Einkorn (Triticum monococcum) is the oldest known bread cereal in the world. Its origins can be traced back to about 10.000 years ago. Back in prehistoric times, in an area known as the Fertile Crescent, Einkorn was cultivated as the key cereal to baking bread. Bread and fine pastries made with Einkorn have a unique flavour profile, because of the cereal’s slightly nutty taste.
Einkorn was derived from wild grasses about 10,000 years ago and originated in an area between the Tigris and Euphrates (today’s Syria and Iraq).
Everything goes back to one grain
Einkorn, literally “one grain” in German, was the first grain ever cultivated. When people on European soil were still hunters and gatherers – chasing animals, collecting berries and living in caves – humans in the Fertile Crescent had already settled down to become farmers. From there, Einkorn spread progressively to Central and Northern Europe
Once Einkorn was so popular, even “Ötzi” liked it
During the Bronze Age (6000-3000 BC) Einkorn became one of mankind’s main crops. It is proven that the world-famous prehistoric man, also known as “Ötzi”, who lived about 5300 years ago, carried some Einkorn in his pockets. However around 2000 BC the importance of Einkorn began to decline and its cultivation slowly disappeared in favour of high-yield species, such as Emmer. As a result, the unique flavour of Einkorn disappeared almost completely and could only be found in remote European areas for many years.
Einkorn, now back on the rise
Fortunately, Einkorn grains have been successfully rediscovered recently and thanks to our unique system of exclusive farming, we have been able to slowly cultivate original Einkorn again.
The family tree of wheat
Did you know that Einkorn is the genetic ”grandfather” of almost every bread or pastry we consume today? Most of our favourite products are made with soft wheat, which is a modern descendant of ancient Einkorn. From a genetics point of view, Einkorn could also be described as the father of Emmer and the grandfather of Spelt Wheat and Soft Wheat. If you want to know more, take a look at the fascinating family tree of wheat. Read more >>
Einkorn belongs to the so-called “hulled cereals”, which means that its grains are enclosed by a solid husk. The husk protects the grain from negative environmental influences, thereby ensuring a longer life of the crop.
The name “Einkorn” (= one grain) comes from its specific structure, because only one grain grows from every rachis. Einkorn’s botanical name, “monococcum”, also points to this aspect. Einkorn’s stalks are pretty long, growing up to 1,60 meter in length (compared to only 60 cm to 1 meter for today’s Soft Wheat), which makes it easy to identify an Einkorn field from afar. Another of Einkorn’s advantages is its basic nutritional needs, which means that the crops can successfully grow on dry, poor soil.
Due to its resistant nature and basic nutritional needs, Einkorn had been the most popular bread cereal for thousands of years. However, the husk also caused a more complex milling process because the grains had to be separated from the husk prior to the actual milling.
Taste true ancient indulgence
Einkorn has a unique slightly nutty taste, which adds a specific flavour profile to any product. Bread and pastry products made of Einkorn have a pleasant dark golden yellowish colour. Einkorn contains a particularly large number of amino acids and many beneficial minerals such as magnesium, zinc and iron.
CSM works with over 120 farmers, who exclusively cultivate Ancient Grains for Waldkorn®.
If you want to know more about the careful cultivation and harvesting process, read more >>