Ardent Mills triticale

Daniel Marciani, executive development chef for Ardent Mills, described the word “un-novation” on Sept. 26 at the Whole Grains Council conference “Whole Grains in Foodservice, the Next Frontier” in Rosemont.

“It’s rolling back and looking at history, looking at culture, and saying, ‘What’s worked in the past? Maybe we can go back to that and see what’s good,’” Mr. Marciani said.

For Denver-based Ardent Mills, “un-novation” may involve such heritage grains as triticale and rye. Heritage grains are bred more for flavor and color than for volume, he said. More than a century old, triticale (Triticosecale rimpaui) is a hybrid of wheat (Triticum) and rye (Secale), according to the Whole Grains Council, Boston.

Triticale has some of the baking qualities of wheat, Mr. Marciani said.

“(Wheat) is what makes bread come to life,” he said. “It’s what makes pancakes come to life.”

Triticale also has some of the traits that let rye grow into a hearty crop. Mr. Marciani called rye a “powerhouse” in the field.

Mr. Marciani, in a demonstration at the Whole Grains Council event, made a dish featuring bison pastrami and an Italian sweet-heat sauce on a rye and triticale knot bun.

Mr. Marciani said he likes to add molasses as a sweetener to the rye flour for a darker, deep aroma. Rye contains pentosans (a class of polysaccharides) that get in the way of good gluten formation, which means rye has less functionality in baking.

Mr. Marciani uses corn syrup as a sweetener for triticale. Blending triticale flour with wheat flour may improve baking quality.

“You get a little bit better volume, a little bit better gluten development out of that dough,” he said.

To create the knot bun, Mr. Marciani made four dough balls, two out of whole grain rye flour and two out of a blend of triticale and wheat flour. Two balls of each color were placed in the shape of a bun in a checkerboard fashion with the balls touching each other.

The knot buns, baked at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 18 minutes, are “intriguing not only to the mouth and the pallet but also to the eye,” Mr. Marciani said.