REAL FOOD 101: How to Make Sprouted Whole Grain Flour

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(To buy the REAL FOOD 101 E-book: Traditional Foods, Traditionally Prepared, click here.  Full color photos, step by step tutorials, and more.  Only $14.)

Look at those gorgeous sprouted spelt berries.  They’re alive!  And they are ready to be dehydrated to make sprouted flour.  I like to make sprouted flour every other week or so, and then use it for making bread, pancakes, biscuits, and other baked goods.

As you know, I am transitioning back into grains after doing the GAPS diet for 10 months.  So I have started sprouting my spelt berries again to make sprouted flour.  I’m also signing up for the Healthy Whole Grains E-course, so that I can troubleshoot some of the difficulties I have had working with sourdough, as well as gaining new access to soaking and sprouting tutorials and lots of recipes.

For the last month I have been starting to eat starchy foods and pseudo-grains to see how I did with them.  I tried a bite of potato here and there.  A few weeks ago I tried soaked buckwheat, then soaked quinoa.  I was not having having any reactions to them, whew!

I even bought the Diet Recovery e-book and started to use these new starchier foods to raise my temperature a la RRARF!  This is a protocol from Matt Stone over at 180 Degree Health.  I’m happy to say that my temps were up after only 3 weeks!  But I digress…

So in addition to my return to soaking flour overnight and trying to catch a sourdough starter, I am now back to sprouting grains for sprouted flour.  You can also buy sprouted flour if you want to try it, or you don’t have time to make it.

Plus I was reminded of when my son did GAPS with me from October to December.  When he had come off GAPS, he dove right into a box of wheat crackers and had no reaction at all!  So something happened there, and we are ready to move back to a less strict WAPF diet that includes grains and starches.  W00t!

Many of you might not be able to have grains right now.  After all, nearly every recipe I have put up so far is grain-free.  If that is working for your body, stick with it.  For me, GAPS was what I needed to heal for a few months.

My perspective on GAPS:  I started to crave grains again after about 8 months on the GAPS diet.  I pushed through another round of the Intro diet, and then finally decided that my body was telling me that it was time to transition out of GAPS.  Above all else, listen to your body and be kind to it.  GAPS isn’t about punishment, and it’s not forever.

GAPS is a temporary diet to heal your gut.  Traditional peoples ate grains and were very healthy and free of dental caries.  There seems to be a tendency, especially with the popularity of the primal and paleo diets, to say that grains are bad for you no matter what.  I disagree.  I think they are meant to nourish us, when they are prepared properly.  That’s why I want to take the e-course and start sharing some grain-based recipes here to put in the mix with the grain-free and gluten-free types.

Equipment Needed:

Sprouted Whole Grain Flour

several cups of raw grain berries
filtered water

  1. Using a funnel, pour dry grain berries into a half gallon jar until it is less than half full.
  2. Fill with filtered water to the very top and cover with a cloth to keep dust out.  Let soak 8 hours or overnight.  (You can see specific soaking times here, but I just soak overnight to keep things simple.)
  3. The next morning, pour the water out and rinse the spelt berries one more time.  Then screw a sprouting lid onto the jar.
  4. Turn the jar over so that it is upturned but at an angle, such as placing it to drain downward in a pie plate.
  5. 2-3 times a day, rinse the spelt berries and then turn over to drain again.  In about 2 days, you should see sprouts starting to grow.  The sprouts are done when they reach the length of the spelt berry.
  6. Now you are ready to either use the wet sprouts as is (perhaps for blending up into a bread dough), but I like to dehydrate them so I can make flour, since flour is more versatile.
  7. Spread out the spelt berries in a single layer on a dehydrator tray.*  Dehydrate at least 8 hours, but I find that I need 12 hours or so to have no trouble putting the sprouted berries through my grain grinder.
  8. Now your spelt berries are ready to grind!  Make sure you follow the directions for your grain grinder so you do not overfill it.  I also find that putting them through my grinder immediately from the dehydrator really helps them grind without a hitch.  And make sure to put them into your grinder by handfuls, so that you can de-clump them (they tend to get tangled up in each other’s sprouts).
  9. After you grind the flour, sift it to remove as much of the bran as possible.  Bran is hard to digest even when it’s sprouted, and there were traditional methods of grain preparation that included sifting out the bran before consuming.  Sifting won’t remove all the bran, but it will get some of it out.  As you can see, I need a more tightly woven sieve!
  10. There’s your flour!  Either use immediately, or store it in the freezer.

*You can use your oven in a pinch, but I don’t recommend it.  Set it as low as possible (most ovens are 170 degrees), and dehydrate until the wheat berries are dry and crunchy again.

This post is a part of Sunday School, Weekend Gourmet, Monday Mania, Fat Tuesday, Traditional Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday, The Mommy Club, Healthy2day Wednesday, Simple Lives Thursday, Pennywise Platter, Full Plate Thursday, Fresh Bites Friday, Fight Back Friday, and Friday Food Flicks.

PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.
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Comments

  1. One of the problems we had was that even though we would dehydrate our berries for at LEAST 12 hours, they still would clump and not go through the grinder NEARLY as easily and it took twice as long to grind. Any tips for that?

    • That reminds me that I need to add a step in there! Thank you!

      I basically add my dehydrated sprouted berries in by hand, instead of with a scoop or all together. I make a big pile of them, turn the grain grinder on, a then I grab handfuls and I kind of press them between my fingers so they break apart from their clumps. I just keep that up while they grind, and it works pretty well.

  2. Thanks for linking your great post to FAT TUESDAY. This was very interesting! Hope to see you next week!

    Be sure to visit RealFoodForager.com on Sunday for Sunday Snippets – your post from Fat Tuesday may be featured there!
    http://realfoodforager.com/fat-tuesday-february-14-2012/

  3. This is a very interesting tutorial, I am going to try this sometime. Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and have a fabulous week.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  4. I’m curious why you wouldn’t recommend an oven. I don’t currently own a dehydrator but would like to try sprouting some grain. Would it be worthwhile?

    • I have used my oven before, but because it only goes down to 170 degrees, I found it was difficult to dry the grains without browning them a bit. Plus, there’s more room in my dehydrator than my oven, since I have the big 9-tray model. I definitely think the dehydrator is worth the money if you can swing it.

      But in the meantime use the oven and see how it goes. Just move the grains around every now and then to keep them from getting too hot. And open the oven door when you walk by to release some of the heat. That should work!

      • Can you please clarify what temperature to set the dehydrator. Thank you for the detailed instructions and pictures!

        • I usually do the temperature as high as I like (up to 150 degrees), but then I lower it to about 100 degrees for the last hours or so. I know it’s ready when I try one and it’s crunchy!

  5. Thank you for all your thorough information and photos. I’ve just started experimenting with soaking and sprouting grains hoping I wouldn’t get so wiped out every time I ate and to my disappointment, I was still exhausted after eating some freshly sprouted pitta that I had made. Then when I saw the length of the sprouts in your pictures, I realized that perhaps mine had not sprouted long enough. I’m wondering if fermenting the sprouts with a sourdough starter might help my condition. I don’t have a grain mill and have been using my Omega masticating juicer to grind the wet sprouts into a dough. I was thinking of fermenting the berries themselves into a sourdough starter and then mixing it with enough sprouted berries and all the other ingredients to make a fermented loaf. While I was experimenting, I wasn’t sure exactly what I was doing and at one point tried to grind the sprouted wheat into flour with my Omega and found that it was almost impossible to do, so in hopes of saving the batch, I decided to re soak the grains and make some pittas instead. After a few hours of re-soaking, some of the grains had started to ferment and some of them had started to grow longer sprouts. Which tells me that perhaps, I could actually make a sourdough starter that can be used with sprouted grains to make a loaf without the need to dehydrate all the berries and mill them into flour first.

    • Fascinating. I think that would work. Also, in talking to Matt (who wrote Diet Recovery) I know that getting sleepy after you eat carbs is something that is natural. The natural calming effect of eating those foods will raise your temperature, make you sleepy, make your hands and feet warm, and generally put you into a more relaxed state. That’s good! At first, it will actually make you tired. But over time, as you eat carbs/starch/grains, your body will stop getting so tired after eating them, and will simply relax into a parasympathetic state of rest but without sleepiness (unless it’s nighttime when you should be going to bed anyways, lol). Hope this helps!

  6. I was just curious if you know the difference between sprouted flour and diastatic malt? I’m confused about what’s different, because on blogs/websites, etc. for bakers, it recommends making your own diastatic malt the same way as making sprouted flour. I’m trying to figure out if the difference is in the length of the sprouts, the time they’re sprouted, the type of grain (it says you can use barley or wheat) or the temp they’re dehydrated on. Apparently, diastatic malt is a sweetener, and should only be used about 1 tsp/cup of flour, where sprouted flour can be used in a 1:1 ratio for unsprouted. If you can provide any insight I’d appreciate it! Thanks! I am sprouting wheat for bread for the first time today, so I hope it turns out well!

    Also, I don’t have a dehydrator, and since my oven only goes down to 170 (I have heard you can prop it open since the ideal temp is around 150), and I didn’t want to use that much energy, I am just buying a toaster oven with a dehydrating feature. I haven’t ever used a toaster oven, so this will be a totally new experience for me, but I think it will be more practical for our family than a dehydrator. Just wanted to throw that idea out for anyone else in the same boat! If nothing else, at least I can just use it as a regular, small oven to prepare the grains at 150 instead of 170, and not have to worry about them overcooking since I’ll be able to see into it at counter height more easily. 😀

    • I have to admit that I have never heard of a diastatic malt before. But I am now intrigued! What is it used for, more specifically? It’s a sweetener, like you said, but in what kind of recipe?

      As for the toaster over idea, that’s a great one. I have been meaning to get one anyways, so we can put it in the backyard during the summer and use it as our alternate oven. Plus! We can use it as a reheating appliance instead of a microwave. Win win.

      • Here’s a definition I found on the site below: “DIASTATIC MALT: A barley malt commonly used in flours to increase the extraction of sugars from the flours for use as food for the yeast during fermentation and to increase the residual sugars in the dough at the time of baking to promote increased crust browning. The diastatic malt is produced from barley that has been sprouted, dried and ground into flour. The diastatic malt works through enzymatic activity (it provides additional alpha-amylase) to release sugar from the damaged starch molecules of flour. Diastatic malt is available in both dry and liquid form. The recommended rate is about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon for every 3 cups of flour. Any more than that can result in a slack, sticky dough and a gummy crumb in the baked crust.” (http://www.pizzamaking.com/pizza_glossary.html). As I understand it, it can be used in any type of baked good that requires yeast (bread, rolls, pizza crust, etc.). The reason I’m confused, though, is because I have seen on more than one website that one can make their own diastatic malt by sprouting wheat. Not sure if this is a substitute only for barley when barley is unavailable, or if it can be used as that all the time; the directions seem identical to every post I’ve read about sprouting flour, with the exception of the length of sprouts and temp they’re dried at. But by definition, then, the sprouted flour should be considered non-diastatic malt, so I just wanted to make sure it could be used as a “normal” flour substitute as I planned to do, in a 1:1 ratio. Hope that makes sense! I have been asking various websites/manufacturers, and so far no one has been able to explain the difference to me clearly.

        That was my thought process; they sound more multi-function (for our family) than a dehydrator would be. I am expecting ours in the mail tomorrow, so we’ll see how it does. 😀 The one I found that does dehydration is the DeLonghi DO1289. It has mixed reviews, but the chief complaints seems to be for making toast, which we wouldn’t use it for, anyway.

        • Just wanted to provide an update. We got our dehydrating toaster oven as expected, and it did a great job dehydrating the sprouted wheat! It seems like it was done in about 8 hours. I was able to grind it into flour, and it looked and smelled exactly like the Shiloh Farms sprouted spelt I purchased (the wheat was slightly darker). I tried to make a loaf of bread with it, and it didn’t turn out right; I’m thinking I will need to do half sprouted flour and half regular flour. I plan to try that today and see how it turns out.

          • Perfect!

          • Well, half sprouted wheat flour and half regular bread flour worked great! I’m wondering if I should soak the regular flour to make it more digestible, so I will probably try that next, but so far, the bread comes out perfect using half and half! 😀

            Did you ever figure out what the difference is between diastatic malt, non-diastatic malt and sprouted flour? I’m still not really sure…

          • I didn’t! Until I need to use one in a recipe, I am unlikely to get into it much. But there’s gotta be information on that somewhere! Let me know if anyone finds anything 🙂

  7. Courtney says:

    This tutorial is great, I sprout wheat but never thought of making flour. I’ve been wondering if I am sprouting my wheat for long enough. What I thought was the sprout may have been the root hairs. There are usually a few hairs that sprout and are perpendicular to the berry and then sometimes a central fat sprout emerges, I never wait this long though, so only a few. Perhaps I need to wait another day for the thick central sprout to reach the length of the berry, is that correct?

  8. Margaret says:

    Can you use a Vitamix instead of a grain mill to grind the berries?

    • Yes! I have heard that a lot of folks use a Vitamix (or maybe a Blendtec, too?) and that it works great. However, I don’t have one, so I have never done it myself. Go for it!

      • Are their whole grain berries better than others? (spelt vs wheat, etc) Also, I do not have a dehydrator or grinder/Vitamix sadly… Do you think something like the magic bullet would work?

  9. I have recently read the book “Wheat Belly” by William Davis. From the book I found Einkorn Wheat. It is the original ancient grain. It only has 14 chromosomes, quite different from the wheat today which has been modified over and over. After consuming the flour from this Einkorn grain, there is no reaction. I have been baking bread, english muffins, and sweet breads and everything I have tried has turned out really well. It’s very expensive, but I feel at the expense of never eating breads I am happy to pay it. I got mine from the website sited in the book, http://www.growseed.org. The people who run the website are from MA., Elisheva Rogosa. I was wondering if sprouting these berries would be good. I already love the flour so I am not sure what the point is. 🙂

    • So, I was interested in sprouting wheat. I gathered my supplies and started the process. I decided today was the day to dry the sprouts. My sprouts smell almost fermented. I was careful to rinse them regularly. Is it ok to use the sprouts or should I start fresh?

  10. Molly Malone says:

    Sprouted flour is great for things that cannot be soaked, like shortbreads or cookies, but soaking and souring seem to be better for nutrition. Sprouting does indeed neutralize phytic acid, but the nutrients released are for the growing plant to use – and it does. Sprouting therefore decreases antinutrients but unfortunately uses up some nutrients as well, such as minerals and protein and others. The smaller the sprout, the less is used up, so keeping the sprout tiny may be important. I’ve read elsewhere that .5-1mm is the desired size of the sprout. This does not mean we should not sprout, it is still far better than not sprouting [or soaking or souring], and it is actually needed for those recipes with no or too little liquid to actually sour or soak. Perhaps we should be using all three methods, depending upon the recipe we are making, as they all seem to be traditional methods.
    For me, soaking seems to remove phytic acid better than souring or sprouting – I can tell in half an hour or less since I am very magnesium deficient. I get foot and leg cramps if I eat anything that binds minerals, so that’s my signal. I have not had any issues with soaked einkorn flour or soaked whole wheat flour, but I have with sourdough wheat and with sprouted brown rice and sprouted wheat.
    Just wanted to add the info I’ve found and experienced, in case it helps someone.

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