A first-of-its-kind bread will be available in San Francisco Bay Area bakeries in May. The bread — available in bakeries including Rustic Bakery, Jane, Ponsford’s Place, The Bekjr, and Avast — is baked with Hourani flour, a 2,000-year-old heirloom grain.
Bread baked with Hourani flour has never been available commercially in the United States before.
The flour made its way to the Bay Area thanks to Honoré Farm and Mill, a nonprofit organization dedicated to restoring and strengthening the relationship between people and the land through regenerative farming practices, the cultivation of heritage grains, and experiential education.
In 2018, Honoré received a small bag of Hourani seeds from Steve Lyon at Washington State University’s Bread Lab.
In just three years, Honoré has harvested that handful of seeds into 3,200 pounds of Hourani flour, with the help of a handful of dedicated farmers, a wheat scientist and dozens of passionate volunteers.
Hourani, called an “exceptional flour,” is a versatile durum wheat with 14% protein. It is a traditional variety for making pasta noodles, but also makes delicious bread, pizza dough, and pastries.
The ancient heirloom grain was buried at the Masada Fortress in 73 CE to protect it from Roman siege, covered by the sands of time. In the 1960s, it was found deep within the fortress stored in earthen jars and excavated by archeologists. Today, Hourani is sparsely grown in various parts of the Holy Land but faces a new siege from the dominance of patented seed suppliers and industrialized farming practices.
All Honoré flour, including Hourani, is regeneratively farmed and stone-milled into 100% whole wheat flour, resulting in more nutrition and flavor than commercial whole wheat products.
On May 24, Honoré hosted a Hourani tasting lunch featuring the head baker of Rustic Bakery, Coup de Monde de la Boulangerie winners Craig Ponsford and Mike Zakowski, Jane the Bakery’s Amanda Michael and Matthew Jones from Avast.