Wednesday, June 18, 2008

My current sprouted-grain bread recipe

I start with 8 cups of wheat, measured BEFORE sprouting. It makes about a gallon, sprouted. This amount makes 3 batches of bread, each batch consisting of 3 to 4 loaves depending on the size of the pans, so if you just want to make one batch, I guess you would use about 1/3 this amount, say 2 1/2 to 3 cups.

Put the wheat in a jar and cover it with fresh cool water. Fasten a piece of coarse cloth over it (cheesecloth, a piece cut from an old sheer curtain, a piece of nylon window screen, etc.--or just use a new J-cloth, which will work in a pinch) with a rubber band. If you are making just a small batch, like 2 cups, you can use a quart canning jar and use the "band" part of the lid screwed on over the cloth.

Soak the wheat for 24 hours. After the 24 hours is up, drain the water off through the cloth top, refill with fresh water, swish around and pour off. Leave the jar on its side in a fairly warm spot on the kitchen counter. Do this about 3 times a day or until you see tiny white sprouts on the wheat, 1/16 to 1/8 inch long. When the sprouts get to this stage, it's time to make bread!

NOTE: Timing is very important, especially in warm summer weather when everything grows fast! If wheat sprouts get too long--say, as long as the grains themselves, or longer-- there is an enzyme change that happens and the texture of the bread dough will be soggy and gummy no matter how much flour you try to work into it. If this should happen to your sprouts, they are still perfectly edible and delicious in salads, etc., but won't make good bread. So, if you don't have time to make bread from start to finish when your sprouts are ready, you can grind the sprouts and then put them in a covered container in the fridge, where they will keep for a day or two till you have time to finish making your bread. You can also freeze the sprouts before or after grinding.

Grind the sprouted wheat using a regular electric grinder (such as is used for meat or vegetables), a hand-operated food grinder, or a food processor or blender. You don't need a "grain mill" for this as the soaked, sprouted wheat is quite tender.

I divide my 8-cup batch of ground-up wheat sprouts into 3 more or less equal portions. You can weigh the portions if you're particular about measurements.

For 2 lb, of wheat sprouts, add 2 c. of warm water and the ingredients listed below.

For 1 1/2 lb. of wheat sprouts, add 2 1/4 c. of warm water and the ingredients listed below.


Ground-up wheat sprouts and warm water (see above for quantities)
2 T. yeast
1 t. sugar

Put these ingredients into bowl together and allow to set until the yeast dissolves and begins to bubble. Mix well to combine. (I use my KitchenAid mixer, but you can do all of this by hand.)


white flour (about 3 - 4 cups? I didn't measure)
1/2 c. rolled oats (optional)
1/4 c. flaxseed, or flaxseed meal (optional)
1/4 c. gluten (optional--if you use it, mix it in with the other dry ingredients before adding)
1/3 c. sugar
1/3 c. oil
4 t. salt (about 1 1/3 T.)
1 egg

Mix well until a thick batter is formed. Then add flour a cup or so at a time and mix by machine, using a dough hook, until dough clears the bowl--just the way you would usually make bread. Or knead by hand until dough is smooth and even in consistency. Don't put in too much flour. You should JUST be able to handle it without it being too sticky.

You can use whole-wheat flour instead of part or all of the white flour. Your bread will be a little denser and heavier, but of course it will be much better bread. I usually have just white flour on hand these days, so I give you my current recipe in case you want it pretty much like mine.

If you want to experiment with using more sprouted wheat per batch, go ahead--bread can be made with 100% sprouted wheat and no flour at all if you prefer. The loaves will be denser and heavier but will taste heavenly, and will make the best, crunchiest toast you have ever had in your life. Sprouted grain bread is naturally lower-carb than bread made with flour--the sprouting process turns part of the carbs in the grain into protein. When I make all-sprouted-grain bread, I use the whole 8 cups of sprouts to make a single batch of three or four loaves of bread, along with the other ingredients (but no added water or flour.)

You can add other things like 1/4 c. toasted wheat germ or whole or crushed sunflower seeds. Also, small amounts (like a cup or two) of other kinds of flour, like rye, can be used in place of part of the white flour. You can also replace one tablespoon of regular flour with one tablespoon of soy flour for each cup of flour in the recipe, to make a higher-protein bread. You can also add small amounts (half a cup or so) of whole-grain or multi-grain cooked cereals (I used to use a lot of Wheatena when I couldn't find whole-wheat flour in the grocery store; it gave plain white bread a nice toasty wheat appearance and texture.)

You can use other kinds of shortening, such as lard, butter, margarine, or even freshly rendered chicken or turkey fat, which can make very nice bread.

Let the bread rise once in the bowl till it is doubled. Punch down and shape into loaves. For a 9 x 5 inch pan I use about 1 5/8 lb. of dough; 1 3/8 lb. for an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch pan. Small leftover bits (or the whole batch if you prefer) can be made into buns, cinnamon rolls, bread sticks, individual pizza crusts, etc. etc., or if there are any children around give them each a piece and let them make whatever they like, including shapes using cookie cutters. Kids often enjoy making their own cinnamon rolls, or even better, individual pizzas--use leftover pasta sauce and any other pizza toppings you have on hand: chopped cooked meat, onion, peppers, any kind of cheese, etc....mine began playing with dough as soon as they could stand on a chair at the kitchen counter more or less safely, and at 10 and 12 years old they are still doing it occasionally.

Let the bread rise in the pans till it is well rounded above the edge of the pans (about double) and then bake at 375 degrees F. till nicely browned and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom with your fingers. My oven usually takes about 25 to 29 minutes to accomplish this. If the bottoms of the loaves aren't quite as brown as the tops, I pop the bread out of the pans and bake it without the pans for a few minutes longer and that gives them a nice brown bottom crust too.

You can brush the tops of the loaves lightly with oil or butter just after they come out of the oven, if you prefer a softer top crust.

Cool loaves on a wire rack or a clean kitchen towel. If you don't have a rack or a towel, perch the loaf crosswise on the empty pan so air can circulate underneath it. If the crust is done enough it won't sag too much between the sides of the pan.

Don't bag the bread until it is cool or it will sweat inside the plastic bags.

Freeze bread to keep it fresh after the first day or two. If you slice it before freezing it will be easier to thaw when you need it.

Hope you have fun with this recipe!

If you have any questions or comments, please contact me at

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