Even though I’ve had a very busy month of November, I’ve continued to experiment with sprouting gluten grains and turning them into bread. We’ve now enjoyed bread baked from these sprouted grains: spelt, kamut and hard white wheat. None of these have caused any gluten-intolerance symptoms in those of my family who are gluten-sensitive. (Pictured at left: sprouted spelt bread, following my Easy Artisan Bread with Sprouted Grains recipe.)
You can imagine the joy in our house now that we are eating bread again. However, we are limited in our joy simply because I can’t get my hands on a good quantity of grains to keep us in regular supply (though that is about to change).
Scroll down for directions on sprouting grains for bread.
Azure, most of the time, is out of any grains I order. So that is hit or miss. And I only get to try once per month; long time in between orders.
I was able to buy 3 pounds of hard white wheat from a friend. That went quickly, yet successfully.
And then when I was in Eugene recently (taking my parents to the train station) I paid an arm and a leg (no kidding) for organic spelt berries at Market of Choice. I have enough of them left, sprouted, to bake one more batch of bread tomorrow.
Next week, I will be receiving an order from Hummingbird Wholesale in Eugene. This is very exciting and I will tell you why. They now carry emmer wheat from Bluebird Grain Farms. This is an expensive grain, but Hummingbird’s price is lower than the commercial price. I called the farmer to inquire around a month ago. She was very friendly and told me that they have heard of gluten-intolerant folks eating emmer wheat successfully. It is an ancient variety; older than spelt or kamut and definitely older than today’s wheat. Its gluten content is not as high as today’s wheat. She told me that their customers have more success with bread baking when using a hotter-than-normal oven. (Pictured: Three loaves of sprouted spelt bread going into the oven.)
It is true that the sprouted grain loaves do not rise as high and seem more fragile. Especially spelt which is just gloppy as a dough. It feels too wet, yet, if one adds more flour, the resulting bread will be too dry. This applies to using regular spelt flour as well as sprouted spelt flour. However, even adjusting for the increased fragility, the bread is soft, delicious, tasty and satisfying. We’re happy!
How to Sprout Hard Wheat, Kamut, Spelt or Emmer Wheat Berries for Bread
The sprouting process is very easy. In fact, so easy, that I myself am surprised. I have resisted trying to sprout grains for flour because I thought it would be just too much. It really isn’t.
Soak 4 cups of berries overnight in clean water in a 1/2 gallon mason jar. In the morning, drain and rinse two times. (Using a sprout screen and metal lid is very helpful in the rinsing process.) I do at least two of these jars, in order to yield enough flour for three loaves of bread.
Lay each jar on its side and allow to sprout for one to two days, rinsing morning and night. They are done sprouting when there is a smidge of a sprout tail visible, about 1/8 inch long.
Transfer thoroughly drained sprouts to dehydrator trays that are covered with nylon screens. Sue Gregg says she purchases nylon screening from the hardware store to save money. I need four or five of these dehydrator trays (the round ones from American Harvest) with screens to provide sufficient drying room for the two jars full of berries. I don’t spread them out in a single layer; rather, they are about 1/4 inch deep. I dehydrate on the lowest setting (95 degrees) and it takes about 8 hours or less to dry out the berries. In order to know if they are dry or not, I taste one. Is it hard and crunchy or does it still feel wet and soft? If it crunches, it is dry.
It is a bit tricky to transfer the berries both to and from the nylon screens. Notice on the screens, there is a little half circle cut out in two places of the edge. Don’t spread the berries in those spots; they’ll fall through to the tray underneath. That’s the tricky part of getting them on there.
Now getting the berries off the trays. Trust me and don’t spend time picking them up a handful at a time and moving them to another container. It takes too long and they slip out of your hands all over the place. Get a tall kitchen garbage bag (unused). Hold it open in one hand. With the other hand, carefully holding a tray level, slip the tray all the way into the open garbage bag, where you can dump the berries off. Remove the tray and repeat with the next. A huge time saver. (Someday, I will make myself a nice big fabric bag for the job. For now I will recycle that plastic bag over and over.)
Update: a cotton pillowcase works great to receive the sprouted berries!
I know it is possible to use one’s oven and oven trays to do the drying. You will have to look into the oven settings and how long to do this, as I have not the expertise to advise you. I would suggest, though, that the oven will be hotter than a dehydrator set to its lowest setting, so it is preferable to use a dehydrator. In this way, the berries experience the least possible heating/processing.
Now the sprouted, dried berries can be ground into flour as normal. I use my Vita-Mix dry container. I grind no more than 2 cups of sprouted berries at a time, on HIGH for 1 minute and 19 seconds. I transfer each batch of flour to a large glass bowl, where it will wait to become bread dough. Any unused flour I store in the freezer in glass mason jars or recycled bean/grain bags.
I’ll be writing soon about our bread made from emmer wheat…
Have you tried sprouting berries and making bread? Please share your experiences, advice or questions.