I preparation for my class at Grand Thing last weekend I made up a batch of talkkuna.  Talkkuna is a Finnish word (it’s called kama in Estonian) for flour made from pre-cooked (usually roasted) grain.  Since it is precooked, it doesn’t require any further application of heat to be readily digestible.  It’s very similar in concept to the modern Tibetan “tsampa”, which (AFAIK) is made exclusively from barley in Tibet.  The Tibetans mix tsampa into meat stews, or stir it into their yak butter tea as a ready to go meal or snack.  Modern Finns add talkkuna to villi (a gelatinous yogurt like milk product) for breakfast.  I’ve come across several (unsubstantiated Internet) references to the “old days” when talkkuna was mixed with villi, butter, or lard into a dough like consistency, rolled into balls, and taken into the fields as a work day snack. 

To make mine, I put 1 part pearl barley (I’d have rather used whole, hulless barley, but I’m out), 3/4-1/2 part whole oat groats, and 1/2-1/4 part whole, dried green peas in a roasting pan in the oven at 350°.  I started with the grains, and added the peas toward the end because I was worried about them burning.  In future, I think I might start with the barley by itself, then add the oats, then the peas.  The oats are quite a bit smaller, and the browned much faster than the barley. 

When it all looked “roasted” and smelled toasty but not burnt, I took it out of the oven and let it cool until morning.  In the morning I dumped the whole thing in my grain mill (a Nutrimill) on a medium/fine setting and ground it all into flour. 

The result is a nicely textured, very toasty smelling flour.  It’s great with yogurt (I don’t have any villi just now) with a little honey and fresh fruit.  I also tried mixing it into dough with some filmjolk and rolling it into balls, and those were quite pleasing too, if a little bland. 

We know the Vikings had malt kilns, and means of grinding grain, so they certainly had the technology.  Obviously we can’t know if they ever ate talkkuna in this way, but it’s one more option to add to the “Viking-possible” toolkit. 

At some future date I’d like to try sprouting/malting the grain first to see what the taste is like.  For that I’ll have to unearth my dehydrator, because there can’t be any moisture in the grain or it will gum up my mill.  I’ll report back if I give it a go.