Monday, October 19, 2009

More Proof that my Sprouts are not Drowned.

Here are two photos, one is of my sprouts now 3 days sprouted, and a close up of the right hand corner where I have laid out the suspicious sprouts. One looks pretty much sprouted just small, but I included it in the "not sprouted" pile just to be safe.

The handful of sprouts you see in the this photo is a random sampling from my batch of sprouts which was made from 1 cup of wheat berries. About 100 sprouts make up this sample.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Are My Wheat Berries Sprouting or are they DROWNED??!!

I recieved a comment from someone about the very real chance that my wheat berry sprouts are in fact drowned and not sprouted. This greatly concerned me so I decided to do a test on the sprouts. The gentlemen informed me that most of my berries would be drowned and not sprouted and described breifly a test called the Falling Numbers Test. He is an excerpt of his comment posted here: "...of utmost importance, they ( conduct the falling number test to determine that the grain has been sprouted and not drown...all steps that cannot be done in a home operation. Based on convention wisdom about how to sprout grains, most of the grain is being drown and not sprouted. Now that I know, I use Essential Eating sprouted flours exclusively for all the reasons you mention plus it is the most safe, sanitary and consistent sprouted flour with amazing baking characteristics available."

In the photo above are the results of my sprouting test. I am conducting my sprouting test on Prarie Gold, hard white spring wheat, which I purchased directly from Wheat Montana. This picture was taken 24 hours of sprouting. I soaked the berries first for 10 hours. Upon examination, I could not find any berries that had not sprouted.
I went to the website for the Canadian Grain Commission where I found a photos and descriptions of sprout damage. I closely examined 10 my unsprouted berries and compared them to the photos on the site. I found no damaged.
I feel confident, as a result of my testing, that my wheat berries are indeed sprouting and are not drowned.
follow up: I posted my question about drowned vrs. sprouted wheat berries on The Fresh Loaf website: Are My Sprouts DROWNED or sprouted? Here is an exerpt from the first response to my post: "People have been sprouting grains at home with great success much longer than your comment maker has been alive. Your sprouted grains look perfect to me".
I think this put the issue to rest.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

My Home Made Dehydrator

Here are pictures of the dehyrdator I made. It hangs over our wood stove. I dry fruits and also my sprouted grains for baking.
I decided to make my own after researching dehyrdators. Since we have a heat source and build fires 2x a day from the end of September on we are right on time for dehydrating the fruits of the season. Since the dehydrator hangs from a hook I can take it outside and use it as a solar dehyrdator when it is warm and dry outside and too early to be building fires. I dehyrdator 10 pounds of apricots early this summer in this way.

The racks are made from stainless steel which I ordered online. The SS is not cheap but you don't want to use anything else. I have two sizes of screening, I made some of the racks with a wider mesh for fruits and a tight mesh for drying grains. Can you make that out in the picture?
The frame can be made out of any wood. I wrapped the whole thing in cheesecloth. That seems to be working really well.
I have that little eco fan on my stove that I point at the dehydrator, that helps keep the air flowing nicely. I can dry my sprouted grains in this unit in 24-36 hours, but I usually leave them in for 2 days just to make sure.
Check out post about making 100% Whole Wheat Sandwhich Bread made with Sprouted Flour dried in my dehydrator!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

another reason to grind your own flour

"Detection of insect fragments in wheat flour by near-infrared spectroscopy"
Published by the Grain Marketing and Production Research Center, USDA, ARS, 1515 College Avenue, Manhattan, KS 66502, USA

Abstract: Insect fragments in commercial wheat flour are a major concern to the milling industry because consumers expect high quality and wholesome products at the retail level. Thus, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has established a defect action level of 75 insect fragments per 50 g of flour. Millers routinely test their wheat flour to comply with this federal requirement and to deliver sound flour to their consumers. The current standard flotation method for detecting fragments in flour is expensive and labor intensive...." The article goes on to describe current and emerging technology to address this issue with flour. Published in 2002.

I read it as "just another reason to buy wheat berries and other grains WHOLE and sprouting/dehydrating them before grinding them into flour yourself at home".

Insect fragments are a non-issue when you start with berries and sprout them because you can rinse them till your hearts desire before you soak! Home mills are conveneint and relatively affordable. If you bake enough the mill will pay for itself eventually. But the rewards are more than monetary - the satisfaction of milling your own flour is priceless, really. And don't forget how nutritious and digestable the grains are after they have sprouted.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

storage affects on sprouted flour

A quick research turns up this from the Journal of Plant Food for Human Nutrition

"Sound and sprouted flours (24 and 48 hr) from bread wheat (WL-1562), durum wheat (PBW-34) and triticale (TL-1210) were stored at room temperature (34.8°C) and relative humidity (66.7%) for 0, 45, 90 and 135 days to assess the changes in physico-chemical and baking properties. Protein, gluten, sedimentation value, starch and crude fat decreased during storage in all the samples; however, the decrease was more in sprouted flours. Free amino acids, proteolytic activity, diastatic activity and damaged starch decreased with increase in storage period. Total sugars and free fatty acids increased more rapidly in the flours of sprouted wheats during 135 days of storage. Loaf volume of breads decreased during storage in both sound and sprouted flour but the mean percent decrease in loaf volume was more in stored sound flours. Aging of sprouted flour for 45 days improved the cookie and cake making properties but further storage was of no value for these baked products.Chapati making properties of stored sound and sprouted flour were inferior to that of fresh counterparts".

I am going to look into this further and see what I turn up...

From what I can tell "sound flour" is basic baking flour.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Sprouting your grain transforms it so that your body recognizes it as an easily digestible vegetable rather than a starch! It changes the composition of starch molecules, converting them into vegetable sugars. Through the sprouting process, phytates are broken down allowing your body to digest calcium, magnesium, iron, copper and zinc, and enzymes are created that aid digestion. Complex sugars are dissolved which can help eliminate painful gas, and vitamin and mineral levels are increased – vitamin B6, folate, and niacinand to be precise.

Jenny at the Nourished Kitchen shares, “When examining the nutrient density of sprouted wheat to unsprouted wheat on a calorie-per-calorie basis, you’ll find that sprouted wheat contains four times the amount of niacinand nearly twice the amount of vitamin B6 and folate as unsprouted wheat. Moreover, sprouted grain contains more protein and fewer starches than unsprouted grain and is lower on the glycemic index than its unsprouted counterpart.” For a most detailed explaination of sprouted grains check out the Nourishing Gourmet.

According to Sally Fallon "all grains, nuts, and seeds contain phytic acid, an organic acid that blocks the absorption of minerals. Grains also contain enzyme inhibitors and irritating compounds that can inhibit digestion. Traditionally, grains were properly prepared by soaking and sprouting. Not only does this practice neutralize the negative effects of phytic acid, but it also increases the nutritional value of the grain." Proper preparation is essential. For more information on how to properly prepare your grains, see the recipes in Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.

At the Weston Price website there is great tutorial on the dangers of WHITE FLOUR. A must read!

So sprouted flour is more digestible and nutritious! Having a quantity of sprouted flour in your freezer readily available is the most convenient option to provide your family with easy digestion. There are two choices when it comes to using sprouted flour. Sprouted flour is expensive and wheat berries very affordable but sprouting takes time and diligence. If you make your own you can dry them with a dehydrator or in your oven). Here is a picture of my homemade dehydrator.

In my opinion there is a danger to storing the sprouted berries or the sprouted flour in the freezer as opposed to the fridg. When you pull out the berries from the freezer condensation instantly forms on all of the grains and the inside of jar. I am no expert but this seems like a problem so I store in the fridg as I don't see the same level of condensation forming on the jar so I am guessing less moisture is being introduced.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


It is easy to sprout wheat berries or other grains to create sprouted flour to use for baking perfect bread!

Here is my latest 100% Whole Wheat bread using home sprouted Prarie Gold Hard Spring Wheat berries and Spelt. After a few mediorce loaves I got the feel for it again.

I use Prairie Gold Hard Spring Wheat Berries and Spelt berries from Wheat Montana. They produce chemical free wheat, they are beyond organic, since they do not use manure on their wheat they are not “certified” organic. They do not use any chemicals at all to grow their wheat. I suggest you read over their website so you know more about their operation.

They ship, but I order 25 pounds of the berries through Rainbow Natural Foods at our local health food store. You can find distributors at the Wheat Montana website here. I also get spelt berries too and use a ½ and ½ mix.


  • One .5 gallon mason jar for soaking and sprouting the berries.
  • Wheat Berries (I use the word “berry” and “grain” interchangeably)
  • A strainer top that fits the mason jar. I took a splatter screen made of stainless steel and cut it into circles which fit the 2 part jar lid. Or you can cover the jar with cheese cloth and fasten it with an elastic band or the screw band of the mason jar lid.
  • An oven thermometer and a meat thermometer. It is good to know what your actual oven temprature is. The meat thermomter is for checking to see when the bread is done.
  • a good digital scale that measure in grams and other units also. It is very important to WEIGH your ingredients - ESPECIALLY when using fresh grains because the hydration rates are SO different from store bought flours. This is a must, truely.
  • 1 or 2 cookie sheets for drying the grains
  • A way to dehydrate the grains, here is picture of my homemade dehyrdator
  • Fill the jar about 1/2 full with berries.
  • Add cold water to fill the jar and risen well a few times. I use my stainless strainer/sieve top to strain off the water.
  • After they are well rinsed add cold filter or spring water to fill the bottle, screw on the strainer lid or regular lid.
  • Put aside and let soak 8-12 hours. I soak overnight so it is usually 12 hours. I put them up at dinner time and then in the morning the berries are ready to be sprouted.
Once the berries are done soaking it is time to rinse them and set them to sprout. This takes about 9-12 hours. They may sprout faster or slower (depending on the time of year and warmth/humidity in your home). My spelt/wheat berries sprouted in 9 hours in August. In September they took about 10.
  • Rinse the berries well and set to drain: Securely screw on the strainer top. You want to allow the remaining water to drain off totally so turn the jar over and put it in a container that will keep the jar from falling over.
  • Place in an out of the way place, I put mine in the cupboard.
  • Rinse 3 times during the sprouting. This is important and you should not skip.
  • Try to leave an hour or so between the last soak and when the grains are sprouted so they are already starting to dry out. They will dry faster that way.
After 9 hours or so check for sprouts by holding up the bottle to get a good close look. The sprouts are ready to be dehydrated when they are just barely visible, look for small white buds appearing on the ends of the wheat kernals. If you can see tiny sprouts on most (90%- that is a guesstimate), even if you can’t see them all with the naked eye, if most are visible they have all undergone the unique transformation that neutralizes the phytic acid (enzyme inhibitors) in the grains and they are ready to be dehydrated. If you can’t see any sprouts put the jar back in the cupboard and check again in an hour or so.

You can use your dehydrator or the oven. If using the oven pour out the sprouted grains and spread them evenly out on a large cookie sheet. You want them to have room to dry so use a second tray or pan if they seem crowded. I use a homemade dehydrator, here is a picture of my homemade dehyrdator, it hangs over our woodstove. I used to dry them in the oven but with the rack I don’t have to remember to cycle the stove on and off.

If using your oven, put the trays and turn it on the lowest setting. My lowest setting is 190 so I cycle it on and off once or twice 2 days. My oven is pretty hot; I don’t want to cook my grains. I always keep the oven door cracked open a bit for good air flow. Air flow is INCREDIBLY important during dehydrating. If you heat the oven and then open the door, this will create air flow as the heat escapes through the open door. I prop it open with a dish rag. I check on them berries periodically, moving them around a bit with my hand so dry evenly. This gives me a feel for how dry they are. The berries are dehydrated when they crunch between you teeth – totally dry and hard. If they are not then let them dry out a bit longer. We live in a dry climate so they dry in 2-3 days in the oven. If you live in a damp climate you might need to do some more research about how to dry them thoroughly.


Once the grains are completely dry store them in clean dry mason jars or plastic bags. If storing in jars it is harder to minimize the amount of air in it. So plastic bags are not a bad idea. Remove as much air as possible and store in the refrigerator for months? Need to check on that. Don't store in the freezer.

When you are ready to bake a loaf of bread just grind what you need in your grain mill. We use a Family Grain Mill. But we used our little coffee grinder with decent results. At least it will give you and idea. But you will need a decent grinder at some point. The family grain mill is working well for us, has both a motor and a hand-crank in case the electricity goes out! I bake off 2 loaves at a time and grind the berries twice to get a really fine flour. This takes about 20 minutes.


I used a bread recipe that calls for creating a soaker, a biga and a final dough which is proofed twice and baked in a loaf pan. It was surprisingly easy! I found the recipe online by Peter Reinhart. I have since purchased and read his book on Whole Grains. Although the soaker/biga method looks difficult and strange. All you do is mix the biga and soaker separately the night before you want to bake the loaf, 12-24 hours later, mix and knead everything together. Even without a kitchenaid it was simple and the results where extraordinary. I used a scale to weigh my ingredients and a thermometer to test for doneness.


3/4 c + 2 T (7 oz) buttermilk :could also use milk, yogurt, rice milk, soy milk (I used very fresh raw whole milk and also a raw milk with a little raw milk kefir)
227 grams [or1 3/4 c or (8 oz)] spouted flour.
4 grams (1/2 tsp) salt or 1/2 t (.14 oz) (I used Celtic Sea Salt)
Mix together in a bowl about one minute, leave at room temp. for 12 to 24 hours covered loosely with plastic wrap. Any longer than that, place it in the fridge.
227 grams [or 1 3/4 c] spouted flour
1 gram [1/4 t (.03 oz)] instant yeast
170 grams [3/4 c (6 oz) ]filtered or spring water, at room temperature

Mix all ingredients into a ball then knead with wet hands 2 minutes. Dough will be tacky. Let rest for 5 minutes, then knead again 1 minute. Place in fridge covered tightly with plastic wrap for minimum 8 hours to 3 days. Remove from fridge 2 hours before mixing dough.

Final Dough:
all the biga
all the soaker
56.5 grams [or 7 T (2 oz)] spouted flour
5 grams [5/8 t (.18 oz) salt
2 1/4 t (.25 oz) instant yeast
42.5 grams [2 1/2 T (1.5 oz)] honey
14 grams or 1 T melted unsalted butter
extra spouted flour for adjustments.

Chop up the biga and soaker into 12 pieces each and place in a mixing bowl. Add in all other ingredients except extra flour and mix together until combined-(if using a mixer- one min on low, then 2-3 mins. on med. low.) if mixing by hand 10 minutes or until you get a smooth elastic/tacky dough.Remove from bowl to a floured work area and knead for 3-4 minutes adding extra flour as needed to get a tacky, but not sticky dough. Let rest for 5 minutes, then knead another 1 minute. Place in an oiled bowl and let it rise for 45-60 mins until it's about 1 1/2 times the original size.

Form into whatever type of loaf you wish. If using a pan, use a greased 4x8 1/2" loaf pan (grease liberally with coconut oil for best results). Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise again 45-60 mins. until 1 1/2 x's it's original size.

Preheat oven to 425° and place loaf pan in the oven. Immediately turn the temp. down to 350° and bake for 20 mins. Rotate the loaf a complete half turn and bake another 20 to 30 mins. or to 195°.

Publishing to Yeast Spotting.