Sprouts are a small super food vegetable power house, they are packed with minerals and vitamins!
At the moment we are experimenting with sprouting. Sprouting is a way to make whole unmilled grains edible and usable in a loaf of bread. You partly germinate the grains, the enzymes in the grain change the starch in the grain into sugars on which the small plant can grow. It is very easy to sprout grains and sprouts give more texture to your bread and a light sweetness. Sprouts are a small super food vegetable power house, they are packed with minerals and vitamins that are also easier to digest.
You can sprout many different types of grains like wheat, rye, spelt, einkorn, barley, amaranth, quinoa etc. Sprouts are added to your dough by hand after the kneading process. The sprouts are fragile and will break when added too soon. We add the sprouts during the first stretch and fold of the bulk rise. On average an extra 125 g of sprouts are added to a loaf of 750 g dough (so the loaf will be a bit bigger and heavier).
How to sprout grains
First of all we must start with a little warning;
Mould is a serious danger here, it can be lurking in your grain, in your equipment or even in the air. Mould on wheat, barley etc. can be very poisonous. If, at any time, you see something odd that could be mould in your sprouting pot, throw the whole lot away, wash up with hot water and start again!
Step 1 : The process of sprouting is very easy. First soak the grains for 6 to 10 hours in a clean glass jar. We soak the grains at 23:00 in the evening and drain them at 08:00 in the morning. Preferably use organic good quality grains, they give the best sprouting chance. Use a large enough jar so the sprouts can swirl freely. The grains will absorb a lot of water and will expand and double in size, so be sure your jar is big enough. We quarter fill the jar with grains and fill it almost to the top with water. The soaking activates the germination process within the grains. Grain needs water and air to germinate. So after soaking, drain off the water and aerate the grains by stirring the grains. Do NOT touch them with your fingers to prevent contamination. Put them back in the glass jar and cover with a cheesecloth at room temperature and out of direct sunlight. You only need to do this soaking the grains step once, at the next stage you will go on to wash, drain and aerate them.
Step 2 : As the grains need water and air to sprout you now need to wash, drain and aerate the grains twice a day. Once in the morning and once in the evening. After washing, draining and aerating put the grains back in the glass jar and cover with a cheesecloth. Be careful not to damage the small white shoots coming out of the grains. We wash the grains swirling them with fresh water in the jar and then drain the grains / sprouts by putting the jar upside down using a cheesecloth or a screening mesh (with a thick elastic band keeping it in place) on top of the jar as a sieve. The total sprouting process takes between 2 to 4 days, warmer is faster, cooler is slower. You learn by experience and keeping a close eye on your grains.
Step 3 : When your shoots are the same size as the grains (a few millimeters) the sprouts are ready to be used in your bread dough. As a rule, we start soaking the grains at 23:00 on day 1 and we use the sprouts in our dough in the morning on day 3.
With thanks to Paul for his additional valuable information and tips regarding safe sprouting!