How to Make Sprouted Flour at Home

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist June 4, 2009

sprouted grain for making sprouted flourSprouted flour made from freshly ground sprouted grain is one of the 3 ways traditional societies used to prepare their grains before eating.

This careful preparation of wheat and other grains is necessary in order to break down the antinutrients, toxins, and difficult to digest proteins (i.e., gluten) so as to optimize digestibility and to allow maximum absorption of nutrients.

Unfortunately, this careful preparation method has been lost with our modern cooking methods which focus on speed and convenience rather than nutrient density and digestibility!

Many healthy home economists are returning to these wise and traditional preparation methods, especially as allergies and intolerances to grains continue to explode in the industrialized world.    It is amazing to me how many folks label themselves as “gluten intolerant”.  If they only realized how simple cooking techniques will easily break down the gluten and allow them to enjoy wheat again!

Today’s blog will focus on making sprouted flour, wheat in particular. Sprouting wheat before grinding into sprouted flour and then cooking/baking breaks down the gluten and increases the nutrition of the grain substantially.

For instance, vitamin C is produced by sprouting grain, but it is absent in the unsprouted form.   Vitamin B content is increased dramatically by sprouting as are carotenes.  Irritating substances in the hull of the wheat are inactivated by sprouting as well. These inhibitors (phytic acid) have the potential to neutralize the enzymes in our digestive tract, so sprouting exponentially increases ease of digestion!

Much media attention has been focused recently on the problem of aflatoxins in grains.   Aflatoxins are potent carcinogens in grains and are present in high quantities in highly processed foods such as crackers, cookies, chips, and cereals. Sprouting inactivates aflatoxins, which is just another reason to follow the wisdom of traditional peoples in grain preparation!

Sprouting takes a bit of time, but it is quite easy and can be done in bulk so that you only have to do it every month or so depending on how much sprouted flour you use.

The first item you need to sprout is a half gallon size glass container with a screen lid (like this one).   Many health food stores sell sprouting jars, but you can easily make one yourself at home using a glass jar and a clean pair of pantyhose cut to fit the lid of the jar and fastened with a rubber band.

Once you have your jar ready, fill it no more than halfway with the grain you wish to sprout. I use organic spelt or organic soft white wheat that I obtain from my local grain co-op. For other ideas, visit my Resources page.

Rinse the wheat several times with filtered water until the berries are completely wet.  Then fill the jar until almost full with water and let the berries soak overnight.  The next morning, tip the jar and drain out the water using the screen lid to prevent the berries from spilling out.  Rinse the wheat one more time and then invert the jar and let it sit at an angle to facilitate draining and allowing the circulation of air.

I use my grain grinder as a support for the jar so that the draining occurs right over the kitchen sink.    Every few hours, rinse the wheat again and reset the jar in the draining position.  In anywhere from a few hours to a few days (depending on the time of year and warmth/humidity in your home), small white buds will appear on the ends of the wheat kernals. When this occurs, pour the sprouted wheat kernels into baking pans and place in a dehydrator or a warm oven (150 F) for about 24 hours until fully dried.

After the sprouted wheat berries are dried, you can then store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator, or grind immediately and then freeze the sprouted flour.  Use sprouted flour just like you would use regular flour in your favorite baking recipes.

Note that baked goods made with sprouted flour are much more digestible/filling.  As a result, you will find that you eat much less of the same item when you use sprouted flour!

If you are a more visual learner,  please see my videoblogs on how to sprout flour!

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

 

Comments (40)

  1. Pingback: Baking with Sprouted Flour | Be a Healthy Mom

  2. It is quite a challenge to find good spelt berries, especially in the East side of this continent makes dry conditions too scarce to have a reliable source of good berries, not spoilt by humidity. In the last three years, I had to throw away (compost) three bags of 45 pounds of berries…
    Buying the berries specifically for sprouting would make the cost prohibitive to make bread, about $8.- for a one and a half pound loaf…

    Reply
  3. Hi Sarah,
    I give dried sprouted powder (of brown rice, mung beans, millets, quinoa, bazra, chick peas) cooked with milk and sugar to my 13 month old baby. I am wondering if I need to dehull the mung beans, chick peas or any other grains/ peas before making flour. Also, I want to introduce kidney bean and lentil sprouts to him. Can you also suggest me a better way to feed him these sprouts please? Your suggestions will be a lot helpful to my baby. He is 2 months premature (adjusted age is 11 months) and I want to feed him the best foods. Thanks!

    Reply
  4. Do you need a grain grinder to grind the sprouted wheat berries after dehydration? I only have a food processor. Also, is it okay to dehydrate at 170 degrees Fahrenheit? This temperature is the lowest setting on my oven.

    Reply
    • If you put a spoon in the door of your oven to keep the door open just a crack, it will keep the temp under the 170 setting that you say is the lowest you can go. I have done this and it works great. Got the idea from Sarah, I believe.
      Holly

      Reply
  5. Hi! I was just wondering if there was a difference between sprouted flour and diastatic malt? The process to make them sounds the same, so I’m confused. Thanks!

    Reply
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  9. Hi, Sarah!
    I love your website, and can easily get lost in reading all the interesting posts! I have been grinding wheat and baking bread for my family for years now, but have just recently learned I wasn’t doing all I could for their health and mine. I have tried sprouting the flour twice now but have had less-than-ideal results. I’m talking bread that looks like biscotti, it’s so dense and doesn’t rise. What am I doing wrong? The only thing I can come up with is that I haven’t lowered my oven temperature. I usually dry the grains at 170 degrees F. Could this be the problem? The almonds that I soak and dry this very same way always turn out great. Any advice would be much appreciated!

    Reply
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  12. Great, thanks for the quick & easy directions. I’ve been wanting to read up on this now I don’t have to. Will be doing this shortly, I certainly can’t wait to try my first batch of sourdough with the sprouted local wheat berries!
    Chiot’s Run\’s last post: Will It Bloom?

    Reply
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  14. Hello! I just got a new Nutrimill and was reading the directions. It says specifically not to grind sprouted grains in it. Is it referring to non-dried sprouted grains? What if I dehydrate them first??

    Reply
  15. Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
    Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist December 17, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    I am not familiar with a Nutrimill but my very basic Champion grinder grinds sprouted flour kernels just fine. I have recently come across some new research by Rami Nagel which suggests that while wonderful, sprouting does not inactivate phytic acid and other antinutrients as much as previously though. If you want to sprout, it might be best to also soak or sourleaven the dough as well.

    When you sprout, you want the sprout to be just emerging from the kernel. If you let it get too long, the starch will be used up and you won’t end up with much flour when you grind it.

    Please see my video on this to see how long the sprouts should be.

    Also, My blog on Whole Grains Cause Cavities? explores whether sprouting alone is effective in eliminating phytic acid in more depth.

    Reply
  16. Sarah,

    I'm not sure if you will get this comment as the post is several months old. There is quite a bit of conflicting information about sprouting flour. Essential Eating claims that most home sprouted flour is drowned. Which doesn't make sense if it sprouts, as a growing sprout is considered a living food. Also there is The Falling Number Test, which I am not sure how it applies to home sprouters. Is it implying that you would need as a home sprouter to let your sprouts grow longer than just a bud to ensure that there is sufficiet enzyme activity and that phytic acid is broken down? I have read all over the web that anywhere from buds to one inch sprouts are sufficient to reduce intolerance to grains & phytic acid. Is this a individual trial and error to see what works for any given individual? Or are you aware of more solid evidence that specifically states at what point of sprouting phytic acid and gluten are inhibited and there fore the grain is now a living food nutritious food. I have sproued to buds and as long as one half of an inch. The longer the sprout the harder it seems for my NutriMill to grind, even thought I am quite sure the sprouts are sufficiently dehydrated, longer sprouts also seems to behave differently in baking which as you know can be frustrating. I would like to provide my family with the most nutritious option possible and am a little uncertain on this. Thank You.

    Reply
  17. Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist June 24, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    You do not need to soak sprouted flour. Sprouted flour already has the gluten and antinutrients broken down so soaking would be overkill. Only soak unsprouted flour. I have only ever soaked wheat or spelt flour so do not have experience soaking other flours.

    Reply
  18. I think I read a recipe a while ago that soaked flour for about 24 hours before using in recipe. What is your opinion on soaking the flour? I am about to do it with a mixture of bleached flour and brown rice flour? Is this beneficial? If so, are all grain flours OK to soak?

    Reply
  19. Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist May 14, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    Hi Naomi, I think perhaps there was a misunderstanding. It is fine to use yeast for bread made with sprouted flour .. I just have not had good success making a very good bread this way, but if you are that is great! I think I said not to use yeast in UNsprouted flour bread as this would cause a quick rise and the gluten would not be broken down sufficiently. If you want to make bread with unsprouted flour, then sourdough or soaking are the methods to be used there. Hope that makes sense. Glad you are enjoying the blog!

    Reply
  20. Please forgive me for posting so many times on your site, but now I've just read your advice that we should not make yeasted breads with the sprouted flour, or that we should ferment it instead. I was excited to be getting such wonderful bread with my sprouted flour because I have not been successful with fermented breads. Also, I had been reading on the site of To Your Health who makes and sells sprouted flours that we can use sprouted flour just like unsprouted flour, which I have been doing. I don't want to sound argumentative, but gluten does develop in my bread, or SOMEthing is going on in there because my bread rises all the way to the cover of my bread machine, and is very wonderful-tasting, fluffy and light. Maybe I'm misunderstanding your statement: "Yeast is fine to use with sprouted flour if you want on perfecting that process". I didn't have to perfect any process, my bread turned out GREAT the very first time. So apparently you must be saying that even though the bread looks and tastes good, it's not a good idea to use sprouted flour for bread-making? I was thinking of using it for sourdough, but again, I have been trying to make sourdough bread and it makes bricks. Don't really want to waste my good sprouted flour on bricks :)

    I haven't seen answers to any of my questions yet, probably because I was on some older blogs and maybe you haven't seen them yet; but I sure would love to hear your take on some of these issues. I've just recently discovered your site and love it. Thank you for all your work so that people like me can benefit from it.

    Naomi
    naomiandtom@gmail.com

    Reply
    • Hello Naomi, I read your comments about making bread with sprouted flour, and was wondering if you would be interested in sharing your recipe with me. I have a friend in another state that is trying along with me to learn to sprout and to make the bread with the sprouted flour. We share our comments over the phone, though we rarely see each other since we live so far apart. I told her about your comments and she suggested that I ask you for your recipe.

      Thanks , Linda

      Reply
  21. Hi Sarah, I have just discovered the health benefits of soaking and sprouting grains! I am excited to try your methods as buying sprouted flour is killing my budget! ;) Also, just FYI, Becker's coop web address has changed… it is now http://info.breadbeckers.com/coops/
    Thanks for all the great info, I am looking forward to eating grains again and taking better care of my family!

    Reply
  22. Thank you for sharing how to make sprouted flour at home. I have now done it twice and found it to be easy. It helps that I already had a grain grinder and a dehydrator. The biscuits and pancakes have been wonderful.

    Reply
  23. I just want to say that I have had some great success with the sprouting. I have sprouted white wheat, dried it, and baked with it this week. It is VERY light. It made yummy scones and pancakes. Also I sprouted red winter wheat, ground it in my food processer and made some delicious loaves of hardy chewy yeasted bread. It rose wonderfully. I just wish I had a better way to grind the wet grain as I think I would get a lighter loaf. I am really enjoying the change. I have baked whole wheat bread for 15 years, but I know that my stomach is not always happy about the wheat. Hopefully this will be something my body handles better. Just wanted to share and say thanks for all your work and the blog. I really enjoy it and it is so helpful.
    Holly

    Reply
  24. Thanks for the info! Very helpful! My first experience with sprouting was unsuccessful, as I used hard wheat and sprouted too long. So, it's good to know that I need to use soft wheat and I look forward to not have to soak quick breads.

    Thanks again!

    Reply
  25. Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist February 21, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    Hi Holly, I do not use sprouted flour for bread. It works best for baked goods that don't require much of a rise, like pancakes, waffles, or pizza crust. Yeast is fine to use with sprouted flour if you want on perfecting that process, but it is better to ferment the dough (sourdough) for bread if you are using unsprouted flour. No yeast is required to bake a sourdough loaf.

    Reply
    • Hi Sarah!
      Do you know why yeast is fine to use with sprouted flour, but not with unsprouted flour? I’ve read that yeasted breads are not good, but do not really know why that is. Do you have any info. on this? Thanks so much!
      Bess

      Reply
  26. Hi Sara,
    I am wondering if you can share how you would make bread with sprouted flour. I could use this flour with baked goods that do not require a rise. But without gluten in the grain how do you make a loaf of sandwich bread rise? Yeast or no yeast? I did a search but didn't see this on the blog.Thanks!
    Holly

    Reply
  27. I was wondering if anyone has sprouted any gluten free grains like millet or buckwheat?

    I didn't find a company that carries these.
    Thanks
    Karen

    Reply
    • Hi,
      I always sprout my gluten free grains.I sprout amranth,quinoa,buckwheat etc.They sprout very well but do take little bit more time then spelt or wheat.I always sprout lentils too.They also sprout very well.Mung beans sprouts are gluten free and considered very healthy.Let me know if any concerns.

      Reply
  28. Diane@Peaceful Acres November 9, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    Sarah, you explained this simple process so well. I've hesitated sprouting my own bc I thought it was a really big time consuming job. Not so. Thanks.

    Reply
  29. Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist July 13, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    Hi Eva, I would wait a bit until all of the spelt berries are sprouted. It shouldn't take but a few hours more.

    Reply
  30. Hi Sarah,
    Thank you for the interesting information. I wanted to ask you whether you stop the sprouting process even though not all of the grains have actually sprouted. I'm just sprouting spelt and some of the grains have the barely visible white sprout and some don't. Those that don't are soft and chewable, and I'm not sure whether to leave it a bit longer to wait and risk that those sprouting already will sprout too much…

    Reply
  31. Hi Sarah,
    I applaud you for your efforts and have just read your sprouted flour post. It reminded me of the time and effort it used to take me to make sprouted flour. Last year I found a company selling certified organic sprouted flour and I gave them a call. Surprisingly they were doing some things that I couldn't do as a home sprouter. First, they test every batch to assure the grain has sprouted versus drown. They sift the sprouted flour to remove any foreign matter and they have more sophisticated milling equipment that makes flour with much better baking characteristics. All things I could not do a home. But the most enlightening thing was that they have an organic rinsing system that removes the "unwanted" bacteria from the sprouted grain, something I also could not do a home. So the bottom line is that I am now happy to buy their delicious, safe, sanitary, organic sprouted flour at my health food store and I'm sharing it with you and those who don't have the time to make sprouted flour at home. It is the only flour I use as it digests as a vegetable. Shiloh Farms is the label, but for more info on the company producing it see essentialeating.com. This sprouted flour has so improved my health and my kids love it. I'm happy to spread the word!

    Reply
  32. Hi Sarah,
    I read you post about making sprouted flour and it reminded me of how much time and effort it used to take me to make sprouted flour. Last year I found a company that sells certified organic sprouted flours and gave them a call. They do some things that a home sprouter cannot. First they test each batch to assure the grain has been sprouted as sometimes grain looks sprouted but is in fact drown. They have an organic rinsing system to remove the unwanted bacteria and they sift the finished flour to remove foreign matter. More steps that are not done by home sprouters. Their milling system is also more sophisticated, which enables their flour to have great baking characteristics. Bottom line is that after talking with these folks I'm happy to buy their safe, sanitary flour and it's so easy to pick up a bag at my health food store. Shiloh Farms is the brand, but the company that makes the flour has a lot of info on their site at essentialeating.com. Just thought those who don't have the time to sprout and mill their own might be interested.

    Reply

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