Sprouted grains are more nutritious than their unsprouted brethren, and (IMO anyway) they taste better as well. Peter Reinhart's latest book, Bread Revolution, explores the use of sprouted grain in baking, and has some wonderful recipes. (As a side note, if you aren't familiar with Peter Reinhart, his books The Bread Baker's Apprentice and Whole Grain Breads, are the best bread books I've ever read. I've been working through them for over a decade, and am still finding new discoveries. Go buy them now.)
Sprouted flour is hard to find, though, and usually really expensive. My solution is to sprout it myself and mill my own from organic grains I get by the 50# pail at 1/10th the cost.
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Step 1: Sprouting the Grains
How much grain to use is only limited by your ability to rinse and drain the grain. I find that about 1.5 cups total grain works for my sprouter.
I'm using a mixture of rye, emmer, spelt, durum wheat and hard red wheat. If you are planning on using this flour for something that requires a lot of gluten strength (bread, for instance), you will want to limit your non-wheat options to about 10-15% of the total, instead of the 60% I use here. The bulk of this particular batch may never actually make it to the flour stage, as we like to mix it in with steel cut oats for breakfast.
- Using a colander or sieve, thoroughly rinse the grain in cold water for at least 60 seconds, stirring with your hand.
- Transfer the grain to a large cup or bowl, and cover with an inch of two or water. Set out overnight on the counter.
- The next morning, repeat the thorough rinse. If you have a sprouting vessel with a false bottom, transfer the grain into it and allow to drain. If not, leave the grain in the strainer over a bowl, and set it aside.
- That night, repeat the 60 second rinse. The grain may have already started to sprout. If so, you can skip to the drying phase now. Otherwise, after the rinse, leave the grain to drain overnight.
- The final morning, rinse the grain again, then proceed to the drying step.
Step 2: The Drying Game
Spread a layer of paper towels down on a sheet pan.
Pour the grain out, smoothing it into as even a layer as possible. Avoid clumping, the thinner the layer the better.
Attach clips to the edges of the paper towels. If you don't do this, there is a chance that, after the grain is substantially dried, the fan will be strong enough to lift the edge of the paper towel, and the grain will seek freedom from the confines of the pan as it flies across the room... All. Across. The Room.
Set the securely clipped pan in front of a regular box fan set on low blowing directly across the pan. (I generally push two chairs facing each other, and put the box fan in one facing the pan in the other.)
At some point halfway through the day, go by and break up the grain with your hands like you were shuffling dominoes. You're making sure that any remaining clumps are broken apart, and that nothing is adhering to the paper towel. If you can do it more often, great.
That evening, if the grain doesn't feel completely dry, shuffle it again and go to bed. Usually it will dry within 12 hours, though.
You can also use a dehydrator if you have one that can run without any heat.
Step 3: In Use
My favorite slow-release pre-workout carb is as follows:
Mix steel cut oats 50/50 with sprouted grain. For each ~250 calorie serving use:
- 1/4 cup oats/grains mix
- 1 cup water
- pinch kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon raisins
- 1 tablespoon walnut pieces
- 1 teaspoon honey
- skim milk to taste
Add oat/grain mix, water and salt to a nonstick pan, bring to a boil.
Hold at a light boil for 5 minutes.
Stir, drop the heat to low, and cover. Let simmer for 20 minutes.
Add the raisins, stir in, recover and let sit 5 more minutes.
Stir in the walnuts, honey and milk, enjoy.