Monday, February 6, 2012

Pain au Levain au Camut (kamut levain)

This is actually my first experience working with Kamut! I have to be honest, I always get excited when I try new foods;  especially when it involves my bread baking. I particularly like grinding a new grain; taking mental notes of the aroma, texture and color of the milled product. The Kamut grain is light brown in color and is similar in shape to a long grained rice. It comes out of the mill a golden-tannish color with a slight buttery fragrance. I know very little about this grain so I will share some of my findings from my research. 

Kamut is also know as Khorasan wheat.  It is, in fact, an ancient grain whose origins is not exactly known.  It seems to have originated in the Fertile Crescent (like most other ancient grains). Since I am working towards my Masters Degree in Nutrition, I am going to toot Kamut's nutritional horn briefly. Kamut is a form of wheat with a very high protein content.  A 3 ounce serving has nearly 15g of protein and a whopping 9 grams of dietary fiber. Because of its high fiber content the majority of the grain's carbohydrate sources are complex and for this reason it has a very long shelf life. (Even after it has been milled.)  Since this grain is a wheat variety, it does contain gluten.  The interesting thing about this particular wheat variety is that it is often handled well by individuals who are gluten sensitive. I am not suggesting that you go out of your way to try this if you are sensitive to gluten. I am merely reporting what I found in my research. In Turkey this grain is referred to as Camel's Tooth...weird!

This bread did use a traditional stiff levain starter which was prepared with levain, water and bread flour. There was no kamut in the sourdough build.  As I mentioned earlier, kamut is high in protein and its gluten structure is not very strong.  For this reason, I did not use any kamut in the build. In the final dough, kamut only comprised 30% of the final flour percentage, but I feel that it imparted a significant amount of flavor to the loaf. It provided a yellowish tinge to the crust and crumb and its textural aspects also provided a bit of a crunch. The dough for this bread was very wet, so I added 10g of kamut flour. The dough was still a bit loose, but I decided to leave it alone. There is something about a well-hydrated final dough that I really like. It offers a lightness and a wonderful crust to the final product. 

Usually sourdoughs are best when they have had a day or two to rest. I have to say that the heel of the bread, which I ate only a few hours after the bake, was the best piece that I got off of the kamut levain. The nuttiness of the grain really came through and it was still a tiny bit warm, so that might have affected the flavor as well. I really did like this bread, it was light and flavorful. It seemed to carry a slightly buttery taste, which I really loved. 

I also made a Spelt sourdough bread this weekend, with my brand new spelt sourdough.  I will post the details of that in the near future. Here are some pictures and of course Bake ON!

Fresh out of the oven. It got great oven expansion!
Great yeast action and gelatinization of the crumb. Nothing beats a rip roaring starter!


  1. Replies
    1. Do you have access to Daniel Leader's book Local Breads, cause that is where the formula is from....if not let me know,

  2. David, I don't have. I live in the Netherlands ( Europe ).

    1. Sourdough:

      Stiff levain 45grams
      water 50 grams
      bread flour 95 grams
      Whole wheat flour 5 grams


      Water 350 grams
      Kamut 150 grams
      Bread flour 325 grams
      Whole wheat flour 25 grams
      Starter as above
      10 grams salt

      mix on first speed three minutes and fourth speed three minutes .

      Ferment 3-4 hours
      proof 1 hour
      Bake 15 minutes 450 degrees, reduce heat of oven to 400 bake thirty minutes or until done