I have been reading for a while about how sprouted grains are supposed to have great health benefits, but I never really pursued the topic. I kept finding bits and pieces of information about them, but never any recipes or directions. And I didn't pay much attention to these pronouncements of health anyway, since I don't have a grain mill.
But! I was reading in this cookbook about how to prepare sprouted wheat with just some water, a little bit of time, and a food processor. It won't make flour, but it can still be used in a loaf of bread. And as the book informed me, I don't have to be an aging hippie to sprout my own grains.
So here's how it works. You take some wheat berries and soak them in water overnight.
Then, you rinse them thoroughly in a colander, put them back in the jar (this time on its side) and let them sit on the counter for 8-12 more hours. You repeat this rinsing and resting process for 1-2 days or until the sprouts are about 1/4 inch long.
At this point, I believe you could dry the grains and then put them through your grain mill. But because that's not an option for me, all I did was add a little water to the wheat and process it all in a food processor. Then this milky-white concoction can be added to your bread dough.
For anyone who might be interested, here is the bread recipe that I used:
6.4 oz (1 1/2C) white flour
6 oz (1C) whole wheat flour
1.75 oz (1/4 C) wheat berries (which expands to make about 3/4 C of sprouted wheat berries)
5.4 oz (2/3 C) water (you will mix this in with the wheat berries when you process them)
3 oz (1/4 C) honey
1 oz (2 Tbsp) butter or oil
1 oz (2 Tbsp) orange juice
2 tsp yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
You should knead the dough, give it a first rise before shaping the loaf, and then a second, final rise. This will bake for about 40 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Tent with foil halfway through, as the honey will make the loaf brown quickly. This will make one loaf of bread (though it can be doubled to make two, as shown below).
In the category of soft, spongy sandwich loaves, I found this to be delicously soft, spongy, and sandwichy. I couldn't quite pick out the flavor of the sprouted wheat, but then again, this loaf had a lot of extras in it, what with the butter and honey and all. I would like to try making a simpler loaf so that I can actually taste the sprouted wheat.
So there you have it! Sprouted wheat. And bread. And deliciousness.
PS. Has Kris done any sprouted grains? I'm curious since I know he's a big bread person.
PPS. I wish I understood the chemistry of this. I really haven't researched sprouted grains (and maybe I should to answer my questions), but I am wondering how the extra nutrients (zinc and iron and vitamins and what-not) appear after being sprouted. Where do they come from? Surely they don't come from the water or air. . . So is it just a re-arrangement of atoms in the seeds that form the nutritional goodness? I am curious. Maybe a rearrangement of atoms put these nutrients in a form that is more digestible to us?
PPPS. Okay. This is just a side-note, but for plants in general, the majority of mass that is accumulated by a growing plant does come from the air. It's from the carbon in the carbon dioxide. I thought I would share that since I would assume most people wouldn't know that. And because I think it is rather interesting.