Grazing in My Kitchen Meadow

On this most auspicious day in our national history, I respectfully offer both my sincere best wishes and hope that we, as a culture and a society, stand on the fringe of a great future – and that this day will be etched forever into the history of our nation and the minds of its citizens.   Congratulations to ourselves.

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For a few years now, I’ve been playing with sprouted wheat, mostly just using it to make several kinds of breads. I’m fascinated by the unusual, and let’s admit it, sprouted wheat bread is unusual. The first loaf I ever made was a pure SWAG effort – I had picked up a fifty pound bag of wheat at the feed store (the kind that’s used for animal feed) under the assumption that wild birds would certainly enjoy it – Wrong! As long as they had a choice, they ignored the wheat – I supposed if I had stopped all other offerings, and starved them for several weeks, they’d have started to eat it. But, also I noticed that if left out for a week or so, it would start to sprout. So I thought, “If these birds won’t eat it, let’s just see what sprouted wheat bread tastes like.”

img_yes1308That first loaf was a revelation – it changed the entire character of the bread. The most dramatic change was in the crust – it became very chewy, in a pleasant way – and the interior was also chewy, primarily because I had left the sprouted wheat berries whole (most recipes call for “grinding” the sprouted berries, but of course I didn’t do my research until after I had baked the bread). The taste was also different – the sprouted wheat adds a sweet nutty taste to the bread – again, a pleasant addition. The color of the loaf was also a darker mahogany look – quite nice. Since the wheat berries contain and hold significant moisture, the crumb is very moist, suggesting an additional 10-15 minutes of baking time, especially if you are grinding (food processor works) the berries.

Now, you probably know that sprouted wheat is good for you – I’m not going to try to explain all its nutritional characteristics – because I really don’t have that knowledge – but I’m personally comfortable with the assumption that eating sprouted wheat bread is better for you than eating plain white bread. Here, these guys cover the subject well. And if it tastes better too, well, that settles it!

Recently, the urge seized me again, and I set up my sprouting pan in an out-of-the-way part of the kitchen. There are many ways to spout seeds and grains, but my chosen method is to use a large pie pan, lined with two sheets of paper toweling, and put about a cup of wheat berries (grains – get them at any health food store) between the sheets – wet it until it will hold no more water, and cover it all with a sheet of plastic wrap – leave for 48 hours. This is a low maintenance process, as opposed to periodically soaking and draining in a jar for the same time period. Whatever – what you’re looking for is a sprout as long as the length of the berry itself – and you’re ready to go.img_yes1366

For my most recent loaves, I used three different procedures, but all with whole sprouted wheat – for the first loaf, a long free form shape, I simply added the sprouted wheat as I was shaping and rolling up the loaf. The downside of this way is that unless you roll very tightly, you can introduce air pockets within your loaf – not good.

For the second loaf, I simply kneaded the sprouted wheat into the dough after its initial rise (before shaping it to go into a regular loaf pan). Since this fully integrated the sprouted wheat into the dough, there was no chance for air pockets to form.img_yes1262

And for the third, a ciabatta loaf, I added the sprouted wheat right at the beginning of creating the dough – then I gave it an overnight fermentation before giving it a pre-bake rise in the morning. A very nice result, with rehydrated onion, poppy seed, salt, sugar, and plenty of olive oil drizzled over the top.

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These loaves are not by a long shot the extent of what can be done with sprouted wheat – in fact, since sprouted wheat itself comes out of the Health Food community, you’ll probably find more whole grain breads being done with sprouted wheat that those with white flour.  I think a whole wheat loaf with sprouted wheat would be superb – and I shall do one next week!  Sprouted wheat is also used as a prime ingredient in making meatless burgers and patties – I’ve even seen the most absolutely simple bread ever devised, which is made up entirely of ground sprouted wheat plopped into a small bowl and slipped into a slow cooker for 4-6 hours!  That’s it – no nothing else – ground sprouted wheat.  Frankly, I can’t imagine what kind of texture that bread might have – but then, there are reasons why I’m not a card carrying vegetarian.

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About drfugawe

I'm a guy with enough time to do as I please, and that my resources allow. The problem(s) are: I have 100s of interests; I have a short attention span; I have instant expectations; I'm lazy; and I'm broke. But I'm OK with all that, 'cause otherwise I'd be so busy, I'd be dead in a year.
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5 Responses to Grazing in My Kitchen Meadow

  1. ladyflyfsh says:

    Nice looking breads there my friend!

  2. paojava says:

    OH! Thank you for this! I really wonder how sprouted grains would taste in bread made from freshly milled wheat. I will just have to sprout some grains this weekend and try it out!

  3. melanie says:

    i am also glad for this blog. i have heard that sprouted wheat bread is the healthiest kind of bread (lowest in carbs? did i remember that correctly??) so i assumed it tasted terrible. i saw that publix has it in the refrigerated health food section, kinda pricey, and thought “well hell, it might taste terrible and it apparently has a bad shelf-life!” no more!! i will give it a try!

  4. drfugawe says:

    paojava, Thanks for visiting, and let us know what you think of sprouted wheat bread, when you do yours.

    melanie, TBH, I’ve lost complete contact with the prices of bread, but since it’s a labor intensive loaf, I can imagine that it’s pricey – but it’s not that difficult – give it a shot. I love that it has a very meaty and chewy texture, sort of reminds you of soy chicken! I love it.

    Here’s a good WW recipe I worked up for eHow:
    http://www.ehow.com/how_4772605_bake-sprouted-whole-wheat-bread.html
    Try it.

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