Why sprout wheat? What is the nutrition difference between sprouted wheat and not sprouted? What do I do with sprouted wheat? Where do I buy sprouted grain products? Hopefully I can answer some of these questions.
I have been through hot and cold periods of sprouting wheat. I have often had people who I converse with ask me why I sprout wheat. Their question is often, “ Is it really worth the effort, when you're talking bang for the buck?” In one word , yes; if optimal nutrition is your goal, or if your health requires special dietary considerations. I have had several people who cannot eat wheat based products because of gluten intolerances, IBS or psoriasis who have had great luck with sprouted wheat. Sprouting tends to help the glycemic index. I also happen to LOVE the taste it produces. People complain that it just takes too much time. I have some time saving strategies to help.
Those who normally cannot eat wheat products often can eat sprouted wheat because sprouting wheat changes the gluten which is the protein in the wheat. When the seeds and or other grains are sprouted it changes the protein composition into a complete and usable protein rather than the original protein which is very destructive and hard on digestive systems. It also can potentially lead to leaky gut syndrome. There is something magical that happens to seeds when they are with water; it changes from stored starchy energy into a living energy and if you let it go long enough, a green one. The nutrition you glean from sprouted wheat depends on the point in the sprouting process you eat it. However, at all stages of sprouting the nutrition value is superior compared with before.
Another benefit of sprouting wheat is that it neutralizes the anti-nutrients that are inherent in all seeds as a coating. This coating is particularly potent in legumes and grains. Anti-nutrients are necessary for a seed, in that they keep the seed protected from digestive enzymes as they are consumed and pass through the digestive tract of animals to help “spread” the seeds geographically . This coating is needed so that it is still viable once it is returned to the earth. What this means for us , as eaters of these anti-nutrients, is that it blocks the uptake of vital nutrients not only in the stored energy from the seed but also others that you might be otherwise consuming. Lycopene is one of these blocked nutrients. It is an essential nutrient for the heart. Furthermore, the water you use to sprout the wheat in has health benefits as it is full of probiotics that are the opposite of anti-nutrients and this helps with digestion.
I’ve seen several different methods for sprouting grains and in particular wheat. Some tend to be more complicated than others. I would say my favorite method is very simple. Put the wheat berry in a mason jar with a sprouting screen on the top. Fill the jar almost half full with berries and then top the rest with cool clean water. Let it sit for six hours then pour the water down the drain. I then cover it with freshwater for a day, drain and use this water if you desire as an excellent pro- biotic. I like to use it In shakes and smoothies. Soon you’ll see Little sprouts start to appear after a day or three. Just Rinse the berries with cool water once every morning until you use them. Once the little sprouts start to appear you have several options; you can use them right away or let them grow longer until they start to turn green. If left long enough they will be wheatgrass. I prefer to use my sprouted wheat as soon as the little sprouts start to show a quarter inch or less.
Once those sprouts have appeared there’s a few ways I like to use it; either as wheat berries in stir fry dishes or as cereal. Most often I grind it into fresh sprouted wheat mash and make a number of things with it. You can also dehydrate it and grind it into flour. Probably my favorite way to enjoy sprouted wheat is to make sprouted wheat pancakes out of it, it’s very simple. Once the wheat is sprouted you take the wheat berries, put one cup in the blender, add a quarter teaspoon of salt, a quarter teaspoon of baking soda, a quarter teaspoon of baking powder, 1 tablespoon oil or butter, 1 tablespoon unfiltered honey and then blend it. If it is too thick to blend I add a little splash of liquid , about 2-4 tablespoons, depending on thickness.I use either water or my preference is raw milk or occasionally coconut milk or almond milk . Add enough liquid so that it blends into a nice medium pourable batter. Meanwhile, heat up the griddle to just over medium heat. Cook them just like you would other pancakes. They tend to have a very nutty and buttery taste to them with a little bit more texture, kind of like oatmeal pancakes. However, the sprouted wheat pancakes will keep you energized and operating nicely till lunchtime. As an interesting side note, one could more or less live off of raw unfiltered honey and sprouted wheat which is why both are included in this pancake recipe. Serve with real maple syrup or some home made jam for a special treat! By the way, I also make waffles like this, only I add more oil and eggs.
Probably my second favorite way to consume sprouted wheat, in particular for breakfast, is hot cereal. Once the wheat has been sprouted, put the wheat in a crockpot with just enough water to almost cover the berries. Turn the crockpot on WARM and leave overnight. In the morning you will wake up to softly popped sprouted wheat that is warm. Just take a cup, put it in your bowl, pour milk, and a little bit of honey or sweetener of your choice with cinnamon and a splash of vanilla. I like this hot cereal because the seed that has been sprouted has not been exposed to super high temperatures which will kill a lot of the nutrients. By only putting it on warm, we can preserve most of the nutrition. Furthermore, it is tender and juicy and delicious. You can also make your pancakes from this warmed sprouted wheat as the recipe explains above. When I cook it from this partially cooked sprouted wheat I never need extra added liquid. This gently cooked sprouted wheat also makes great stir fry. Use it as you would the fried rice. Just season like rice and vegetables and cook with a little bit of oil.
One thing that I do to help save time, is grind this into what I’ve come to call, sprouted wheat mash, which I make a variety of things from. I keep this mash in the fridge to be used for pancakes, muffins or bread for the next week. Things I make from the mash include; sprouted applesauce muffins and poolish. Poolish is a lightly soured mash used to make sprouted wheat bread after a night of fermenting, which is intensely delicious and nutritious. You can also take the sprouted wheat mash, mix it with raisins and dates and other varieties of sprouted seeds and nuts and bake it into something akin to Ezekiel or manna bread. Both are tasty products and they both have their place. Ezekiel Bread replaces traditional bread. However, they add gluten to their products ; which I feel is a little counter productive. Manna bread is supper yummy, but it is Not like sandwich bread. It does make yummy French toast though. It is more like a muffin or cake.
Another option is to take the wheat right after it sprouts and dry it off on a paper towel, then put it in a dehydrator. It takes a few days to dry. Then you can grind it like flour with most any wheat grinder. However remember that we’ve changed the protein, the gluten content is different so it is different to make bread with. It doesn’t stick together the same and this will affect your rise. But with quick breads, you can’t hardly tell the difference except the butter flavor. If bread is what you're doing, I have had a lot of luck substituting the sprouted flour with regular flour in most bread recipes.
Happy sprouted wheat making! Enjoy life!