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Today’s guest blog post is from Janie Quinn, Founder of Essential Eating Sprouted Foods and author of Essential Eating Sprouted Baking. We get plenty of questions about sprouted whole grains here at the WGC, and Janie was kind enough to contribute a blog to tell us more about this interesting whole grain option.
It is exciting to be blogging about sprouted whole grain ﬂour. Based on the questions we at Essential Eating receive and inspired by the excitement that exists when people discover sprouted whole grain ﬂour, I’m happy to share some information about what we have learned.
So what’s the fuss about sprouted ﬂour? First let me start with the deﬁnition. Sprouted whole grain ﬂour is a ﬁnely ground, powdery whole grain plant food stuﬀ obtained by intentionally sprouting grain, drying it, and milling it into a ﬁnished whole grain product. The ﬁnished sprouted whole grain ﬂour is the result of purposefully germinating the grain into a living plant. It is made from the entire whole grain, inclusive of bran, germ, and endosperm.
Grain that has been soaked may appear to be sprouted to the naked eye, but it is just as easily drowned. Drowned grain does not possess the nutritional beneﬁts derived from sprouting unless a particular test (called a Falling Number test) is performed on each batch to determine the sprout action. There is a huge diﬀerence between products made from sprouted ﬂour those made from a sprouted mash, usually called ﬂourless or manna. Mash products are created from mixing the wet, soaked sprouts with water to form dough. Sprouted mash products skip the drying, milling, testing, and sifting processes used in dry milling, and are usually sold frozen to delay the enzymatic action or fermentation. Sprouted ﬂour is stable with a longer shelf life and does not need to be frozen or refrigerated.
Although it seems like sprouted grain is a relatively new trend, it’s actually a very old process. Before the 1900s, grain was stored in the ﬁeld where it would sprout naturally prior to being carted oﬀ to the mill. But the naturally sprouted grain often lost its integrity and would produce inconsistent ﬂour, leaving the baking community demanding ﬂour with better characteristics. After years of research and development to create our current organic sprouting system, today’s bakers can return taste and nutrition to their products. Modern methods to sprout grains under measured conditions produce consistent, safe, sanitary, and assured sprouted ﬂour with great baking characteristics.
We like to think of it this way: The destiny of a seed or grain is to sprout. When sprouted, a grain has made the transition back into a living plant, neutralizing digestive inhibitors and making the nutrients more readily available for the human body to digest and absorb. When grains are sprouted, the starch molecules are changed into simple sugars, which most people can digest with ease. Unlike traditional reﬁned ﬂours that digest as a starch, eating sprouted grain ﬂour products do not cause stress in the pancreas, allowing for easier digestion.
Happily, sprouted ﬂour can be substituted for all-purpose ﬂour in most recipes. So grab your jelly roll pan and turn on your oven!