questions about sprouting grain

donna_ttvMarch 28, 2008

I am very interested in finding out more about sprouting grains to make flour and am hoping someone on this forum has the answers or can point me to a resource that does.

To make flour I soak berries for 12 hours, sprout around 12 hours and then dehydrate at 105 degrees.

1) how important is it to dehydrate at 105? what would happen if I dehydrated at 165?

2) how important is it to rinse the berries after soaking, before sprouting, and after sprouting, before dehydrating?

3) would the nutritional value of flour improve if I sprouted for a longer period of time?

4) are the nutrients in flour diminished while baking? if no, why is it important to dehydrate at a low temperature.


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This isn't an area I have a lot of expertise, but I have done it on several occasions.

1. It depends on the "expert" you get information from. I understand 150F is the ideal drying temperature. If you dry the sprouted grain at a temperature of 120°F or hotter, you destroy the enzymes. Raw foodies try to maintain the enzymes. If you are going to heat process the grain/flour (mill it into flour and bake it into a loaf of bread), then it dries quicker and more thoroughly at a hotter temperature.

I can dry sprouted grain in my oven at 170°F and it takes about 8-10 hours (depends on the size of the grain I use). I just make sure I open the oven frequently and make sure the sprouts on the end of the grain aren't burning. Frequent opening brings the temperature down a bit.

If I use my dehydrator, I dry the grain at 150°F. My oven has a 100°F setting, then jumps to 170°F.

So temperature depends on what you are trying to achieve with the grain - enzymes or no enzymes.

2. Rinsing... I drain berries well after soaking so that they don't have so much moisture clinging to them the grains sit in a puddle of water and rot during sprouting.

I rinse them during sprouting twice a day. I fill the container used for sprouting with enough water to make it overflow. The rinsing removes hulls and any other waste produced by the sprouts. After each rinsing, I drain them well.

When they are done sprouting, they are rinsed to remove any remaining hulls, unsprouted (hard) grains, or debris. The final rinse helps to "freshen" the sprouts.

3. The longer you sprout them, the sweeter they get because the starch (in the endosperm of the grain) is changed to a sugar. Just like chewing a cracker for a l-o-n-g time. Saliva mixes with the starch and eventually changes the starch to a sugar and the cracker starts to taste sweet. Sprout too long and the sprout will die - the grain only sustains the sprout for a few days. In normal conditions, that grain sprout would be in soil and would go from a sprout getting "food" from the seed, to roots getting "food" from the soil and producing a plant.

Keep the length of the sprout 1/4-1/2-inch long (2-3 days of sprouting). Once it has sprouted, it has completed the nutritional change and reduction of phytic acid.

4. As explained a little in #1, dehydrating at a low temp. helps maintain the enzymes. This is only important if you also make "live" (raw) food. If you bake bread at a high temperature, you won't maintain the live enzymes.

Nutrition actually increases in bread baked at normal temperatures. I have that in a file somewhere, and if I find it, I'll post more information. Nutrients are different than enzymes. Both are important, but you don't necessarily need to maintain both in the same food to get nutritional benefits. Eating raw, uncooked, foods contributes enzymes to your diet.

You are probably choosing sprouted grains to make them easier to digest (phytic acid reduced).

One caution... You need to make sure the grain is VERY dry before milling it. If it has a high amount of moisture in it, it will glaze over milling stones on a stone mill, and it will clog a micronizer mill. I mill sprouted grain in my Family Mill (hand crank), instead of my electric Whisper Mill. I almost clogged my Whisper Mill once milling sprouted grain. If your sprouted grain has a lot of moisture in it, it can mold, and that's another whole problem

If you don't mind my asking, are you on the Maker's Diet or are you following "Nourishing Traditions"?


    Bookmark   March 28, 2008 at 7:25AM
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Thanks for the info. I am not on the Makers Diet, but do refer to Nourishing Traditions quite often. You are correct that I am sprouting grains to reduce phytic acid.

If you do find the the info on how nutrition increases with baking I would love to read it.

I am trying to get approval to sell sprouted grain flours at farmers markets and the MO health dept is worried about pathogens being introduce in the grain while sprouting. My options are 1) treat with chlorine (won't do that) 2) have a lab test each batch which is too expensive 3) a heat treatment. I finally got them to tell me what temp and duration would be acceptable to them and they came back with 165 degrees for 15 seconds might be acceptable. I want to make sure this temp does not kill too much of the good stuff which it sounds like it won't (only enzymes which will die anyway while baking) so it sounds like the best option of the sprouted flour.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2008 at 8:17AM
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Wow! What a cool idea - and a lot of work...

Will they let you treat the sprouts with Grapefruit Seed Extract? I consider it a better option than chlorine. Do you use Citric Acid in your sprouting? I think it helps to reduce spoilage - especially when you are sprouting large quantities.

Check the link below for more information. That might lead you to more professional/retail sources.

I'd also contact Summers Sprouted Flour Co. for some infomation. If you haven't read their web site, you might give it a look. They do sprouted spelt flour and there's some good information there.

Do you have a hygrometer (or whatever they use) to test the moisture level of the grain after it's sprouted and dried? After doing this at home, I'd be more worried about the mold potential than bacteria. There are positive things about phytic acid too, not just negative. Something else in my file (which I'll have to look for) says that using baker's yeast in breads also reduces the phytic acid. I was an early fan of "Nourishing Traditions" and the stuff at Weston A. Price web site.

From what I've read, the nutrients are preserved in the dried sprouted grain just like it was before it was sprouted. Dried sprouted grain has a 7-year shelf life. The nutrients don't oxidize until the grain is milled - just like when you make freshly-milled whole wheat flour. Exposure to oxygen is what degrades the nutrition, not malting the grain (sprouting and drying).

The bran protects the nutrients from oxidazation. The nutritients begin to oxidize within 24-72 hours (depending on temperature) of milling. That's why I'm a stickler for using freshly-milled flour.

I'd pick the brains of the powers-that-be at Kansas State University (just down the road from me) in the grain division for information. I don't know WHO to contact, but I know some people over there who might know who to contact if you are interested.

I don't know if you need to talk to a plant pathologist, botanists, seed marketing specialists or what...

Good luck and I hope you get the job done.


    Bookmark   March 28, 2008 at 9:32AM
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