A slightly sweet and nutty flour, khorasan wheat has long been one of my very favourite ancient grains to work with. This soft, 100% whole grain khorasan bread has become a household staple of late and I’ve been making a loaf every few days. It’s a slightly enriched dough, with honey, milk, and oil, and it is high hydration so you may want to knead with a machine (more on this below). This is a truly excellent bread and I hope you try it.
This loaf joins a wide variety of ancient grain bread recipes on OE. For some more sandwich-style loaves, try my simple spelt bread, whole grain einkorn bread, and honey oat bread, all made with yeast.
While you may be more familiar with the trademarked Kamut®, we are not into patenting or trademarking heritage seeds and plants around here. It is the same grain, just under a different name. If you’re concerned about the grain being organically grown, simply check for a certified organic label on the packaging.
Thanks to Grand Teton Ancient Grains, an organic family-owned and operated farm and mill in Ohio that focuses on growing heritage and ancient varieties, for sponsoring this post! It was so fun to test this recipe using my most-loved flour. All statements and opinions are my own.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Khorasan flour: Grand Teton Ancient Grains currently sells khorasan only as berries, not ground into flour, but they are planning on having a dedicated mill for it soon. This recipe has only been tested with whole grain flour.
- Milk: use any type of milk, non-dairy or dairy. I’ve made the bread with homemade soya and oat milk, both with identical results.
- Olive oil: use any type of oil you like, but note that you’ll be able to taste a hint of it in the bread. I imagine melted butter could also be used.
- Honey: maple syrup is a good substitution here.
- Yeast: the yeast is proved for this recipe (mixed with warm milk and allowed to rise) so you can use traditional or instant yeast with no change to the recipe. I recommend following this step even with instant yeast as it proves that the yeast is still active before starting on the bread.
Step by Step
Step 1: heat the milk, then mix with the honey and oil. Bloom the yeast in this mixture.
Step 2: add the flour and salt, and mix into a shaggy dough.
Step 3: knead, preferably with a machine, for about eight minutes, or until the dough can stretch without immediately tearing and is soft but not very sticky.
Step 4: set aside to rise, covered, for about an hour.
Step 5: shape the dough into a log and place it in a loaf tin.
Step 6: rise again for half an hour, or until it slowly fills back in when lightly pressed with a fingertip.
Step 7: bake for 30-35 minutes.
Step 8: cool the loaf before slicing and serving.
Please note that this is a high hydration dough – there’s a high liquid-to-flour ratio – and that does make the dough seem a little strange. It will seem like a thick cake batter when it’s first mixed, but develops elasticity as it’s kneaded and will turn into a soft and slightly sticky dough.
Khorasan needs a little more time to come together than spelt, and you will need to mix for longer than is typical with other heritage wheat varieties. It is difficult to knead by hand, so if you try, make sure you have a dough scraper nearby as you will need one.
This bread doesn’t have an extraordinary oven spring, and you do have to be on the lookout for over-proving. Keep an eye on the loaf for the second prove as it can go too far rather quickly – you want it to just reach the top of the tin, and do the indent test.
I am currently testing a khorasan sourdough bread and hope to share that in the coming weeks, if you prefer to bake with sourdough rather than commercial yeast.
How to Store
Storage: this bread keeps well. Store in a sealed container for up to five days in a cool place. Note that it does start to dry out after about day three, but toasts up nicely.
Freezing: transfer the fully cooled loaf to an airtight container, or wrap very well, and freeze for up to two months. Individual slices can also be frozen and thawed directly in the toaster.
- Use an electric mixer: if you have a stand mixer, great! Use that. For this dough, just about any electric hand mixer will work, using the dough attachments. It is difficult to knead by hand but you can reference the video for my spelt pizza dough if you want to try.
- Weigh the ingredients: this is especially important if you are milling your own flour at home. Fresh-milled flour has a completely different volume from flour that’s been sitting in a bag for a few days or weeks, and you’ll get the best and most consistent results by using a scale.
- Add flour when shaping: avoid adding any extra flour when kneading, even if by hand, but feel free to flour your work surface and the dough for shaping.
- Make it overnight: if you want a slower rise, use a quarter teaspoon traditional dry yeast, room temperature milk, and follow the same mixing method. Instead of kneading, do four rounds of stretches and folds over the course of two hours, then let it rise overnight at room temperature. Shape, give it another couple hours rise, and bake as usual. I found the texture wasn’t as good with this method, so keep that in mind.
About Khorasan Wheat
Grown primarily in the American Midwest and Canadian Prairies, this grain is grown in the region where I grew up, and is a common feature at farmer’s markets. It probably originated in the fertile crescent and does well in the hot summers and fertile soil of the North American breadbasket.
A study showed that khorasan wheat reduced oxidative stress and inflammation, indicating that replacing conventional modern wheat with the ancient grain could help to reduce metabolic risk factors (by lowering cholesterol, for example). This was a small study and it may be the same for all ancient whole grains, but is worth noting.
This is a large grain that’s notably golden in colour, closest in colour and texture to durum wheat out of the ancient grains. It’s naturally quite sweet and has a truly delicious nutty flavour – I think it tastes a bit like chestnuts. As with most ancient grains, many people find it easier to digest than conventional wheat, myself included.
Baking with Khorasan
Because it’s a little sweet, it’s an excellent addition to pastries and cakes. The semolina-like texture means it’s perfect for pasta and I particularly like it in pizza dough. It doesn’t have as much gluten strength as white or bread flour, so I would recommend using khorasan-specific recipes, but it is well worth using.
As with any whole grain, the resulting bake is going to be a little denser than with sifted or white flours. Whole grain khorasan doesn’t have a noticeable chaff like some other flours – think rye and sometimes spelt – do, which is great for this type of baking.
Before we moved to Europe, khorasan was my go-to flour and I used it in everything from birthday cakes to cookies and breads. It’s a little harder to find over here so I use more spelt now, but it is, in my opinion, the ideal grain for things like enriched breads and sweet baking.
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- 400 ml non-dairy milk
- 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 ¼ teaspoons dry yeast
- 450 grams khorasan flour
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Heat the milk in a small saucepan until just warm to the touch. Pour it into a large mixing bowl (or the bowl of your stand mixer) and stir in the honey and oil. Check the temperature now – it should be about skin temperature.400 ml non-dairy milk, 2 tablespoons honey, 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Mix in the yeast, then set it aside to bloom for about ten minutes. If it doesn't bloom, either your yeast is too old or the milk was too hot.2 ¼ teaspoons dry yeast
- Stir in the flour and salt to form a wet, shaggy dough. It will look very wet and more like a thick cake batter than bread dough.450 grams khorasan flour, 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Knead for about eight minutes on low speed with the dough attachment (a hand mixer, with the dough hooks, can also be used). When the dough is ready it should be able to stretch without immediately tearing and will be only slightly sticky.
- Set the dough aside to rise, covered, for about an hour in a warm, draft-free place. It should double in size.
- Once the dough has risen, grease or line a bread tin. Generously flour a work surface and turn the dough out onto it. Dust with some more flour, then press into a rough rectangle. The short edge should be the same length as your bread tin.
- Roll the dough into a tight spiral from the short edge, then place it seam-side down into the prepared bread tin.
- Cover and set aside to rise again for 30 minutes, or until the dough has just reached the top of the tin. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F).
- Bake the bread for 30-35 minutes, or until the top is golden and the bread sounds hollow when tapped. Cool for a few minutes in the tin before tipping out and cooling fully on a wire rack.
- Let the bread cool before slicing. Store for up to five days in a cool place, or freeze for up to two months.
* For American cup measurements, please click the pink link text above the ingredient list that says ‘American’.
Nutrition is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate. If this information is important to you, please have it verified independently.