I baked bread recently using khorasan wheat. I had never milled grain for bread before and it was an arduous process with a countertop grinder. I was actually more interested in studying how my sourdough starter would work on a new variety of wheat flour.
The type I used, Triticum turanicum, (trademarked as Kamut in the US) is named after a species that some websites claim, possibly had its origins in the Fertile Crescent region of the Middle East, in what could have been parts of Iran, Afghanistan or Turkey. The Khorasan wheat, according to some others, is thought to have originated in Mesopotamia and then brought into Egypt . Kamut is similar to durum wheat which is the one used in making pasta.
In her dissertation, Tate Paulette notes that in the third millennium BC, cuneiform documents suggested that barley was more widely grown along with some emmer wheat and another free threshing species, which could have possibly been durum. Paulette also adds that in some sites across Northern and Southern Mesopotamia for example, archaeologists have actually recovered emmer wheat (Triticum dicoccum), and einkorn wheat (Triticum monococcum), as well as some other varieties of wheat, including bread wheat (Triticum aestivum) and club wheat (Triticum compactum) in addition to 2-row (Hordeum distichum) and 6-row (Hordeum
vulgare) barley (Paulette 2015: 7-8).
Navigating heirloom grains is an almost political process. In any case, it was fun experimenting with this unusual looking wheat berry and the bread had an even crumb to it. It was delicious, like bread can be. I should share the recipe soon.
Enjoy the poem !
The dough is molten at oven spring,
like a prayer to the historicity of things ..
Have we not imagined yesterdays
in the ritual of bread ? While our pasts
lay embezzled, on the tongues of men, the
sentiment of centuries colluded in germ,
echoing through heirloom remembrances
those floury philosophies of change.
While I stretch dough to gaze past
a windowpane, as far back as Khorasan ..
they were other names then, another
elasticity in time. Faith is a memory
of settled people in lands of milk and
honey, where every drought, every flood
spawns a new religion .. and the wheat,
always begs the same old question:
Are we there yet, in the fertile crescent
of opportunity ? The grains haven't changed
in their stolid countenance - long, subtle,
germy, cosseted. In the granaries of kings ..
they are willed by royal decree, never to die
in an eternal future and like humankind,
who score bread in the cuneiform of hearts,
grain is always thirsting to seed the land.
Oven spring – In bread baking, the final burst of rising just after a loaf is put in the oven and before the crust hardens.
Windowpane test – the term is used to describe the state of the dough when it has been kneaded/folded enough and has a strong gluten network.