Ancient grains, so precious today, are the predecessors of modern varieties that are mainly used for the production of bread and baked goods. They were grown by our ancestors thousands of years ago, before disappearing from the fields for reasons of efficiency. There are many good reasons for the current revival of ancient grains: a 10,000-year-old tradition, their high nutrient content, special taste, exclusivity, naturalness and sustainable production.
We would like to present the six most interesting ancient grain species below.
Einkorn is one of the ancestors of modern bread wheat, which is today used in over 90 % of breads and baked goods worldwide. The first archaeological finds of einkorn date back to around 8,200 B.C. Today, this robust grain is gaining in popularity.
Emmer is one of the oldest grains and fed entire generations in Babylon, ancient Greece and ancient Egypt. Its re-emerging popularity can be attributed to various sensory and ecological benefits.
This 7,000-year-old grain originated in the Middle East and is now very popular in bakeries thanks to its wide range of uses: Rye bread, sweet baked goods, as well as tasty sprouts benefit from its delicately spicy flavour.
Khorasan wheat originated about 6,000 years ago following the spontaneous crossing of wheat varieties, and spread throughout Egypt. Thanks to its excellent gluten properties, it is relatively suitable for baking and gives baked goods a delicious nutty-buttery note.
Common barley reached the height of its popularity around 3,000 B.C. when it was able to supplant the established emmer and einkorn varieties in the fields. Bakers and other food manufacturers have now rediscovered known common barley varieties.
An ancient variety of today spelt is again being cultivated in Germany, and has been for several years: Bauländer spelt can be found in fields in the "Bauland" in northern Baden. Even the holy Benedictine abbess, Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179), recognised and described the many benefits of this ancient grain.
Pseudocereals are not bread grains. Pseudocereals such as amaranth, quinoa and buckwheat are actually annual plants of which the seeds can used whole or ground in baked goods.