The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Help with sprouted-wheat bread

amontiel69's picture
amontiel69

Help with sprouted-wheat bread

Hello all,


I just discovered this website while looking for some help online on possible explanations for the problems I have with this loaf I just baked. This is the situation:<br>


I sprouted my own wheat a couple of days ago because I wanted to try and make bread out of sprouted wheat to give that a try. The sprouting process went fine, as far as I can tell, with the wheat developing just a little bit of a tangy smell to it, which I think is a natural result of the sprouting process (if not, please feel free to correct me on this one).


Then, I ground the wheat with my food processor until I got a thick moist pulp and this is the recipe I followed to make the bread:


3 cups sprouted wheat berries
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup water, at room temperature


I dissolved the honey in the water and added the yeast and let it proof for about 5 or 8 minutes, then added this mixture to the ground wheat along with the vital gluten. I kneaded the dough for about 3 minutes and let it rest to rise for 90 minutes. It more than doubled its size (and I think this may have been the cause of the first problem with the bread), then took the dough out, kneaded it for another minute or so and transferred it to a baking pan and put it on my crockpot on the lowest setting for 8 hours. Now as you can see from the attached image, the bread came out sunken in the middle (I think the raising time should have been shorter), and I would like to know how to avoid this.


The biggest problem I have with this bread, however, is the taste. I have never eaten bread made with sprouted grains before, so I have no parameters to compare the taste of my bread, but it came out with an almost acid aftertaste. That is, upon first biting into it you don't notice anything particular, but as soon as you start chewing on it and it starts getting moist in your mouth, there is a very strong taste, almost like acid stale bread, but not quite that strong. Is this how this particular bread is supposed to taste, and if not, what could be causing this taste? Too much honey, perhaps?


Any help or comments are more than welcome. I really want to start making sprouted-wheat bread on a regular basis, so any help I can get to ensure success is more than appreciated.


Alex


Sprouted-wheat loaf

Caltrain's picture
Caltrain

Sprouted wheat berries smells like... bean sprouts. That tangy smell could be a problem.


While sprouting, are you rinsing your wheat every half a day or so? If not, it's possible that something's going rancid. Either way, I wouldn't describe sprouted wheat bread as "tangy" or acidic. It should be nutty, if anything else. Try chewing on a sprouted wheat berry before it goes in the food processor. It should taste like, again, bean sprouts.


Also, using a slow cooker is an interesting choice. Have you tried using an oven? Normally, in an oven the crust sets just as the loaf springs; in a slow cooker, it's possible the loaf overproofed and collapsed before the loaf hardens.

amontiel69's picture
amontiel69

Thank you for your answer. I was rinsing the wheat three times a day: early in the morning upon waking up, then in mid-afternoon and just before going to bed. The wheat sprouted nicely, but as I said there was a somewhat tangy smell to it. Please note that I am only talking about smell here, I actually tasted the wheat and the taste was just fine, nothing acidic or rancid to it. I do not know if the acidic taste developed during the raising of the dough or if I added too much honey to it.


The reason why I chose a slow cooker is to try and preserve as much of the nutrients resulting from the sprouting process as possible. In my mind, there is no point in having the wheat go through all the biochemical changes ocurring during the sprouting process only to destroy all those nutrients with high heat during normal baking. To my understanding, the whole idea behind sprouting grain for bread-making is to make it more nutritious and more easily digested by the body, so high heat would go against that idea. At least that is what I think, but please feel free to correct me if my reasoning is flawed.


This is actually my second attempt at making bread with sprouted wheat. The first time I did use an oven and got the same sunken loaf and same acidic taste, so I thought this time it must have been due to other factors.


Any ideas as to how to make sure I am doing it right?


Thank you very much,


Alex


 

Caltrain's picture
Caltrain

The "standard" causes for collapsed loaf is either underkneading, overproofing, or low oven temperature. Vital wheat gluten needs plenty of kneading; 3 minutes seems a bit short. A strong, yeasty flavor (which is sour) is often the result of using too much yeast (probably not the case here), overproofing, or an incomplete bake (i.e. the yeast hasn't been killed). Any of those things could be the culprit. :)


By the way, when you tried baking, what was your oven temperature and how long was the loaf in for? More importantly, what was the internal temperature of the loaf when you took it out? It should be at least 195 degrees F.

amontiel69's picture
amontiel69

Well, actually the previous time I used a Zojirushi bread machine to knead and bake the loaf. Although that one rose a little more than this one, it still sunk in the middle and came out very acid. Therefore, I do not know the internal temperature of the loaf, since the bread machine took care of the whole process.


This time, I wanted to do it myself and the results were actually very similar to the first time, so I don't really know what it is that I am doing wrong. I am leaving one more pound of wheat soaking overnight today to give it another go. But before I get there, I want to try to identify ways to get this done the right way. Where I live, wheat is expensive, so I do not want to waste a lot of it before I get this process right.


Thanks for any help you can offer

yozzause's picture
yozzause

I would say that if the dough had doubled in size after 90 minutes then the final fermentation would have been a very similar time even without any added warmth.


Therefore 8 hours would well and truely been overproofed hence the collapsed loaf. If you had retarded for 8 hours in the fridge and then baked after bringing back to room temp you may have had a better result.


Sprouted wheat berries should have a sweet smell and a pleasant sweet taste when chewed. I have never used sprouted wheat ONLY in a bread and wonder whether perhaps a 50/50 with flour and sprout pulp might be a better proposition, not forgetting that the pulp has bran and germ etc in the mix.   

amontiel69's picture
amontiel69

Hi Yozzause,


The slow cooker was set at 65 degrees Celsius, which would be about 148 F, so it was very, very cool to begin with. Also, I got the same results when I baked my first loaf using my Zojirushi bread machine, which obviously baked the bread at a much higher temperature.


My idea with using only sprouted wheat is precisely to avoid adding anything extra to the bread so I can enjoy the benefits of the sprouted grain by itself, which is also the rationale behind "baking" this thing at only 65 degrees Celsius for about 8 hours.


The bread still came out with a nice crust on the outside and moist and soft on the inside, which is what I understand should have happened. Except for the sour or acidic aftertaste (I am having a hard time defining exactly what it tastes like), it is not too bad.


Do you have any suggestions as to how to go about making this bread? Any specific pointers I have to take into consideration before I try again once the wheat I have sprouting again is ready to be ground?


I really, really want this to be successful. I intend to start eating only sprouted grain bread once I can nail this one down.


Thanks

yozzause's picture
yozzause

HI alex perhaps the slow cooking is just that slow cooking. i have had a bit of a read to refresh my knowledge on the baking process so here is what i thought was important.
There are a number of things that take place in the baking process according to Practical Baking by T Sulman
The following changes take place, oven spring is caused by (1) the relase of carbon dioxide gas.
(2)the expansion of gas in the cells created during fermentation period
(3) the evaporation of alcohol at 175 deg f
(4) the continued rapid activity of the yeast until itis destroyed @ 140 deg f. The dough is softened at this stage and should not be touched or it will collapse . The starch granules start to swell @130 deg f. There is a transfer of moisture from the other ingedients to the starch granules. The granules swell and become fixed in the gluten network. Part of the moisture in the gluten is removed by starch granules and the gluten is strengthend and becomes more viscous (soft and elastic) The support of the structure of the dough, at this time is supplied by the gelatinized starch. The gel formation draws more moisture from the gluten and causes the gluten to dehydrate.
Coagulation or setting of the gluten begins at 165 deg f and continues until the product is baked.
The greatest pressures are exerted in the initial stage of baking, they are reduced as baking continues and the cells merge and the release of gas slows up.
The interior temperature of the unit does not go beyond 212 deg f because the evaporation of the moisture and alcohol prevents a further rise. the crust is formed by the exposed starch and sugar at the surface of the dough. The sugar and the starch are dextrinized and form the crust colour of the product. Where sugar is not used in a dough the starch dextrins provides the basis for crust colour.
Baking time is determined by the size of the unit, the richness of the unit, crust colour desired and often by the weather. Large units require a longer baking time than smaller ones. Leaner doughs require higher oven temperature and bake faster then units made froma richer dough. Hard type bread and rolls require a well baked crusts.
Hope this is of some assistance on the baking process.
REGARDS YOZZA

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

http://www.sproutpeople.com/


I think your second rise should have been under an hour before baking.  Off flavors more likely from exhausted yeast fermentation by-products.  Suggestion would be to bake sooner.


Mini

amontiel69's picture
amontiel69

Hi Mini Oven,


I only let the dough rise once and put it immediately in the slow cooker. This is what I did:



  • Took the sprouted wheat and put it in the food processor

  • While I was grounding the wheat I dissolved 2 Tbsp organic honey in 1/2 cup of bottled water and added 2 1/4 tsp of yeast

  • Transferred the wheat pulp to a bowl

  • Added 1/2 cup of vital gluten

  • Added the yeast mixture to this

  • Kneaded for about 7 to 8 minutes (maybe too short here?)

  • Transferred back to the bowl and set to rise

  • After 90 minutes, transferred back to the countertop, kneaded again for 3 to 4 minutes

  • Shaped into a loaf

  • Put in a loaf pan and immediately placed on the slow cooker at 65C, 148F for about 8 hours


This was my basic procedure, any comments are welcome


Thanks


 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

So it was a 8 hr bake (no steam) in a crockpot.  And you think maybe the first 90 min rise was too much considering the low temp and that a second rise was occuring in the beginning of the low temp bake.  Maybe.  


It could also be that there is some kind of build up of enzymes leading to the taste.  If so what can we do about it?  Sprouts do take a little getting used to.   As time goes on, notice if the flavor gets better or worse.   Try using the sprouts sooner.


One recipe for sprout bread had the ground up sprouts in buttermilk.  !!!!   Now I've been fiddling with my tamarillos lately and I didn't like the bitter taste that went with great aroma (a lot like papaya).  I always found papaya tasted better with a little lime juice.  I mixed some cut up fruit and seeds with sourdough starter and the aroma and taste turned fantastic in just a few hours!  I also covered some of the fruit with lemon/sugar and left overnight.  This greatly improved my tamarillo jam.   What I'm getting at is maybe a little bit of something sour may counteract the flavor (for better or worse change the pH) to something more palatable.


It seems sprouts are alkaline.  Link:


http://www.herbsarespecial.com.au/free-sprout-information/sprouts-are-alkaline.html


Mini

Caltrain's picture
Caltrain

Yeast dies at around 60 degrees C. Even after 8 hours, it's probable that the internal temperature never rose above 60 degrees. At the very least, it spent the vast majority of the time below and yeast multiples quite nicely at warm temperatures. It's equally possible that the bread maker underbaked your bread. If your loaf overproofed in the bread maker, something went wrong anyways.


My two suggestions would be to either do it "right" the first time; first do it the way the original recipe intended, then experiment once you've got it down.


Second, if your intention is to avoid adding anything extra, then you shouldn't be using vital wheat gluten. It's considered an additive, and nutritionally speaking is pretty much just extra calories. Try a recipe that calls for no yeast or vital wheat gluten. There should be unleavened sprouted wheat bread, such as Essene or Ezekiel bread, recipes floating around the internet. Even if you're underbaking, at least you won't have to do deal with collapsing loafs or the possibility of yeasty tastes.


Edit: Ooh, check this link out: http://www.growyouthful.com/tips/recipes/sourdough-essene.php


Apparently the raw variant of essene bread can be prepared in a slow cooker. Wow, I want to try that out sometime.

amontiel69's picture
amontiel69

Hi Caltrain,


Thanks for the information and the link... so, I was not THAT lost after all.. LOL, you can make this bread on a slow cooker to keep it alive and preserve all the enzymes in it, they even go lower temperature on the link you sent, as low as 40C, I do not think any of my ovens goes that low, so that would obviously imply "baking" it under the sun. Fortunately, there is plenty of that where I live (Costa Rica), so that shouldn't be a problem.


I am currently preparing a sourdough starter, which I started with organic rye flour and have been feeding with organic whole-wheat flour, so I can try to use that in the recipe. I started this sourdough starter 8 days ago, and though it has not matured yet, I can try to use it to make bread with it.


The only question I have after reading the page you sent is: how do you get 36 hours of sunlight to bake this bread? hahaha...


Thanks


 

Mary Fisher's picture
Mary Fisher

Why did you grind the sprouted wheat grains?

amontiel69's picture
amontiel69

Hi Mary,


I ground them so I could make bread with the dough.

Mary Fisher's picture
Mary Fisher

I bought some sprouted wheat grain bread in Iceland and loved it so much that I decided to try making some. I picked out wheat grains from the hens' food, soaked them then left them to sprout. I bought a slow cooker to bake it so that it wouldn't get too dry, made up the dough with the ingredients on the packet and made it - with the whole, sprouted, grains.


It was fabulous! I mailed the manager of the company and told him in detail what I'd done and he said that I was thinking along the right lines so I've done it again and again and always with a beautifully tasty, fragrant, moist loaf.


I even bought a packet of wheat grains from the local organic food shop so that I wasn't robbing the hens!


I don't think that the texture would be the same if I ground the sprouted grain. 


Mary

amontiel69's picture
amontiel69

Hi Mary,


That sounds like an interesting option, but my goal is to have nothing extra in the bread, except for the sprouted wheat, therefore I need to grind it to make dough with it. Adding the whole sprouted grain to a loaf is also a viable option but I think I want to try to go as close to having raw bread as possible and commercial flour does not come from sprouted grain, at least not in the country where I live, so if I want to have bread made only with sprouted grain, I have to turn it into dough.


As I mentioned in my original message, the problem I am having has to do mostly with the taste, it came out almost sour to the palate and since I have never tried this kind of bread before, I do not know if this is right or not.


Regarding the texture, sprouted-wheat bread is dense and compact, at least that is what I have read. You don't get a fluffy loaf if you use only sprouted grain in your dough, so that is what I got, it was crusty on the outside, moist and soft on the inside. I am going to try again in 2 days, once the wheat sprouts again and take certain pointers into consideration. One of my main concerns, however, is baking it at a very low temperature to preserve the nutrients, but other people here have pointed out that this may be causing some of the problems I am having.


Thanks

Mary Fisher's picture
Mary Fisher

Sorry, when I said that I used 'the ingredients on the packet' I should have specified that there was only one ingredient - sprouted wheat grains!  I put nothing else in it - except water to make a paste.


It was indeed dense and compact, like yours it was crusty on the outside and moist and soft on the inside. I 'baked' it for about eight hours on the low setting in my slow cooker, which which I was 100% unfamiliar, being bought for the purpose.


The flavour was slightly sweet and, of course, malty. It had nothing I'd consider sour but it certainly was complex. We ate it with butter only, except that once I tried it with brie because that's how I like to eat pumpernickel. It didn't need any additional flavours!


I hope you have a better experience next time, it's a waste of fuel as well as ingredients to produce something you don't like.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Is it possible there is a lack of heat on top to set the shape?  The top was too soft and then fell or never rose in the first place?  Maybe half way thru the bake, turn the loaf out of the pan and then put it back into the form upside-down.  :)

amontiel69's picture
amontiel69

Hi Mini Oven,


the dough rose to more than double its size when I set it to raise on a bowl. I was actually surprised that it grew so much, I was not really expecting that to happen!


The sunken loaf happened once it started baking. I saw it happening. It was nice and high and then suddenly collapsed and deflated to what you can see in the picture. And it happened both times, with the bread machine and with the slow cooker.


Thanks,


Alex

yozzause's picture
yozzause

Hi again Alex


I had not realised that you were trying to cook the dough slowly rather than baking. i do know for a fact that dough that is allowed to get to HOT does  take on some unpleasant characteristics in smell and taste.


It would seem that a few of the things that happen at certain points of time in the normal baking process are not happening for you, i will consult some old notes on what happens when and post them later. 


When the wheat grain comes to life and starts to grow a lot of changes do take place, the sprout is developing at the expense of the endosperm the part that we derive flour from.


It is intersting that you are introducing gluten to your mix at a fairly high rate this is also derived from the endosperm  and has been developed from wheat flour and then has had the starches washed away from it. gluten is often a by product from starch manufacturers.


We used to bake a loaf of bread with a high addition of gluten added, refered to as protein enriched, it would often suck in at the sides after it was baked.


I think i would still be gowing for a 50/50 blend of wheat flour and sprout pulp as a good starting point. i have enjoyed additions of whole sprouted wheat grains in my breads and would consider bumping up the amount if it were to the liking of the eaters. regards Yozza

mredwood's picture
mredwood

I use to make sprouted wheat bread a lot. Not the kind you make that you expect to rise, but the essene kind. The most important thing was the size of the sprout. Your sprout should not be more than 1 1/2 times the size of the seed. After that the sugars turn to starch and they get bitter. When the sprouts are ready you must be also. They can not wait. I tried the food processor also and it totally mushed every thing up to a glutinous mass. It did not need water. I liked it better when I ran it through the food grinder. It was a bit of work so the next time I did it I made 6 or 7 loaves. I also added raisins to it and tried many other things, like nuts and or seeds. The dough is then formed into a ball and then lightly flattened. Or an oval. It is then baked at 200° for 4 to 6 hours. The outside will harden but softens up later. The inside will set and cook and most of the nutrients will be unharmed. Most folks think the temp should not be above 175°. It all depends on the why of what you are baking. Many ways to do a thing. Think about what you really want. Maybe you want two different kinds of sprouted wheat bread. Remember you are not trying to duplicate store bought. Or are you. Check out the web sites for the raw foodies. Good luck.  When done and cooled I wrapped then in cheese cloth and put them in a plastic bag in the refer. They stay good for a very long time. Months.


Mariah

sprouted bread baker's picture
sprouted bread baker

Hey,


Your loaf may have collapsed but it sure looks tasty. If you're leaving it in a slow cooker for eight hours, I would say that the yeast and the sugars from the sprouting grains are fermenting which is going to lead to a higher alcohol content - this is a process very much like brewing beer - anyway, the alcohol is probably the sharp flavor you're tasting especially since you're not burning it off as you would in a high-heat oven. 


We bake our breads at high heat - about 400 degrees. We shoot for an internal temperature of 165. We want to produce a bread that functions like a bread for any purpose people want to use a bread for. We love the taste of sprouted grain and we believe that the simple act of sprouted the wheat transforms the carbs into simple sugars akin to any other vegetable and that, in itself, is key and is the overriding benefit to sprouting. The argument that baking at a high temperature removes some of the nutrient potential is something that I'll give you but great benefits remain and, oddly, raw diets allow for baked sprouted grain breads.


I hope to gather together sprouted bread bakers from all over to discuss sprouted breads - there is so much disinformation out there - so many conflicting opinions that it would be nice to pull together interested and knowledgeable persons to hash it all out. Anyone interested in seeing this happen, please contact me...


I am the baker@columbiacountybread.com


www.columbiacountybread.com


 

nina100's picture
nina100

Over the years I have learned to use traditional yeast instead of instant yeast. The instant yeasts strength is only good for one rise. If the dough is too soft (not enough flour) it collapses easier. If the dough hasn't been mixed or kneaded until it is very elasticy it can become a heavier than necessary loaf and has the potential to collapse. If you rise the loaf for too long it has the potential to collapse. If the oven isn't hot enough it may collapse. It is hard to find high quality wheat (or any grain for that matter) because of modern farming methods. Properly grown grains make it easy to produce a good loaf because of naturally high quality gluten content plus other important factors. Talk to a local bakery that actually makes it's own bread from scratch for advice on obtaining high quality grains and flours. Also, all brands of yeasts are not equal and obtaining a pound of cake yeast that looks like a pound of butter except that it is grey is the yeast that will not fail. This yeast can be stored in the freezer to preserve it between bakings. Grains that are labelled organic may be grown without chemical fertilizers and pesticides but still may not be of bread making quality hence the necessity to add gluten. Also, not all glutens available are of equal quality. Making bread with a proper old-fashioned sourdough method helps to overcome a lot of these issues.