The return of the long-lost Midwestern wheat

Made without preservatives or additives, all of Hewn’s breads are naturally fermented, hand-mixed, and baked in an old German oven with a stone hearth and steam injector.

Made without preservatives or additives, all of Hewn’s breads are naturally fermented, hand-mixed, and baked in an old German oven with a stone hearth and steam injector. // Image via Hewn Bakery

Midwest native Ellen King has planted a rare breed of organic wheat that hasn’t been grown since the early twentieth century, reports Saveur.

When King opened Hewn Bakery in Evanston, Illinois, she was surprised to find there was no such wheat already being grown in the Midwest; she had to ship organic wheat from Utah.

“What has happened so that we don’t have our own wheat?,” she asks. “It should be our birthright.”

So, she decided she would change that. Last year, she planted a rare breed of wheat, the Marquis variety, a cross between Hard Red Calcutta and Red Fife wheats that was grown in Canada, Minnesota, and throughout the Midwest in the early 1900s. This fall, once she’s grown enough to mill just 20 pounds of flour, she’ll bake a grain-to-oven Midwestern loaf of bread that humanity hasn’t tasted in nearly 100 years.

As she has no idea what it’ll taste like, she’s calling this project her Midwestern Bread Experiment.

Out of the first harvest last fall, King got 25 pounds of seed that she was able to replant this year; this fall, she hopes to produce 20 pounds of flour, with which she’ll be able to bake a few loaves.

“From what I’ve read, Marquis is a great bread flour, but that doesn’t really mean much,” she says. “I honestly have no clue how it’ll taste.”

[h/t Saveur]


The Mill Post Bottom Graphic

 

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