Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sprouted Wheat Berry Bread ---- A New Adventure in Bread Making

A New Adventure in Bread Making

One of my goals for this year has been to get back into  baking fresh, homemade whole wheat bread for my family... but just as I was trying to get myself into gear to do so, I started experiencing health issues like low immunity and gastric distress.  So, I did a bit of research on the web on the topic of Gluten Intolerance; looking at gluten free recipes, and guess what?  Wheat has gluten ~smile~  Well, I knew that, I'd been adding gluten flour to my recipe for years, to enhance it's texture and produce a loaf more like the kind you can purchase at the grocery store.

So, I'm thinking to myself, "I can't eat wheat on a gluten free diet" and then I came across articles about soaking grains, soaking flour, and sprouting grains, to break down the phytic acid that is contained in grains and legumes.

I doubt that I have a severe case of gluten intolerance, but I do want to try and do everything I can to alleviate the digestive issues I've been dealing with; and with the added nutrition that soaked or sprouted wheat berries have, I'm hoping to increase my bodies ability to have a stronger immune system.

So, after reading quite a few articles on the web that deal with the topic of allergies to wheat, and how it affects people in many different ways, I began to understand how this may be one of the reasons why so many people develop allergies to wheat in the form it is usually found in our modern day diet.  

For the most part, the flour we purchase in our local grocery store is  old, dead, flour; with not much nutritional content to speak of, because all of the germ, bran and wonderful oil has been stripped from the grain during the process of grinding the berries into flour.  

Whole grain flour loses it's nutrients within days of being ground.  And most Americans eat white flour products to boot!  There are two ways to avoid losing the nutrients and enzymes wheat has to offer.  Grind your own wheat berries into flour, and then soak that flour for 8-12 hours in an acidic medium, like organic apple cider vinegar.  Or, soak wheat berries and then put them through a meat grinder and use the mash to make bread.

Wheat (and many other grains and legumes) contain phytic acid, which is an "anti nutrient" that inhibits the grain or legume from releasing it's nutrients and enzymes.  But soaking your whole grain flour or whole grains (or legumes) does away with phytic acid, allowing the nutrients and enzymes to flow into the food.

  • The most intriguing fact I found while researching this topic was this:  There are increased amounts of many vitamins, minerals and beneficial enzymes in soaked grains!  And sprouted grains have even more nutritional content.

  • So, where to start?  Well, I decided to just jump right in ---  full steam ahead!  

    I got a bag of frozen hard red wheat berries out of the freezer last night, I forgot to weigh it, but I bet there are at least 5#'s of wheat berries there to work with.  

    So, last night, (Saturday) I put the wheat berries in a big pot and filled the pot with water, leaving enough room in  the pot for the berries to soak up water.

    Sunday Afternoon:  I rinsed the wheat berries in stages, and divided them into three extra large Pyrex (yellow) bowls; and set those on my stove and covered them with a flour sack towel.  (To let them "do their thing" ~smile~)

    I plan on using some for sprouting; some for blending in the blender and making a few loaves of "flour-less" bread; and some for experimenting with other recipes. 

    Sunday Evening: I will rinse and drain the berries, and from what I've read, I may start to see white roots that are beginning to emerge.  Then I will place the berries back into their bowls, and let them continue to sit at room temperature for another 8 to 12 hours.
    Monday Morning:  I will rinse and drain the berries one more time.
    Monday Afternoon: The berries are ready when their roots are about 1/4 inch long;  or the size of the wheat berry itself. Rinse and drain the berries one more time. The sprouts are ready to use right away. You can store them for a day or two by patting them dry and storing covered in the refrigerator.
    So, now I'm off to find a recipe or two or three to work with, I will post them as soon as I can!  Happy May 1st everyone!