in nearly 20 years of bread making, i always wanted to be able to make a super soft, moist, light and airy whole wheat bread, but couldn't get it quite right until this year! this recipe is the result of a LOT of trial and error to get one very tasty, nutritious wholesome sprouted loaf...
excellent fresh or toasted, with butter or for big sandwiches (topped with a huge pile of alfalfa sprouts!), awesome for peanut butter and jelly, or for dipping in olive oil with tomatoes and basil, etc... this bread stores extremely well - either at room temperature in a bread box, etc. or sliced and frozen for future use - it freezes wonderfully... for our family, i typically make one batch every week to ten days, which is half a dozen loaves - we eat half of them fresh, and freeze the other half...
this recipe is intermediate level - its more involved than just a quick mix, bake and serve, but for anyone with a bit of bread making experience it is a very rewarding challenge, and if you like sprouted grain or sourdough bread you won't be disappointed!
ideally, all ingredients should be organic for maximum health benefits, and a variety of flours can be used / experimented with as desired... it seems quite complex at first, but once you get the hang of it, its relatively simple...
first step - soak 2/3 cup hard winter wheat berries in 1 cup of pure water overnight (i usually put mine in a glass jar just before bed)... the next morning, rinse wheat berries well in cool water and drain, ideally using a sprouting tray or jar, a ball mason jar with a sprouting lid, or a glass jar with a breathable top... for the glass jar method, rinse the berries well so they are not too wet and lay the jar horizontally... cover with a dishtowel or keep in a dark / semi dark place (seeds like to sprout in the dark, as if they were underground) at room temperature... rinse wheat berries once in the morning, and once in the evening, each day for 2 more days... you will see their little white tails start to sprout out, and they will continue to get longer, developing into a furry root, followed by a light green stalk which, if left to grow would become a blade of wheat grass
2 days into sprouting your wheat berries, when you go to do the evening rinse, it will be time to prepare the seeds and sourdough starter... for the seeds, you will need 4 glass jars (pint and half pint mason jars, or reused nut butter or jelly jars work great)... in one jar, place 2 tbsp. of chia seeds in 2 cups of water - cover with lid and shake well, so all seeds are mixed with the water... this will become thick, much like tapioca pudding, and in addition to being highly nutritious, helps retain moisture in the bread... in the other 3 jars, add 2 tbsp. each: raw flax seeds, raw hulled sunflower seeds, raw unhulled sesame seeds, and add about 3/4 cup of water to each jar
you will also need to prepare your sourdough starter for baking the next morning... depending on the kind you are using, you will need about 1 cup of active starter for baking... i prepare mine at the same time as the seeds, adding water and flour so it is nice and bubbly by bake time!
3 days into sprouting your wheat berries, they are ready to be used... in the morning, remove the wheat sprouts from their container and rinse well in a strainer, separating them as needed (they can often form a dense mat, just like grass)... add wheat sprouts to blender, then rinse the sunflower, flax, and sesame seeds in a fine strainer under running water - soaking overnight and rinsing makes the seeds much easier to digest and in turn improves nutrition absorption... the flax seeds will be slimy and gooey, but just add all the seeds together (except the chia), rinse, and add to blender... finally, add your chia pudding! use a spoon if necessary to get it out of the jar and add to blender... add 1 1/2 cups of pure water and blend well... it doesn't need to be completely liquified, just mixed - there should still be plenty of texture, and the mix will become a thicker and creamy colored
in a large pot or bowl, add 6 cups of unbleached white flour and 2 cups of whole wheat flour (you can experiment with other flours as you like or prefer - the basic ratio is about 8 cups, with 1 to 2 cups extra for kneading)... mix well, then add your 1 cup of sourdough starter, and your blender full of sprouts and seeds... stir everything well in the pot (do not knead just yet)... cover pot and let the mixture sit for about 1 hour... then, add 1 1/2 tbsp. of sea salt and work it into the dough... turn dough onto a floured board / counter and knead for 10 minutes, adding flour as necessary (it can be up to 2 cups extra, depending on flour type and quality) to get a uniform, soft dough that will easily hold its form when shaped into a round loaf... return dough to pot, cover, and let sit for 4 hours
after 4 hours, remove from pot / bowl and on a lightly floured board cut the dough evenly into loaves (usually i do 5 or 6 small loaves, but you can also use 3 to 4 loaf pans or whatever is handy), knead each piece, lightly cover in flour, and set aside... i just let them rise on the same floured board, with a piece of cloth / kitchen towel to cover them, to keep them from drying too much... when using loaf pans or baking dishes, it is necessary to oil them before adding the dough (it is also possible to use baking sheets to cook the loaves, but be sure that the bottoms of the bread are well floured, and keep an eye on them as they bake)... let your loaves raise another 4 hours
about 3 /12 hours into the second raising, pre-heat your oven to 500 degrees... i use a baking stone, and place the loaves directly onto that, without any oil or extra flour / corn meal etc. - slashing each loaf in three places to get an even bake... if you are using bread pans, just put them in directly... bake for about 30 minutes, until it turns a nice medium to dark brown... you may need to go 35 minutes if you do larger loaves or loaf pans, and timing also depends on your oven
remove and cool on wire racks and store in a bread box, or slice and freeze in freezer bags for future use... sourdough bread should not be refrigerated, or stored in plastic except for freezing... a bread box, paper bag, or aluminum foil work best! your bread should be light and fluffy, with a delicious nutty flavor and a mild healthy sweetness from the wheat sprouts... hope you enjoy!
some helpful links for spouting and ingredients:
nutritional benefits, for reference (collected online, through various sources)
Chia seeds were a staple food of the Aztec, Mayan, Incan and other indigenous peoples - one spoonful in water was used to supply enough sustenance for an entire day of hard labor. The seeds contain about 20% protein, 35% oil and an impressive 25% dietary fiber. They are high in antioxidants and also offer a range of vitamins and minerals, including calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and zinc. And as one of the richest vegetable sources of omega-3 fatty acids, chia seeds can help protect against heart disease and inflammation, making them especially beneficial for those with diabetes, hypertension and arthritis.
Flax seeds are rich source of energy and contain many health benefiting nutrients, minerals, antioxidants and vitamins that are essential for optimum health. The seeds are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids like oleic acid and an excellent source of all important omega-3 essential fatty acids like linoleic acid, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and arachidonic acids. Regular intake of small portions of flax seeds in the diet help to lower total as well as LDL or "bad cholesterol" and increase HDL or "good cholesterol" levels in the blood. Research studies suggest that Mediterranean diet that is rich in dietary fibers, monounsaturated fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids help to prevent coronary artery disease and strokes by favoring healthy blood lipid profile.
Flax are perhaps the most widely available botanical source of n−3 or ω-3. Flax seed oil consists of approximately 55% ALA (α-linolenic acid). One spoonful of flax seed oil provides about 8 g of omega-3 fatty acids. Research studies have suggested that n-3 fatty acids by their virtue of anti-inflammatory action helps to lower the risk of blood pressure, coronary artery disease, strokes and breast, colon and prostate cancers. Adequate quantities of n-3 oils are required for normal infant development and maturation of nervous system.
The seeds contain lignans, a class of phytoestrogens considered to have antioxidant and cancer preventing properties.
Flax are an excellent source of vitamin E, especially rich in gamma tocopherol; contain about 20 g per 100 g. vitamin E is a powerful lipid soluble antioxidant, required for maintaining the integrity of cell membrane of mucus membranes and skin by protecting it from harmful oxygen free radicals.
The seeds are packed with many important B-complex groups of vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6, and folates. Thiamin is an important co-factor for carbohydrates metabolism; helps prevent beri-beri disease. Folates help prevent neural tube defects in the fetus when consumed during pre-conception period and pregnancy.
Flax is rich source of minerals like manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and selenium.
Delicious, nutty, and crunchy sunflower seeds are widely considered healthful foods. They are high in energy, 100 g seeds consists of 584 calories. Nonetheless, they are incredible sources of many health benefiting nutrients, minerals, antioxidants and vitamins.
Much of their calories come from fatty acids. The seeds are especially rich in poly-unsaturated fatty acid linooleic acid, which comprise more 50% fatty acids in them. They are also good in mono-unsaturated oleic acid that helps lower LDL or "bad cholesterol" and increase HDL or "good cholesterol" in the blood. Research studies suggest that Mediterranean diet which is rich in mono-unsaturated fats help to prevent coronary artery disease and stroke by favoring healthy lipid profile.
Like other nuts, they are also very good source of proteins with fine quality amino acids such as tryptophan that are essential for growth, especially in children. Just 100 g of seeds provide about 21 g of protein (37% of daily-recommended values).
In addition, the sunflower seeds contain many health benefiting poly-phenol compounds such as chlorgenic acid, quinic acid, and caffeic acids. These are natural anti-oxidants which help remove harmful oxidant molecules from the body. Further, chlorgenic acid help reduce blood sugar levels by reducing breakdown of glycogen in the liver.
They are indeed very rich source of vitamin E; contain about 35.17 g per100 g (about 234% of RDA). Vitamin E is a powerful lipid soluble antioxidant, required for maintaining the integrity of cell membrane of mucus membranes and skin by protecting it from harmful oxygen free radicals.
Sunflower kernels amongst are one of the finest sources of B-complex group of vitamins. They are very good sources of B-complex vitamins such as niacin, folic acid, thiamin (vitamin B1), pyridoxine (vitamin B6), pantothenic acid, and riboflavin.
Sunflowers are incredible sources of folic acid. 100 g of kernels contains 227 mcg of folic acid, which is about 37% of recommended daily intake. Folic acid is essential for DNA synthesis. When given in expectant mothers during peri-conception period, it may prevent neural tube defects in the baby.
Niacin and pyridoxine are other B-complex vitamins found abundantly in sunflower seeds. About 8.35 mg or 52% of daily-required levels of niacin is provided by just 100 g of seeds. Niacin help reduce LDL-cholesterol levels in the blood. In addition, it enhances GABA activity inside the brain, which in turn helps reduce anxiety and neurosis.
The seeds are incredibly rich sources of many essential minerals. Calcium, iron, manganese, zinc, magnesium, selenium, and copper are especially concentrated in sunflower. Many of these minerals have vital role in bone mineralization, red blood cell production, enzyme synthesis, hormone production, as well as regulation of cardiac and skeletal muscle activities.
Delicious, crunchy sesame seeds are widely considered healthful foods. They are high in energy but contain many health benefiting nutrients, minerals, antioxidants and vitamins that are essential for wellness.
The seeds are especially rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acid oleic acid, which comprise up to 50% fatty acids in them. Oleic acid helps to lower LDL or "bad cholesterol" and increase HDL or "good cholesterol" in the blood. Research studies suggest that Mediterranean diet which is rich in mono-unsaturated fats help to prevent coronary artery disease and stroke by favoring healthy lipid profile.
The seeds are also very good source of dietary proteins with fine quality amino acids that are essential for growth, especially in children. Just 100 g of seeds provide about 18 g of protein (32% of daily-recommended values).
In addition, sesame seeds contain many health benefiting compounds such as sesamol (3, 4-methylene-dioxyphenol), sesaminol, furyl-methanthiol, guajacol (2-methoxyphenol), phenylethanthiol and furaneol, vinylguacol and decadienal. Sesamol and sesaminol are phenolic anti-oxidants. Together, these compounds help stave off harmful free radicals from the body.
Sesame is amongst the seeds rich in quality vitamins and minerals. They are very good sources of B-complex vitamins such as niacin, folic acid, thiamin (vitamin B1), pyridoxine (vitamin B6), and riboflavin.
100 g of sesame contains 97 mcg of folic acid, about 25% of recommended daily intake. Folic acid is essential for DNA synthesis. When given in expectant mothers during peri-conception period, it may prevent neural tube defects in the baby.
Niacin is another B-complex vitamin found abundantly in sesame. About 4.5 mg or 28% of daily-required levels of niacin is provided by just 100 g of seeds. Niacin help reduce LDL-cholesterol levels in the blood. In addition, it enhances GABA activity inside the brain, which in turn helps reduce anxiety and neurosis.
The seeds are incredibly rich sources of many essential minerals. Calcium, iron, manganese, zinc, magnesium, selenium, and copper are especially concentrated in sesame seeds. Many of these minerals have vital role in bone mineralization, red blood cell production, enzyme synthesis, hormone production, as well as regulation of cardiac and skeletal muscle activities.
SPROUTED WHEAT / SPROUTED GRAIN BREADS:
When grains, seeds and nuts are germinated, their nutritional content changes and, as they are generally not cooked, they retain their natural plant enzymes. These enzymes are beneficial for helping the digestion of the seeds and nuts in the digestive tract. As well as retaining the enzymes, they also retain the nutrients that would otherwise be destroyed by cooking. Sprouted grains, seeds and nuts also encourage the growth of good bacteria, help to keep the colon clean, and are high in protective antioxidants.
Sprouts, as well as being very digestible, are a good source of fibre and protein, and are high in vitamins and minerals. Most seeds are high in phosphorus, which is important for alertness, increased mental abilities, and healthy bones and teeth. In its cooked form, wheat can cause mucus congestion, allergic reactions and constipation. In its sprouted form, the starch is converted to simple sugars, meaning that many wheat intolerant people are able to eat sprouted wheat bread without any problems.
Sprouted grain breads are significantly higher in protein, vitamins and enzymes, and the complex starches are converted into natural sugars. They are also low GI (glycemic index), so they are digested more slowly by the body, keeping the blood sugar levels stable for longer, making people feel more satisfied. This leads to snacking less. It is interesting to note that the more highly processed a food is, the higher GI it is. A loaf of white bread is significantly higher GI than a loaf of sprouted grain bread.
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