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HOWTO make GBR (germinated or sprouted brown rice)

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Thanks everyone for making this a popular instructable! This is a perfectly fine way to make good brown rice, but I should mention that I now use the method detailed here: http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.jp/2009/04/new-w... You can use the tools listed in this instructable with the new method, or you can use a warming box or room temperature if it's over 27C where you live.

It's been a few years since I've posted it, so by way of an update I'll answer a couple questions here. 1. The purpose of the hot plate is to keep the rice at a temperature at which it will sprout. If it's warm out, you don't need the hot plate. Recently I built a warming box powered by a simple light bulb attached to a temperature sensor; I put the pot of rice in there and it works great. Easier but a bit more expensive than the hot plate. 2. You can also sprout rice as you would alfalfa sprouts--soak, and then rinse and turn the jar upside down over a strainer. Personally, I find it easier to sprout when the rice is in water. 3. Green tea works to reduce the presence of bad bacteria that cause spoiling. Recently, though, I have had more luck using whey or other fermenter starters. Anyone experimented with this?

This tutorial will describe how to make germinated brown rice (GBR). Why do you want to do this? Because it's healthier and better tasting (I think) than the regular version! I'll discuss some of the health benefits and ways of making it.

Sprouted brown rice can also be called sprouted brown rice, GABA brown rice (for the amino acid GABA that is created during the sprouting), or hatsuga genmai in Japanese.

On page one is a short history and some health benefits. Skip to page two to get straight to the how-to.

 
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rosewater5 years ago
I've used a rice cooker on it's warm, as opposed to " cook" setting. I didn't use a thermometer so I can't vouch for if it was actually below the recommended temperatures for raw diets. You mention that the temperature should be between 86-104 F but most raw books say that the living enzymes that are beneficial to our health are destroyed when they are above our bodies temperature, 98.6 F
bluescrubby (author)  rosewater5 years ago
Perhaps I miscalculated or got some bum information from the internets... At any rate, you're right--I think just over 70 degrees F should be sufficient for sprouting. However, many sources seem to say that up to 100 degrees or more is perfect for germination. My experience is that as long as you keep the water fresh, rice has a tendency to germinate in a wide range of temperatures. The warm setting on a rice cooker, though, is intended to keep food hot enough to prevent contamination, so I suspect it would be too warm for germinating rice. Did you succeed?

I read somewhere that the warm setting on a rice cooker is about 122F which indeed might be too hot for germination or sprouting. Some rice cookers have "Extended Keep Warm" feature which might be a slightly lower temperature.

There are these sprouting cups called "Sproutamo" which are amazing and foolproof for sprouting seeds, beans, anything really. I have four of them and rotate crops constantly so I always have germinated beans ready to cook, sprouts for salad, and spicy sprouts for pita sandwiches. I'm sure you can germinate brown rice in the cups, but then if you put it in a rice cooker it will "assume" that you are giving it hard rice, and you'll get mush. My rice cooker has a "hard" rice setting which might not overcook this sprouted rice... but I haven't tried it. That would be totally ideal because with this Sproutamo thing I've never gotten rot or mold since it has some sort of design to lift out heat generated by germination by convection, somehow keeping the seeds aerated/oxygenated without drying. It's very clever. This means that you could germinate brown rice for a very long time, until they are almost plants. I have turned mung beans into hundreds of little green and purple plant seedlings and never got nasty smells since I rinsed them in a glass pyrex pan and let them sit in sunlight while immersed in water for a while (turns the colors rich and bright, enhancing phytonutrients). I will try this technique on Brown Rice! One could always use a very lightly oiled nonstick pot to cook the GBR to perfection, the old-fashioned way, and then get the ultimate GABA rice!

I have been able to use my rice cookers warm setting to keep the water close to 100 degrees by putting three potholders in the bottom and wrapping a double layer of paper towels around the bowl. This lifts the bowl up and creates less contact with the heat while the paper towels insulate the sides from the metal of the rice cooker and decrease the heat transfer as well. This is my first batch of rice so I haven't seen any results yet.
I don't know, I had to start over because I forgot to change the water. I've gotta start over. Considering that heat destroys nutrition, and the higher the heat the more carcinogenic food becomes*, and that we all want to be as healthy as possible, I wonder if I could find the lowest possible sprouting temperature for rice. It'd be a good question to ask on the raw forums.
As someone in the medical industry I can say that it's not as bad as it's made out to be. 'Carcinogen' is a term that's been massively abused by people who don't necessarily know what they're talking about (I'm not suggesting this is you!). It comes down to molecular chemistry, and while increasing the energy in a chemical system can increase the rate of change/reactions between in the molecules, this doesn't make them inherently carcinogenic. Also, not all beneficial molecules in food are destroyed by heating, some may have their numbers reduced (key word), but certainly not all molecules, and certainly not completely removed, and elemental nutrients (ions like Ca2+ for example) are definitely not affected.
The Zorirushi, says on their site that there baba model heats the rice for 2 hours, at 104 f, before going into the cook cycle..... Has anyone here tried to pressure cook the rice after it has sprouted?
Sprouting before cooking would be healthier than just cooking it, yes. I'm not sure about any difference steps in the actual preparation method though.

Here are two very simple methods you can use.

1) Buy a Germination Pad: A "Germination Pad" is like a hot pad used for sore muscles, but with lower temperatures designed to get seeds in trays (or sprouts) to germinate. They are cheap and useful for sprouting or growing plant starts and microgreens. If you are into GBR, then you are probably interested in sprouting and should own one anyway. You can even buy a thermostat that attaches if you want the ability to program the EXACT temperature such as 85F if that's what you want. I bought these online at a popular online retailer/bookstore that we all know about.

2) Ambient Heat: Another simple method would be to turn up the thermostat you already have- the one in your house, above 27C/80.6F in that room for one day to get it to germinate, maybe even giving it a good burst of 90F to get things going - OR you could try a small space heater nearby to ensure this minimum temperature.

3) I use a Zojirushi Rice Cooker with GABA functionality to cook GBR. The GABA Brown setting uses a long soak and a long, lower temperature cook cycle (to avoid destroying the GABA and nutrients that might be denatured by higher heat)

This GABA feature is cool and we love it. However I know that the default setting of 2 hours soaking in warm water is LAME. That won't allow anywhere near full germination. To get anywhere near useful germination levels, combine the GABA setting with the TIMER function to extend the soak/germination time. You need to experiment with the TIMER function if you are serious about making GBR.

What I do personally is wash the brown rice very well, IMPORTANT: give it a flash soak in mild vinegar water to kill yeast and bacteria, then rinse very well again- **ideally with cooled boiled water so it is sterile (this will improve your results alot if you are worried about avoiding that "cheesy" smell). Now you are starting off very "clean".

Select "GABAbrown" and set the TIMER function to 13 hours or more. You may sneak in another rinse or two during this waiting period, if you can avoid disrupting the timer/GABA settings. My model (Zojirushi NP-HBC-10) lets me get away with this meddling.

*Using the TIMER function works because the Zojirushi's computer chip "knows" how long you've been soaking your rice and it recalculates cooking time and temperature based on this timer delay, so you still end up with perfectly-cooked rice every time, with little chance of getting sick. If you try soaking rice outside in a bowl and then introducing it into a programmable rice cooker, the cooker will assume you are starting with hard fresh rice, and likely overcook it into mush.

That is the upside. The downside is that you might not be able to soak/germinate as long as you want, and you can't do rinses after a certain point once the timer hours run out and it starts the 3-hour slow cook.

"Blood-Brain Barrier" defeatism:

I know that lots of people say that GABA doesn't cross the blood-brain barrier and because of this it isn't useful to germinate rice. To this, I simply suggest that these people may be committing "The Luddic Fallacy" or assuming that "that which has not yet been proven must be false", though it could be totally valid.

It is possible that giving the body plenty of GABA in food and the bloodstream:

A) might give the body everything it needs to make plenty of its own GABA , leading to higher serum and brain GABA levels than the body would produce under different circumstances. Or having plenty of those raw materials in circulation could free up demands elsewhere in the body, allowing it to make more neurotransmitters. We just don't know.

B) that there could be other beneficial components to germinated rice such as vitamins, enzymes, aminos, and other compounds, etc that make sprouting or germinating rice useful. (this is likely true)

C) There could be undiscovered receptors throughout the body that interact with GABA in the bloodstream or gut- we are constantly finding out new things about the human body, immune system, neurology, and the brain. We recently discovered that there are olfactory (smell) receptors all over the skin- very few and widely placed, but they are there... sandalwood incense and aromatherapy, anyone? Some people might have lauded aromatherapy in the past. Keep an open mind and if people want to eat common, whole, natural foods, it's usually not a bad thing. Almost all grains, seeds, nuts, and beans are better for you when sprouted or germinated, as long as the right methods are used.

Personally I'd rather germinate and HOPE to recieve health benefits.

bluescrubby (author)  シュッツェマ18 hours ago
Lots of great information in here, thanks for posting!

Thanks. By the way, I have never used green tea. I might try it soon because I find that interesting. But right now I'm preparing to make carrot cake, green tea brownies, paella, Aomori Black Garlic and other treats inside my rice old cooker, using parchment paper and some grapeseed oil (which handles high temperatures and long cooking very well compared to other oils).

Thanks. I could be really, really geeky and post more about microbiology and biochemistry of it all. But the main points are there. You need clean rice and water, clean procedures and handling, a precise temperature, and the longest time you can germinate without it starting to ferment (rot). Just like with gardening or sprouting microgreens, everything needs to be done scientifically using best practices, almost like a science experiment. This is what gets you the best results.

I am interested in making GABA Red (Bhutan rice) and GABA Black (Chinese Black Rice)... these can also be done. But don't mess it up- these rices are expensive! I think the slower and longer cooking methods makes these rices less hard ("al dente") and more perfect, especially with red rice.

Renethelegend5 months ago

I'm sprouting the rice just at outdoor temp of about 86 c in distelated water with green tea leaving it 30 hours, then clean it dry it in the sun for one day and drop it in my rice cooker. taste great but wonder if this is the most healthiest way to eat it ? anybody knows?

bluescrubby (author)  Renethelegend5 months ago

I would change the water at 18 hours and then rinse well at 30 hours. I freeze mine--why do you dry yours? I wonder if the sun exposure could reduce any nutrients.

Ye probably rising once will keep it from almost fermenting, maybe better.I put it outside in the sun to absorb chorofiel (no idear how to write that) but perhaps the sun exposure or freeze kills the sprouts and make it less healthy that way? freeze to store it longer?

riendear7 years ago
What about using a heating pad and some towels for insulation?
wescc riendear1 year ago
your a towel
Do you rinse the rice before boiling, to rid it of the smellies?
bluescrubby (author)  spark master1 year ago
Absolutely. Rinse when necessary along the way, then rinse 2-3 times before draining and boiling.
cjolley1 year ago
Actually, I think I got it to work by just turning the hot plate on full power for ~30s a few times a day.

I find that, when cooking the rice, it smells like stinky cheese -- sort of like parmesan, but stronger. The taste is fine, but the smell gets to be a little much after a while. Is this normal, or should I be more careful about changing the water next time?
bluescrubby (author)  cjolley1 year ago
I know exactly what you're talking about. Check this article for great information on what to do with the water while soaking.
http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.jp/2009/04/new-way-to-soak-brown-rice.html

And then give it a very thorough rinse before adding your final water for boiling. If you rinse it in a bowl of water, there shouldn't be any more cloudiness coming off the rice before you boil it. I just use running water from my faucet though.
cjolley1 year ago
Hi... I'm trying to set this up using this hot plate (http://www.amazon.co.jp/gp/product/B0013B8G5G/) and the ライトコントローラ you mentioned. The problem that I've run into us that the hot plate is rated for 700W and the dimmer switch can only handle up to 200W, so when I plugged it in (turned to max) it lasted for about a second before the fuse in the dimmer switch blew. I replaced the fuse with a rolled-up piece of aluminum foil just to make sure the rest of it still works, but that's not really a viable long-term solution for something I'll be leaving unattended for long periods of time. I think the 200W limit should be OK as long as I always leave it near the low end of the dimmer range.

So now I'll get to my question... where can one buy a 200W fuse in Japan?
bluescrubby (author)  cjolley1 year ago
Hmm. The low end of the dimmer range should be fine. You can probably find a fuse at any home center in the electronics aisle. I recall getting one for a circuit tester a while back.
superanth2 years ago
Once you've germinated the rice, what's the best method of storage? I've bought dried GABA rice in stores, so I'm guessing drying it works?
bluescrubby (author)  superanth2 years ago
I always freeze mine. In the fridge it will continue to grow and go bad. Drying seems like more trouble than it's worth. Let us know if you try it!
83drummer3 years ago
It can also be sprouted using body heat in cold climates. For instance you could keep in in ziploc bags in a bra or in a pocket within in layered clothing.

(I'm developing a modern nomadic lifestyle that is independent of society).
xinia6 years ago
Well... I don't know why complicate something that can be sooo simple. Here's an easier way to sprout brown rice and it works!!

No need to waste energy keeping the concoction warm for 3 days.

http://radishboy.blogspot.com/2008/05/sprouted-brown-rice.html

If you cant get to the site here's the method:

1. Rinse 1 1/2 cups (or more if desired) brown rice several times until the water is clear.

2. Place the rice in a bowl and cover well with filtered water.

3. Let stand 12 hours or overnight.

4. Pour rice into a strainer and rinse well.

5. Set the strainer over a bowl to drain out of direct sunlight. Cover with a clean dishtowel.

6. Every 12 hours, rinse the rice well.

7. After 24 to 48 hours, small sprouts will appear. Use or refrigerate the rice until ready to use.

8. Cook as you would cook unsprouted brown rice, using slightly less water (for the 1 1/2 cups of rice in this recipe, use 2 cups water). The cooking time will also be shorter.

bluescrubby (author)  xinia6 years ago
True, but brown rice will only germinate in an ambient temperature of 70 degrees or more. If it's cooler than that, a modified hot plate is the cheapest way to provide localized, low-level heat!
You don't need ambient temperature of 70 degrees for rice to sprout. I live near the coast in Northern California, where it's generally pretty cool (50s to 60s most days, down to 40s at night -- even in summer!). I soak the rice in warm water for a day, then drain and cover, rinsing at least twice a day, and it sprouts just fine after 2-3 days. I no longer eat brown rice myself, so I'm sprouting what we have left for our chickens.
bobk_nyc xinia5 years ago
anyome do this in a pressure cooker. and have a time guess to start at?
raw lady3 years ago
I am going to try sprouting rice with my Excalibur dehydrator. Take a few trays out and place shallow pan on try. Can use the rest of the dehydrator for whatever. Has anyone tried this method?
bluescrubby (author)  raw lady3 years ago
Interesting. I think a dehydrator would not be a good environment for making sprouts, but it'll depend on how you do it--let us know how it goes!
lilyrose3 years ago
My husband bought a small crockpot with simple "high" & "low" settings, added a dimmer switch, and bought a nifty remote-reading digital thermometer (which was probably unnecessary but nice for me;-) Hadn't found this site before trying it, but he's gotten the temp to hold steady at 99-100 degrees F and soaked a cup of short-grain brown rice for 20 hours so far. I think a see a little germ opacity at one end of the grains but they're still starchy; just read that we were supposed to rinse every 4-6 hours, so this first batch may just be for experimenting, not for eating! I hope this will work with the short-grain stuff; I really like it best.

traductor33 years ago
I go along with Xinia. The method with the rheostated hotplate or dutch oven is overly complicated. Her method, and mine, will work nicely in warmer climates (such as Tucson). After thoroughly rinsing the rice, as she says, I soaked the grains in a screw-top jar with the lid loosely in place for approximately 12 hours. (I confess that I was flying blind because I had never sprouted rice previously. I had only sprouted wheat and several varieties of beans. My main interest is to produce salad sprouts, so I wonder if the final product will be soft enough for this purpose.) Anyway, I poured the grains into a large strainer--rinsing them carefully once more and piggy-backing them onto another strainer holding black beans that had been soaking concurrently. Then I placed both strainers into a black plastic polyethylene bag and left them over night in a warmish spot in my kitchen. Toward noon of the following day I noted that the beans had begun to sprout and that there were fine protrusions at one end of some of the grains. (Periodic rinsing is necessary of course.) They are now out in our Tucson spring sunlight, hopefully to finish the job. My only caveat: the tutorial says they'll be soft enough to eat raw, but the jury is still out on that one.
bluescrubby (author)  traductor33 years ago
Traductor3, you answer your own question. If you live in a warm climate, good for you. If not, use a hot plate.
Bluescrubby, you are correct. I thought I'd reinforce xinia's helpful comments for us warm climate denizens. Of course in summer many northern climes generate sufficient heat for several hours each day. (I grew up in N.Y. and we had long, sweltering summers.) But since you are the expert, can you tell me if my rice grains will soften up, and after how long? They have been germinating, in and out of the house, for over 20 hours; but the barely, though visibly, sprouted seeds are still quite crunchy. Also, will the sprouts get long and matted like my hard winter wheatberries do? Thanks.
bluescrubby (author)  traductor33 years ago
I usually soaked for 12 hours, then germinated for 2-3 days. You should be able to see them sprout after 1-2 days. Good luck!
Joyful Song4 years ago
Brown rice is an acid forming food. Does the germination change it to an alkaline forming food?
Rogues4 years ago
Are there any links to prove that GBR is more nutritious? I know that more GABA is produced but I really don't see the point when ingested GABA doesn't even cross the blood-brain barrier.
geetus4 years ago
I followed the above suggestion of getting an aquarium heater.  But, I avoided the styrofoamcontainer-float-another-vessel-in-warm-water approach and stuck it straight in the bowl with water and rice, covered it -- easy.
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