I am conflicted when it comes to whole wheat bread and this sprouted grain bread recipe, I’m just not sure who to believe. Are all grains bad for us, including whole wheat? Or are whole grains our saving grace and we should try to have several servings a day?
Sadly, there are many sources on each side of the debate, and I’m pretty sure I’m not qualified to wade through all of the science behind each argument to give my own informed opinion about who is right and who is wrong.
Here’s a really quick recap of the debate… those who oppose eating wheat appear to be avoiding gluten, as well as anti-nutrients and are quite expressive in the overall lack of nutrients available in cereal grains in general. There are even whole books devoted to the subject of how disastrous whole wheat and whole grains have been for humans.
Those on the other side of the aisle believe that we should be shoving down somewhere between 5 and 10 servings of whole grains each and every day. This theory states that by eating whole grains, we are increasing out fiber intake, which is good for healthy bowel function, and also reducing our risk of many diseases, such as heart disease and strokes.
Food For Thought
So where to go from here? I’ve reached the point where I no longer believe that I should continually up my whole grain consumption to try and reach the FDA approved goal of one full serving of whole grains with each meal, if not more. And since the FDA has stated that they want half of my grain intake to be whole grains, that leaves another 3 servings of refined grains that the FDA is ok with. That’s not ok, not for me.
But I’m not ready to give up bread, pasta and other wheat products altogether. And since I’m not giving up on bread, I figure the best I can do is try to reduce my overall consumption of grains, while at the same time, try to make sure they are prepared in such a way as to make them as beneficial and nutritious as possible.
And that leads me to sprouted flour and grains.
Much like the benefits of eating sourdough bread, it appears that using either sprouted grains or sprouted flour enhances all of the benefits of grains while reducing many of the negative consequences. Remember the nasty things people have said about eating grains? The high gluten content, the anti-nutrients and low nutritional density? By using sprouted flour, gluten is reduced, anti-nutrients are broken down and the good nutrients in grains are made more accessible!
If you decide to go with this sprouted grain bread recipe, you can either sprout the grains yourself, or simply buy them. If you want to sprout them yourself, which I don’t, you’ll need to buy the whole grains, and then soak them for a period of time, usually measured in days, until they sprout just a tiny bit. Once they start to sprout, you’ll then need to dry them out, before grinding the now sprouted grains into flour. Or you can simply buy sprouted flour and let someone else do all the work.
So that was my major decision when making this bread recipe, whether to go with sprouted grains, or not. My other big choice was to decide whether to use modern flour, or to try and find an older flour to use that might be a healthier alternative. I’ve already come to the conclusion that modern wheat has been altered so much that it has very little in common with the crop grown just 50 or 100 years ago. But I must admit that my kitchen has not caught up with my readings, and I don’t have any sprouted and ground ancient wheat grains laying around (yet). So for today, I am working with modern wheat that has been sprouted and ground, but on my to do list is bread making with an ancient sprouted whole grain, such as Einkorn flour, with pictures to follow.
The recipe I chose to work with was from Peter Reinhart’s Whole Grain Breads book, which is great, if you like whole grains and bread. Instead of using readily available and commercially produced ground whole wheat, I used sprouted whole wheat flour, that I found at my local Whole Foods store. I also added some extra oat bran for flavor, and fiber (not sure if that’s a good idea or not), and substituted Einkorn flour for whole wheat flour for the small amount of flour needed for the final dough, but everything else should be pretty close to his recipe for Oat Bran Broom Bread. If you choose to give this a try, keep in mind that it will take two days, it doesn’t just fall together in a few minutes.
184 grams sprouted whole wheat flour
56 grams oat bran
14 grams ground flaxseeds
4 grams sea salt
198 grams water
227 grams sprouted whole wheat flour
1 gram yeast
170 grams water
57 grams sprouted whole wheat flour (I substituted ground Einkorn Flour)
5 grams sea salt
7 grams yeast
45 grams honey
14 grams olive oil
- combine all of the ingredients in Soaker #1 together in small bowl and thoroughly combine, cover and let sit on counter overnight until its time to make final dough
- combine all of the ingredients in Soaker #2 in small bowl, or standing mixer, and thoroughly combine, cover and let sit on counter for a few hours, and then place in fridge overnight until an hour or two before making final dough
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees
- Using a stand mixer, add all of Soaker #1 and Soaker #2 to mixing bowl, along with the rest of the ingredients for the final dough
- Using a dough hook on low to medium speed, mix the dough for several minutes, until smooth and completely combined, the bowl should be clean and the dough should be clearing the sides of the bowl
- Place dough into a lightly greased bowl in oven or microwave with a small cup of hot water to rise for about an hour or 90 minutes, until it has almost doubled
- Pour dough out onto lightly floured counter, shape the dough and place into a lightly oiled bread loaf pan
- Place bread loaf back into microwave or oven with small cup of hot water and let rise again until dough just starts to rise above the rim of the loaf pan
- Place bread loaf into preheated oven, and turn heat down to 350 degrees. If you would like to steam the bread a little, throw a few ice cubes onto the bottom of the oven as you close the oven door
- Bake 40 minutes, turning halfway through
- Bread should be done, but if you are worried, take internal temperature of loaf. It should be at least 195 degrees.
- Allow bread to cool at least 1 hour before serving. If you can.