Naturally Leavened (Sourdough) Einkorn Bread

Posted January 21, 2015 by Julie Koyle
This is delicious bread you won't suffer for later!



  • 4 cups Hot Tap Water
  • 18 cups Einkorn Flour Approximate
  • 1/3 cup Coconut Oil Or butter
  • 1/2 cup Honey
  • 3 tablespoons Real Salt
  • 2 cups Sourdough Start Approximate


1. Mix water, oil, honey, and 1/2 the flour in a bowl.

start ready to add to flour

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

2. Add start (You should have previously fed the start with 2 cups of flour and 1 cup of water)

3. Let rest until it begins to get bubbly (May take a couple hours, should resemble a rootbeer float…but probably not taste like one)

4. Add salt and the remaining flour until it doesn’t stick to your fingers and pulls away from the sides of the bowl (DO NOT over-knead it. It becomes extremely difficult to work with). You may not add all of the remaining flour or you may add more. It’s all about the consistency.

5. Transfer it to a bowl (Preferably glass or stainless steel), punch down, cover and leave to rise in a warm place (I recommend a slightly warm oven or my personal favorite, a wonder oven). Leave it until it doubles in size (several hours).

dough in bowl

Dough In Bowl, Before Rising

risen dough

Risen Dough, Doubled in Size

Spongy einkorn dough

Close Up On “Spongy” Dough After Removing From Bowl

6. Shape into 5 loaves about as long as a large orange juice can. Make three slits in the top of each loaf. Place into greased bread pans.

7. Let loaves rise in oven until they double in size.

loafs in pans ready to bake

Shaped Loaves, Ready to Rise


Risen Loaves, Ready to Bake

8. When they have risen, leave them in oven and preheat it to 350° (with the loaves still in the oven). Preheating plus baking time should equal about 38 minutes depending on your oven.

9. When they are golden brown, remove and brush coconut oil (or butter) on top.

10. Enjoy!

golden brown

Golden Brown, Baking Complete


Time To Eat!

For a more detailed explanation go here.

To see all the other things you can do with this awesome recipe, go here.

59 thoughts on “Naturally Leavened (Sourdough) Einkorn Bread

  1. Katie Pierce

    These loaves look great! I have baked regular bread for 25 plus years, but einkorn is eating my lunch!! I cannot seem to master the sourdough starter. PLEASE what started did you use? I so far refuse to buy one, as it is SO basic, it should be doable. What size of pan are you using, these seem smallish to me.
    Thanks or a prompt reply.
    Katie Pierce

    1. Admin

      Katie, there is definitely a learning curve with Einkorn. The start we use was given to us by a friend. It was just a regular wheat start. We recently mastered the proportions feeding it with Einkorn instead of regular wheat flour. Where the start comes from is not as important as the consistency (see pictures). Watch for the upcoming article about sourdough starts for more information about how to begin and take care of one. The pans are 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2.

      1. Susan

        What kind of baking pans do you use? I’ve never found bright shiny stainless looking ones any where either non stick coated or glass.

  2. Michelle Bassett

    Please tell me…does the recipe really have 18 cups of flour to 4 cups of water? I’ve been making naturally leavened bread now for 2 years and I only use 9 cups of flour to 4 cups of water. Did you mean 8 cups? Let me know before I try this at home. 🙂

  3. Michelle Bassett

    Three more questions…
    1- How much start are you using before you feed it with 2 cups of flour and 1 cup of water? And…Do you put in the entire load of just fed starter into the recipe?
    2- What size are your bread pans?
    3- How much does each newly shaped loaf of dough weigh before you put it in the pan to rise?

    One more thing. I have learned that letting the dough/bread rise in a cooler place produces much sweeter bread if you don’t want such a sour flavor. My bread rises sometimes for 24 hours and it is delicious!

    Thanks so much. I love making bread!

    1. Admin

      Michelle, thank you for your questions.
      – Yes, it is 18 cups of flour to 4 cups of water. Einkorn is different from regular wheat. It is naturally much wetter. However, even when baking bread with regular wheat, I normally use 6 1/2 cups of water to 18 cups of flour. There are a lot of factors to be considered, one of them being climate. So, it really all depends on the consistency.
      – Prior to feeding the start there is no more than a tablespoon of previous start in the bowl because I just use what is sticking to the sides of the bowl after I use the start.
      – Yes, I use the entire start in the bread recipe (And leave what’s sticking to the side to be fed for a new start).
      – The bread pans are 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2. I am not sure about the exact weight. It’s just about look and feel. It should make five even loaves. I hope this helps.

      1. Sarah Ervin

        Hi, I have at least a couple cups of stater. So I should just scoop out 1 TB and then feed it 2 cups of flour and 1 cup of water? And it should sit until its bubbly again and use the whole thing in the recipe. So you always just save a TB from each starter? So if you had your starter in the fridge already with the 2 cups of flour and starter and the water and want to use it a couple days later what do you feed it to get it going to bake with for that day? Do you discard all but a TB? What would you feed your starter with once a week? How long do you leave it out of the fridge while its eating, until you put it back in the fridge if your not useing it? What do you like to cover your bowls with while proofing so it doesn’t get a skin? Sorry for all the Questions. Hope to hear back from you! Thanks Sarah

        1. Admin

          Hi Sarah, Yes you want to keep about a tablespoon of starter to culture the next batch. It needs to sit until bubbly again before it is ready to use. If you want to store it in the fridge between uses, I would only store a small amount (Maybe 3/4 cup of flour and a little water with the tablespoon of starter). Then the night before you want to use it, take it out and feed it with the flour and water and leave it overnight to be used the next day. We cover ours with a cloth or plate while it’s culturing. It just needs to be loosely covered. In the fridge, you can just keep it in a mason jar. I hope that helps.

    1. admin

      Hi Marley, cooking does have an impact on some of the attributes such as antioxidants but it’s interesting that the following article explains how a study shows that antioxidants in einkorn are better preserved during baking, compared with other types of wheat:

      Dehulling simply removes the outer husk, which is not edible. Most grains do not have this outer husk. The husk actually preserves the seed really well until it is removed and ready to eat.

  4. Coralee

    How much starter do you actually use in this recipe? Is it 1 cup, 2 cups? I’ve never used a sourdough recipe that didn’t tell me how much to use. I use my sourdough all the time and feed it regularly. I never have my starter down to less than 2 cups or so.

    1. Admin

      Coralee, I didn’t put the amount because I usually just pour all of it in and use what’s sticking to the sides of the bowl for a new start. It ends up being about 2 cups though.

  5. Michelle Bassett

    Another question..
    when you say einkorn flour…I’m assuming you mean flour from our own home ground einkorn and not the white einkorn flour you can buy from Jovial Foods, correct?

  6. Christine

    I have made yeast, white flour bread for ~30 years. I am now ready to begin making naturally leavened bread with newly ground einkorn kernals (which I have, and a mill). However, I have not made bread with a starter before. Where do I get the 1-2 TBS to begin with, to which I add my flour and water? Thank you for your assistance.

  7. Jennifer Jackson

    I made the sourdough start and it worked great. I’m glad you mentioned the terrible smell midway through the process. I would have thrown it out, but I kept feeding it and it transformed into a wonderful starter. I’m making a batch as I write. I am wondering how you maintain you start between batches. Will it hold in the fridge without feeding for a few weeks? If so, how many feedings do you give it to bring it back to life? Can it be frozen?

    1. admin

      Yes, you should keep it in the refrigerator between batches. You need only feed it a little before you put it in. It can also be frozen. From the fridge, you can bring it back to normal in one feeding. The freezer may take 2.

  8. Michele

    Hi Julie,

    I’m new to einkorn and had a few questions: on the butter, should it be room temperature or melted? Could olive oil be substituted?

    On the three rises (not counting the sourdough starter), approximately how long does each rise take? Can the whole recipe be finished in one day?

    Thanks for sharing your sourdough einkorn experience! Michele

    1. admin


      It doesn’t matter if the butter is out of the freezer or melted because when you pour the hot water over it, it will melt anyway. Any fat can be substituted for the butter. Lately, I have been using coconut oil and we’re loving that. The speed of the rises depends on the thickness of the dough, the temperature in your house and the condition of the start when you add it. Lots of variables. They usually do get faster. I just watch the activity and act accordingly. I usually plan on 4-5 hours for the first, then 3-4 for the second (once the rest of the flour is added) and then 1-3 for the third (once you shape the dough into loaves). I start my bread in the morning and bake it around dinner time.The whole process usually takes 9-10 hours at my house. You really just have to play with it and figure out how it works with your variables. A warmer location will speed it up (not too warm, of course). Hope that helps!

      Best of luck!

  9. Judy

    I have tried your recipe a couple of times and am getting hokey pucks.
    Step 1: you add the oil, water, honey and 8 cups flour
    Step 2: you add the starter (that you have added 2 cups of flour and 1 cup water and let sit for a while) How much starter do you add to the 2 cups flour and 1 cup water?
    Step 3: Let rest
    Step 4: Add salt and 8 more cups of flour???
    A video would be great for us beginners!!
    Do you have measurements for just 1 loaf??

  10. Sue

    I have been trying sourdough for about a year. The taste is out of this world, but my loaves deflate EVERY time after coming out of the oven. My starter is a whole wheat one that I keep in the refrigerator. I have been using home ground hard white, hard red and einkorn blend. I feed my starter three times before making my loaves. The recipe uses only flour, water, salt and starter. I do a first and second rising. The loaves look perfect going into the oven, but they go flat just before they are ready to take out. (I haven’t found anything that will slice the loaves, even a new razor blade). Now I am going to move into using all einkorn berries and flour. Won’t give up!

    1. Admin

      Sue, we definitely understand sourdough challenges. There is a steep learning curve with it. We have never tried a blend, so we don’t know the specific challenges that might come with that. Maybe switching to all einkorn will help. You may also want to try baking before the bread has peaked so that it can continue rising as it heats up. That may keep it from falling.

    1. Admin

      Agatha, just to clarify, are you asking if we sell it or use it in this recipe? We sell einkorn berries for people to grind themselves and we sell all-purpose flour, but not whole wheat flour yet. In this recipe, we used whole wheat flour that we ground (That’s mostly what we use because of the higher nutrition value). It would work with either, but you may need to play a little with consistency if you choose to use the all-purpose flour.

  11. Carla

    Thank you so much for this recipe and for your starter recipe too. I am at the moment waiting for my first Einkorn bread to finish baking and can’t tell you how excited I am (I have had a “modern” wheat allergy for a few years now). Your recipes helped me find success on my first attempts. I really am so glad I found them and thank you for putting in the time to share them here. 🙂

  12. Erica

    Hi. Thank you for your recipe. I’ve been experimenting with it but haven’t gotten it down quite yet. I am still hoping I can get a better rise. My first and second rise seem to be okay but I never get anything out of the third rise. I was wondering when you say warm oven do you mean set it to 170, which is my oven’s lowest setting, or just warm up the oven for a while and then shut it off? I tried tonight putting it into the oven which was still warm after I had done some other baking and then left it in as the oven was pre-heating like you said but still didn’t get much rise. Any tips? I think I probably only have one more trial in me before I give in for a while. The loaves I’ve made so far aren’t terrible but I don’t think I can convince my family to switch over to them unless I can get it a little lighter. Thanks!

    1. Admin

      Erica, thank you for your comment. We hear you. Einkorn has less gluten to begin with plus sourdough is tricky because the bacteria in everybody’s air is a little different and the longer a start is used the better it gets. At the beginning, we had similar complaints, but the longer we do it the better it gets. When we say warm oven, we just mean an oven with the light on. We don’t heat it at all. Also, what do you mean three risings? You put half the flour in with the start and then it rises twice after that. Just to clarify, is that what you mean by third rising?

  13. Brandy

    Oh my WORD!! Thank you SO much. I have been trying to get a good, fluffy, non-TMJ-inducing loaf of sourdough einkorn bread for MONTHS!

    Did this today and PERFECTION!!! (i halved the recipe and did 2 large loaves)

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  14. Joanne

    hi please if possible can you respond as quick as possible as I’m just starting this recipe to serve this afternoon and have come up again confusion before i start! I have bought a sourdough starter from my local bakers and was about to use it then saw this on the recipe…… Add start (You should have previously fed the start with 2 cups of flour and 1 cup of water) … am i to feed the start i bought now with 2 cups flour and 1 water and use it immediately or do i have to wait until it looks like the bubbling picture, in which case how long does this take approx? Desperate to get started asap I have all the ingredients in the bowl ready! Many thanks Jo

    1. Admin

      Joanne, we apologize for not responding over the weekend. Sourdough is definitely not an exact science. It’s all about consistency. The starter needs to be bubbly before use or the bread probably won’t work. I don’t know in what state the starter you bought arrived. If it’s not like that, you will need to wait until it is. The time it takes depends on a lot of factors, but usually overnight will do it. If the starter is already in that condition, you don’t need to feed it before using it. It ends up being about two cups of starter in this recipe. Our process is like this: After we use our starter, we just feed what’s sticking to the sides of the bowl two cups of einkorn flour and one cup of water. Then we leave it over the night. The next morning, to make bread, we dump the whole starter into the recipe and feed what’s sticking to the sides of the bowl again. That’s why we say use the whole thing. If you fed it more than that, just use about two cups. I hope this helps.

      1. Sarah Ervin

        Do you think the less starter you use to make your next batch the stronger? Like why not 1/2 c of starter to start your next batch. Is less better?

        1. Admin

          It depends how much you want to culture. If you’re trying to do a larger amount in the same amount of time, you may want to use a little more starter, but it shouldn’t really affect the strength.

        1. Admin

          Unless you’ve noticed a problem with the distribution of heat, this is most likely not necessary for your oven. We had a major problem with things in our oven not baking evenly.

  15. Dawn

    Hi! Is it possible to get gram measurements for all ingredients in the recipe? I’m in the habit of using my kitchen scale to weigh my grain before I mill it. Thank you!

    1. Admin

      Hi Dawn, we may move that direction in the future, but it is a pretty big undertaking considering we never weigh our ingredients. I would suggest making the recipe as we have outlined and weighting as you go so next time you can do it that way. I apologize for not having that information available.

  16. Amy Puls

    I’m a newbie and have a few questions also:
    1. After you use all the start to make bread (leaving a Tablespoon for new start), how many days do you need to feed that new start before it’s ready to bake again? Another 5-7 days? Or just until you accumulate 2 cups worth? Is it time-dependent or could you simply feed it a bigger amount and it’s ready the next day?
    2. On step #5, “transfer to a bowl”, I’m already in a big bowl from step #1. Why is it necessary to change bowls? Is there a downside to keeping it in the same big bowl?
    3. On step#2, “you should have fed previously fed the start with 2 cups flour and 1 cup water”, fed WHEN previously? Immediately before? Or the day before? Your starter culture recipe has me feeding 120g flour, which is only 1 and 1/3 cup. So why the switch to 2 cups? Is the ratio (double) what’s important, and not the amount?
    Thanks very much!
    Amy P.

    1. Admin

      Hi Amy, I would be happy to answer your questions as best I can.

      1) Once the start is created and ready to use, we leave a small amount in a jar in the refrigerator until the night before we want to use it. Then we transfer it to a bowl and feed it with two cups of flour and one cup of water. Then, we leave it on the counter overnight and it is ready to use in the morning.

      2) This part of the recipe is when we transfer the dough from the mixer into a bowl that we’re going to leave on the counter to let the sourdough ferment the dough.

      3) See answer 1. We keep it in the refrigerator and feed it the night before we’re going to bake with it. And yes, it is the ratio that’s important not the exact amount. The less there is, the faster it ferments. We’ve found that if we’re going to bake bread with it the next morning, 2 cups of flour and 1 cup of water is the best amount to leave overnight so that it’s ready in the morning and hasn’t gone too far.

  17. MaryClare

    I also have the same problem as Erika stated above. My dough took 7 hours for the first rise before i saw any bubbles. I could not get my dough to rise the second time. The bread was dense but still edible. I also thought by warm oven you meant my ovens lowest temp. 170 degrees. Did that ruin the rise? Please tell me what to do right before placing in loaf pans? Is the sourdough meant to be completely sticky and difficult to transfer? Was I supposed to add more flour and knead a bit again? I know there’s a learning curve, I’ve made other sourdough before and sometimes it didn’t come out. I’d just like to hear what I’m doing wrong. I hate to waste anymore of this good flour. Thanks!

    1. Admin

      Hi MaryClare, I apologize for the confusion. Yes, 170 degrees would probably be too hot for the rise. We usually just put it in our oven with the light on. Aside from that, it’s hard to know since I wasn’t there for the process. Dense bread that doesn’t rise can be a result of overflouring which is common with einkorn since it tends to be stickier. Sometimes it’s a good idea to let the dough rest for a few minutes before deciding if you should add more flour. Einkorn absorbs liquid more slowly than other grains. It’s ok (even though it’s a little frustrating) for einkorn dough to be a little sicky. We usually just oil our hands a little bit when working with it. I hope that’s helpful!

  18. Karen

    I am on day 3 of making my first Einkorn sourdough starter from freshly grinding the berries I ordered from you. While planning ahead for what recipe I am going to make first, I noticed you have listed additional recipes based on this one. May I ask how you roll out the dough for pizza after step 5 if it is so spongy; I do not want to add additional flour and make the dough dry. Thanks again for your wonderful products!!

    1. Admin

      Hi Karen, we don’t add more flour. We haven’t noticed a problem with it being too spongy. Rolling it out punches it down and it ends up being great for pizza.


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