June 14, 2024

Ask A Chef: Fairmont Empress Chef Morgan Wilson Shares His Recipe for Farro & Flax Bread

Recipe: Morgan Wilson

Q: I recently dined at Q, the restaurant at the Fairmont Empress in Victoria. I had the most delicious Farro & Flax Bread; could you get me the recipe? — DEBORAH, Vancouver

A: Morgan (pictured) brings together three types of flour, ground flax seed, molasses and honey from the hotel’s own beehives to create a rich, dark and delicious loaf. “This bread has an excellent combination of earthy, nutty and sweet flavours, and it has the most comforting aroma coming out of the oven,” says the chef. Serve with whipped butter and honey drizzled overtop.


  • 1 1/2 cups farro
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 cups Tillicum bread flour
  • 1 1/2 cups dark rye flour
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/8 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil


Yield: Makes 4 Medium Loaves

Cook Farro and Make Dough

  1. Cook farro in boiling water, 15 to 20 minutes. Once tender, spread on baking sheets to cool and set aside.
  2. Add all flours and yeast into bowl of stand mixer fitted with hook attachment. On low speed, add pinch of salt, honey, molasses and flax seed, until combined. Add 1 3/4 cups of lukewarm water and oil. Mix for 5 minutes on first speed, then mix for 10 minutes on second speed.
  3. Remove ball of dough from bowl and stretch into square shape. Stretch further, until dough creates thin film in middle but doesn’t break. Dough should be thin enough for light to pass through.
  4. Add cooled farro to dough and mix for 4 to 5 minutes on first speed, until roughly combined. If dough is sticking to side of bowl, sprinkle in some flour until dough comes away cleanly.
  5. Transfer to large bowl and place tea towel overtop. Leave to rise, 45 minutes.
  6. Separate dough into 4 equal pieces. Shape each into 10″ torpedo shape. Cover each portion with plastic wrap and leave to proof on counter, 45 to 50 minutes.

Bake and Serve

  1. Preheat oven to 410°F. Uncover loaves and place on baking trays. Dust each loaf with flour and score top straight down the middle. Sprinkle loaves with drops of cold water, then bake one tray at a time on middle rack for 10 minutes.
  2. Rotate tray and bake for an additional 7 to 8 minutes.
  3. Remove baked loaves to cooling racks and repeat with remaining loaves. Serve with honey and whipped salted butter.
Author: Alexandra Whyte

Photography courtesy of Fairmont Empress (Morgan’s portrait, bread)