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Pastry Chef’s Guide to Sprouted Wheat Bread Flour Basics

stephaniepetersonYou may have noticed bread labels sprouting “sprouted wheat flour” as an ingredient. It’s even now available for home bakers! This fall’s baking season is a great time to explore the world of sprouted wheat flour baking, but you won’t have to repeat my mistakes!  Start your adventure with HBA member Panhandle Milling Company‘s Pastry Chef Stephanie Petersen’s guide and recipe!

Natural sprouted grain flours are among some of the most nutrient-dense foods you can add to your diet. If you’re like a lot of people who have tried to bake with sprouted wheat and found a few challenges, you’re not alone. In this article, we’re give you some great tips for using these flours in your bread baking that will give you great results.  Our seasoned pastry chef struggled with this flour through several experiments in our test kitchen before she finally found some tips to increase your success. Hopefully these will help you on your journey!

  • Knead more or add gluten. Sprouted hard wheat flour is slightly lower in viable gluten-content for easy dough structure. Increase the kneading time in your standard recipes by a few minutes, or add a 1-2 teaspoons vital wheat gluten per cup (depending on the baked product).
  • No long fermentation needed. Classically trained bread bakers know that long slow fermentation gives dough the deepest flavor and character. During this fermentation, the enzymes in the wheat go through some changes like the sprouting process. The depth of flavor can be achieved in a very short amount of time with sprouted flours. Longer fermentation will cause sprouted flour to not raise as much as it would with a short raise.
  • Cup for cup.You can use sprouted flour the same as you would use un-sprouted flour, cup for cup.
  • Sprouted spelt is different. Though it is a wheat variety, it contains less gluten than all other wheat varieties. Spelt does not rise as high as other wheat varieties due to the low gluten content.
  • Avoid rancidity.Sprouted flours should be stored in a cool, dark, dry place in an airtight container and is best consumed within 12 months. The freshness can be extended by at least 6 months in the refrigerator and another 6 months in the freezer.
  • Be safe. Treat all flour like it is a raw product. Store raw flour away from ready-to-eat foods. Keep the measuring of unbaked dough away from areas where baked products are stored. Clean work surfaces with hot soapy water before and after baking with raw flour and doughs. Wash hands after handling raw dough and before tasting any baked goods. Bake all bread to a safe internal temperature (190°-210° F). 

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No-Fail Sprouted Wheat Bread

This recipe is one that our chef perfected after many loaves. We think you’ll agree, it is great for bread! There are many more ways to use this versatile dough. It’s a quick recipe. The bread is ready to bake in about an hour! Yield: 2 loaves.

Filtered water| 2 cups
Olive Oil| 1/4 cup
Honey| 2 Tbsp.
Sea Salt| 2 tsp
Sprouted Whole White Wheat Flour |6-7 cups

Vital Wheat gluten powder*|1/4 cup
Active Dry Yeast| 1 Tbsp.

Directions: 

  1. Wash and sanitize all work surfaces and tools.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sea salt and vital wheat gluten*.
  3. Measure liquid ingredients into a second large bowl. Add the yeast using only half the flour and adding yeast last.
  4. Mix gently until the flour is moistened. Continue mixing, adding flour until the dough comes away from the sides and bottom of bowl.
  5. Knead 8–10 minutes by hand or 4-5 minutes with a mixer using the dough hook on medium speed. Form into a ball and place in a gallon-sized bowl. Cover with plastic and allow to raise about 30 minutes. Deflate dough. Divide dough into two equal portions. Shape into loaves and place in greased 8 inch by 4-inch loaf pans.
  6. Wash and sanitize hands and work surfaces again.
  7. Let rise until doubled or 1″ above pan (we suggest covering it loosely with a tented plastic grocery bag or misting with water and placing in a cool oven.) Preheat oven to 350° F. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until at least 190° internal temperature. Cool on racks. Slice after 15 minutes, store or freeze after 2-3 hours.

* Use of vital wheat gluten is optional, but our test kitchen has found this addition to give the most consistent results without having to knead excessively. If you omit this, increase your kneading time by at least 3 minutes by hand, if not longer.

by Stephanie Petersen

 

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