ASK FATHER: Can einkorn flour be used for the Eucharist? It is lower in gluten.

From a reader…


Einkorn is a variety of wild wheat that has a different gluten structure than modern wheat. Some people with gluten sensitivities can tolerate it better.

Would it still be valid material for the holy eucharist?

Here is the wiki entry for Einkorn, not to be confused with Einhorn, which is a unikorn.

Einkorn is a species of wheat, either wild or domesticated, of which each spikelet has one grain only.  This is a really ancient variety of wheat, at least 10000 years old.    Einkorn is of the genus triticum.

The Church teaches that by divine institution – hence, it cannot be changed – that the matter for the Eucharist is to be bread from wheat – triticum – and wine from grapes.

If Einkorn is a wheat, then bread made from einkorn flour is wheat bread.  Therefore it is valid matter for the Eucharist.

If you stop to think about this most of the wheat we have today are, by and large, modern strains that have been bread… no… bred.   This wheat might be more like that which was in use in Christ’s own time than some of the wheat we have since developed.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Hugh says:

    What brought me up short in Elizabeth David’s fascinating and beautifully written, but boringly titled classic “English Bread and Yeast Cookery” was this statement near the beginning: “From the early three or four forms of wheat – emmer was succeeded in Britain and much of Europe by club wheat or Triticum Compactum – the world has now developed some 30,000 variations”. 30,000 … and counting! Humans can be lousy scumbagos. But they can also be amazingly creative, thanks be to our God, Factor coeli et terrae, visibilium omnium et invisibilium.

  2. Andrew says:

    As someone who likes to dabble in bread baking, I have come across many comments describing different brands of flour. Bakers are particularly interested in “ancient grains” most of which, or perhaps all, tend to be low in gluten. (Some so low that it is difficult to make the dough rise). It is fascinating to follow the work of the milling industry and to read about various strands of wheat: how they are grown and how they are processed. Already in antiquity the Romans cultivated various strands of grain: one of them was called “ador”. It was used in offerings to gods: hence the word “adorare” (to adore).

  3. Kerry says:

    Andrew, me too. Three hour autolyse and 12 hour bulk proof greetings! Do you visit The Fresh Loaf website? I recommend it.

  4. Hugh says:

    Andrew, I never knew that about ador/adorare. Amazing! Thanks.

  5. Rob in Maine says:

    What about Quadrotriticale?

  6. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Rob in Maine – Too much tribble.

  7. leftycbd says:

    How about ‘Quintotriticale’? I guess it depends if ‘animation’ is ‘canon’ :-)

  8. NOCatholic says:

    “What about Quadrotriticale?”

    According to Wikipedia, triticale is a wheat and rye hybrid. That would presumably apply to the fictional variants quadro- and quinto-triticale.

    Because it’s bred from rye, not just wheat, triticale is not suitable for Eucharistic consecration. But einkorn? It’s wheat, so no tribble at all!

    (I’ll see myself out. . . )

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