Thursday, October 25, 2007

Soaking & Sprouting Made Easier

A few weeks ago, I discovered that my husband and I are both sensitive to gluten. Gluten is found in such grains as wheat, spelt, kamut, barley, rye, and oats. After doing some research, I was able to find a variety of companies that sell all sorts of convenient and tasty gluten-free items. But while doing this research, I found information suggesting that those with gluten sensitivities can tolerate these same grains if they have first been soaked or sprouted. (Of course, if I had referred to my Maker's Diet book, I might have rememberd this!)

So I vigorously refreshed my search for a way to make sprouting/soaking easy, convenient, and successful for me. My previous experience soaking flour before using is in breads/muffins resulted in a moderate success, but not what i would call a win. My biggest issue up to now with soaking flour for bread is that the dough is inevitably too runny to cook nicely. I have even felt guilty adding additional flour to my soaked recipes just before baking.

The good news is, I have recently discovered one woman's answer to this baking problem. Sue Gregg offers two free online pamplets which solve the dilemma inherent in soaked flour baking. Her answer? Yes, you absolutely have to add more flour before baking soaked bread ... BUT, you should add sprouted grain flour. This way you get the easy-to-digest benefit of both soaked and sprouted grains, and your bread turns out delicious and moist ... and those with gluten-sensitivities can usually eat it.

Read Sue Gregg's tips on:
Sprouted Bread
The Two Stage Process of Soaking

As you noticed if you read through the above PDFs, Sue Gregg recommends using a food dehydrator and a grain mill. After talking with a few people who sprout their own grain, dry it and grind it, I discovered that you can also dry sprouted grain in your home oven. Many recipes suggest doing so at 150 degree F. However, many ovens nowdays don't go lower than 170 degrees. However, a friend of mine says she dries her sprouts all the time with her oven set to 170 degrees. She periodically opens the oven door to check on them a few times over about 9 hours. So, for those of you not interested in getting a food dehydrator, it is possible to dry grain sprouts in your oven.

However, I have done some research on food dehydrators as well. So, if your interested in purchasing one, my findings are below:

Food Dehydrators:

Option #1: The Nesco American Harvest Dehydrator (I believe it's FD-61), which is recommended by Sue Gregg. It is available one this site for 59.95. It is also avaiable at a variety of other sites, including Bed Bath & Beyond.

Option #2: Wal-Mart version, well reviewed - $44.88

Option #3: Target version, highly reviewed - $69.99

The next thing on the list is getting a grain mill.

I struggled at first with where to get this while keeping in mind the following concerns: cost, quality, and convenience. I spent days doing research online cross-referencing customer reviews on a variety of product models.

I found some very helpful websites for doing this:
This page offers a break-down chart for grain mills based on price, features, convenience, noise, etc. The one they mention called the "Whisper Mill" no longer exists and has been replaced by the Nutrimill:
This page offers more research and specifics on the results of each model reviewed.
This site notes that the “Best Grain Mill" offered by—which I originally considered purchasing—is more faulty than Lehman’s leads one to believe. This site also notes that the Country Living Grain Mill (turned by hand, not motorized) is the best on the market. However, its costs around $300-$350.

Now, that all said. I spoke with my friend who is an avid Maker's Diet cook, and she highly recommended the grain mill attachment for the Kitchenaid mixer as it works well and does not heat up as it grinds the grain. This is a reasonable option for people who already have a Kitchenaid mixer. It costs around $99 and is available through a variety of vendors: Bed Bath & Beyond, Macy's, JcPenney's, Kohl's, etc. And, since I do have a Kitchenaid mixer, I will probably purchase the attachment.

However, for those of you who don't own a Kitchenaid mixer, I have documented some additional grain mill options:

Grain Mills:

Option #1: The Family Grain Mill - only $69 on this site. This same model is also available on this site - but for $109.

Option #2: The Kitchen Mill Wheat Grinder by K-Tec - $168-$211, depending where online you purchase. Here is another seller. It is also available for a little less cost on some sites if you are willing to purchase a slightly used one. If you are interested, do a search on the product to see what is available. This model is motor-based so you don’t have to grind the grain by hand. It grinds very finely, holds up to 24 cups, and grinds at a very low temperature. It has received wonderful reviews online, but like almost all electric grain mills, it makes a lot of noise.

Option #3: The Nutrimill Grain Mill - $259. I've also seen it on for $254. This one has all the great features of The Kitchen Mill Wheat Grinder by K-Tec, but in addition it is very quiet.

Things to remember, though: most electric grain mills like options #2 and #3 above will heat the grain sprouts as they are ground. Most hand-turned grain mills will NOT heat the grain. Heating the grain during the grinding process can compromise some of the nutritional value. So, this is something to keep in mind.

As I did research on the web, the most highly recommended grain mill is the Country Living Grain Mill. However, it can cost between $300 and $375 depending on which website you look at. So, you may find that the options mentioned above will be more practical for your needs.

In addition to a food dehydrator and a grain mill, another appliance which has been highly recommended to me for natural baking/cooking is the Hamilton Beach Countertop Oven with Convection and Rotisserie. This appliance can bake two 12-inch pizzas or cook up to a 4-lb rotisserie chicken. It could also easily be used to dry sprouted grain as well as it's temperature can be set as low as 150 degrees. (This appliance does not have a toaster-oven feature.) The best deal on this item is through Circuit City online, where it is currently on sale for only $76.49.

Let me know if the above information has been helpful. Happy baking!


Anonymous said...

You may be interested in knowing you can order sprouted flour online from

I am not sure if they have a local store near you but if you want to buy the flour in larger quantities this may be helpful to you.

Mrs. Abbey