Saturday, February 21, 2009

Sprouted Wheat Bread

This delicious sprouted wheat bread is made with wheat berries that you sprout a few days ahead of the day you plan to make the bread.  The sprouted wheat provides a crunchy and sweet flavor to the loaf and the dry milk powder provides enrichment as well as additional flavor to the bread. The result is a creamy-colored loaf with a tender crumb and golden crust. It’s wonderful! Just wonderful.  This is one of my favorite breads. 
 
According to Beth Hensperger, author of The Pleasure of Whole-Grain Breads,
"Breads with sprouted grains have been tremendously popular with bakers for decades. The wheat berries add texture and nutrition to this light whole-wheat and honey bread. Sprouting the grains takes a few days, but is a simple process."

Sprouted Wheat Bread
Recipe: The Pleasure of Whole-Grain Breads by Beth Hensperger

Makes: 3 loaves
 
 
 

First step: Sprout the wheat berries 

Makes: 2 cups

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup raw wheat berries

Directions:

Place the wheat berries in a bowl and add tepid water to cover by 1 inch. Let stand at room temperature for 6 to 8 hours. Drain the wheat berries and rinse with fresh water.




Divide between two 1-quart jars. Cover with cheesecloth and secure with a rubber band.



Place the jars on their sides in a warm, dark place. Twice a day, rinse and drain the wheat berries with tepid water poured through the cheesecloth.  After 2 to 3 days, the wheat berries will sprout.




Refrigerate in a plastic bag for up to 3 days.





Grind in a food processor fitted with the metal blade. (I used my blender to grind the sprouted wheat berries) Do not over process; the berries should be chunky.




Next Step: Make the Bread


Sprouted Wheat Bread Recipe
Makes: three 8-by-4-inch loaves



Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup warm water (105° to 115°)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (1 1/2 packages) active dry yeast
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Pinch of ginger
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour (I'm using freshly milled red spring wheat)
  • 1 cup nonfat dry milk powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (105° to 115°)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups sprouted wheat berries, chopped
  • 4 1/2 to 5 cups bread flour
  • Wheat germ, for sprinkling
  • Melted butter, for brushing


Directions:

Pour the 1/2 cup warm water into a small bowl. Sprinkle the yeast, sugar, and ginger over the water. Stir to dissolve and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.

In a large bowl using a whisk or in the bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the whole wheat flour, milk powder, and salt. Add the warm water, honey, and 4 tablespoons butter. Beat for 1 minute. Add the yeast mixture and beat 1 minute longer. Add all the wheat berries.

Then add the bread flour, 1/2 cup at a time, beating on low speed until a soft dough that just clears the sides of the bowl forms, switching to a wooden spoon when necessary if making by hand.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until soft and spongy, 1 to 2 minutes for a machine-mixed dough and 3 to 4 minutes for a hand-mixed dough, dusting with flour only 1 tablespoon at a time, just enough as needed to prevent sticking. Place in a lightly greased deep container, turn once to coat the top, and cover with plastic wrap.

Let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.




Grease three 8-by-4-inch loaf pans and sprinkle the bottom and sides with wheat germ. Turn the dough out onto the work surface and divide into 3 equal portions.

Pat each portion into a rectangle and roll into a loaf shape. Place, seam side down, into the prepared pans.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise until level with the rim of the pans, about 1 hour.




About 20 minutes before baking, preheat the over to 350°F and position a rack in the center of the oven. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until crusty and golden.  Brush the tops with melted butter.





Remove from the pans to cool on a rack.


 

I asked my youngest son to taste this bread. He said "It tastes like oatmeal bread". That's a good thing. Both of my sons love oatmeal bread. It's one of the first breads I ever made in my bread machine and it's still one of their favorites. I think we may have a keeper. I know I like it!


If you like this recipe, you might also enjoy:
 
Sprouted Wheat Bread with sprouts and no flour - This method for making sprouted wheat bread with no flour produces a light loaf that doesn't look or taste like a brick.
 
 
Happy Baking!
--Cathy

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