Now that I finally have a grain mill, I can dive into the world of sprouted flour!
Why would you want to worry about sprouted flour in the first place?
Well, many people are of the opinion that grains are most optimally digested when they are prepared in a certain way. Since grains and wheat are seeds, they were designed to pass through any “predators” that might consume them. Unfortunately, that can make them difficult for us humans to digest.
It is thought that by allowing the whole wheat flour to soak in an acid medium, or ferment through the process of souring, many of the substances that cause folks to have digestive upsets from whole wheat can be eliminated. There is a lot of debate and science surrounding this topic, and I suggest doing further research before jumping into any big changes for your family.
All debates aside, I know for a fact that my husband and I have much happier tummies after eating properly prepared whole wheat products. That is why I pursue traditionally prepared wheat foods.
While I prefer to use sourdough when I make whole wheat breads, muffins, cakes, or tortillas, the downside of that method is that is requires planning ahead. There is no last-minute-bread-baking when using sourdough! Plus, some things like cookies, lose their classic texture when they are soured or soaked.
And that is where sprouted flour comes in! By sprouting the wheat berries, you are reducing the anti-nutrients in the wheat, allowing it to be digested easily. Then after drying and grinding, the sprouted flour can be substituted 1:1 for regular flour in recipes. No planning ahead required. Plus, making it at home is much more cost effective that buying it in the store.
How to Make Sprouted Flour
You will need:
- Your choice of wheat berries. I used Hard White and Montana Gold this time around.
- A Grain Mill
- A Dehydrator
- And some time.
Begin the process of sprouting the wheat berries. Check out my Starting with Sprouting post if you are new to this idea. I filled each mason jar a little over half full. And… I wouldn’t recommend doing that! But the time I soaked the berries, they were overflowing the jars! I would suggest using big bowls instead.
This set-up worked much better. Completely cover the wheat berries with water and soak them overnight. Then rinse and drain the next morning. Continue to rinse 2-3 times per day.
In a little over 24 hours, we had sprouts. I allowed the tails to reach about 1/4″ long, although that was probably a bit longer than I needed. It always amazes me how fast seeds actually start sprouting!
Time to pull out your dehydrator. The trays of my dehydrator have holes that would allow the sprouted berries to fall through, so I cut pieces of parchment paper to size and lined the trays.
Spread the berries in a thin layer on the dehydrator trays. Put the dehydrator on the lowest heat setting (I set mine at 95 degrees) and allow to run until the wheat is very dry. I found that letting it run all night seemed to work the best for us.
If you place wet wheat berries into your grain mill, you will clog it up and cause problems, so this is an important step!
Fill up your grain mill and let ‘er rip! I set my Nutrimill more on the coarse side, as the berries weren’t flowing all that great when the dial was on “super fine.”
Store your sprouted flour in an airtight container in the freezer or fridge, as newly ground flour looses it’s freshness quickly at room temperature. This can replace regular flour 1:1 in your baking.
- To sprout wheat berries I suggest using big bowls
- Completely cover wheat berries with water and soak overnight
- Rinse and drain the next morning
- Continue to rinse 2-3 times per day
- Allow sprout tails to reach about ¼" long
- Pull out your dehydrator and make sure the trays don't have holes that would allow the sprouted berries to fall through (I cut pieces of parchment paper to size and lined the trays)
- Spread berries in a thin layer on the dehydrator trays
- Put dehydrator on lowest heat setting (95 degrees) and allow to run until wheat is very dry (overnight worked for us)
- Wet wheat berries will clog your grain mill, so make sure they are thoroughly dry!
- Fill grain mill and let 'er rip! (I used the coarse setting rather than super fine because it flowed better)
- Always store sprouted flour in an airtight container in the freezer or fridge.
- This can replace regular flour 1:1 in your baking
My final thoughts:
While this process is definitely not difficult, it takes a couple of days to complete the task. So, I can see why store-bought sprouted flour is so expensive. I still prefer using sourdough for the majority of my baked goods, but I think I will start incorporating this process into my weekly cooking routine, as having ready-to-use flour is worth the extra bit of effort when we are in the mood for cookies!
Stay tuned for my first sprouted flour cookie attempt!