100 % Sprouted Wheat Bread
I’m amazed at the price of really good bread at the grocer. With bread labels reading like a chemist’s shopping list, it spurs me on to bake my own bread.
The past few weeks have been so fun! A bunch of ladies and one gentleman from the church suggested we get together to learn how to bake bread. I say the term “learn” but all of them know the basics of bread making and just wanted to upgrade their skills. So we have been meeting and baking together and amid the talk and laughter, we’ve baked some really great bread.
We started with White Whole Wheat Bread then on to Flax and Bran Bread. This week was the hardest recipe of the bunch to master, 100% Sprouted Wheat Bread.
For homework, we all sprouted our own wheat to bring to class, each having various success stories and some sad ones as well. It’s really important to have fresh winter wheat and to read the directions well.
The sprouting process isn’t exact because of the warmth of each kitchen is different but to know the signs of when it is ready really helps with that. It may take a try or two to finally figure out exactly what works in your kitchen but when that happens, you will be rewarded with a beautiful nutty flavored bread that is very healthy for you.
As a novel twist, try baking this bread in a Number 5 can, it’s the size that canned juices, such tomato juice, come in. Baking this or any bread in a cylinder can will produce bread slices that perfectly fit those large size garden tomatoes (just one slice will do you) from the Farmer’s Market. I also like the round bread slices as an alternative to hamburger buns. It’s just a fun idea.
They say that bread baking is an art form so below is the recipe that works for me. Give it a try or maybe a couple of tries if need be, to perfect a loaf of bread that keeps you healthy and really tastes wonderful.
Sprouted Wheat Bread
Makes 1 loaf
Note added 3/14/2012: Last month we installed a humidifier for the house and set it at 35%. Little did I know what a difference it would make in this recipe. I had to delete 1/4 cup water, the amount of water used to process the sprouts. I just let my processor run a bit longer and found that some whole sprouted berries and some cracked ones actually made the bread better.
2 cups dry organic hard red winter wheat berries, Clovers or Natural Foods carry them.
¼ c warm water for processing sprouted wheat in food processor. If the wheat is damp, try using as little of this water as possible)
1 tsp yeast + 1/4 cup warm water (below 115 degrees) to dissolve the yeast
⅔ tsp salt
2 T olive oil
2 tsp honey
¼ cup vital wheat gluten
Sprout the wheat:
At least two days before you are going to bake the bread, rinse the wheat and cover with water. Set aside at room temperature overnight (approx. 24 hrs).
The next morning, drain the wheat, rinse and place it back in the bowl. Cover the bowl with a plate and a thick towel so the wheat is in the dark. Wait until the wheat begins to sprout and is chewable. Rinse and drain every 12 hours. As soon as a tiny sprout (looks like a white string)is just starting to show, it’s time to grind the wheat and bake a loaf of bread. This part can happen rather quickly or not. Depends on the room temp. and how fresh the wheat is.
Grind the wheat in a meat grinder or a food processor with ¼ c warm water until it’s like a mash.
Please be advised that room temp. mash will facilitate the rising of the bread. Yes, you can refrigerate the sprouted wheat to use later but I prefer to time my sprouts to my bread baking time so the sprouts are fresh and room temp, 44 hrs for my kitchen. I start at noon one day, continue sprouting the next day and bake bread the morning of the 3rd day.
It’s best to have room temperature sprouted wheat for the bread to rise well. Process or grind the sprouts in the food processor with ¼ cup warm (115 degrees or less), then place the mash into the bread mixer. Dissolve the yeast in ¼ c warm (115 degree) water and add it to the mash along with the rest of the ingredients. Knead the dough (it will look very strange and will be sticky!) for at least 15 or more minutes. The dough will clean the bowl but will be sticky and wet but keep going. This dough needs to be kneaded more than regular bread because the gluten strands develop slower. Kneading is the real key here. Error on a longer knead time.
Proof the dough in a clean bowl, covered with loose plastic wrap that has been oiled or sprayed, allow it to rise until doubled. (I use a sink filled with warm/hot water.)
Wet your hands and the surface you will use before pressing the dough down and shaping into a loaf. Place in a greased or sprayed bread pan (4 x 7 inch size). Cover and allow to rise until doubled. About 1 inch above the side of the bread pan. There is a pretty big oven spring with this type of bread.
Bake the bread at 375 degrees for 50-60 minutes. Remember that this is a wet dough, thus the longer bake time. Internal temp should read 200 degrees if you want confirmation that it’s done.
Remove the bread from the pan and allow to cool completely before slicing. If you want a warm slice of bread, an electric knife always cuts warm bread into perfect slices. Because this bread is very tender inside, it’s best not to slice it hot because the whole loaf looses the crispy structure that holds the bread into shape while it cools. I’m amazed at how long the bread feels soft and tastes fresh.
Note: The oil may be deleted from the recipe but the bread will not brown very well.