Thursday, December 5, 2013

Sprouted Wheat Follow Up

It's been several weeks now since I first experimented with sprouted wheat, so I thought I'd do a quick follow up on our experience with it.

Basically, we love it! It's been interesting learning to use it. By and large, it behaves just like normal wheat flour (which, as some of you may know, does have different behavior than white flour). The only difference I've really noticed is when using it as a thickener. It does work, but just not near as well. Normal wheat flour I have no problem using as a thickener; it behaves almost exactly like white flour. But sprouted flour has lost some of whatever component of grain that makes it a thickener, so it takes more of it to do the same job. Not a big deal, as long as you know ahead of time to accommodate that little trait.

Odd as it may seem, I have yet to actually use sprouted wheat in an actual bread dough. I've made bagels, hamburger gravy, biscuits, and hamburger buns with it, all of which did fine, but I have yet to make sandwich bread. The primary reason for this is that we just plain don't eat sandwiches. I'm never that excited by them, and Rob always opts for a hot quesadilla before he'll choose a sandwich, so that's usually the route we go.

And I don't make tortillas, for the record. They're a nightmare and I decided it would probably never be worth the frustration. The one exception I might make to this is a recipe for "griddle tortillas" I found in an old Betty Crocker cookbook, where you literally spoon batter on to a griddle like a pancake and let 'er cook. No rolling out dough to insanely thin proportions and having it rip, or not rolling it thin enough and ending up with flatbread that won't bend without breaking. No thanks.

I found this little quote from a study done on sprouted grains and thought it might be of interest to some folks who deal with gluten. This might account for why my sprouted grain products have sat well in the stomachs of friends who avoid bread products due to stomach aches:

German researchers sprouted wheat kernels for up to 168 hours (1 week), analyzing them at different stages to learn the effects of germination on different nutrient levels. While different times and temperatures produced different effects, overall the sprouting process decreased gluten proteins substantially, while increasing folate. Longer germination times led to a substantial increase of total dietary fiber, with soluble fiber tripling and insoluble fiber decreasing by 50%. [Emphasis mine.]
Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry
, June 13, 2007; 55(12):4678-83. Epub 2007 May 12.


The info about folate was of interest, as well. Folate and folic acid are two different things; folate is the form that comes in food, and folic acid is the synthetic variation that is found in most supplements. (Not all, though; food based supplements often have folate.) This is of particular interest to me because I prefer to get my nutrients through food rather than synthetic alternatives, simply because I've read too many studies on the issues our bodies have with synthetic copies of real nutrients that we do quite well on if they come in their natural form. Folate, as everybody knows, is crucial for healthy pregnancies, and most prenatals contain folic acid to this end. It's much better for you and you'll "take in" much more of the nutrient if you get it in food form. Unfortunately for most of us, folate is most often mentioned as being sourced from greens. I doubt I'm alone in knowing that I never eat enough greens, so that will definitely be a problem for me someday! (Nope, not now. Sorry to disappoint.)

Moving on to the mention of soluble/insoluble fiber-- we've found this to be the case, in an anecdotal sense. That basically means that we have had better luck with digesting wheat products since switching to sprouted. Now, I have no idea what's happening on a molecular, digestive level, but we can say that sprouted sits lighter in the stomach and seems to digest quicker and easier. If this has anything to do with the increased soluble fiber, then that's awesome news.

And that's about all I have on that, at the moment.  :-)

7 comments :

  1. I tried a sprouted wheat bagel this morning. I can't say I noticed a difference after the fact, but it was a lighter product -- easier to chew -- to start with. I liked it.

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  2. The reason it doesnt thicken gravy as well as a white or whole wheat flour is the same reason its easier on gluten intolerant stomachs. Its the gluten in flour that acts as the thickener- less gluten, less thickening power

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    1. Well duh, that makes sense, but it didn't even cross my mind. :-)

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    2. Woo hoo, I actually knew something!!! :)

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    3. Ditto, Shawna. My first thought was that the sprouting process changes the gluten, and it would stand to reason that the longer it is left to grow, the less gluten there would be since that is what the plant is feeding on while it develops a root system (much the same as the embryo in an egg).
      Being a big fan of sour dough, I find that it too is much easier to digest than traditional bread or pancakes. I have yet to fully understand the transformation that takes place during the fermentation of sour dough, but I believe that it is also lower in gluten than plain flour.

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  3. So, do you purchase sprouted grain or sprout your own? Can it be purchased in the flour form? I would be interested in trying it sometime so long as I don't need a flour mill.

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    1. I sprout my own; you can read about it here:
      http://modernvintagehousewives.blogspot.com/2013/10/attempting-daunting-switching-to.html

      You can buy it; check out the grocery section of our Amazon store, or just do a search for "organic sprouted flour" in the search bar. I don't know what you have locally, although I expect you would be able to find it somewhere if you had time to look. It costs about $3/lb. in general, which is why I prefer to do my own-- but it's true enough that a grain mill isn't cheap either. :-)

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