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Tuesday, January 20, 2015


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RECIPE UPDATED ON JAN. 23, 2015-- I added some photos and a few extra notes and corrected the size of the bread pans I use and the amount of water used in the recipe.  Sorry about that-- should not write recipes when I'm sick!

I'm sorry it's taken so long to get this post (or any post!) up-- I've been sick with the flu.  But, at last I'm finishing this post on how to make a delicious sprouted wheat bread (with minimal flour) that is not heavy, flat and/or overly moist, that has the texture and appearance of a good whole wheat loaf.

I started this journey because I was interested in making a bread with a lower glycemic index rating. I discovered that: "Since particle size influences the glycemic index (the smaller the size the higher the glycemic index), bread made from grain kernels have been shown to be lower GI. Not yet tested but probable, bread made from sprouted grains can be expected to have a similar effect." From (And evidently, sourdough breads are lower on the glycemic index, too.) Eating lower on the glycemic index may have a positive influence on my husband's triglyceride levels, so we (both being bread bakers) thought it was worth some experimentation.

Many bakers are experimenting with sprouted wheat flour, but I prefer not to buy it-- it's very expensive, and it's time-consuming to make (you must sprout the grain, then dry it thoroughly, and then grind it-- which is why it is expensive to buy).  We grind our whole wheat flour, so we have lots of wheat kernels in the house at all times. So, the most practical solution seemed to be to experiment with the sprouted wheat itself. But I was aiming for a lighter loaf than most the sprouted wheat breads I'd seen, one with minimal flour, and one which did not need the addition of vital wheat gluten powder in order to rise (not that I object to it-- I use it to make seitan-- but I think it makes breads too chewy.)

My first experiment, using an adapted version of a recipe from "The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book: A Guide to Whole Grain Breadmaking" was a success-- the dough was easy to handle and rose beautifully, baked up nice and crusty. I used my husband's signature baking method-- 5 minutes at 485°F. and 25 more at 375°F-- and the bread tasted great, smelled heavenly (kind of nutty), and the crumb is lovely. It made delicious toast!

But what was NOT so positive with my first batch was that when I removed the initial ground sprout mixture from the food processor and the kneaded dough from the mixer bowl, I was left with a thin coating of sticky dough that stuck like glue, particularly to the blade (inside and out) of the processor. After soaking everything in warm water for a while, it took me about 20 minutes of scrubbing to clean everything, and the sponge had to go into the garbage can. But I let the dough rise in an oiled bowl and that bowl was easy to clean (thank goodness!).  When I cut and rolled the dough and shaped the loaves, I oiled my hands and had no problem with sticking. So, the next time, as I outlined in the final recipe, I oiled everything the dough was going to touch, and it went smoothly (not to make a pun).  After kneading, it's not o sticky and should feel like an ordinary bread dough.

So, here's the final recipe.  I hope it works as well for you as it has for us.  It's truly delicious and I have some more wheat kernels soaking right now for the next batch.

Yield: 3 loaves

You will need a large food processor to grind the soaked wheat kernels, a large colander, a large bowl for rising the dough, and, if you prefer not to hand-knead, a sturdy stand mixer than can knead 3-4 loaves-worth of whole grain dough. You will also need three 8 x 4.5-inch loaf pans. (We use these pans-- they are excellent and long-lasting and only need greasing once in a while.)

6 cups hard red wheat kernels 
1/4 cup warm water       
2 teaspoons instant baking yeast          
1/3 cup (packed) brown sugar, Sucanat or coconut sugar        
3 1/2 teaspoons salt    
3 cups whole wheat flour        
3 tablespoons oil (this addition does help keep the bread  moist for a longer time)

1          In a large bowl, cover the wheat kernels (by several inches) with warm water. Cover the bowl and let stand in a warm place (such as in the oven—turned off-- with the light on). Depending on the warmth in house, you may have to let the wheat soak for up to 3 whole days (which is what it takes me, usually), rinsing and changing the water twice a day. You don't want the wheat to sprout more than a tiny fraction-- just so you see the white sprout emerging. In my experience, some of the wheat may not sprout at all, but it still works just fine for this recipe. NOTE: If the water smells a bit fermented and gets a little frothy on top, the temperature where you are sprouting the wheat is too warm!  Thoroughly rinse the wheat in cold water, add new water and continue in a cooler place.  If you can't use the sprouts right away, rinse them, then store in a covered container in the refrigerator (for only a day or two) until you can make the bread. Rinse them with warm water and drain for 30 minutes before using.

IMPORTANT: If the wheat sprouts more than a tiny bit, the diastatic enzymes develop and make the bread dough very gooey and hard to bake.

3          When you are ready to make the dough, drain the wheat in a large colander and let drain for about 1/2 an hour.

4          Meanwhile, thoroughly oil ALL of the equipment that the dough will touch-- all of the inside of the food processor bowl and the inside of the lid, the blade, the inside of the blade, and the spindle for the blade; and then the inside of your mixer bowl, the inside of the mixer lid, and the  dough hook. Also oil the inside of the bowl you will use for rising the dough. This is VERY important. If you neglect the oiling procedure, the un-kneaded dough will stick like glue to everything it touches!

5          Grind the drained wheat kernels in the oiled food processor in 2 or 3 batches, depending on the size of your machine. Grind the kernels until they form a dough on the top of the blade. You will see the bran in the dough, by the way. Deposit each batch of dough into a large oiled bowl or the oiled bowl of the stand mixer you are using.

6          Soften the yeast in the warm water for a few minutes and scoop it into the dough (along with the optional oil, if you are using it). In a small dry mixing bowl, stir together 1 cup of the whole wheat flour, the sugar and salt. Add this mixture to the dough and begin kneading, by machine or with your hands on an oiled counter, or right in a large oiled bowl. Add the remaining flour as the kneading proceeds. You should use the entire 3 cups in order for the bread to rise nicely. This has worked for me with no adjustments after draining the wheat for about 30 minutes, but  if you drain the wheat for a longer time, you may have to add a bit of water until the dough feels right.  You do not want the dough to be very dry or stiff. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes. It should feel like a normal, springy whole grain yeast dough. If you knead by hand, oil your hands and the kneading surface, rather than flouring them, so that the dough remains moist and springy.

7          Place the kneaded dough in the oiled bowl that you are using for rising, cover and let rise in a warm spot for about 2 hours.

8          The dough should double in size and be springy.  To test for whether or not it has sufficiently risen, poke your finger into the dough and, if the hole does not start filling in, it’s ready.   If you would like to rise it once again before forming the loaves, punch it down and let it rise again for about 1 hour.

9            On an oiled surface, with oiled hands, divide the dough into three equal pieces.  You want each loaf to weigh approximately 1 lb. 12 oz., no more.  You may have some extra dough left over, which you could shape into small buns, a little baby loaf, to or make into tortilla-like flatbreads, if you like. 
             Pat each piece of dough into a rough rectangle and roll it up from one of the short sides.  Pinch dough on the “seam”.  

Place each loaf into greased or nonstick 8 x 4.5-inch loaf pan, press it down so that the top is even.  

Cover the loaves with clean, warm, wet tea towels (non-textured), or canvas; OR place them inside of a new plastic bag that is big enough to puff up over and around the loaves, without touching the dough.  Secure it in place with a twist-tie.  Rise the loaves in a warm place for about another hour or so, checking after half an hour and every 10 minutes or so after that.

10         After 30 minutes rising, turn on your oven on to 485°F.

11          When the loaves have risen over the tops of the pans (see picture above), slash the top as pictured with a sharp serrated knife or a blade, squirt the tops with water from a spray bottle.  Place the loaves on a rack in the middle of the preheated oven and bake for 5 minutes.  Turn the oven down to 385°F and back for 25 minutes, or until the loaves are golden brown and crusty.

12         Remove from the pans and cool thoroughly on racks.   


Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per slice [16 per loaf]): 110.1 calories; 4% calories from fat; 0.6g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 138.5mg sodium; 117.2mg potassium; 23.2g carbohydrates; 3.8g fiber; 1.6g sugar; 19.4g net carbs; 4.7g protein.

Nutrition Facts with Optional Oil:
Nutrition (per slice [16 per loaf]): 117.5 calories; 10% calories from fat; 1.4g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 138.6mg sodium; 117.2mg potassium; 23.2g carbohydrates; 3.8g fiber; 1.6g sugar; 19.4g net carbs; 4.7g protein.

Happy Baking!


Nicole said...

any tips for making this in a bread machine?

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Personally, I wouldn't bother with a bread machine. If I'm going to soak and grind wheat, I want to do it for more than one loaf at a time.

Laura Nicholson said...

Can I do this free form, or does it have to be in a loaf pan?

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Laura, you could probably do it free-form. I haven't tried it that way because I wanted more even slices for sandwiches and toast.

Nezumi said...

Did you tried making this with other grains or blend of grains? I have lot of kamut. Maybe 50/50 kamut/wheat? What are you thoughts on this, Bryanna?

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

No, I haven't tried other grains, but, since kamut is in the wheat family, it would probably work fine, but might not rise quite as high.