Integrative Nutrition Blog

What is Sprouted Bread?

August 12, 2016

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Have you ever been strolling through the farmer’s market or down the aisle at Whole Foods and noticed the growing popularity of this thing called “sprouted grain bread?” Previously relegated to the frozen foods section, sprouted breads are popping up in bread aisles and refrigerator cases everywhere!  But what’s the fuss all about? And is it really good for you?

All About The Sprout

Sprouting is a process in which grains, beans, or legumes have been allowed to germinate or sprout. In sprouted grain bread, typically whole wheat berries, oats, barley, or lentils are used. You can consume sprouts either baked into bread or eat them raw for a hearty boost in nutrition.

If you are feeling up for a science experiment, get a wide mouth quart jar and fill it about 1/3 of the way full with the grain of your choice. Fill the jar with water and let it rest at room temperature in a dark place for 8-12 hours. After 8 hours, drain and rinse the grains. Repeat this process until you notice the first signs of the grains beginning to sprout, then it’s time to use them. The process could take anywhere from 18-36 hours, so be patient, but don’t wait too long or the grains will over sprout and become mushy which leads to a brick of bread. Not good.

Once you have sprouted the grains, spread them out onto a baking sheet to dry, then grind them into flour. Use the flour as you normally would to make bread. And just like that you’ve just created a healthy, enzyme packed loaf of bread ready to feed your family. Sprouted bread is one of those perfectly timed recipes, where you’ll probably have to try (and try again) to perfect the method and timing before getting it just the way you want it.

Allowing the grains to sprout increases the amount of nutrients they offer, and makes the grains easier to digest. Although the nutritional profile of wheat bread and sprouted bread are similar, the extra step of allowing the grains to sprout creates a loaf with less carbs and more protein, a plus for those looking for the healthiest option when it comes to bread.

For those who are limiting or completely removing gluten from their diet, it is important to note that sprouted grain bread is not typically gluten-free. Gluten is found in many common grains and the sprouting process does not remove the gluten. Although sprouted bread may be easier to digest than other breads, it is not recommended as an alternative “go-to” bread for those who are gluten intolerant.

The Science Behind Sprouting

For the science lovers who just have to know how this all works, think of it like this: seeds soaked in warm water are tricked into thinking it’s “grow time” and begin to sprout just like any other seed you’ve ever planted in a garden. The soaking also diffuses a natural plant enzyme called phytate, which, when consumed in large amounts, has been shown to stunt growth. Sprouting also helps break down the starches in grains into simple sugars making the grains easier to digest, which is helpful for those who have tummy troubles after ingesting other types of grains.

The Guy’s Guide To Sprouting

According to Men’s Fitness magazine, eating sprouted bread like Food for Life’s Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Whole Grain Bread, is a smart and healthy choice when picking grains for your diet. They are higher in protein, vitamins and minerals, which is great for those looking to put the best nutrients into their bodies. However, the difference in proteins probably isn’t enough to make a huge difference if your plan is to bulk up and gain muscle. According to the article, sprouted grains give your body the best boost when eaten in their pure form, but when you dry them out, grind them down, and expose them to heat, they lose some of those nutrients. The bottom line: sprouted grains are great for men who are living a healthy lifestyle, but men shouldn’t expect adding sprouted grains to their diet to result in massive body-builder type muscle growth.

Sprouted bread is not new, or experimental. It is a tried and true way that health conscious people have been making bread for years, and is an excellent alternative to breads full of questionable ingredients like preservatives, added sugars, and artificial colors or flavors. For those looking to bump up the nutritional value of their food, sprouted bread is the perfect upgrade to your typical whole wheat loaf and a healthy, and natural way to enjoy grains.

Are you a fan of sprouted bread? Share with us in the comments below!

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