We’ve certainly explored our fair share of ancient grains at Wild Wheat. I’ve learned a lot over the years about food and flours I knew little about. This month’s special again teaches me something new with a hybrid cereal made from wheat and barley.
Where does Tritordeum come from?
First successfully paired in 1977, Tritordeum is a cross between durum wheat (Triticum durum) and a variety of wild barley (Hordeum chilense). Hence Tritordeum.
My first question: Is it genetically modified? The answer is no, Tritordeum is GMO-free.
Next question: Is it gluten-free? Again, no, it contains gluten. However, the gluten in Tritordeum is significantly reduced (less than half the gluten you find in wheat) so it’s more digestible. Tritordeum has a lower content of indigestible proteins, responsible for gluten sensitivity.
So what are its health benefits?
Well, compared to wheat, Tritordeum is higher in protein, higher in fibre and higher in fatty acids. Tritordeum has more oleic acid than wheat; oleic is a fatty acid typical in Mediterranean diets that helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Tritordeum contains ten times more lutein than wheat. Lutein is a vitamin, typically found in leafy green veges. Lutein is beneficial for eye health and may have protective effects for our skin against UV rays.
And its impact on the environment?
Another plus? Tritordeum is a more sustainable as a crop and has low environmental impact. It’s a robust crop which needs little water and few fertilisers to grow. This makes Tritordeum more drought-resistant and also more resistant to high temperatures and climate change.
So what’s it like?
Compared to other cereals, Tritordeum has a golden yellow colour, a sweet flavour, a toasted aroma and a durable and soft crumb structure. The baker had to give this loaf a few goes before getting it right though. He settled on a 50/50 split of Tritordeum flour and wheat flour. The result is a more open and softer crumb, more typical of the Wild Wheat sourdoughs we’ve come to know and love.
Yet the July Special feels substantial and weighty enough to eat with your evening soup while still feeling full! Its tangy yet sweet flavour delivers on the sourdough front, as does the robust crust.