Monday, April 20, 2009

Sprouted Bread

Bread baking has been something I've enjoyed since I was in my early teens...I'm sure it's romantic connection to women for centuries past, the cathartic rocking motion of the kneading, and the praise from my family had something to do with it. In those days I was an occaisional, white-bread baker--now I bake (almost) all the bread for our family, and I try to keep it as whole-grain as possible. The recipe below represents my current favorite marriage of health food and yumminess.

If bread intimidates you, don't let it! I was raised in the meticulous, yeast-proofing, thermometer using, watch-your-dough-like-a-hawk tradition. But the more I learn about the science of bread baking, the more I realize that you can really throw most of that out the window. You can use cold water! You don't have to proof the yeast! You can throw your dough in the fridge and leave it there for days! And best of all, even if your loaf is a little dense or a little dry, your family will still inhale it. Just watch them.

Sprouted Grain Bread

3 c. sprouted grains, from 1 1/2 c. grain*
3/4 c. milk, heated (I use half water, half milk)
1 t. salt
2 T honey
2 T oil (I use half butter, half coconut oil)
1 1/2 c. flour**
2 1/4 t. yeast

*if using grains other than wheat, be sure that some of your mixture has reasonably high gluten content (such as spelt, kamut, etc.) I would reccommend 75% of your grains be higher gluten.
**You can use bread flour, all-purpose flour, or whole wheat flour + 2-3 T gluten, depending on how light you like your loaf. The loaf pictured is made with whole wheat flour and 2 T extra gluten.

Combine sprouts, oil, and milk in food processor. Process for several minutes, while you measure out your other ingredients. In the bread machine pan, pour all ingredients in the order suggested by your breadmaker. Set on "dough only" cycle or similar.

After the dough has been mixing for 5 minutes or so, check it. Interpreting dough texture is (to me) the trickiest part of bread baking. You want the dough to be soft and supple, but not sticky. If it seems sticky or wet, add flour 1/4 c. at a time.

When the dough has completed it's first rise, spread out on a floured surface, and shape into loaf. Place into greased 9x5 pan, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until double, about 45 minutes.

Bake at 350 for 35 minutes, and let cool on wire rack.

If you don't have a bread maker, I'd be happy to reformat the instructions for you. Just drop me a line or a comment, and I'll send it on :)

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Ellen said...

Got a good whole wheat bread recipe (non-sprouted), that's make two loaves at once? Or is that more than Zoji can handle at one time?

Ruth Ellen said...

Hi Terri -
Thanks so much for posting this. I don't have a bread maker, but would be interested in your recommendation. For now, I'll have to make bread without. Also, one of the reasons I want to make bread is that recently discovered food sensitivities are making it hard for me to find store-bought bread my kids can eat. Is it safe to assume the bread will turn out the same if I substitute water for the milk? Or should I use some coconut milk or something?

Anonymous said...

Ruth Ellen,

You can easily substitute water for the will work fine.

If you have a food processor, I would simply add the sprouts, salt, honey, oil, and yeast to the food processor and process for a few minutes. Then add enough flour, 1/2 c. at a time, until the dough becomes a ball. Just be careful not to overprocess and overheat the dough.

From that point, knead by hand, adding the extra flour, place in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and follow like normal.

Let me know how it goes!