Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Kamut Grain

I've discovered a new kind of wheat and here I thought I knew all the varieties. Shows you just how little I know. Allison's Pantry advertised Khorasan wheat under the brand name of Kamut and being the curious me,  I bought it. After all, it isn't like I was buying candy, I was buying something good for us.

When my first order arrived, Ruth and Naomi, from the Bible, came to mind. I've never been able to imagine them gleaning tiny grains of wheat in Boaz's fields until I saw this wheat. It's grains are far larger than our modern wheat and though it would still definitely have been a pain to pick up seed by seed. The story makes more sense.  

Then I did some research on the grain since it looked like wheat but yet was quite different in appearance and I wondered if it was different to bake with.

What I found was:
(The name KAMUT is the registered trademark and brand name used to sell the grain variety khorasan. The word Kamut stems from the ancient hieroglyphic language meaning wheat.

Kamut International uses the KAMUT trademark to protect and preserve the ancient grain variety khorasan. The grain differs from modern day varieties because it has not been modified through modern breeding practices or genetic modification.

The wheat is tolerated by many who have allergies to typical types of wheat and in fact a study showed that 70% of people with wheat allergies had no, or little reaction to this type of wheat. But if you have coeliac disease, this isn't for you.

Kamut (Khorasan ) wheat is higher in eight of the nine vitamins of traditional wheat, 40% higher in protein, easier to digest, 65% more amino acids, more lipids, and more fatty acids.

But Kamut does have some down sides. It is lower in yields. Not too surprising since that seems to be the main push with all modern varieties of grains. Higher yields at the expense of lower nutrition. Modern wheat is definitely an instance where more is simply more, not better.  

This grain also can't be rushed. It takes its time absorbing liquids, raising, and the elastic bands can be cut easily so it is not recommended that you add nuts when cooking with this grain. I'm wondering about flax seed. I'd guess it could also cut these delicate strands. It doesn't hold its shape well and so a bread pan is recommended or mixing in 25% regular wheat.

I guess you would not call it a beginners whole grain. None the less, it is definitely a grain worth adding to your whole grain diet with its reported buttery, sweet taste.

I thought it was a winner to try in my new goal for 2012, to cook as much as possible with whole grains, so I ordered some more.

I've been researching recipes for breads that include a wide variety of grains such as traditional wheat, spelt, wheat, Kamut, oats, rice, millet, rye, and even dried beans.

I'm looking to see if Triticale, which I still have a little grain in the basement from years ago, is available or if it has gone out of style. I may try using it once more.

Some of these recipes I've found call for sprouting the grains to an eighth an inch, drying them, and grinding them into flour. Others cooking beans and adding them or just grinding them at the dry stage into flour. 

All this research has me thinking crackers and breads, breads, breads and nutrition. Yup, it's winter time outside and I'm in the mood to bake.

So as soon as our Thanksgiving holiday is over, this weekend, I'm going to start my ancient grains bread baking adventure.

No, I'm not confused. I know Thanksgiving isn't until next week in the USA but in our county of Wyoming, folks have from now until a few days after the traditional Thanksgiving Day on Thursday that they celebrate with a feast. The majority of families have shift workers that put in at least a 12 hour work day, not including travel time so holidays are celebrated whenever one can get the majority of their families together.

That means this Saturday for us and another celebration with Kirk's family next Thursday with a small amount of our immediate family able to attend.
It is an ancient grain that dates back to Noah's time and has thus gained the nickname Prophet's Wheat. And since it was found in Egyptian Pharaohs tombs it also has the nickname 'King Tut's Wheat. Others call it Camel's Tooth due to its hump back appearance but what every you call it, it's a grain worth taking a look at.  

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