sprouted flour

Sprouted Wheat, Sprouted Almond, and Orange Biscotti

I had a moment of shear panic this morning, which happened at the doctor's office.  No, nothing is physically wrong with me or my rapidly growing baby... but since I am phobic of all things medically (and pregnancy) related, I found out today that I'm only 6 weeks away from our new family member.  For some reason, I thought I had two months left, which is 8 weeks by my count.  That's 2 extra weeks of procrastination and preparation, 2 weeks that could add to my sanity of status quo around my house.

What's more, I could be early to deliver (which for some reason, I've convinced myself I will be) - shaving those precious moments of a 3 member household ever more closely.  Thinking of things about to change is both exhilarating and petrifying.  What if the baby prevents me from breadmaking?  What happens if I don't get to sprouting the grains I'd like?  After brief moments of self-centered kitchen problems, I realize that I will always make time for the bread, the grains.  It's likely the laundry, lawn mowing, and sometime gardening will be the first to suffer.  And anyway, as soon as I see that new babe, nothing else will matter - perhaps not even the sourdough.

I also realize that I haven't been as prolific at writing things down as I usually am, and it's not for lack of making and eating.  Maybe it's lack of inspiration, and a tinge of laziness that prevents me from getting the camera out of my hand an onto a tripod to steady it.  But today in anticipation of a weekend trek to my Parents farm, I had the idea to make sprouted grain biscotti - and the lit-lightbulb-above-head to put it down into words for you.

sprouted wheat biscotti

sprouted wheat biscotti

The biscotti I made my Dad for his birthday in March was a hit, and while the first batch today (traditionally made with slightly less sugar than the Cook's Illustrated Best Recipe version) was in the oven, I figured that I had just enough sprouted wheat berries left in the freezer to try a batch with sprouted flour.  While I was at it, I transformed it into a true whole food recipe and replaced the sugar with rapadura: a whole sugar that retains some of its mineral content from the whole sugar cane.

My result was a crispy biscotti that is decidedly unsweet - I might try adding a couple tablespoons of honey to the next batch - but fully enjoyable.  It's earthy, and just what you'd expect from a coffee-time treat with decidedly wholesome roots.  Increase the rapadura up to 1 cup total if you'd prefer a sweeter confection.

sprouted wheat biscotti

Sprouted Wheat, Sprouted Almond, and Orange Biscotti (adapted from Cook's Illustrated The Best Recipe Cookbook - the one published in 1999)
  • 2 c. sprouted wheat flour
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 4 T. room temperature, unsalted butter 
  • 1/2 c. rapadura
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 t. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 t. almond extract
  • 3/4 c. sprouted almonds, coarsely chopped
  • zest from one orange
With oven rack in the center of the oven, preheat the oven to 350.  Whisk the flour, baking  powder, and salt together.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and rapadura together with a hand mixer for 2 minutes, until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time, and beat for 1 minute after each addition.  Add the extracts, the orange zest, and the sprouted almonds and mix to combine.  Sprinkle the sprouted flour mixture over the top and stir well by hand until just combined.  (Dough will be a little sticky.)

On a silicone mat (or parchment) lined baking sheet, divide the dough into 2 equal portions.  Using dampened hands, stretch and pat each portion into a log about 2 inches wide and 13 inches long.  The tops should be flattened.

Bake for about 30 minutes until golden brown, and the tops have small cracks in them.  Remove from the oven and let cool on the pan for 10 minutes.  Reduce the oven heat to 325.

After 10 minutes, slice each log on a diagonal into 3/8 inch slices.  Place on a baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes longer (flipping them over halfway through the baking time) until the biscotti is crisp and lightly brown.  Cool completely, and store in an airtight glass container.

sprouted wheat biscotti

The texture of sprouted wheat biscotti is a bit more tender; it has less of the biscotti trademark of tooth-breaking snap, the one only tamed by dunking it into a hot cup of coffee.  It has a more gentle and polite bite.  I've laid off the coffee, especially in the afternoon, but I'd suspect it would crumble to the bottom of a cup to be happily rescued by a spoon.  Citrus and coffee are such happy complements in my opinion.

So, I spent most of the day in the company of biscotti.  And very shortly, I recognize that I might not have hours to spend this way, in my own way.  I enjoy my own company and that of the baked goods.  I enjoy the calisthenics happening so frequently now in my belly, and more than anything, I enjoy thinking about just who this new person will be - a bread obsessed toddler who will happily share my tartine lunches of beets and avocado and tomato?  A mere 6 weeks until I can begin to know, and begin that new chapter that I thought was so far away.

Daring Baker February 2012: Failed Sprouted Wheat Quick Bread...

The Daring Bakers’ February 2012 host was – Lis! Lisa stepped in last minute and challenged us to create a quick bread we could call our own. She supplied us with a base recipe and shared some recipes she loves from various websites and encouraged us to build upon them and create new flavor profiles.

Quick breads. I am well acquainted and quite friendly with these easy to mix, quick to bake members of the carbohydrate family, though by looking at this post you may wonder if I've ever baked one in my life. Lately, I have really re-examined my grain consumption, for no other reason than that I felt I was beginning to bake, eat, and repeat too often for my own good. I am curious by nature, and quick breads are easy game for someone like me who can't follow a recipe to save her soul. Usually it turns out well, but in this case, I was set up for a fail of near epic proportion.

failed pumpkin millet bread

Earlier in the month, a friend sent me a link to these pumpkin-millet muffins, and I thought I would (not only procrastinate until the last second as usual, but also) make a beautiful, Daring Baker worthy adaptation using no refined sweetener and only sprouted wheat. Does a sugar-free quick bread made entirely with sprouted wheat flour exist anywhere other than in my mind? I’m not sure. When Googling for answers, I found nothing that looked like what I was after. I did find several sources claiming that sprouted flour can be used 1:1 for regular flour, which after several sprouted flour baking sessions I now question wholeheartedly.

This month was filled with pangs of guilt over my return to sugar; I tried desperately not to bake solely for the sake of baking. I made muffins for others and for my son’s school snacks, but other than sourdoughs (and one batch of peanut butter kiss cookies for my Valentine), I did pretty well. That unfortunately meant that I also left my challenge quick bread until almost the last moment. I wouldn’t say it’s completely inedible, but it does give new meaning to the phrase “bread bowl”.

failed pumpkin millet bread

I am convinced that wheat gluten changes when the grain is sprouted. I don’t find a whole lot of concrete evidence to back up my assumption, but did read this interesting article written by Dr. Vicki Peterson. In it, she says that sprouted grains that contained gluten prior to sprouting still contain gluten after sprouting (this is an article written for gluten intolerant people), but also that grass of sprouted grains are considered gluten-free for the first 10 days of their life. I didn’t grow my sprouted wheat to the point of grass, but it is curious.

Sprouted flour seems to do well in things that are tender by nature, I’ve had great luck making it into crackers and waffles, even cookies benefit from the tender-sweet nature of sprouted wheat. This bread could have failed because I also used brown rice syrup instead of sugar, and a good amount of gluten-free millet. Adding insult to injury, I had even soaked and tried to sprout my millet, which I found out (3 days of waiting in) would not sprout because it was already hulled...

Half of the bread stayed in the pan when I tried to flip it out, and when I took a taste, it was nearer to savory than sweet. It reminded me exactly of a spoon bread, or cornbread stuffing, but lacked sufficient flavor to convince me I'd want to eat it on it's own. It was surprisingly moist, and texturally very interesting. I let it sit on the counter for several hours wondering what to do with it.

failed pumpkin millet bread

Meanwhile, I mixed up my favorite graham cracker recipe using 100% sprouted flour - just wondering if they would fare the same disastrous fate as my quick bread. The dough was very soft (I let it sit for a full day in the fridge before even attempting to roll it out) and delicate, and spread much more than conventional flour grahams do. They needed an extra 5 minutes or so in the oven, had to cool completely on the pans, and then finally crisped up enough to be considered crackers. But like most sprouted wheat things, the flavor was good enough to warrant all of the extra monkeying around. Sweet, earthy grahams of sprouted wheat are worth fiddling with - but keep in mind the dough does not at all act like ones made with conventional white or wheat flours.

sprouted wheat graham cracker
sprouted wheat graham crackers

After some time had passed, I decided that if I did not live in a household of picky eaters, my failed pumpkin millet bread would definitely be a good candidate for new life. I called a friend, and asked if she'd be game for some experimental stuffed peppers. She agreed, and I popped the whole "loaf" of depressingly soggy bread into the freezer until next week when I have more time to play. I plan to fry up ample amounts of onion and leek and add some sausage, and see if I can't love this accident if it's doctored up and called by another name. Perhaps I'll even like it well enough to tell you more about it - only time will tell.

As for sprouted wheat baking? I am thoroughly bewildered, but I'm not giving up. There must be an answer to my questions, and there is most likely a learning curve that I wasn't expecting. It's funny that one of our easier Daring Baker challenges turned out to be one of my only full-out fails, but it's ok. It's another good challenge of trying to make something out of nothing that lies ahead.

Breakfast is the Most Important Meal of the Day

I am, and always have been, a breakfast eater. Most of the time, I'm actually hungry come morning, but even if I'm not I eat a little something. This isn't something I've adopted solely because I was interested in food, but more because my body actually needs to eat pretty quickly upon awakening, otherwise I get indescribably grumpy. No matter my circumstances, I've eaten breakfast; I used to crawl out of bed at 3:30 AM, drag myself across the room (to my strategically placed alarm clock), and then stumble in the dark to the kitchen and heat a pot of water to a boil. My rolled oats would be cooked with residual heat by the time I was showered, dressed, and fully awake.

The 3:30 AM has since been replaced with 6:30, but breakfast is still first in my mind when my feet hit the floor. I don't claim to have cornered the market on parenting, but one thing I insist upon for my only child is a good breakfast. He may be one of the pickiest children (in my eyes) on Earth, but I can get him to eat breakfast - and we eat it together every morning. After repeatedly reading about the "horrors of breakfast cereals", the grain-heavy diets that will be the doom of us all, and lots of other worthy but somewhat daunting topics relating to a nourished diet, I have long ago ditched the cereal boxes and cook real breakfast foods to start our day.

We eat eggs, toast and fruit, sourdough pancakes (which my Kiddo likes to mix himself) and "bear mush" which is essentially brown rice mixed up in the VitaMix, then cooked in my oatmeal pot. Just recently, he discovered he loves French toast, and now asks if I've got the "right kind" of leftover bread to make it with... But one of our favorite breakfasts is made up of just waffles and I've been making variations of the same recipe for more than 2 years. It's never failed once yet!

sprouted waffle

I guess it's my goal: if my picky kid likes something I keep trying to make it the best I can, and in the healthiest way possible. With renewed zeal for sprouting grains recently, I started grinding up different flours to use in our favorite waffle recipe, unsure if he would go for them. This is the child, after all, that told me on Christmas Morning that my sourdough waffles I'd specially started the day before weren't very good. (He was sweet enough to say that the other waffles I make are better, but I still felt pretty bad...) Sprouted flour waffles have won his heart however, and it seems whatever variation I've tried have been met with equal enthusiasm.

sprouted waffle.

I have made these with a combination of sprouted flours, with a variety of conventional flours, (they even work with 100% whole wheat) and most recently with nixtamalized corn masa (which is supposedly easier to digest, but I just love the flavor). The base recipe is one of my favorite recipes ever, from Burp! Where Food Happens.

Spouted Waffles (adapted from Burp!)
whole batch: yield about 12 4 inch square waffles in my waffler
  • 1 1/4 c. sprouted flour (oat, wheat, spelt)
  • 3/4 c. corn masa flour (or corn meal)
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 1 T. sweetener (honey, maple syrup, sugar)
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups of thin yogurt or buttermilk
  • 2 T. (more or less, I never measure) melted butter, coconut oil or olive oil

Sift or stir dry ingredients together in a bowl. Mix wet ingredients together in a large measuring cup until they are well combined. Pour over dry ingredients, mixing just enough to make sure everything is incorporated.

Bake, as you do waffles, in a waffle iron until done.

Half-Batch ingredient list:
makes about 6 4 inch square waffles on my waffler
  • 1/2 c. + 2 T. sprouted flour
  • 3/8 c. (6 T.) corn masa or cornmeal
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 t. sweetener
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 c. thin yogurt or buttermilk
  • 1 T. or so oil of choice or butter

These waffles are maybe not as sturdy as conventional flour waffles, but are surprisingly easy to get from waffler to plate without much trouble. They're even easier to get from plate to mouth. Some flours hold up better than others I've found, but the recipe has good bones so I doubt there is much you could do to ruin it!

Considering cooking breakfast generates dishes, it bears noting that even though I make breakfast every day, I seem have everything cleaned up afterwards in no time too. We need to leave our house for school by 8:05, and we rarely eat before 7. Some mornings, I wonder how it is that I've made something nutritious in short order, eaten it and have done all the dishes inside of a half hour. I can't deny that I'm efficient, but I also acknowledge that sometimes we have leftovers that make homemade breakfast a breeze.

Both waffles and pancakes keep well for a day or two in the fridge, and I even prefer them after a run through the toaster oven. Oatmeals and "bear mushes" take only one pot, and the egg pan just gets wiped clean thanks to the miracle that is cast iron. Toast needs only slicing (and a quick brushing off of the counter if the loaf is crusty sourdough), and fruit only to be washed and sliced. All of these are as therapeutic as an extra ten minutes of sleep, I think.

Have I made my case yet for banishing the box of quick and easy cereal? Breakfast really is one of my favorite meals of the day, and I'm confident that my picky eater loves it too. I hope it sets him up for a lifelong love of beginning the day with food. Breaking the overnight fast with nutritious things will hopefully also remind him throughout each day of eating to take care with food choices.

cornmeal waffle
an older pic of a "conventional flour" waffle.