Group D Lab Data: Grain I

Procedure Group D: Erneum

1st time with the Tracta: (Start time 1:13 pm)

Step 1: The Farro Paste

For our farro paste, our group decided to use the mortar and pestle to grind the farro grains. (5.6 oz) Our group noticed that a circular motion allowed the paste to achieve its desired consistency. We found that progress began to take shape when “stringy bits” started to form, in addition to a whitish-hue that appeared from the brown farro beans. Even though the mortar and pestle was by far an easier process than by hand, we still found the process strenuous and tiresome on the hands. All and all, we found that the paste was sufficient at around 11:30 minutes.

A liquid begins to form, begins to look more like a paste
Paste begins to whiten with the seeds more and more crushed.
The nearly finished product; rice krispie treats as Ellen described it

Step 2: Kneading the Dough

For this step, we added our farro paste to emmer flour (4.6 oz) and a pinch of salt. We mixed these ingredients all together, and then slowly trickled in water (about 1.9 oz) until a dough like shape started to form. We began kneading for about 5 minutes, yet we did not really anticipate that the dough would take much longer. The dough formed relatively easy with that said; it began in clumps and then assembled into a ball. The dough started to get more stretchy and, in the meantime, we decided to begin our Base and our Filling. The Tracta, ultimately, took around 23:30 minutes to knead to where it passed the “window test” that Ann so helpfully suggested we try. We then finished with rolling into a final ball to be divided up. We then divided the dough into 4 roughly equal proportions, and rolled them out into a ball.

The dough as the ingredients were put in.
The dough around 5 minutes into kneading.
The dough being divided into four sections.
The four tracta being rolled into balls

Step 3: Making the Tracta

We then covered these balls in olive oil with a rag and began work on stretching them out to form the actual tracta, which was the flat disc. We used the technique of smushing our thumbs into the ball and then in a gentle manner pulling the dough outwards until it thinned out into a nice circular tracta. We then let the tracta dry for a couple of minutes until the texture resembled that of leather.

We added olive oil to a rag and then rubbed the balls with them.
Stretching the dough out with your fingers.
We let the dough rest on a dry towel for a couple of minutes.

Step 4: The Base and the Filling

The base was a pretty easy set up; we combined the bread flour (2.3 oz) and added the water (roughly 1.85 oz). However, we added water all at once which may have been problematic as our base was not able to stretch out for a little while. We noticed that another group’s base was able to wrap around their tracta and filling, so we decided to add more flour to double the size of the base. We used a water bottle to roll out the rest of the base.

The filling took a bit of time to divide into clumps to try and attain a smooth texture; however, once we added the honey, the filling came together.

The base before we added a second amount of flour and water.
The feta mixture before we added the honey.

Step 5: Assemble the Erneum

Once we had the rolled out base, the feta and honey mixture, and the four tracta, we began creating our Erneum. In the meantime, we placed the oven onto the fire with a large volume of water. We then placed the base at the bottom, added a layer of tracta, then a layer of the filling, and repeated the steps until we were out of both the tracta and filling. We noticed that we had a lot of filling, much more than you would see in pastries and such today. Afterwards, we folded the remaining portion of the base over the tracta-filling tower and made sure it stayed steady. Lastly, we added bay leaves to the bottom of the Erneum. Then it was time to put it in the oven!

The Erneum layers being created with the tracta and filling.
Creasing the base around the finished tracta-filling tower.
This is after we took the product out, but demonstration of the bay leaves.

Step 6: Bain-Marie Cooking

We were the group that was tasked with cooking our Erneum in the style of “bain-marie” which meant that we were to cook the Erneum in a pot inside of a boiling pot. We placed our assembled product inside of the pot with a closed lid and placed that in the pot of boiling water. We placed the Erneum at 2:24 pm and let it sit till 3:29 pm, periodically checking it (1:05 total time cooking). The first thing we noticed was that the pot started bobbing in the water, in a manner that Jake found unsatisfactory. He argued that a clay pot should have been used instead of a steel one.

Pre-cooked Erneum
Cooked Erneum (notice the bulging filling)
  • Example of the pot bobbing up and down instead of falling to the bottom.

Quality of the bread:

The very first thing we noticed about our finished Erneum was how different in texture and structure it was from other groups’. Our Erneum had little to no structure and was difficult to get out of the oven. The filling did not remain firm and the tracta did little to separate the tiers from one another. Nevertheless, with that said, the tracta and the base did hold a peculiar firmness to them that made them almost like pita chips that tasted pleasant.

Our tasty mess!

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