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Mar 28, 2013 04:16 PM

hulled wheat berries??

Anyone know where I might find hulled wheat berries
for the traditional Neapolitan easter pie- pastiera?
No luck at Berkeley Bowl, Whole Foods or Monterey Market.

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  1. I think maybe you're being thrown off by a translated recipe, wheat berries are wheat kernels with the hulls removed, so they're all hulled.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      I've only seen 'hulled barley', referring to a new strain of barley that can be cooked without polishing (or pearling).

      Wheat can be cooked with the bran intact. That's the normal wheat berry you can get in bulk bins. But I have also bought pearled wheat (also called peeled or polished) at Middle Eastern stores. This cooks faster.

      Now Trader Joes sells quick cooking pearled farro.
      calls for hulled white wheat berries which are cooked for an hour.
      talks about soaking the wheat for several days, or buying cooked wheat (jar or can
      The contents in the jar look pretty white, strongly suggesting it is pearled.

      1. re: paulj

        The grano cotto in cans or jars called for in many Italian recipes is cooked wheat berries. I believe it's white because of the variety (soft white wheat).

        Here's a recipe that talks about that and various substitutions:

        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          Sounds like it is fairly soft, something like pearled barley.

          1. re: paulj

            They're chewy, just not as chewy as the hard winter wheat berries that are more common here would be if you soaked and cooked them for the same amount of time.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              Hard winter wheat just doesn't work in this case. Have tried it. Does not soften to the right consistency, regardless of cooking or soaking time. and it remains too dense. It turns out all wheat berries are not hulled. The hulled ones are off white, the others are dark- brown or red. I bought barley as a backup, but it has a different flavor, not quite right somehow.
              Will try middle eastern stores or semi pearled farro and will post results.

                1. re: savvyitaliana

                  I can't find a current reference to 'Mid East Peeled Wheat' (I had in the past).

                  There is a Peruvian version in Latino shops

      2. I have mostly seen recipes calling for farro rather than wheat berries. Semi-pearled farro is available at both Pasta Shops and Boulette's Larder and probably some other places.

        1 Reply
        1. re: wally

          Farro would work too, though it cooks faster, so you'd probably want to use a recipe that calls for it.

        2. I buy soft wheat berries from bulk bins at Rainbow Grocery in SF.

          1. Try any Armenian or Middle Eastern market. Hulled wheat is a common staple in traditional Armenian dishes such as Anoush Abour (like a sweet "pilaf" made at the holidays like a Christmas pudding or a savory dish with meat called "herriseh")and there is a fairly large Armenian community in the SF area. The Armenian name for it is "Dzedzadz" and it is also known by its Turkish name of "Doymeh". Good luck.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Parev

              Welcome to Chowhound, Parev. Any particular Armenian markets in the SF Bay Area you recommend?