Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Kamut Crispbreads

As much as I love baking with my sourdough starter and love using all sorts of different grains in bread recipes, until recently, I’d never converted my starter to whole wheat. I knew it was an easy thing to do. You just start feeding it with whole wheat flour or a mix of whole wheat and bread flour. You can just as easily convert a starter with rye flour for rye bread, but I haven’t done that yet. The inspiration for going whole wheat with my starter came from the latest book from Chad Robertson, Tartine Book No. 3, and I received a review copy. If you’re familiar with his previous bread book, Tartine Bread, then the basic approach to bread baking will come as no surprise. He makes a leaven with a small amount of sourdough starter to prevent the final flavor from being too sour and then builds the dough from there. He works with very wet doughs and suggests baking loaves in a lidded cast iron pot. The techniques are all the same in this book for the hearth-style loaves, but this book starts fresh with a focus on different grains. Robertson had traveled to different parts of the world and took notice of the grains used by bakers in those locations. In Denmark, specific Nordic grains not found in the US were used in breads; in Sweden, bakers were using freshly-milled, biodynamic grains; and in Germany, a bakery was stone-grinding their flour daily. Back at home, he began experimenting with ways of using higher percentages of a variety of grains in breads without making the final loaves too dense. So, this new book includes loaves with mixes of whole grain flours, some made with sprouted grains both for hearth-style loaves and pan loaves, and breads made with porridge and cracked grains. And, then these different types of flour appear in crispbreads, cookies, eclairs, cakes, tarts, and scones. When I first flipped through this book, I was delighted by the look of the delicate crispbreads. The dough is rolled extremely thin either by hand or with a pasta machine, and the crisps are either topped with seeds or layered-over with herbs or thinly sliced nuts or vegetables. They’re like shards of delicious, edible, stained glass. 

In this book, the dough-making technique is explained in parts. At the beginning, the master method is explained for making a starter with a blend of whole wheat and bread flours with instructions for feeding it and making a leaven from it. Then, in the Crispbreads chapter, there’s a master method for using that leaven to make these doughs. The Crispbread doughs are not as high in hydration as those for hearth-style loaves, so it’s much easier to work with. Each Crispbread recipe includes an ingredient list for the flours used and quantities of water and leaven. The dough for the Kamut Crispbreads included whole-grain kamut flour, bread flour, wheat germ, salt, water, and leaven. It was mixed and left in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, the dough was divided into small pieces, and I used the pasta machine technique to roll each piece into long, thin ribbons. I topped the ribbons of dough with parsley leaves, thinly sliced garlic, lemon zest, and crushed red pepper. Then, the dough was folded over to encase the herbs and spices inside, and it was rolled through the machine again to seal it. The long pieces were cut into portions, brushed with melted butter, sprinkled with salt and pepper, and baked until crisp. They do brown quickly, so you need to watch and pull them from the oven before they get too dark. To further crisp them, they were placed back in the oven at a lower temperature on racks to fully dehydrate. 

I look forward to sprouting grains for the hearth-style loaves and trying some of the darker, seeded pan loaves like the Sprouted Buckwheat-Einkorn bread. I already visited the Pastry chapter and tried the Croquant D’Amandes which are kind of like almond biscotti made with hibiscus flowers, spelt flour, and kamut flour. They were crunchy, nutty, and deliciously tangy from the hibiscus, but mine turned out a bit flatter than what’s shown in the photo. The whole grain Pate a Choux dough has me very curious, and the Salted Chocolate-Rye Cookies look hard to resist. I can already tell I’ll be spending more time tracking down a variety of whole grain flours to use. 

Kamut Crispbreads 
Recipe reprinted with publisher’s permission from Tartine Book No. 3

Whole-grain Kamut flour (60%) 170 g 
Medium-strong bread flour (40%) 113g 
Wheat germ (7%) 20g 
Fine sea salt (2.5%) 7g 
Water (50%) 142g 
Leaven (15%) 45g 

*Herbs, edible flowers, and shaved vegetables for filling (optional) and flaky salt such as Maldon. 

(The dough is started by making a leaven from a mature starter that’s been fed with a mix of 50% whole wheat flour and 50% bread flour. The leaven is made with one tablespoon of starter, 200 grams of the 50/50 whole wheat-bread flour mixture, and 200 grams of warm water. The leaven is mixed and left at room temperature for 4 – 6 hours before proceeding with the recipe below.) 

Mix the dough with the above ingredients. Let ferment overnight, covered, in the refrigerator. The next day, divide the dough into small pieces, each about 50 grams, and shape into rounds. Let rest for 10 to 15 minutes. 

To make with a pasta machine: 
Flour your work surface and the dough. With a rolling pin, roll one piece of dough just thin enough so it will fit through the widest setting on your pasta machine. Flour the dough well, then feed it through the machine. Repeat this step, reducing the opening of the rollers a notch with each pass until you’ve reached the Number 1 setting on the pasta machine, flouring the dough each time as necessary to prevent sticking. 

As the dough gets thinner, use the backs of your hands to guide the dough through the rollers to help prevent tears. If at any time you feel your dough is too long to manage, cut it in half and roll both pieces separately. Transfer the dough to a well-floured work surface. 

To make filled crispbreads, after the final pass, transfer the dough to a well-floured surface. Roughly mark the center of your dough and, with a pastry brush, brush one half lightly with water. Lay the filling of your choice on the moistened half of the dough in a single layer, arranging it artfully, then fold the dough, encasing the filling, and pat well so that the two pieces of dough adhere to one another. 

Flour the dough well, then run it through the pasta machine again, beginning on the Number 4 or 5 setting and continuing until you’ve passed the dough through the Number 1 or 2 setting (depending on the thickness of the filling). 

Transfer the dough to a floured surface and cut each crispbread into the desired shape, transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet, and brush with melted butter. Sprinkle with flaked salt. Bake at 425 degrees F/220 degrees C for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven. 

Reduce the oven temperature to 200 degrees F/95 degrees C. When the oven has cooled, remove the crispbreads from the baking sheets and return them to the oven, placing them directly on the oven racks. To allow moisture to escape, leave the oven door slightly cracked (use the handle of a wooden spoon to keep it ajar), and bake 10 to 15 minutes longer, until the crispbreads are thoroughly dehydrated. They should not have darkened in color. 

Carefully remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Once cool, break into large pieces or transfer whole to an airtight container right away so they stay crisp; they will keep for a week stored properly and can be recrisped by heating again in a moderate oven (300 degrees F/150 degrees C) for 10 to 12 minutes. 

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  1. We do a lot of bread baking, but aren't currently using a sourdough starter. We really should think about that. Anyway, love these crispbreads! One of the things we want to do more of is crackers and such, and this looks like a terrific recipe. Thanks.

  2. Such beautiful results!
    I've tucked herbs within pasta sheets, and even paper-thin potatoes. But why, oh why, I never thought to do the same with bread dough, I'll never know.

  3. So beautiful and yummy looking.
    These breads are dressed to impress :)

  4. What gorgeous crisps, Lisa! I love the idea of running bread dough through a pasta machine. Perfection!!!

  5. These are so beautifully delicate Lisa! Love the compressed herbs in the centre. Stunning. They'd be perfect for a fancy cheese platter :) Thanks for the recipe (I love Bob's red mill!)

  6. They look so crispy and soooo..addictive :)

  7. wow, what a beautifull and crisp looking kamut chips....
    i just made baba ganoush and i guess i'm glad to sneaking to your kicthen and grab some of your kamut chips!

  8. Lisa, I decided against getting #3, because I do have way too many cookbooks (bread cookbooks included) - but of course, seeing this amazing recipe here is shaking my resolve a little...

    what a beautiful cracker with the leaf inside and all - very stylish, and the use of kamut flour makes it even better. I made a kamut bread once and liked the texture and taste, a real nice flour to work with

  9. Bread dough in a pasta machine is a novel idea but it obviously works very well for these gorgeous thin crisps :D

    Choc Chip Uru

  10. Beautiful! And so unique! It's fun to see something new to try -

    KAMUT® Brand khorasan is an organic, non-genetically modified, ancient wheat variety similar to durum. In 1990, “KAMUT” was registered as a trademark by the Quinn family in order to support organic farming and preserve the ancient khorasan wheat variety. Under the KAMUT® Brand name, khorasan wheat must always be grown organically, never be hybridized or modified, and contain high levels of purity and nutrition. Today, Kamut International owns and has registered the KAMUT® trademark in over 40 countries, and is responsible for protection and marketing of all KAMUT® Brand khorasan wheat throughout the world.
    KAMUT® wheat is grown on dryland certified organic farms primarily in Montana, Alberta, and Saskatchewan. The grain is prized by consumers who appreciate the grain for its high energy nutrition, easy digestibility, nutty/buttery taste, and firm texture. KAMUT® khorasan wheat is higher in protein, selenium, amino acids, and Vitamin E than most modern wheat and contains essential minerals such as magnesium and zinc. It is used as whole grain berries, whole grain flour, white flour, flakes, and puffs to make a variety of products. Some specific benefits of using KAMUT® khorasan are receiving more nutrients, protein, and taste than most commonly consumed whole wheat - plus supporting organic agriculture and helping to preserve an ancient grain.

    KAMUT® khorasan is a variety of wheat thus has gluten content. A lot of people who are not able to tolerate wheat tell us that they are able to tolerate KAMUT® khorasan wheat. KI has ongoing research to understand why – it is our theory that because KAMUT® khorasan is an ancient grain, it retains the qualities that made it desirable so many years ago.

    Please visit the Kamut International website at to learn more. And follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with the latest news!

    My kind regards - Jamie

    Jamie Ryan Lockman | Regional Director – North America
    Kamut International, Ltd.
    P.O. Box 4903 | Missoula, MT 59806 | USA
    406.251.9418 phone | 406.251.9420 fax |

  11. Dear Lisa, These crisp breads look like works of art. I would love to give these a try.
    Blessings dear. Catherine xo

  12. That's so cool! It's like stained glass bread!

  13. What a wonderful cookbook! I love how it tries new techniques to incorporate different grains. And these crispbreads look amazing.

  14. What pretty crisp breads. I love how these have the edible flowers and herbs in them. It makes them look so interesting. I've never made a crisp bread but it's definitely on my 'to do' list xx

  15. I have a thing for sourdough - love it! Boy they look really crisped and yum! Need this with some garlicky cashew cheeze!

  16. You have done a marvelous job at making the crispbreads. When ever I see a new ingredient, I feel so tempted to try it but the non availability of certain ingredients here only leads to much dismay. I would love to try it one day.

  17. i've never worked with kamut flour, and i've never made crispbreads either. you did a fabulous job, lisa--they look deliciously crunchy!

  18. I never thought in getting a pasta machine...until I saw this post...these look so cute and tasty...I love the see through of this cool!
    Thanks for the inspiration Lisa :D

  19. I love how these sound and it's a unique twist on a cracker.


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