There’s something really special about making your very own bread. With your own two hands, you blend a measured amount of simple ingredients, mix, bake and infuse your home with mouth-watering aromas resulting in a magical loaf of bread. Sprouted bread is no different. Making it yourself is special, and getting to know the basic ins and outs, like kneading, of how to properly prepare it makes the final result that much better.
The truth is, yes just a little. Sprouted bread doesn’t require a longer kneading than regular bread. Depending on the recipe being used and whether you’re kneading it by hand or using a mixer the amount of time ranges anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes. Why? Simply put, it’s pre-processed, making it easier for the ingredients to be combined.
If you’ve made bread in the past, then making sprouted bread isn’t going to be all that different. Though, there are some small differences you should be aware of.
What is Sprouted Bread?
Before anything else let’s quickly get into what sprouted bread is. If you haven’t read the article Should Homemade Sprouted Bread be Refrigerated? where I explain what sprouted bread is, then here’s a quick re-cap:
Sprouted bread is made from whole grains that are given a certain amount of time to germinate (a.k.a. sprout) then dried and then ground into flour.
So, instead of simply milling the grain into flour right after a crop has been harvested, the grains go through a short germination process where they are first soaked anywhere from 24 to 48 hours and then allowed to germinate for another 24 to 48 hours.
What’s so great about this process is that it allows the grain to break down the bits that are harder for our body to break down, as well as increase the nutrient value of the grain. Not only are you getting more nutrients, but it’s easier for your body to absorb. How crazy is that?
The Difference Between Sprouted Bread and Regular Bread
Right off the bat, the main, and probably fairly obvious, difference between sprouted bread and regular bread is that sprouted bread uses whole grain sprouted flour. This leads to the next difference, which has already been mentioned, is that sprouted flour has been allowed to germinate thereby increasing the nutrients of the grain.
Another notable difference between sprouted bread and regular bread is that you do not have to ferment as long with sprouted flour to produce those deep flavors we all know and love about bread. Why do you ask? Well, because regular flour needs to ferment longer the enzymes in the grain flour undergo similar changes to those that the sprouted flour goes through during the germination process.
It is important to note that sprouted flour needs to be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark spot in your pantry for about a year. You can extend its shelf-life by an additional six months by refrigerating it, and another six months on top of that by storing it in the freezer.
So, What’s Gluten Got to Do With it?
Another distinction, again because of the germination process, is that sprouted grain flour is significantly lower in gluten. Studies have shown that sprouting grains reduces the amount of gluten by 47%.
The lack of gluten means you need to knead just a little longer than regular bread dough because you want to work it and ensure it’s strong enough to hold its bread shape. You knead your dough until it is smooth and elastic. If you think your dough is ready, but you’re not sure, you can always use the “Poke Test” – which you can read about in my article How Do I know My Bread Dough is Ready to Go in the Oven?
That being said, you will find that sprouted bread is a lot denser than regular bread. There just isn’t enough gluten to create those larger, more airy pockets that we find in bread made with regular, un-sprouted bread. Toasting a slice of your sprouted bread, however, can likely mask that and you’ll forget all about how heavy and dense it is.
While sprouted flour has less gluten than regular, un-sprouted flour, that doesn’t mean it’s ok for those who are dealing with medical problems associated with gluten, such as:
- Celia Disease
- Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity
- Wheat Allergy
- Gluten Ataxia
- Dermatitis Herpetiformis
If, however, you’re simply trying to lower your gluten intake, then sprouted bread is a great choice. With gluten being outed as a culprit to a whole array of illnesses and ailments, it’s no wonder a lot of us are looking for ways to either eliminate or reduce, our gluten intake. While sprouted bread isn’t gluten-free, it is a lot easier for our bodies to digest and gain from the other nutritional benefits of including whole grains like wheat, rye, and barley in our diet. You still get to enjoy the grains you are familiar with, giving your body an easier time processing them.
Sprouted bread dough needs to be kneaded only a little more than regular dough to make up for the fact that it contains a lot less gluten. It will be dense, and might even need a loaf pan to help maintain its shape, but it’s worth it if you take into account that your body can absorb more nutrients from it. Just toast it, if it bothers you, and enjoy a slice for your health!