Baking with sprouted grains seems to be a rising food trend. Chad Robertson’s new Tartine Book No. 3: Modern Ancient Classic Whole has a section of recipes using seeds and grains which are sprouted, then folded into the dough. At the Fancy Food Show this past January, Central Milling was showing its 1 and 5 pound chubs of sprouted grain slurry which are shipped frozen, defrosted at the bakery, then added to a bread mix. And I talked to the folks at To Your Health Sprouted Flour Co. who sent me home with a couple of packages to play with.
The loaf shown here was made with their Kamut flour, along with high extraction and standard bread flour, with sprouted barley from whole grains folded in. It roughly follows a recipe in Robertson’s book. He warns that barley grains often sprout unevenly and that was my experience; some are crunchy and you run into a husk here and there. My reviewers don’t mind this, but next time I think I will grind the barley after sprouting it.
The Sprouted Flour website has a page on why sprouted flours are better for you, which includes better digestibility and improved transfer of vitamins to the system. When you mix in whole grains, I also find the bread keeps longer, probably because the grains absorb water that might cause molding. And there’s a great nutty taste which goes well with peanut butter or tuna sandwiches.
If you want to do some experimenting on your own, get the Tartine book which has other useful recipes. You can probably find sproutable, untreated organic whole grains in your local health food store. And To Your Health Sprouted Flour Co. currently has a deal where you can get flat $12 shipping on an order of 30 pounds or more of flour. If you have mail ordered flour, you will recognize that as a great deal. Their selection includes einkorn, an ancient grain that’s very hard to find.
UPDATE: Sprout People, my favorite source of seeds for sprouting, sells both hulled and unhulled barley as it turns out. Hulled, which I got, is for a wheat grass-type concoction. The unhulled are purple, which is what Chad Robertson said he used and I am guessing they were his source since they’re in San Francisco. So get the unhulled if you don’t want your customers picking the husks out of their teeth.