Start to Finish: 2 hours 30 minutes
A homemade loaf of sprouted-grain bread is inexpensive and a cinch to make with a bread machine. A homemade loaf is also fresher than what is available at health food stores or specialty bakeries. Sprouted-grain bread uses one or more grains, including wheat, millet, barley or rye. Before grinding into a flour, the grains are first sprouted — the first stage in growing. Sprouted-grain bread is a good source of whole grains. For some people, compared with other breads, sprouted-grain bread is easier to digest. This recipe is adapted from ones by Essential Eating and the Whole Grains Council.
- 4 tablespoons butter, unsalted and softened
- 4 tablespoons agave syrup, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
- 4 cups sprouted-wheat flour, wheat or mixed grain
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons instant active dry yeast
Place the butter, syrup and water in the bread machine, evenly spacing out the butter in slices.
In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt thoroughly, using a fork. Add the flour mix to the bread machine pan, fully covering all the liquid.
Sprinkle the yeast over the flour, distributing evenly. Make sure the yeast does not touch any of the butter, water or syrup.
Place the bread machine pan into the bread machine, pushing down firmly until you hear a click. Close the lid of the machine, ensuring it is fully shut.
Select the rapid bake cycle — the basic one — on the machine. Choose the crust setting choice, then press start.
Sprouted-grain breads are best made with a light or medium crust. A dark crust setting can lead to bitterness because of the added sweetener.
Remove the bread pan from the machine once the baking cycle is finished. Be careful, as the pan will be very hot.
Tip the pan so that the bread comes out in one smooth piece. Let cool on a wire rack until it is easy to handle, and slice the loaf with a bread knife.
Store the bread in a plastic bag at room temperature for 2 to 3 days, and in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Freeze extra or leftover sprouted-grain bread by wrapping well in plastic wrap or storing in an airtight plastic freezer bag. The bread will keep for 2 to 3 months without any deterioration in quality.
Sprouted-wheat bread is a good source of fiber and whole grains, but the bread still does contain gluten, as it is made from wheat.
Vary the type of sweetener used for the bread to subtly change the taste. Replace the agave with:
- Maple syrup
- Liquid honey
- Brown sugar
Add dried spices and herbs to the flour mix prior to starting the baking cycle to flavor the bread. Ideas include:
- Dried oregano, basil or thyme
- Spice blends, like herbes de Provence
- Ground cinnamon
Add nuts, seeds and small pieces of dried fruit to give sprouted-grain bread flavor and texture. Chop large nuts or pieces of fruit into 1/4-inch pieces before adding. Add no more than 1/4 cup of nuts, seeds or chopped dried fruit. Ideas include:
- Black or white sesame seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Chopped walnuts or hazelnuts
- Chopped dried apricots