Einkorn flour is an ancient form of wheat that is becoming increasingly popular today. This nutritious grain was one of the first plants to be domesticated and cultivated over 10,000 years ago. In fact, it is thought that wild einkorn was harvested as far back as 16,000 BC. Mostly grown in Europe, today it is considered to be the purest form of wheat available.
Ancient grains are structurally different from modern wheat. Einkorn translates from German as “single grain”, which means it has a single grain attached to the stem, in contrast to modern wheat varieties which have groups of four attached.
The grain is smaller in size and does not contain the distinctive “crease” as seen on the side of today’s wheat, this crease denotes the extent to which the grain has been manipulated and hybridized with other grains and grasses.
The result is a healthier grain that is easier to digest. Here’s why you might want to try einkorn flour.
Einkorn flour has a very different protein structure of gluten. It is not that it necessarily contains less gluten, but the difference in protein structure is important. This ancient variety of wheat has fewer chromosomes which means that it contains lower levels of gliadins—the type of gluten protein that is especially problematic and the main cause of gluten sensitivities.
To demonstrate, einkorn flour has just 14 chromosomes compared to modern wheat and even spelt, which have 42 chromosomes. It is this difference in gliadin levels that makes einkorn less problematic and easier to digest for many people.
Higher Nutritional Profile
Einkorn flour is far superior to other wheat varieties. It contains higher levels of protein, essential fatty acids, phosphorous, potassium, vitamin B6 and carotenoids.
It also contains powerful antioxidants that can help to prevent disease, in particular eye disease and macular degeneration. These antioxidants are in the form of carotenoids like lutein, zeaxanthin and b-carotene, all potent disease fighters.
Interestingly, a recent study showed that einkorn flour retained more antioxidants during the baking process compared to wheat and durum.
Not only is the antioxidant activity in einkorn flour impressive but the nutritional profile also shows that it contains vital trace minerals like zinc, potassium and iron.
A 100-gram serving of einkorn flour contains an impressive amount of the following:
- 18.2 grams protein
- 2.5 grams fat
- 8.7 grams fiber
- 415 milligrams phosphorus (42 percent DV)
- 0.5 milligram thiamine (33 percent DV)
- 0.5 milligram riboflavin (29 percent DV)
- 4.6 milligrams iron (26 percent DV)
- 0.5 milligram vitamin B6 (25 percent DV)
- 3.1 milligrams niacin (16 percent DV)
- 2.2 milligrams zinc (15 percent DV)
- 390 milligrams potassium (11 percent DV)
- 312 IU vitamin A (6 percent DV)
It is easy to see why einkorn flour is becoming the flour of choice among real food advocates and health-conscious individuals. It is higher in protein, lower in starch, packs a nutritional punch and retains a much higher level of antioxidants. Although more popular in Europe, it is now being grown in the States and we hope that the popularity of this ancient grain will continue to grow.