17 August, 2011
The Best Sprouted-Grain Breads
Sprouted grains add a sweeter, nutty flavor when used in bread baking. Wheat is the most common sprouted grain for bread, but oat, rye, barley, flax and rice are also used. Sprouted-grain breads can be labeled as made with "malted" grain ingredients. Once confined to health food stores, sprouted-grain breads are now available at most grocery chains and local bakeries. Knowing the varieties available will help you pick out a delicious bread for your toast and sandwiches.
Sprouted-grain flour is made by soaking grains in water. When the sprout is the same length as the kernel, the entire plant is ground into flour. This is a similar process to the malting process for hops in beer-making; hence, the term malted grain also is used for this kind of flour. Multigrain sprouted bread is made from flour ground from different kinds of sprouted grains.
Sprouted-grain breads are advertised as being healthier than traditional white bread, but there is a question as to the nutritional profile of sprouted versus regular whole grains. It is a fact that whole-grain bread is healthier than processed white bread. The sprouting process may not add more nutrition than regular whole-grain flour, but it does make an earthy tasting loaf.
Look for sprouted-grain bread in a local artisan bakery, at a farmer's market stand or make your own. You can buy sprouted-grain flour online or at a health food store. Be sure to store it airtight and use it quickly as the oils in whole-grain flours turn rancid quickly. Using sprouted whole-grain flour as a substitute for whole-wheat flour in bread recipes requires no special adaptations.
Most grocery stores carry national and local brands of sprouted grain breads. There are several bakers of so-called bible breads, such as Ezekiel, that replicate a recipe mentioned in the Old Testament. Secular bakers abound, too, such as Dave's Killer Bread in a suburb of Portland, Oregon. National chains such as Whole Foods and Publix markets offer sprouted-grain breads, often kept in the freezer section to maintain freshness.
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