Recently a woman came into the store and inquired about sprouted wheat bread: what it is, how to make it, the benefits/disadvantages, etc. Although we currently don’t use sprouted grains in our baking at Bob’s Red Mill, it’s an interesting subject gaining popularity. People are drawn to bread using sprouted grain for various reasons, most of them related to the health benefits that can be gained. Here’s a little background to clear up some confusion on sprouted wheat.
What is Sprouted Bread?
Sprouted bread is a form of bread made from whole grains that have been allowed to sprout, that is, to germinate. It is often eaten uncooked, or slightly heated, by proponents of raw foods. Sprouted breads are usually made with grains that have a low glycaemic index such as wheat, rye, spelt, oats, linseed, and barley.
History of Sprouted Bread
The earliest recipes for sprouted bread come to us from the Essenes, a Jewish monastic group that flourished from the 2nd century BC to the 1st century AD. They are credited with the first recorded techniques and recipes for Essene Bread which is made from sprouted wheat and prepared at low temperatures. These two techniques insure the maximum possible vitamin content for this food. The sprouting also breaks down the lectins and other substances that some individuals may be sensitive or allergic to.
In more modern recipes, sprouted grain bread is made with additions of yeast and gluten which produce a more edible loaf.
Benefits of Sprouted Bread
The benefits for sprouting grains are numerous. Through sprouting, all of the vitamins and nutrients stored in the grain are released. Many of these nutrients are usually lost during the cooking process. Additionally, the process of sprouting helps convert the carbohydrates found in the grains into maltose. This aids digestion as the enzymes in sprouted grains essentially predigest all of the vitamins for you before they hit your digestive track. The body is then more able to incorporate all of the good vitamins you are receiving.
All types of sprouted grains, in bread or eaten raw, are high in protein, fiber, and phosphorus. Specific sprouts have additional benefits. For instance, mung bean sprouts are high in iron, vitamin C, and potassium where as sunflower sprouts pack punches of vitamins A and C. Calories and carbohydrates are reduced by sprouting grains used in bread.
How to Make Sprouted Bread
You make sprouted bread the same way you would make a typical loaf of bread with the exception of adding the appropriate measurement of sprouted grains to the flour. A website that might be helpful in guiding you through the process of all things sprouting is sproutpeople.com. Check out these two recipes for baking bread using sprouts from Sprout People.com and visit their site for even more inspiration!