Ancient grains — they’re the greatest thing since sliced bread.
Some chefs say that sourdough, the carbohydrate star of the COVID lockdown for people who baked bread at home, is no longer in.
Also on the outs? Italian burrata, the cheese consisting of a mozzarella cast encasing a soft cheese called stracciatella and cream, and unsharable entrees, which may also soon be a thing of the past.
Restaurant booking site Resy spoke to some of the UK’s most popular chefs including Jeremy Lee of Quo Vadis, Antonio Gonzalez of Barrafina and Sertac Dirik of Mangal and they agree that bread made from ancient grains like spelt and teff could take over the shelves in 2024.
“After the continued buzz of sourdough after lockdown I think people are starting to learn that there’s a time and a place for it,” Ivan Tisdall-Downes, a forager and the former head chef of Native at Browns in London, told the Times UK.
“It doesn’t make a good bacon sandwich and if the holes are too big, your jam and butter can fall through.”
However, Flo Marinez, a private chef in NYC, doesn’t predict the pandemic trend of making your own bread, whether it be sourdough or from ancient grain, going anywhere.
“I think more people realized they can make their own bread and how much better it is and some are still doing it,” she told The Post.
Ancient grains have “no official definition” but often refer to grains that have remained unchanged for at least 100 years, according to the Oldways Whole Grains Council.
Ancient grains have more nutritional benefits and fewer pesticides than modern wheat, which was created at the start of the 20th century.
Sourdough bread, which is frequently made with bread flour and goes through a fermentation process, can also be made with ancient grains. But what qualifies as an ancient grain?
“Einkorn, emmer/farro, Kamut, and spelt would be considered ancient grains in the wheat family,” the council explained. “Heirloom varieties of other common grains — such as black barley, red and black rice, blue corn — might also be considered ancient grains.”
Oldways’ website also said many other ancient grains have been “largely ignored until recently by Western palates” including sorghum, teﬀ, millet, quinoa and amaranth as well as less common ones like buckwheat or wild rice.
Perhaps the rise of ancient grains into the current zeitgeist has something to do with many opting to go gluten-free. Gluten, the protein found in wheat, rye and barley, can cause a variety of problems for those suffering from Celiac disease or other conditions.
However, not all ancient grain bread is gluten-free, according to Beyond Celiac.
The ancient grains trend has found its way to an NYC eatery near Bryant Park, Heritage Restaurant & Pizza Bar, which uses ancient grains for its pizza dough, breads and pasta.
“Ancient grains make everything so much fresher, unadulterated, with no additives. They are not genetically modified and have only two or three chromosomes — compared to others that have 23 to 25 chromosomes,” the restaurant’s CEO Lou Ramirez told The Post.
Criticism of burrata also seems to be spreading, per the Resy researchers’ prediction.
A viral Grub Street article titled “A Big Fat Blob of Boring: Can we cool it with all the burrata balls?” written by food writer Tammie Teclemariam over the summer knifed burrata right in its gooey center.
“When it’s applied judiciously [its] dense, milky heft serves as a welcome base note to a dish’s other ingredients,” the writer said.
“But too often, the burrata is the focal point, a thick blob of cold dairy that gets a few splashes of seasonal garnishes and a $20 price tag.”
While some agreed with the writer, others simply wouldn’t let this cheese stand alone.
“First of all: How dare you,” a burrata lover said on Grub Street’s Instagram.
“Second of all: I am available to write a 10,000 manifesto / op-ed entitled: ‘“’Restaurants need to stop selling cold, flavorless burrata, and take the time to let it come to delicious, creamy, room temperature before serving.’”