with emmer flour, this soda bread is a great introduction to the flavour of this ancient grain. It’s very quick and easy to make – it takes less than five minutes to bring the ingredients together, followed by about half an hour in the oven. I have added a little Pecorino and rosemary to the recipe, but these are optional – you could also make this plain. This wholemeal flour is delicate in flavour, with an ever so slightly nutty taste. It produces quite a soft and dense soda bread – perfect to eat slathered in butter, while still a little warm from the oven…
Emmer was one of the first domestic wheats to be widely cultivated, and has been found growing in remote parts of Italy for centuries, as well as mountainous regions throughout Europe and Asia. The oldest recorded site of domesticated emmer was near Damascus, and is thought to date as far back as around 7650BC. My father has always been passionate about preserving different varieties of wheats, and we mill a number of these “ancient grains”, including Khorasan, einkorn, and spelt, as well as emmer. You can find our organic wholemeal emmer flour here.
This recipe also works well with our Irish soda bread blend.
Preheat your oven to 230°C. Weigh the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl, along with the rosemary and Pecorino. Make a well in the middle and pour in the buttermilk. Combine it with a blunt kitchen knife, handling the dough as little as possible – there is no need to knead this dough, in fact, the less you handle it, the better! When the ingredients are evenly incorporated, shape the dough into a round loaf using your hands.
Place it on a floured baking tray or stone, and score a deep cross into the top, taking the cuts right down the sides. This will make the bread easy to break into quarters for sharing.
Bake it for 30-40 minutes on a low shelf in the oven. To check when it is done, insert a metal skewer – if it comes out clean, the bread is cooked. Leave it to cool on a wire rack.
This bread is best eaten on the day of making.
Clockwise from top left: Khorasan, emmer, spelt and einkorn (image extracted from “A Handful of Flour – Recipes from Shipton Mill”, copyright Jonathan Gregson). This picture shows how different the ancient grains are visually to each other, in colour, shape and size.