Naturally Leaven Ancient Grain – Ask Dr. Dough

The ancient grain, emmer (photo above) was farmed in the U.S. in the early 1900s. Ancient grains like einkorn, emmer, spelt, and khorasan are sometimes tolerated when modern, common wheat is not.

Do you know where to get ancient grain, like Einkorn wheat, at a good price?  I’m seeing sticker shock with $4/lb & up.  As much as I use [grain], there’s no way I could afford that except for just once in a while.  Maybe I’ll incorporate it in but not exclusively.  Right now I have a good thousand pounds or so of hard white wheat & probably a hundred or so pounds of hard red wheat.  I’d rather the ancient wheat, by far, but it’s so expensive.  Wondering if I use the natural leavening, if it really matters that I use the modern hybrids.  Jennifer

Ancient Grain Such as Einkorn

Einkorn and most ancient grain are grown in limited supply currently. My hope is that more farmers will plant these ancient grains in the future. We list some grain resources on our website. Ancient grain is more expensive, but these are the best prices I have found anywhere.  Spelt, einkorn, emmer, and khorasan (Kamut) are less toxic than modern wheat but still require Natural Leavening to break down. If you know of great grain sources in your area, we would love to hear about them.

Using Natural leavening and Common Hybrid Wheat, Ancient Grains, and Gluten-Free

In our clinical experience, we have found that many people do well when common hybridized wheat is cultured with Old World Natural Leavening for 8-12 hours.  Some people sill experience some reactions to naturally leavened, common wheat.  Reactions can be reduced with increased natural leavening culturing time (12-72 hours).  We have found that the ancient grains are less reactive and inflammatory when naturally leavened than are the common varieties. We go through the research that backs this up in our up coming book.  We love the flavor of einkorn that is naturally leavened, but have not switched entirely.  We also use emmer, priced the same as einkorn, and khorasan (Kamut), a less expensive ancient grain. For people who react to ancient wheat and those who have Celiac disease, we recommend Gluten Free Old World Natural Leavening.

For kitchen help and more articles on, sign up for the Dr. Dough Blog. To see the Natural Leavening starters, including ancient grain varieties, click here.


Part 1/5 describes “Mildly Sweet Natural Yeast”.

Part 2/5 responds to making your own grain start.

Part 3/5 answers, “Why all the different grain starts?”

Part 4/5 talks about Natural Leavening, ancient and gluten free grains.

Part 5/5 lists health benefits of natural leavening.


Dr. Matthew R. McClean’s practice focuses on well rounded treatment including nutrition and lifestyle changes.


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