Thursday, February 25, 2010

How To Sprout Your Own Grains

Sprouting your grains is quite easy, especially if it becomes part of your routine.  Sprouting neutralizes enzyme-inhibitors and makes your grains more digestible.   While I still recommend sourdough as the most nutrient-dense of breads, sprouted flour is a good alternative if you want a healthy bread fast (on this note, I no longer recommend all versions of Ezekiel 4:9 bread as most varieties use sprouted soy beans, here is more on avoiding soy).  Sprouted flour is also wonderful for treats when soaking flour makes the flavor and consistency too far from the light cookie experience you are hoping for (like real milk's favorite cookie).  Next on my list is to try a sprouted sourdough rye.  Has anyone already tried this?  If I work it out, I'll be sure to let you know.

Step One: Fill jar 1/3 full with choice of grain (this also applies to raw seeds, nuts, beans, legumes, etc). Fill to about twice the height with filtered water.  Soak overnight (7-12 hours).


 Step Two: Cap with sprouting lid (these should be relatively inexpensive, though in a pinch I have used cheese cloth, plastic mesh from fruit bags, and handkerchiefs)

Step Three: Rinse and drain 2-3 times a day, for 2-3 days.  Sprouts are ready with they have reached about 1/4 inch long.
Step Four: Depending on what you are planning to do with your sprouts, move them to refrigerated storage (say if they are beans or lentils and you plan on adding them to salads or stir-frys), or, in the case of making sprouted flour, dehydrate the sprouted grains.  I find these dry fairly quickly.
Step Five: Grind into flour!  I do this with my coffee grinder as we do not yet have a grain mill.  Now you have Bulgar flour which you can substitute in most recipes 1-to-1 for refined flour.  It has a slightly grainier texture, but I have yet to hear anyone complain when it comes to sprouted grain cookies.

This post is a part of Fight Back Friday's hosted by Food Renegade.  Fight back by making it yourself!


  1. I'm drying my first batch of sproted wheat right now. I have 2 questions:
    have you ever left it a little too long, so the sprouts are about 1 inch long? (oops) will this still grind for me?
    also, how long do you usually dry them?

  2. Hi Chanelle,

    Yay for your first batch of sprouted wheat!

    1) Yes, I have left it longer and my brother-in-law once left them so long they reached 1 inch long. I think it still ground just fine for him. However, I think that the sprouts can develop enzyme-inhibitors as well to attempt to give the sprout the best chances at becoming a I think the goal is smaller sprouts. I'll try to research that today and get back to you.

    2) I usually dry them for a good chunk of the day, or overnight. It seems to me that they dry with in 6 hours

  3. I was afraid to leave them overnight and just started in the morning. Thanks for finding the answer to my questions. I'm subscribed to comments so I'll be looking forward to hearing what you find.

  4. Chanelle -

    As far as I can tell, I was thinking of hemagglutinins, which inhibit the absorption of proteins and fats. I think hemagglutinins are most common in beans and legumes, not so much grains. Hemagglutinins are destroyed by cooking as well, so if they are present in your grains, they will be destroyed when you bake.

    However, if you are also sprouting beans and legumes, make sure to steam them or slightly saute them before eating.

    Hope this helps!

  5. I just used my sprouted rye sourdough starter for the first time in some bread I made a couple days ago. It was yummy, tasted a little more spongy/chewy than it did when I used a sourdough from store-bought rye. I did, however, use spelt flour from Azure in the bread because I didn't have sprouted spelt yet ... that's today's goal! Anyway, it worked great. I didn't notice a difference in the taste, but I did notice a little difference in the texture.

  6. Oh. And thanks for finally doing this post! Yea!

  7. It's like, you know, you read my mind! I was going to call you up and have you guys come over to explain this to me and here it is, photos and all! (We'll still have to have you over...)

    One question, how do you dehydrate the sprouted grains? Just in the open air or in a dehydrator? Or some other way I am not thinking about?

    Another question, where can I find good, organic grains around here? I imagine Azure has them, too.

    And where do you buy your fish and safe bacon? (Totally off-topic, I know!)

    Thanks. I'm going to try sprouting grain soon. I've sprouted alfalfa sprouts and bean sprouts before so have the little plastic lids already. Yay me.

  8. Jen - Thanks for the report! Was the spongy/chewy texture a good difference? I'm happy to have finally gotten to this post!

    I believe I still owe you the Potatoes "The Way" recipe too =) I am bummed because I can't really make it here anymore (as it requires a broiler), so I won't be able to include pictures.

  9. Cherie - Yes! Still have us over =) Also, I am working on some short, weekly, crash courses in traditional food making. I'll keep you updated!

    I do have a dehydrator, so that is what I use. You can also use your oven on the lowest setting.

    Regarding grains, yes, Azure carries a wide variety of good quality organic grains, I think from their own farm. Also, Eugene Local Foods ( carries some wheat varieties from local area farms.

    Off topic is just fine =)

    Bacon, I typically just buy at one of the natural grocers and make sure it's nitrate-free. Once the farmer's markets start back up I want to look into buying bacon direct from farm so that I know it's a pastured pork.

    Fish, I sometimes buy through the grocers as well, but I look for "WILD" or "Wild Caught" labeling. Azure Standard also carries delicious wild, Alaskan-caught, Salmon at a good price. That was actually how I first heard about their company. If we get a large enough group interested locally, I also know of a guy who sells seafood he catches to that could be another resource for our local group.

    Yay for plastic lids on hand!

  10. wow, that is so encouraging that you use your coffee grinder in lieu of a grain mill! i'm going to do that right away!

  11. Joanna -

    I am so glad that you can try sprouting now! It took me a long time to realize I didn't have to wait until we could buy a real grain mill. It works great, but it does tend to get hot after 4-5 cups of flour, but I rarely need more than that at a time anyway.


  12. Marianne-The spongy texture is good, at least I like it, would actually prefer it that way. Also, since soaking and sprouting do similar things (I think, right?) does it make sense to do both? Meaning, using the Azure flour for my starter and using my sprouted flour as the addition for bread would make pretty good sense right? At least until I use up the rest of my Azure flour?

  13. Jen - Thanks for answering my question. Yes, both the sprouting and the soaking/souring aim to reduce phytates. I am working on a longer post about phytates. Doing both sprouting AND souring would reduce even more phytates, but a good long sourdough (I've let mine rise for 24 hours or more) really does a lot to remove phytates on it's own. Fresh flour is always better, but I am still using flour from Azure for the whole thing until I use up what I have.

  14. Thanks!
    What's the effect of sprouting a bit too long? Say my sprouts are closer to 1/2-3/4 inch rather than 1/4 inch. I read something about malting somewhere but I can't remember. Do you know?
    Also, random question ... Do you think I could substitute coconut milk (just the cream part) and a little maple syrup for sweetened condensed milk?

  15. Jen - I kind of addressed this earlier in response to Chanelle. The longer the sprouts, the more the hemagglutinins, however, those are neutralized during cooking.

    I think the malting happens when you dry the sprouts at too high a temperature (I don't actually know what temperature that is....I'll have to work on that, but I assume that a dehydrator would be acceptable). Then the grains are better as a dough enhancer rather than the bread flour.

    I think The Nourished Kitchen had an article on it back in Aug 2009.

  16. So.... Jessica makes a soaked dehydrated buckwheat cereal, and so I had bought some buckwheat to think about doing that. Then when I realized I wasn't quite up to that I soaked them overnight for a buckwheat porridge. Then I only made that with half of what I had. Then this morning I checked them... and they're sprouting!!

    So LONG STORY to say this... here I am at your blog, reading a perfectly timed article on what to do with my little sprouts. I think I will dehydrate them with her dehydrator to make some flour. Woot.

    Thanks Marianne!

  17. Thanks. I guess I should read the whole comment strand before asking questions, huh?
    What did you think about the sweetened condensed milk substitute?

  18. Sarah - Glad for the timely post! Now you can come up with some sort of lovely, sprouted, buckwheat pancakes perhaps =)

    Jen - That might make a good substitute. I have never really used sweetened condensed milk...what are you making? Depending on what it is, heavy cream and maple syrup might work as well. Or, if it's going to be cooked anyway, you could actually condense your own raw milk with some sweetener (which I've also never tried, but have heard it's what you do to make Dulce de Leche)

  19. Ok a few other things:
    1. I started blogging!!
    2. I went to Azure Standard's website, and basically can't see any prices because I'm not a member? Not sure....

  20. Sarah -

    1. YAY! Thanks for the link. I will be reading.

    2. Yes, you have to sign up for an account, no purchase necessary. I also have a catalog around here somewhere I can try to find and pass your way.

  21. I'm going to try to make nunas for tomorrow night's bible study, but I'm not sure I'm spelling it right because I can't find a recipe online. So all I know is what the Greek lady told me at Poppi Anatolia's last Thursday. So we'll see ... tomorrow :)


Questions and Comments welcome! If you would prefer to contact me privately, please email mariannescrivner (at) gmail (dot) com.


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