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. (See 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). 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.
Next week, I will be receiving an order from Hummingbird Wholesale in Eugene. This is very exciting and I will tell you why. They 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.
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 Grains: Hard Wheat, Kamut, Spelt or Emmer Wheat Berries
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 — and it's worth doing because the sprouting process prepares the grains for better digestion and nutrition. (Learn more about this in our Fundamentals eCourse or eBook.)
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.
Thoroughly rinse and drain, then spread about 1/4″ thick on dehydrator trays (you may need a liner if the holes are very big). I need four or five dehydrator trays for the two jars full of berries. Dehydrate on the lowest setting (95 degrees Fahrenheit) for about 8 hours or less, until the berries are fully dried. To test dryness, taste one. Is it hard and crunchy or does it still feel wet and soft? If it crunches, it is dry.
Now get the sprouted and dried berries off the trays. If using a flexible tray liner, you can roll it up a bit and then pour the berries into a clean cotton pillowcase. Or if you're sliding off the tray, put the corner of it in the pillowcase and carefully transfer the berries into the pillowcase.
It is possible to use one's oven and oven trays to do the drying. Spread your berries on baking trays and set the oven to the lowest temperature (preferably below 200 degrees Fahrenheit). Leave the door cracked; turn and check the berries frequently.
Making Sprouted Flour
The sprouted, dried berries can be ground into flour as normal. Use your grain mill or high powered blender (such as VitaMix dry container or BlendTec). In the VitaMix (and probably BlendTec, too), grind no more than 2 cups of sprouted berries at a time, on HIGH for 1 minute and 19 seconds.
Transfer each batch of flour to a large glass bowl. Use in bread or let cool completely before storing in an airtight container in a cool or cold location.
Have you tried sprouting grains or making sprouted grain bread? Please share your experiences, advice or questions.
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