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.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
- 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.
- 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.
DEHYDRATING THE SPROUTED GRAINS
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.
STORING YOUR SPROUTED/DEHYRDATED WHEAT BERRIES
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.
FINALLY.....BAKING 100% WHOLE WHEAT BREAD USING SPROUTED FLOUR
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.
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)
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
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.
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°.