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Ancient grain ZEA bread recipe

DEMETRA ORGANICS, CA, April 25, 2019.

Easy to make ancient grain low-gluten ZEA bread recipe.

For this recipe, a mixture of hard-ZEA flour and regular flour is used so that the bread becomes less dense. A couple of spoonfuls of honey complement the earthy flavor of the whole grain ZEA flour, and a little olive oil ensures that the finished product remains nice and soft.

If you have a stand mixer the dough comes together in seconds. If you do not, all you will need is a bowl and a sturdy spatula to mix all the ingredients. Once the dough comes together into a ball, it should feel soft and sticky. Do not add more flour to the dough; as long as you can handle it, this is the right consistency.

The next step is very important: empty your dough onto a well-oiled bench and knead it until it is no longer sticky. The olive oil will make your kneading tidy and help produce a smooth loaf. Allow the dough to rest until it doubles in volume. Knead it some more then place it in a loaf pan for the second (shorter) rising.

Once the bread has risen the second time, it is ready to bake. That is when your kitchen will start smelling amazing and within 30 minutes the bread should be ready.

Allow it some time to cool down before slicing and enjoying!

PREP TIME: 15 mins
COOK TIME: 30 mins
TOTAL TIME: 45 mins

Serves: 1 loaf

1 package active dry yeast (2¼ tsp.)
1 cup warm water (110°F)
2 TBSP honey
2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
1¾ cups whole-milled stone-ground hard-ZEA flour (half bag)
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ tsp sea salt
1 medium egg white, beaten

1. Using a 2-cup glass measuring cup dissolve the yeast in the water. Add the honey. Let stand until foamy, about 6-8 minutes. Stir in the olive oil.
2. In a stand mixer equipped with the dough hook attachment blend the whole-wheat flour, 1¼ cup of the all-purpose flour, and the salt until combined.
3. Pour in the yeast mixture and mix on low speed until the dough forms a ball. The dough should be slightly sticky; if it is too wet, add some of the remaining all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon at a time (you can also use a food processor, or, just a bowl and a wooden spatula). Empty your dough on a well-oiled bench and knead it until it is not sticky anymore. Shape the dough into a ball and turn it over in a greased bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1½ hours.
4. After the first rise, punch down the dough to deflate it and knead briefly again on a lightly oiled bench or surface to shape into a smooth, 10-inch-long oblong loaf. Place the dough in a greased 10”x5” loaf pan. Cover loosely with a cloth and let it proof again until almost doubled in size, about 45 minutes to an hour.
5. Preheat oven to 375° F. Brush the top of the bread loaf lightly with the egg white. Sprinkle some sea salt and sesame seeds, if using. With a sharp knife, cut three, ½-inch-deep slashes on top of the loaf. (This slashing is necessary to release some of the trapped gas, which can deform your bread. It also makes the top of your bread look attractive).
6. Place a small pan (e.g., an 8” cake pan) filled with 1 cup of water in the corner of the lowest shelf in the oven. Slide the bread loaf pan right onto the middle rack of the oven and close the oven door (the steam from the water in the small pan will help to keep the oven moist and allow the bread to rise more, instead of forming a crust right away).
7. Bake the loaf for about 30 minutes, or, until the top is a deep golden brown (the internal temperature of the bread will be around 190°F). When you remove the loaf from the oven, you will hear it crackle for a while. In baking terms, this is called "singing" and it is exactly what you want. Place on a rack and allow it to cool completely before slicing and enjoying. This bread is even better the next day, sliced and toasted, as it brings out the nutty flavor of the whole wheat flour!


In collaboration with Chef Marilena Leavitt (

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