Baking with sprouted grain flour seems challenging and first glance – as though it should be relegated to the kitchens of health-minded hippies and central Asian peasants. We love sprouted grain in our home â€“ though, I imagine, I probably fall under the health-minded hippy category. Ignore the bare feet and daisy chain for a moment.
Sprouted grain flours, as I mention in this recent post about sprouted grains, conveys a number a benefits unparalleled by their non-sprouted counterparts. Sprouting grain accomplishes two primary goals: 1) it reduces phytic acid an antinutrient that binds important minerals like zinc preventing their full absorption, and 2) it fundamentally changes the nature of the carbohydrates present in grain converting them into vegetable sugars rather than difficult-to-digest starches. The resultant value in consuming sprouted grain is an increased ability to absorb the full spectrum of minerals present in grain coupled with better overall digestibility. Never mind that the flavor is full, rich and well-suited to rustic dishes.
Tips for Baking with Sprouted Grain Flour
The challenge, of course, is that because sprouting changes the nature of the macronutrients in grain, baking with sprouted grain flour is subtly different than baking with regular whole grain or all purpose flour that most home cooks are accustomed to using in their kitchens. It takes a wise and gentle hand to treat sprouted grain flour well, but it’s worth it. In general sprouted grain flour can replace white flour or whole grain flour at a 1:1 ratio.
- Sprouted grain flour is best suited to rustic, dishes where the full flavor of grain is appreciated. If using sprouted grain flour as a thickener, you will need to use up to twice the amount you normally would use. Sprouted grain doesn’t cause liquids to thicken as readily as all purpose flour.
- Sprouted grain flour produces a rustic, dense loaf of bread so it’s best used in multigrain breads where a chewy consistency is valued.
- Sprouted grain does not require soaking since its enzyme inhibitors and phytic acid have been neutralized by sprouting. For this reason, sprouted grain flour is particularly well-suited to quick breads, cookies, pie crusts, scones and other recipes where soaking is not otherwise desirable.
Recipes Incorporating Sprouted Grain Flour
I particularly enjoy using sprouted grain flour in those rare sweet treats as pie crusts, cookies, cakes and other baked goods largely because it doesn’t require soaking and it lends a wonderful rustic texture and deep flavor to the foods which complements the reduced amount of sweeteners I customarily use. I’ll post my tried-and-true slow-rise, artisan-style sprouted grain bread later this month.
- Maple Pecan Pie with Sprouted Spelt Crust
- Cranberry Masa Muffins
- Sprouted Spelt & Maple Shortbread
- Quince Skillet Cake
Where to Find Sprouted Grain Flour
Finding sprouted grain flour can prove a bit tricky as it’s not routinely carried in even the best and most comprehensive health food stores. You can make your own by sprouting, drying and grinding grain, but if you dry the grain at a temperature that is slightly too high the grain will be malted and not suitable for baking (except as a dough enhancer). If you dry the grain at too high a humidity, you risk introducing mold into the grain and that won’t do your baking any good either. While we still sprout, dry and grind much of our own flour, we now purchase most of it as well using our own â€“ often malted flour â€“ as a dough enhancer.
A handful of online retailers sell sprouted grain flours you can find some of these retailers listed and retailers of other wholesome foods on the Nourished Kitchen resources page .