WYE MILLS — Old Wye Mill is now offering for sale flour made from einkorn — an ancient grain that is delicious for baking and low in gluten. The einkorn is sourced from farmer Gerry Godfrey’s Mount Zion Farm (mountzionorchard.com/einkorn) in northern Caroline County and milled into flour on Old Wye Mill’s water-powered grindstones. It is available for purchase during open hours or by appointment.

Einkorn (Triticum monococcum) was first cultivated about ten thousand years ago in the Middle East, where it still grows wild. By breeding it with other plants, early farmers created our modern wheat (Triticum aestivum), which, compared to einkorn, yielded more grain; had a softer husk; and contained a highly elastic gluten.

The gluten in common wheat causes many people to experience inflammation and other symptoms. The Godfreys discovered that they could eliminate these symptoms by baking bread with einkorn, which has less gluten, and it is in a low-density form.

Starting in 2019, they experimented with growing einkorn, and even created machines to remove and separate the tough hull. Now Gerry Godfrey delivers 50-pound bags of einkorn to Old Wye Mill regularly, and the Millers grind it into fine flour. Once milled, it is kept in a freezer to preserve freshness; they recommend customers keep it chilled until they bake with it.

Godfrey grew up farming in Maryland and New Jersey. He’s farmed holly trees, peppers, tomatoes, squash and beans, on 90 acres of land in Marydel his father farmed before him. He earned a degree in horticulture from the University of Maryland; this scientific background is apparent when he explains how his family discovered agricultural solutions to the negative effects of wheat gluten.

Godfrey’s two daughters-in-law Christina and Bailey shared a passion for healthy food and the science behind it. They systematically eliminated potential inflammatory foods, pinpointing wheat as a chief dietary culprit. As if miraculously, a wide range of ailments cleared up when the family started abstaining from wheat.

They began to bake with all kinds of gluten-free flour, such as rice, almond, and coconut, which can produce some good sweets. But decent bread, with its crispy crust and moist interior, proved elusive until the Godfreys considered some ancestral wheat varieties such as spelt, farro, kamut — and finally einkorn.

Bread made with einkorn has less gluten, and the gluten is in a low-density form that is easier for most people to digest. After studying einkorn scientifically and tasting a delicious sourdough loaf baked by a family friend using the ancient grain, the Godfreys decided to have a go at growing and using einkorn as their primary baking flour.

Baking with einkorn is very rewarding. The grain is small, but with a higher percentage of germ and bran — and thus offers a richer taste and more nutrients than modern wheat.

If you haven’t baked with einkorn before, try it first in biscuits, cookies and pancakes. Bread, of course, is more dependent on gluten to produce a satisfying loaf. You can substitute a half-cup of einkorn for conventional flour to add a sweet, nutty flavor to your favorite bread. If you’re making an all-einkorn loaf, allow the dough to rest longer than you otherwise would to ensure that the moisture permeates the flour. (Einkorn flour absorbs water more slowly than conventional wheat flour.)

The historic grist mill is the oldest continuously operated water-powered mill in America and Maryland’s oldest continuously operating business. Flour from Old Wye Mill — sustainably delicious since 1682!

Old Wye Mill is located at 900 Wye Mills Road (Route 662), in Wye Mills, near the intersection of Route 662 and Route 404.

For more information, please contact the Old Wye Mill administrator at 410-827-3850 or oldwyemill@atlanticbbn.net.

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