SPROUTING: WHAT, WHY, HOW?
Here’s all you need to know about sprouting, from what it is to why you should be doing it. We’ve even got a list of tips on how to use sprouted grains so that your bakes, cakes, bread and pizza dough are brimming with nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
Read on to be a grain guru and a sprouting specialist. Your friends, family and gut will thank you.
WHAT IS ALL THIS A-SPROUT?
Sprouting is a process which allows grains and seeds to naturally germinate over a significant period of time.
Prior to the industrialisation of the agricultural world, grains sprouted naturally in fields; but for over 70 years grains have been harvested and milled before they get the chance to sprout.
What we think of, as “grains” – rice, wheat, oats, corn and barley – are the mature, dormant seeds of cereal grasses. Just like any other seed, under the right conditions of temperature and moisture, these seeds can germinate into young plants and start the life cycle anew. By sprouting grains we’re essentially allowing them to transform from a starch into a vegetable. Your body then digests the grain as a vegetable rather than a starch, making it easier for your body to process.
WHY SHOULD WE BE EATING SPROUTED GRAINS?
A few simple reasons. They are:
- Easier to digest than unsprouted grains. By sprouting we’re allowing them to transform from a starch into a vegetable.
- More nutrient-dense than unsprouted grains and they taste better
- Higher in protein than unsprouted grains
- Higher in vitamin C, vitamin B (B2,B5 and B6) and carotene
- A better source of calcium, magnesium, iron copper and zinc as they more easily absorbed by the body than unsprouted grains. Sprouting neutralises enzyme inhibitors and phytic acid, which is present in the bran of all grains and inhibits absorption.
- Much lower in gluten than unsprouted grains
Sprouted flour makes your piece of cake, slice of bread or even croissant higher in minerals, vitamins, lower in gluten and much easier to digest. Happy days.
DID YOU KNOW?
The Chinese got there first. They’ve been thriving on sprouted foods for millennia. Did you know Ancient Chinese seafarers carried sacks of mung beans on sea voyages, which they sprouted to boost their vitamin intake? Natty.
READY TO GET YOUR SPROUT ON?
At Rude Health, we’ve launched the UK’s first range of sprouted flours and oats, offering a more easily digestible and nutritious alternative to every day (unsprouted) flours and porridge oats. Our range of Organic flours and oats are made from grains that have been nurtured, allowed to sprout and then dried at a low temperature (so they are raw too) keeping all of the fibre from the whole grain and releasing valuable nutrients.
Spelt is the anarchist of grains. It’s tall and wavy and hard to harvest by machine, so it’s disliked by agri-business. It keeps its most nutritious parts in the kernel, so they’re not removed during the milling, ensuring you get a flour that’s high in protein, light to bake with – and sticks it to The Man.
Rude Health’s sprouted wholegrain wheat flour is made from red wheat, a variety of wheat that is rough and rustic, perfect for sourdoughs and other breads that pack some real punch. Its kernel retains plenty of the bran, so it’s high in fibre, too.
Buckwheat isn’t really wheat, it isn’t even a grain. It’s a pseudo-grain that’s more closely related to rhubarb than wheat and it’s gluten-free. Buckwheat creates perfect pancakes, blinis and breads that really taste of something. Buckwheat’s nutty tang that’s made it a big favourite with the hippest bakers.
These oats are as pure as can be and gluten-free. Normally oats are steamed before being turned into flakes, but Rude Health’s sprouted oats are simply rolled at a low temperature. This makes for porridge with a more earthy, complex flavour and creamy texture, and a satisfying bite.
HOW TO BRING A BIT OF SPROUTED LOVE INTO YOUR LIFE…
5 Things you should know about using sprouted grains in your cooking:
- Baking with spouted flours is slightly different to non sprouted flours because the sprouting process reduces the gluten content.
- You can directly replace unsprouted flours for sprouted for cakes, cookies and muffins. Depending on the recipe you may find that you need to add a touch more liquid.
- For breads, you need to add more liquid. Start by adding 2-3 tablespoons. If your recipe is still dry, add a spoon extra at a time.
- If you’re using a bread machine recipe increase the water called for by ¼ cup for 4-5 cups of flour, 3 tablespoons for less than 4 cups of flour.
- Sprouted flour makes brilliant sourdough bread. Try growing your starter using sprouted rye flour and then adding sprouted wheat and spelt flour to the dough.
Cakes and bakes
Nutty sprouted whole spelt flour is hard to beat in banana bread. You can use sprouted spelt flour in any cake or pastry recipe as an alternative to wholegrain wheat or spelt flour, replacing traditional flour like for like.
Buckwheat pancakes are flipped all over the world. From French Gallettes and Russian Blinis to the fantastically-named Hrechanyky from Ukraine; using sprouted buckwheat flour makes for a lighter and fluffier pancake.
No better way to start your sprouted grain affair than a trying a sprouted whole wheat pizza base. Crispy and rustic it’s a great match for a punchy Napoletana.
You can use sprouted porridge oats in the exact same way you would use regular porridge oats. Try them in flapjacks, biscuits, crumble or porridge.