This month Cookie Baker Lynn challenged the Bread Baking Buddies to sprout and grind their own wheat berries and make a bread from them. I didn’t have enough wheat berries on hand, but I had LOTS of spelt berries. As far as I know, these two are relatives, so I thought I could just use spelt berries instead of wheat berries. I have never sprouted grain before, so I was kind of nervous if everything would work out. And yes, the spelt berries did sprout.
The smell of the sprouted spelt berries was kind of weird and I wasn’t really sure if that smell was bad or not. Did anyone else notice a somewhat weird smell? Another problem I encountered was that my dough wouldn’t behave – it was way too wet to be shaped, so I just poured it into my loaf pan. The result was a dense loaf which tasted quite fine. Interesting, that is… The flavor was a little sour – I have no idea where that tangy flavor comes from. Any ideas?
Anyway, here’s the recipe.
Yeasted Sprouted Wheat Bread
makes 1 loaf
3 cups hard spring wheat berries (1-1/4 lb or 575 g), about 6 cups sprouted
1 tsp active dry yeast (1/8 oz or 3.5 g)
2 Tbsp warm water (30 ml)
2 tsp salt (11 g)
3 scant Tbsp honey (40 ml)
To sprout the wheat:
Rinse the grain and cover with tepid water, letting it stand 12 to 18 hours at room temperature. Allow the longer period in cooler weather, the shorter period in warm.
Drain off the liquid, rinse the grain with fresh, tepid water, and store in a dark place with a damp cloth over the top of the container. Rinse at least every 12 hours, just until the tiny sprout is barely beginning to show and the grain itself is tender – about 48 hours, then refrigerate until they are cool, overnight or longer, but not more than a day or two.
Make the loaf:
Dissolve the yeast in the warm water.
Put the regular cutting blade into a standard-size food processor and measure just over 2 cups of the sprouted wheat, a third of the total, into the bowl. Pour about 2 tsp of the dissolved yeast liquid, a scant Tbsp of honey, and about 2/3 tsp of salt over the wheat in the bowl. To protect the yeast, use separate measuring spoons for each of the ingredients.
Process until the ground wheat forms a ball, about one minute. Scrape the sides of the bowl, and process about two more minutes. Stop processing before the ball completely falls apart; if your wheat is not exceptionally high in protein a minute and a half might be all it can handle. If it falls apart, check the time, and with the next two batches, stop a little sooner.
Repeat with the remaining two-thirds of the ingredients, in two batches. Knead the three dough balls together.
Form the dough into a ball and place it smooth side up in the bowl. Cover and keep in a warm draft-free place. After about an hour and a half, gently poke the center of the dough about 1/2 inch deep with your wet finger. If the hole doesn’t fill in at all or if the dough sighs, it is ready for the next step.
Press flat, form into a smooth round, and let the dough rise once more as before. If the dough is cold, the first rise will be fairly slow, but as the dough warms up, the rising will telescope.
Gently knead into a round. Use water on your hands to prevent sticking, and keep the ball as smooth as possible. Let it rest until it regains its suppleness while you grease a standard 8 x 4-inch loaf pan, pie tin, or a cookie sheet.
Deflate the dough and shape into a loaf. Place the dough into the greased loaf pan and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until the dough slowly returns a gently made fingerprint. Bake about an hour at 350 deg. F, though if your bread rises very high, it will take less than that.