Thursday, January 31, 2008

Homemade Sprouted-Grain Bread

Since the New Year, I have been making homemade bread every other week with flour made from grain that I have sprouted, dried, and ground at home. I can’t even begin to describe how easy it is, how delicious it is, and how much money I’m saving!

My routine is this: I bake a double batch of bread every two weeks. One batch equals two loaves. I make two loaves of sandwich bread with hard red wheat (sprouted), and two loaves of cinnamon (honey) raisin bread with hard white wheat (sprouted). For my husband and me, this lasts about 14 days. I’ve also made cinnamon rolls and pizza crust, and those are delicious as well.

You may ask, “Why are you troubling yourself with sprouting the grain before grinding it, and, in fact, why bother with grinding your own grain at all?”

Good question.

It was only two months ago that I discovered how easy sprouting grain can be—and how much healthier it is to sprout grain BEFORE consuming it! When grain is sprouted, it turns from a starch into a vegetable-like compound. So, when you eat bread made from sprouted grain—your body digests it like a vegetable! How cool is that. Whole grain is often difficult to digest, so sprouting it first neutralizes both the phytates (difficult-to-digest proteins) and the protective casing of the grain.

Flour ground from sprouted grain doesn’t taste any different that normal whole grain flour—it simply digests differently. People have been known to lose weight when switching from regular whole grain or white flour to sprouted whole grain flour because their bodies are not clinging to the starch during digestion.

Interested in making your own bread from sprouted flour?

Follow these steps:

1. Start Buying Whole Grain
Co-ops are a good place to start. Buy the grain in bulk to get the best price: hard red wheat, white wheat, spelt, kamut, etc. Store it properly—either in the fridge or in a cool, dry place, placing a bay leaf in with the grain to keep the critters away. Buying whole grain for flour is far less expensive than buying prepackaged whole grain flour from the store. On average 1 cup of grain = 1.5 cups of flour.

I purchase organic grain from Quail Cove Farms. They sell organic hard red wheat for .56 per pound at 25 lbs, and .52 per pound at 50 lbs! You can sprout grain, or grind it into flour first (using a coffee bean mill or grain mill) and then soak it in cultured milk as part of a recipe (read more below). Soaking also neutralizes the phytates.

2. Review Sue Gregg’s Website and/or Buy Her Whole Grain Baking Cookbook
Sue Gregg has already done all the experimenting for you, so all you have to do is follow her instructions and recipes! Here are two pamphlets available online as PDFs showing Sue Gregg’s most basic sprouted/soaked bread recipes: Sprouted Bread, Soaking Process.

3. Purchase a Food Dehydrator (or Use Your Oven)
Once you have sprouted the grain, it must be completely dried before grinding it into flour.

The food dehydrator I own is the Nesco American Harvest Snackmaster Encore Dehydrator and Jerky Maker. I bought it at Bed Bath and Beyond using one of their in-the-mail 20% off coupons. With the coupon, it only cost $48. It takes about 12 hours for sprouted grain to dry using the Nesco dehydrator. No supervision is needed. I find this the most convenient method for my busy lifestyle.

The other option is to dry grain using your oven. The ideal temperature for drying sprouted grain is 150 degrees. However, most modern ovens don’t go below 170. A friend of mind dries her sprouted grain in the oven at170 degrees for about 9 hours. During this time, she periodically opens the oven to release some of the heat so as not to over dry or burn the sprouts. This method, though, demands that you be at home.

4. Purchase Tulle (Netting) from the Fabric Store
You will need about one yard. It will cost you about $1 at most fabric stores. Choose a light color other than white so you can see the netting once you cut it to fit your dehydrator shelves. The netting is what your grain will rest on while drying, otherwise the grain is so small it will fall through the cracks of your dehydrator shelves.

5. Use 3-4 Quart-Sized Mason Jars
These will be used for the actual sprouting process. Follow Sue Gregg’s instructions available in the links above.

6. Purchase a Coffee Bean Mill or Grain Mill
If you already have a coffee bean mill, it will do nicely for making small recipes calling for no more than 3 cups of flour. You will grind 1/3 cup of sprouted grain at a time in your bean mill. This will equal about 1/2 a cup of flour. Coffee bean mills can be purchased for $15-$20.

>If you wish to purchase a grain mill, there are many varieties available. I own the grain mill attachment for the KitchenAid Mixer. This costs approximately $130-$150, depending on where you purchase it.

The simplest choice is to start with a coffee bean mill, especially if you already own one, and then consider getting a grain mill once you get the hang of sprouting and using sprouted grain on a regular basis.

Sprouting and grinding your own grain is much less expensive than purchasing sprouted grain available online. And, sprouted grain, once ground, should be used as soon as possible so that it maintains all its nutrients.


Anonymous said...

That's very inspiring. We've ordered a dehydrator and are going to switch to sprouted grain at our house. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

H....just wanted to say I found your blog and LOVE it. Thanks for all the good info!


Theresa said...

I am so excited to find your blog. I am on the same journey and have recently read The Maker's Diet. Thanks for all your resources and info here. I am bookmarking you and recommending you and definitely coming back!

Organic Fanatic said...

I'm so glad you are all getting so much out of this. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to email me. I've also started a sourdough starter this weekend. I'll be sure to post how it goes.

Anonymous said...

I am loving your blog! So much great info. Could you tell me where I could find the cinnamon raisin bread recipie you use? Sounds so yummy!

Organic Fanatic said...

Yes, the cinnamon raison bread recipe is one of Sue Gregg's. I highly recommend you purchase her Whole Grain Baking recipe book. Tons of good stuff in there.

Also, readers, since posting this page I have discovered that there's actually an easier way to remove phytates from grain rather than going through the long process of sprouting it. While sprouting does remove the phytates, it is best used in recipes calling for mush. It's important once you've sprouted grain not to dry it - in effect, you're bringing it to life by sprouting it, then killing it by drying. So instead, one must simply soak the grain in 4 cups filtered water to 1 Tbsp acidic medium (such as whey, yogurt, lemon juice, etc.). Soaking should take place for 6-8 hours. No longer than 8 hours, though. Then the grain can be dried in either a dehydrator, a convection oven or a regular oven set to 150 degrees. Drying times vary with these methods. The dehydrator and convection ovens take about 3 hours, but check the grain between 2 and 3 hours in order to not over dry. A regular oven can take as long as 6 hours to dry the grain - keep checking it.

I hope this additional information is helpful!

Anonymous said...

Two things, to address the above, sprouting is not just about removing phytates, there are other beneficial things that happen. Complex carbs get turned into easier to digest and more simple sugars for one, protein levels and some other nutrition levels increase a bit as well.

Also, i don't understand why one needs to dehydrate the sprouted grain at all?

What i've been doing is sprouting it, then grind it while semi-wet in a food processor with a little oil.

I usually mix this with a Sourdough starter, and a little non sprouted and non sourdoughed flour.

Then let it proof for awhile, as to get a little more of that good sourdough taste.

Then i cook it in the Sun with my homemade and ridiculously easy to make Solar cooker, and voila two hours later it is well cooked and very yummy (does make a fairly dense and moist bread though).

Btw, i sprout mostly Kamut, and use Spelt flour for sourdough starter and the extra bit of pre made flour. I plan of getting my hands on a grain mill soon though.

Organic Fanatic said...

Great point about adding wet sprouted grain to sourdough starter. I'll have to try that.

The reason I often dry the grain once it's sprouted or soaked is so that I can grind it into flour for use in traditional recipes.

My stomach is so sensitive that I can't eat breads unless they're made only with unsprouted/unsoaked grains or flours. Sometimes I cheat and end up with digestive discomfort.

So, I'll definitely try adding wet sprouted grain (ground in the food processor) to my sourdough starter and then adding either soaked or sprouted flour to the recipe. Sounds good!

Anonymous said...

Hello there!
I have a few questions. In the sprouted whole grain bread recipe (the link you left) it says 1 tsp of yeast and then says 1 tbsp dry active yeast.. so I'm unsure how much yeast is supposed to be used. Also I don't eat honey so I was wondering if I could use agave syrup instead? thanks so much! great blog!

Shari Hall said...

Just wondering if you ever have a problem with mold or bacteria with your sprouting method. I am researching the best way to sprout at the moment and am a little scared about the jar method because of things I have read about bacteria. Have you ever tried any of the commercial sprouters?

Shari Hall said...

Just wondering if you ever have any mold or bacteria problems using the jar sprouting method. Thanks for the info.

Anonymous said...

Hello there, great blog. I have a question.. I've made some muffins using the soaking method, I tried to modify a sue gregg recipe with what i had on hand. I used brown rice flour and mixed that with some yogurt and almond milk and stuck it in the fridge. I left it overnight and then added the rest of the ingredients. These muffins only lasted a few days on the counter in a sealed container. the third day I opened them and they smelt funny and their was moisture in the container and they were making a fizzing noise. like they were fermenting.. Has anyone else had this problem? I've never had muffins go bad so quick, and I'm wondering how bread would last?

Anonymous said...

I've been making sprouted grain bread & crackers for several years now, without drying the grains beforehand like the poster above. But like Organic Fanatic says, I've missed being able to have blueberry pancakes, my wonderful crepes and other traditional types of foods. So I was very happy to find out there was such a thing as sprouted grain flours - so now I have more choices! :)

Anonymous said...

I would also like to know how to build a solar bread baker!!!!

Organic Fanatic said...

Sorry it's taken me so long to post a response! Ok, the answer to question on the quantity of yeast just 1 Tbsp of yeast.

Shari - I did once have a problem with some pink mold while sprouting. Turned out that it was a problem with my grain. Perhaps it was old. Perhaps it was that specific farmer/vendor. I switched grains and never had the problem again.

Yes, sometimes fermented muffins can smell a little fermenting a few days later. I find if the recipe calls for enough honey, they last about 5 days on the counter. Natural sugars make them last longer. Otherwise, you could keep them in the fridge, but they're not as tasty as when they're room temp.

BellaViva said...

AWESOME!!! I am getting ready to start doing this next!!! Thanks for the great instructions!!!

Buffcorn said...

If you are into sprouted grains/flours you must read Janie Quinn's books, especially "Essential Eating:Sprouted Baking".

This blog site is great too and has instructions with pics on how to sprout and grind your own flour and a version of the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day recipe using sprouted flour.