Einkorn - a fine grain

Einkorn (Triticum monococcum L.) is a specific grain type with extraordinary characters formerly grown mainly in European regions. It got a special interest already at the beginning of bio-dynamic farming when some gardeners searched for cereal forms between wild grasses and modern cereals. Very little attention had been paid to breeding those forms. It was hope the older forms would show original characteristics which have been lost during modern breeding process.

Einkorn - more than just one grain!

Einkorn is a modern name developed from a botanical classification. The ear of einkorn is very brittle and it can easily be divided into single spikelets. Typically in every spikelet one single kernel can be found that has developed from one single flower. Sometimes two flowers will produce two seeds on one spikelet. But typically the two-kernel spikelet is known as "emmer" and developed later in the evolution of cereals. Emmer is more useful for pasta and is more closely related to durum wheat. When trying to distinguish between einkorn and emmer one must look at more than just the number of seeds per spikelet.

The intensive Yellow colour of the flour is a very special characteristic of einkorn. Also the colour of the hulls varies are different from white throug brown to black. furthermore there is a difference in hardness of hulls. The harvest can be hulled or hulless after threshing. With a very simple cleaning process the hulless varieties can be used for further processing. If you notice the filligree of the shooting plant in its shining green stage, then you know right away that einkorn is not an ordinary grain. It is the most delicate of all cereals grown in Europe.

Relations

Einkorn is one of the oldest types of grain known to us. Contrary to popular belief, einkorn is not a direct ancestor of wheat. To explain the relationship: T. boeticum (AmAm) and T. urartu (AA) are two well-known Wild Triticum, with diploid chromosome set. These two are separated by crossing barriers and have different plant morphologies [2]. T. boeticum, also known as wild einkorn, was domesticated by cultivation and domesticated by repeated cultivation to produce diploid einkorn (T. monococcum). It comes from the region of the Karacada? Volcano in the southeast of today's Turkey [1.4]. The name einkorn comes from the appearance of the plant, since only one grain is formed per spikelet. T. urartu was not domesticated like T. boeticum, but it did play an important role in the development of modern cereals such as durum and common wheat [7,3,6].

Optimaleinkorn (2019-2022)

Since October 2019  we run a new project which is called " Optimaleinkorn". The name says it all by itself. It is about optimizing einkorn einkorn as a crop with little importance for cultivation, but with great potential for organic farming, in various properties to make it more interesting for growers and processors.

In order to be able to work in a practical manner, we have the Bohlsener-Mühle andSpielberger-Mühle as cooperation partners in the field of baked goods processing, aswell as Erdmann Hauser as a specialist in processing cereals.

Many parameters such as testing and imroving weed competition, stability, yield, stability for baked goods processing and use for cooked cereals will consider in this project. In addition to the above-mentioned parameters, particular importance should also be attached to the valuable characteristics of einkorn. This includes, on the one hand, the low proportion of ATIs that play a role in wheat intolerance (non-celiac disease) [5]. This is taken into account when testing and breeding the single-grain varieties so that the new varieties remain well tolerated. On the other hand, Einkorn has a relatively high carotenoid content compared to wheat, this characteristic should also be retained in order to create a nutritionally valuable food. This is made possible by the 3-year funding from the BMEL / BÖLN and the friendly support of the software G-M Foundation.

The development of the micro-baking test for einkorn is based on the micro-baking test for wheat by Cultivari. The recipe and the baking process have been optimized for einkorn. Here the recipe "without sugar and fat", "only with sugar" and "with fat and sugar" was varied. Different resting time and fermentation times as well as fermentation temperatures were compared. The methods of the backtest are briefly outlined below.

 

Normal Backtest

Extended fermentation time

Langzeitführung Backtest

Rest time

without

Rest time

without

Rest time

23h / 4°C

Fermentation temperature

29°C

Fermentation temperature

22°C

Fermentation temperature

30°C

Fermentation time

60 min

Fermentation time

90 min

Fermentation time

45 min

Back temperature

190°C

Back temperature

190°C

Back temperature

190°C

Backing time

17 min

Backing time

17 min

Backing time

17 min

 

The recipe for the baking test consists of 20 g of flour plus 1% fat, 1% sugar, 2.5% yeast, 3% salt, and an individually determined amount of water. The Microdoughlab is used to determine the amount of water for the recipe. The baking test is carried out in baking machines from Unold company.

Based on the results of the baking tests, the decision was made to use the long-term baking test with added sugar and fat for the series tests of the samples in 2020. This showed better results in terms of volume and poring compared to the "extended fermentation time" and "normal" backtest. In addition, the current study situation shows that an extended resting time leads to better wheat tolerance [23].

Between the three categories "Without sugar and fat", "Only with sugar" and "With sugar and fat", the variant with sugar and fat was chosen, as this comes closest to practical use and has no negative effects on the baking result.

1.Cooper, R. (2015): Re-discovering ancient wheat varieties as functional foods. Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, 5:3, 138-143.

2.Dorofeev, V. F.; Filatenko, A. A.; Migushova, E. F.; Udaczin, R. A.; Jakubziner, M. M. (1979) Wheat. Flora of Cultivated Plants, 1, 346.

3.Dvorak, J.; Deal, K. R.; Luo, M. C.; You, F. M.; Von Borstel, K.; Dehghani, H. (2012): The origin of spelt and free-threshing hexaploid wheat. Journal of Heredity, 103:3, 426-441.

4.Harlan,J.R.(1981): The early history of wheat: Earliest traces to the sack of Rome. IN: EVANS,L.T. & W.J.PEACOCK : Wheat Science Today and Tomorrow. Cambridge University Press, p 1-19.

5.Heun,M.; Schafer-Pregl,R.; Klawan,D.; Castagna,R.; Accerbi,M.; Borghi,B.; Salamini,F.(1997): Site of einkorn wheat domestication identified by DNA fingerprinting. Science 278, 1312-1314.

6.Kling C.I.(2005): Nutzung genetischer Ressourcen für die Evaluierung von Einkorn und Emmer im Hinblick auf deren Einsatz in der Praxis. IN: VERN [Hrsg.]: On-farm-Erhaltung genetischer Ressourcen von Getreide und Ölpflanzen, ISBN 3-00-016314-X, p17-26.

7.Ziegler, J. U.; Steiner, D.; Longin, F. H.; Würschum, T.; Schweiggert, R. M.; Carle, R. (2016): Wheat and the irritable bowel syndrome – FODMAP levels of modern and ancient species and their retention during bread making. J. Funct. Foods. (25) 257-266. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jff.2016.05.019