Ancient Grains

April 21, 2022


Our signature pizza dough is something truly special – crisp, delicate and deeply satisfying but also high in protein and antioxidants. There are more than two thousand pizzerias in London alone, so how did we make ours so deliciously different? Pizza dough is a simple thing, made from flour, yeast, water, salt and oil. It’s this simplicity which means there’s nowhere to hide for sub-standard ingredients – you can taste any compromise straight away.

So in making ours we drew inspiration from the Mediterranean. The history of the region’s food is truly epic – people have been cultivating around its shores since deep pre-history so when it comes to making tasty things from first principals, this really is where to go. Enough of the pre-amble, how do we do it? Two words. Ancient. Grains.

Most pizza dough is made from wheat or semolina flour. Nothing wrong with these per se but modern farming and genetic tinkering have lead to high-yield crops which need a lot of pesticides, fertiliser and other interventions to do well. Ancient grains are ones which have been cultivated in the same way for at least several hundred years, free from modern intervention and closer to the foods we evolved eating. This is old-school flour, grown in the UK by our friends at Dove’s Farm – and these guys really know their low-intervention farming.

Our signature pizza dough is made with a blend of three grains: emmer, spelt and einkorn. Sounds a bit like a 60’s band? Let’s meet them.

Emmer, also known as farro, is a really simple grain which has been cultivated since the dawn of agriculture. Mesopotamians grew this in the Fertile Crescent 17000 years ago, so when we say “ancient” we’re not messing about here. It’s high in fibre and protein (nearly twice as much as in your more common wheats) and is loaded with vitamin E, several important B vitamins, a whole bunch of minerals including zinc, magnesium and iron, plus phytochemicals and antioxidants. Starting strong, this beauty is a nutritional powerhouse.

Spelt is one you might have heard of – it’s related to emmer and is a bit more modern. By that we mean it’s been cultivated for around 9000 years, for 4000 of which it’s been grown in the British Isles. Local boy this one, it’s full of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals.

Last but my no means least we have einkorn. If there had been pizza 10000 years ago, this is what our ancestors would have chosen to make it out of. An ancestor of modern wheat, it grows where others can’t and has been cultivated all around the shores of the Mediterranean. Chock-full of protein, carotene, fatty acids, phosphorus, potassium and vitamin B6, it also has a great personality. Not as common as you’d think in an ancient grain.

Let’s bring it all together then. You can make perfectly good pizza out of modern wheat flour, many have done so. But by working with an outstanding modern grower of ancient grains we’ve managed to put together a dough blend which quite literally makes better pizza – better taste, better for you, better full stop.

If you want to have a go yourself we’ll be posting more about how to make our dough in the near future. Until then, if you want the best pizza going then we’ve always got a place for you right here.