Different Grains and Flours

Wheat has been farmed since the start of the Neolithic and was probably gathered in the late Palaeolithic and Mesolithic periods.  Originally, the grains were crushed into a rough grist and mixed with boiling water or milk to make a porridge like meal which would have been flavoured with berries, herbs or whatever was at hand.  Most of the cultivated wheats are Hexaploid, having six sets of chromosomes, suggesting that the ancestral species was a hybrid of three different grasses - probably Aegilops tauschii, Triticum boeticum and Triticum dicoccoides.

Einkorn wheat was ground into flour as early as 8000 BC using flat stone querns.  This wheat seems to have its origin in Turkey, spreading across Iran, Iraq and the Middle East and into Europe.  Emmer wheat was used in Egypt as early as 7700 BC and later in Israel and Ethiopia.  Khorasan wheat is evidenced from Iran from about 5000 BC and was used in Egypt and the Middle East.

Durum wheat is also an ancient variety, known also as "Khorani".  This wheat originated in the Fertile Crescent  and spread to Israel and Italy quite quickly.  Black Winter Emmer is a variety that is known as "Farro" in Italy and "Mother Wheat" in Israel.


Spelt is an early variety that was used in Europe and eventually in Italy.  The genetics of spelt are well understood and it is known to contain elements of Goat Grass, and two varieties of wild wheat found in the Middle East.

By the Middle Ages, modern varieties of wheat were being developed by selective breeding.  Club Wheat was a high yielding crop and modern wheat was soon to become the main source of bread flour.  There are genetic elements of Spelt, Einkorn and Emmer wheat in all modern varieties.

Other sources of flour for bread making come from Rye, Chickpeas, Millet, Oats, Maize, Barley, Beans, Lentils and Peas.

Grains like Oats, Corn and Barley are
considered cheap ingredients.

Pulses like Soya beans, Green peas,
Brown lentils and Yellow peas are readily available.



Historical Bread

Home Page

This part of the Bread Pages looks at the The different types of Flour used throughout history.

Einkorn Wheat

Emmer Wheat

Durum Wheat

Spelt Wheat

Khorasan Wheat


Common Wheat