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Black Emmer Sandwich Loaf

Black Emmer Sandwich Loaf

By: Terra Brockman (Read Bio)

Black Emmer Sandwich Loaf
This sandwich loaf is made with the rare ancient grain Black Emmer, also known as Farro Nero.  The “black” in Black Emmer (and “nero” in Farro Nero) refers to the dark color of its hull and awns. Once emmer is de-hulled, the kernels are similar in color to other wheats. The word “farro” comes from “pharaoh” — as this grain was originally grown in ancient Egypt. When the Roman Empire expanded there, they brought this grain back to the continent, and it became known as farro nero, the “black grain of the Pharaohs.”


  • 425 grams (about 3 1/2 cups) Janie’s Mill Black Emmer Flour
  • 240 grams of lukewarm water (approx. 1 to 1 1/8 cups (227g to 255g), depending on humidity, altititude, and other factors)
  • 1/4 cup (50g) vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup (85g) honey, molasses, or maple syrup
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast, or 1 packet active dry yeast dissolved in 2 tablespoons of the water in the recipe
  • 1/4 cup (28g) nonfat dry milk
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons (8g) salt
  • “Everything” bagel seasoning, or other seeds of your choice (optional).


  1. Weigh out the Black Emmer flour; or measure it by gently spooning into a cup, then sweeping off any excess.

  2. In a large bowl, or in the bowl of your stand mixer, combine all the ingredients and stir just until the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl. Let it rest for 20 to 30 minutes. This gives the Black Emmer flour a chance to absorb some of the liquid and for the bran particles stone-milled into the flour to soften, making the dough easier to handle. 

  3. If kneading by hand, transfer the dough to a lightly greased surface, oil your hands, and knead it gently for a few minutes, or until it's smooth and supple. If kneading in a stand mixer, attach the dough hook and knead for 5 to 7 minutes at low speed, until the dough is soft and smooth. Adjust its consistency with additional flour or water, if necessary.

  4. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover it, and let it rise until puffy though not necessarily doubled in bulk, 1 to 2 hours, depending on the temperature of your home.

  5. Gently deflate the dough, transfer it to a lightly oiled work surface, and shape it into an 8" log. Place the log in a lightly greased 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pan and cover the pan loosely with lightly greased plastic wrap or a reusable cover. 

  6. Let the bread rise for 1 to 2 hours, or until the center has crowned a little bit (about 1/4 inch) above the rim of the pan. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.

  7. Uncover the bread, brush with water, and coat with seeds of your choice (“everything” bagel seasoning, in this case). The seeds are optional but the extra flavor they add goes well with the mild flavor of the bread.

  8. Place the bread in the oven, and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, tenting it lightly with aluminum foil after 20 minutes to prevent over-browning. A digital thermometer inserted into the loaf's center should register at least 190°F.

  9. Remove the bread from the oven and turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool. Cool completely before slicing.  Store the bread, well wrapped, at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage.


Our friends at Muddy Fork Bakery, as well as the many professional and home bakers on the Janie’s Mill Baking Group Facebook page, have found Black Emmer to be a very versatile flour, great mixed with High-Protein or Sifted Artisan flour in yeast or sourdough breads, or on its own or mixed with All-Purpose flour in cookies, muffins, pancakes, and quick breads (zucchini bread! banana bread!), as well as in cakes. Some of their experiences with Black Emmer are below.

Be sure to share what you make with us on social media, using the hashtag #janiesmillbakes !


Baker’s Notes About Working With Black Emmer

from the Janie’s Mill Baking Group


Muddy Fork Bakery: “The Emmer lends these loaves great color and extensibility. Not to mention its nutty, almost sweet flavor.”

Linda: Made my first two batches of sourdough using the Black Emmer today. The first was a 50 50 mix of Black Emmer and High Protein. The second was also a 50 50 mix of Black Emmer and Artisan Blend. The Black Emmer and High Protein needed more hydration than the other mix. The Black Emmer and Artisan Blend rose a little higher but both have a wonderful flavor, each a little different.

Cecilia: Black Emmer makes a wonderful loaf 50/50 with the High Protein Bread Flour.

Kevin: I grind my own flour, but I have worked with a 1:1:1 blend of Glenn, Durum, and Black emmer and it turns out great loaves.

Jennie: I am doing a side by side comparison with the new black emmer and durum flours. 50% HP and 50% Black emmer or Durum, 75% hydration, 4% starter, 1.7 % salt.

No kneading — light mixing just to combine ingredients, three stretch and fold sessions, overnight rise, divide and shape into bannetons and final rise before bake. In shaping, the emmer dough was definitely more slack, as one would expect.

Out of the oven. They both smell fabulous. I was nervous about the Emmer as it was quite floppy and flat when it went into the vessel, but considering it received the same treatment as the Durum, I am pleased with the amount of oven spring.

Very different flavors. Emmer more earthy, intense, spicy, almost cheese-like. Durum milder, with a bit of a citrus tang. Also, very different colors. Both delicious!

The recipe above, adapted from King Arthur’s Whole Wheat Sandwich Loaf, was made and photographed by home baker Michael Windlinger, a cottage baker in North Carolina (follow him on Instagram at windy.bake.) Michael says: “As far as working with the dough, it definitely didn't rise a whole lot (presumably due to it being a low-gluten flour). When I handled the dough it felt nice, but it didn't really get puffy during fermentation. However, the final loaf didn't have too dense of a crumb for a sandwich loaf, and the texture is good. The bread tastes great, with a mild flavor for a 100% extraction flour.”

Posted on September 18 2021