Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Hier geht's zur deutschen Version dieses Posts

A while ago I saw a bread recipe that intrigued me. Not only had it a lot of grains, but, also, three different kinds of sprouts: wheat, lentils and quinoa.

To make a sprouted grain bread you have to plan ahead, because it takes about 2-3 days until the first little white tips show up on the soaked grains.

Wheat, lentils and quinoa are beginning to sprout

Once sprouted, the grains are pureed into a smooth paste that, together with toasted sunflower-, pumpkin- and sesame seeds, gives this interesting bread its unique taste.

I changed the original recipe, created by "America's Test Kitchen", quite a bit. Though I don't mind a hint of sweetness, I don't like "falling into the honey jar" (as the Germans say), and 1/3 cup of honey in the dough seems a lot, even with the potentially bitter bran and fibers of the whole grains.

Pumpkin-, sunflower- and sesame seeds (I used black sesame)
Instead of long kneading I prefer stretching and folding the dough, combined with an overnight rest in the fridge.

This slow fermentation ensures good digestibility, and the aroma of the bread has more time to develop.

And, as an additional benefit, you need less yeast.

I was a bit leery whether you would taste the lentils (as I had experienced with some gluten free pastry made with bean meal.)

The bread looked so appetizing, when it came out of the oven, that we could hardly wait until it had cooled down enough to be cut.

Fortunately my fears proved to be unfounded, my sprouted grain bread was as tasty as it looked. No harsh legume aroma met our taste buds, the lentils blended harmoniously with the other ingredients.

The bread was also good for toasting, and we liked it especially with butter and honey.

SPROUTED GRAIN BREAD   (adapted from Cook's Illustrated)

Sprouted Grains
140 g/4.9 oz wheat berries     (3/4 cup)
  43 g/1.5 oz quinoa                (1/4 cup)
  41 g/1.4 oz brown lentils      (1/4 cup)
    2 cups cold water

 ½ cup warm water                 (110ºF/43ºC)
 42 g/1.5 oz honey                  (2 tbsp)
 36 g/1.3 oz sunflower seeds  (1/4 cup)
 20 g/0.7 oz pumpkin seeds    (2 tbsp)
 17 g/0.6 oz sesame seeds       (2 tbsp)
274 g/9.7 oz bread flour
    4 g/0.14 oz instant yeast
    7 g/0.25 oz salt                    (1 1/2 tsp)
1 egg white, mixed with 1 tsp. water, for brushing

DAY 1:
For the sprouted grains, combine wheat berries, quinoa, lentils and water in large bowl, cover, and let soak at room temperature for at least 12 hours (and up to 24 hours.)

DAY 2-3:
Drain grains through fine-mesh strainer (caution: if the mesh is not fine enough the quinoa seeds will fall through), then return them to the bowl.

Cover, and leave at room temperature, rinsing and draining grains daily, until small sprouts appear on each type of grain. (At this point, they can be patted dry and refrigerated for up to 1 week.)

  Puree sprouted grains in food processor to a sticky paste

DAY 3-4:
Process sprouted grains in food processor to a smooth, sticky paste, 2-3 minutes.

Combine seeds in small bowl. Toast 45 g/6 tbsp. of the seeds (reserve remaining seeds for topping.) Whisk water and honey together in measuring cup. 

Combine sprouted grains, bread flour, yeast, and salt in bowl of stand mixer with dough hook. Add water/honey mixture, while mixing on low speed for 1-2 minutes, until dough comes together and all flour is hydrated. Let it rest for 5 minutes.

Knead dough on medium-low speed for 6 minutes, slowly adding toasted seeds until dough is smooth, elastic, but still a bit sticky (dough should clear sides of bowl, but stick a bit to bottom.)

Transfer dough to lightly oiled or wet counter. With oiled or wet hands, stretch into a rough square, and fold from top and bottom in thirds, like business letter. Then fold from both sides. Gather dough into a ball, and place, seam side down, into lightly oiled bowl. Cover, and let it rest for 10 minutes.

After the last fold refrigerate the dough overnight

Repeat this stretching and folding 3 times in 10 minute intervals. After the last fold, place dough in refrigerator for a slow overnight rise.

DAY 4-5:
Remove dough from refrigerator, and let sit at room temperature for 2 hours, or until almost doubled in size.

Over night the dough has almost doubled

Preheat oven to 425ºF/220ºC. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Shape dough into a round, and place it, seam side down on prepared baking sheet. Brush bread with egg wash and sprinkle with reserved seeds. (No slashing needed.)

Sprinkled with seeds the bread looks pretty good already

Cover, and let bread rise for about 45 - 60 minutes, until nearly grown to double its original size (finger probe: a dimple made with a finger should not close again).

Bake bread at 350ºF/175ºC for 20 minutes, rotate 180 degrees, and continue baking for another 20-30 minutes, until it is golden brown, sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom, and registers 210ºF/99ºC on an instant read thermometer.

Let bread cool on wire rack.

Tastes good as BLT-sandwich, too!

Submitted to YeastSpotting
Submitted to Panissimo:  Bread & Companatico
                                        Indovina chi viene a cena                                            


  1. A beautiful bread. The dough looks like Marla's black hamster :) but of course it's less moist then that otherwise there would be no way for you to free shape the bread. Well done. I get inspiration in letting my grains sprout. I might want to do that as well with one of my next breads.
    BTW, I also prefer stretch and fold, but I never tried to let the dough rise slowly in the fridge overnight. Do you think the taste improves a lot, doing that? How to you make sure you don't over ferment the dough this way?

    1. It is quite moist, but the seeds give it a stiffer structure. I either use S&F or work with pre-doughs, depending on what works best for my schedule.
      I bulk ferment almost all doughs overnight in the fridge, using very little commercial yeast, so they don't overproof.
      This works really well, because I can do most of the work the day before I bake them. The taste definitely improves, whole wheat breads taste milder and less "healthy", and white breads have a more complex flavor, whereas those made within a few hours are often quite bland.

    2. It's a great idea for not having to stand up at 4 in the morning (which I don't do anyway haha). I will give it a try, hoping my sourdough will be active enough...

    3. Exactly! I take the breads out when I first get up in the morning, and shape them two hours later (rolls can be shaped cold, they warm up so quickly).

    4. Hi Karin,
      Thank you for sharing the recipe.
      Will you please help me understand why slow rise in the fridge overnight would make the whole wheat breads less healthy?
      Thank you,

    5. I tried this, the flavor is really good, but it is dense. I baked cold from the fridge, it took a lot longer to bake and probably the reason for the density.

  2. Bread with sprouted grains was on my agenda quite for a while- so now I will make the soaker immediately! Thank you, for the detailed advice on how and when to....

    1. Do try it, and please let me know how it turned out!

    2. Turned out very nice, I like it! Made a few changes, of course- who doesn't?

    3. Glad to hear that you liked it. What were your personal touches?

    4. different time management (due to necessities) and poppy seeds instead of sesame were the major changes. What kind of lentils did you use?

    5. Regular brown lentils. I like poppy seeds in bread, too, definitely a good alternative.