Let’s talk sprouted grain bread. I’d heard of it before, known some of the benefits, but never bothered to try it out until beginning a diet in January which restricts our wheat intake to sprouted grain bread. Since things were crazy the first couple weeks just getting the hang of the diet, we used Ezekiel bread from the store. Which was fine, but, like many presliced store breads, rather dry and lackluster. By the end of the second week, I was going crazy with desire to BAKE. People. I have to bake. It’s a creative outlet. It’s a love language. Truly. I had found this method for making sprouted wheat bread which seemed simple enough, so I had Stephen bring in one of our 45lb buckets of my grandparents’ Y2K wheat, and once he was off to work in the morning, I opened it. I decided to play Fun Mom and open it with the kids there, and of course they loved it. If you’ve never stuck your hands into beautiful red spring wheat grains, you should someday soon. Plus the smell evoked so many memories for me; some of my earliest memories are from the wheat farms of Eastern Washington, and I’m pretty sure I’ve visited the grain elevator where this wheat was processed in Connell, WA. Anyway. I measured a cup of wheat into each of six 3-cup jars, filled them with water, and covered them with a towel. That night I drained and rinsed them, and rinsed and drained them again morning and evening the next two days. I had a hard time discerning what the term “tender” meant as regarded wheat. After about 60 (I think?) hours (remember, it’s winter in the Midwest, and I had the jars against one of our outer walls), the inside of the grain seemed squishy enough to warrant the term tender (although the shell still seemed somewhat toughish), and the sprouts were actually showing.
I was ready to roll, except I wasn’t going to have time until Saturday, so I did as the author suggests and stuck them in the fridge to await a free morning. When I started rinsing, drying, and grinding, though, my heart sank. The sprouts were very sticky, and from the author’s description, this was the recipe for disaster in the form of dense, brickish bread.
But, on the plus side, my little baby KitchenAid food chopper was handling half a jar at a time like a champ. So on I went, making a couple of adjustments to the recipe, and hoping.
And guess what? Those loaves rose gloriously. And once in the oven, they filled our home with such a heavenly scent I could scarcely believe it. I’m not sure if it was just because I hadn’t baked in forever or what. Maria said it smelled like chocolate cake. I checked them at 45 minutes, and they were darker than in the pictures with the recipe, so I took them out, sawed one out of its pan (thank you, wet sticky dough), and sliced it in half.
Done through! And boy, was it tasty! The texture was rich and nutty and the flavor that wheaten bliss that I’d been craving. Again, we hadn’t had normal homemade bread in a while, so perhaps that enhanced the relish with which we have consumed it, but boy. Definitely worth trying it at least once. The second time I made it, I oiled the bottom of the loaf as well as greasing the pan, and it came out more easily. The third time, I only used half the honey, and it still turned out well, although I do love the flavor with more honey. Here’s my take on the recipe, which I’ve been making once or twice weekly. It’s a lot of time and effort, but so delicious.
Sprouted Wheat Bread
6 cups wheat, sprouted (12-14 cups of sprouts, approx)
1/4 cup warm water
1 Tbsp yeast
4 tsp salt
2-4 Tbsp honey
Process each batch of grain (you will want to only fill your food processor about halfway full) until it starts to come together in a lump. Dump into a KitchenAid mixing bowl. Mix remaining ingredients and add. Mix with the dough hook on 2 until it starts to come together like real bread dough and a little bit after, about 15 minutes.
Let rise 1-2 hours, until nearly doubled.
Shape and rub bottom and sides with oil and place in greased loaf pans.
Let rise for 1-2 hours (if it rises too long, it will settle and flatten on top)
and bake at 350°F for 45 minutes to an hour. Cool five minutes in pan before running a steak knife around the edge to loosen. Pull out of pans and finish cooling on cooling rack.