We have wanted for a long time now to write an article, which is up-to-date and properly describing the topic of einkorn and gluten. Our reason is to debunk the widespread myths and legends as to the explanations why einkorn is well taken and tolerable even by people with gluten sensitivity. We want to draw attention particularly to the fact that the article only concerns the EXPLANATIONS as to what einkorn is about. It does not change the facts, it only provides more comprehensive and accurate information.
What do they say about einkorn?
As already said, there is indeed some misunderstanding in regards to einkorn and gluten, with many asserting that einkorn contains less gluten. This common perception arises from two things. Firstly from the fact that einkorn is tolerated by gluten-sensitive people much better than any other species from the wheat (Triticum)genus. The second reason is that when kneaded with einkorn flour, the dough wouldn’t rise immediately as it does with wheat flour. Everyone says „gluten free” or „ there is very little gluten, so it doesn’t rise ”.Some producers and merchants even write on the einkorn grain packages that they are „gluten free” or „low gluten content”, which is unfair but this is a different topic.
What exactly is gluten?
When discussing proteins in grains such as einkorn, spelt, emmer, rye, pasta wheat, and soft wheat, we are actually discussing the proteins, which constitute gluten. And what is gluten? Gluten is that sticky mesh of proteins you get when mixing water/fat with flour, which gives dough the property of holding in air bubbles. In principle, as most people know, Einkorn contains more protein than contemporary wheat. This is the main reason why you are sated by less Einkorn compared to wheat. It follows from the presence of more proteins in Einkorn that the gluten content in Einkorn is similar to or even higher than gluten content in wheat. HOWEVER, the more important thing in the case of Einkorn is not the quantity of gluten but the fact that it is different.
Are there different types of gluten?
When discussing gluten volume in flour/grains, one needs to know that what is meant here is finished dough from such flour because the dry flour contains no gluten – instead, it contains groups of proteins called glutenins and gliadins, you only get gluten once you add liquid.
In turn, glutenins are categorized as high-molecular mass and low-molecular mass. Flours made from contemporary wheatare considered to be of good quality and fit for baking when they have high content of high-molecular massproteins, which has advantageous effect on the kneading time, dough elasticity, etc. –and thus, the final volume of the baked product. Einkorncontains sufficient glutento bake bread but it lacks several high-molecular mass proteins, which is reflected in its strong stickiness and reduced elasticity.
Gliadins are categorized in four groups, when they explored the structure of gliadins in einkorn, researchers found that entire groups of γ-gliadins, which are present in all other types of wheat, are missing in einkorn. To add to this, the ratio of these proteins in einkorn is in favour of gliadins, unlike all other types of wheat.
Disadvantage or advantage?
It is that particular “flaw” of Einkorn – the absence of some of the proteins from the two major groups of gluten-forming proteins –which makes it tolerable to many people, who are wheat-sensitive. If you have gluten-sensitivity symptoms and doctors have dismissed the celiac disease diagnosis, then einkorn may prove to be the only species in the wheat genus, which you may be able to consume and feel well. But once you find out why einkorn makes you feel so much better, then you could learn how to derive maximum benefit from its power through delicious bread, baked products, macaroni items, and any other foods.
To conclude, we would like to summarize some facts:
In the past our ancestors mostly ate the ancient sorts of Einkorn, with the „modern-day” proteins of contemporary wheat not being familiar to their organism;
They used sourdough, instead of yeast. It is now proven that the technologies making use of grain fermentation may effectively affect immunoreactive component, such as gluten;
Baking further changes the gluten structure. It was not accidental that in the not too distant past our grandmothers used to extra-bake flour in the baking dish in the oven before they made gruel for the little child
It turns out that people lived naturally on low-gluten diets, with that gluten differing even on DNA level from the one found in contemporary wheat.
We all thank you!