Naturally Leavened (Sourdough) Einkorn Bread Made Easy

IMG_1243[1]Ok, first of all, don’t give up! I had quite the adventure figuring out how to make this recipe work for me. Einkorn is a little different. I get it. It’s SO worth it! There’s a learning curve. Second, time and measurments are more about consistency than exactness. The truth is, I can’t tell you exactly how long this bread takes. It could be six hours; it could be twelve. It depends on a lot of variables.

If you feel like your dough is taking a lifetime to rise, you’re probably not alone. So before you swear off natural leavening forever, please watch

for my follow up post with tips about natural leavening. Although I can’t tell you exactly how to make it turn out perfectly the first time, I can give you some tips that may help minimize failures. So, let me tell you some of the things I learned on my fabulous adventure through the land of naturally leavened einkorn bread.

Be sure to print the full sourdough recipe here.


start ready to add to flour

The Perfect “Start”, Ready to Add to Bread Dough

1. Start – It’s all about that start! If the start isn’t right, you’re going to have trouble with the whole thing. For the perfect einkorn sourdough start, go here. It should look like this:

2. Water – This recipe may call for less water than you would think. Remember that einkorn is a very moist grain. Too much water will ruin it. So resist your instinct to overide the recipe in this one thing. Also, make sure the water is as hot as tap water can get. That way it will melt the coconut oil. Plus, adding all the other things will cool it down, and it still needs to be slightly warm for fermentation purposes.

3. Rising – You might be thinking, “I’m sorry, how many times does one batch of bread need to rise?” I know, I know. But, I found that this is the best way. We noticed that the start alone didn’t quite have the strength to raise the entire batch. So, we add half the flour and let it culture for a while (until it looks like a rootbeer float). Then add the remainder of the flour one cup at a time while mixing and it will have the power to rise like it should (double its size).

dough in bowl

Dough In Bowl, Before Rising

risen dough

Risen Dough, Doubled in Size

4. Dough – The flour measurement is approximate. Add enough flour so that the dough pulls away from the sides and is soft but not sticky. It’s more important than ever to get the consistency right as soon as possible and STOP. Overkneading einkorn dough is bad news. It will be extremely difficult to get out of the mixing bowl. Also, when the dough has been placed in the bowl to rise, don’t forget to punch it down. That’s more important for fluffy bread than you’d think.

Spongy einkorn dough

Close Up On “Spongy” Dough After Removing From Bowl

5. Salt – It’s better to add the salt with the second half of flour. Salt kills yeast. It’s ok when the dough is stiff, but it could be a slight hindrance in dough with only half the flour.

6. Loaves – This recipe makes about five loaves. You need to shape them, make three slitd in the top of each, and place in greased loaf pans.They look pretty, but the slits aren’t just for aesthetics. If you fail to make the slit, the bread will make its own and the top crust will separate from the bottom – not as pretty.

golden brown

Golden Brown, Baking Complete


Time To Eat!

So, there you are! Experiment, follow these steps, and expect success! It will be so rewarding when you master this. Happy dances are allowed. Deliciousness, digestion-friendly grain and leavening, better nutrient absorption. Is there a downside to this? There isn’t actually.

34 thoughts on “Naturally Leavened (Sourdough) Einkorn Bread Made Easy

  1. Pingback: 3 Ancient Traditions For Healthy Bread: Natural Leavening, Sprouting, Soaking »

  2. Suzie

    Is there a link for the perfect sourdough start? I would like to try this, but I don’t know how to make the start.

  3. Cathy Bell

    Please email starter recipe. I use to make sourdough bread but where can I get the starter for the einkorn bread? Thanks so much.

  4. Mark Durham

    Julie, thanks for this great recipe. I extrapolated it into one for one full sized loaf as follows
    Einkorn Flour: 4.5 cups (my last loaf only took 3.5 cups to consistency)
    Warm Water: 1 cup
    Starter: 1/2 cup (you’ve got to have a good active starter to make good bread)
    Oil: 1/8 cup olive oil
    Salt: 1 1/2 t
    Honey: 1/8 cup

    The bread baked up nice, rose to 1 1/2 inches above the pan, and tastes delicious.

    1 ? for you. Why the second rise? After adding the rest of the flour to proper consistency, you let it rise in a bowl, then you punch it down and rise it again in the loaf pans then bake?

    I simply formed a loaf after adding the rest of the flour and put it in the loaf pan, let it rise/ and then baked per instructions.
    This flour is a godsend for me. I am Celiac and never thought I would be able to replace the hearty nutritious whole wheat breads my wife used to make. I say this because while gluten free breads are OK, they are principally made of starches and not that healthy.
    I can eat Einkorn flour with no side effects.

    1. Admin

      Mark, we’re so glad that you can eat einkorn flour without problems. To answer your question, doing only one rising will do something, but we’ve found that the bread is much lighter and has a better texture if we do both risings. A lot depends on other factors such as climate and elevation, so it’s hard to say that one thing works for everyone. If what you’re doing is working for you, that’s just fine. I don’t know if you grind your own flour or use an all-purpose flour, but watch the website. We will be offering whole grain einkorn flour soon!

    2. Linda

      I’m celiac a well, and can tolerate my South dough made with 100% Einkorn. Thank god! I do enjoy a slice every now and then!!

  5. John

    I make sourdough bread every week, my wife and I love it. It’s the best bread I’ve ever had.
    I would like to say, every sourdough bakers through out the world, call it starter or leaven( they are two different stages they are referred to as the same thing.)

  6. richard rugen

    I make bread with 1/3 Einkorn & 2/3 white spelt, <1/4 sugar, 1/8cup olive oil, tsp salt. 1 rounded tsp yeast and the texture is light, it holds together and flavor is FABULOUS!

  7. Arlys F.

    I’ve never made sourdough bread. Can I buy a starter from an internet source that would work with einkorn or can I get a recipe to make my own. Friends have told me it’s hard to get a good active starter when making it yourself.
    I will be grinding my own berries when I have the “starter” available. I only saw einkorn berries on this site that were noted as “out of stock”.

  8. suzanne stultz

    HI, I use einkorn flour to make sourdough bread but it is a dental hazard! How can I make a softer, mouth friendly loaf?
    thank you,

    1. Admin

      Hi Suzanne, since I am not with you through the process, I can obviously only offer suggestions. I don’t know what you’re doing exactly. A common problem is adding too much flour and overkneading. Both will lead to really dense bread. Einkorn is sticky, so sometimes people add a lot of flour to avoid this. It’s ok if the dough is sticky. Adding more flour is not necessarily wise. Just let it clean the sides of the bowl and stop. And only mix until all ingredients are incorporated. I hope that helps.

    1. Admin

      Hi Lois, we do not make gluten free flour. Einkorn does contain gluten. However, the gluten is very different from modern wheat and many people with a wide range of gluten sensitivities can eat einkorn with no problem. We do recommend that any one with celiac disease consult their doctor before trying it, though.

  9. Andrea

    Please, please can I get this sourdough recipe? It isn’t showing up for some reason. All my other recipes have been epic fails. I really want to do this.

    Thank you!

  10. Jalisa

    I’ve successfully used a sourdough starter with water, sugar, and potato flakes to make whole wheat bread. Do you think that starter might work with einkorn bread?

    1. Admin

      Hi Jalisa, thank you for your question. You can begin to feed any sourdough starter with einkorn and it will work just great in the recipe. It doesn’t have to be an “einkorn starter” to work.

      1. Karen Cope

        Hello. Im a bit confused. I can’t seem to find the itemized instructions on how to make the bread itself after ive prepared the starter? What do I add to the starter, what temperature do I cook it on, how long do I cook it for and what ingredients do I add to the starter please?

        1. Admin

          Hi Karen, we have temporarily disabled the recipes on our website. We were having some glitches that we’re trying to get ironed out. I apologize that I don’t have the instructions for you at this time. Hopefully we’ll get them back up soon.

          1. Marmie

            When will this recipe become available again? I am searching for an einkorn recipe without dairy or oil for Orthodox lent. We fast those 2 ingredients during lent. I have been very successful with those ingredients, have a good starter and make a levain with every batch for the benefits of a long rise. If you could respond to me by email I would be very grateful.

          2. Admin

            Hi Marmie, we have taken down our sourdough recipe because we just felt like it wasn’t very user friendly. It required too much intuition and didn’t always come out exactly right. We are in the process of perfecting a sourdough recipe that will be more helpful. It won’t be up in the immediate future, though.

    1. Admin

      Hi Ruth, einkorn tends to be wetter and stickier. I would suggest not over flouring to try to get it to be like regular wheat dough. Water or oil your hands when working with it. I would suggest starting with recipes written for einkorn and going from there once you get used to the consistency.

    1. Admin

      Hi Lesli, yes, as I said before. Our recipes were disabled for a bit. They should be back up for the time being. However, this particular recipe has been taken down. We have improved our sourdough process so much that we are revamping that recipe. We apologize for the inconvenience!

  11. Dale

    When making Einkorn bread (from grinding my own Einkorn berries) the bread tends to crumble after slicing it. Any suggestions to keep it from crumbling?

    1. Admin

      Hi Dale, that probably means that the dough is too dry. Bread baking is not an exact science and depends on a lot of factors, but we have found that einkorn bread dough should be wetter than regular wheat dough. It has been my experience that if I add flour until it resembles regular bread dough, I’ve overfloured. I would suggest experimenting with cutting back the flour. My go-to einkorn bread recipe produces dough that is quite wet, almost not shapeable. I just water or oil my hands when getting it into the pan and then smooth it out with my fingertips, but I have found that it rises well and has good texture. I have also heard of people adding a little powdered ginger to their einkorn loaves. They claim it really helps with texture and doesn’t affect the flavor. I don’t know the science behind this and have never tried it, but I’ve heard more than one person swear by it. I hope that helps!

    1. Admin

      Hi Katherine, since this post, we have improved our sourdough process a lot but still feel it requires too much intution and want to get it to the point that it works everytime to make it user friendly for our readers. I was asked to take it down while we perfect it. We apologize for the inconvenience.

  12. Kathrine Wehrung

    I see that you are posting a recipe on the above comment but the recipe doesn’t show where you have an added all of the flower and where you’ve done a third rise.


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