The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

sprouting hard red winter wheat

chersbread's picture

sprouting hard red winter wheat


I am wondering if there is a special trick to sprouting hard red winter wheat as opposed to other kinds? I have been making sprouted grain wheat bread for a while now with great success. I recently purchased quite a lot of wheat berries from a different producer - it is hard red winter wheat. I am not sure what kind of wheat I was using previously, but it took about 48 hours for the berries to sprout  and be ready for making my bread. I am having trouble getting these new berries to sprout uniformly - it is also taking 3-5 days for them to sprout at all. My first batch went completely rancid and it appeared that about only  half sprouted. My next batch I rinsed once a day rather than twice and it they still didn't all sprout, but at least they didn't go rancid on me. However, the dough was pretty wet and I had to add some whole wheat flour which I never had to do with my other wheat. Is there a special trick to sprouting hard red winter wheat??

Nickisafoodie's picture

The initial soak should be for a few hours allowing the grains to absorb the water.  Then drain and rinse 3 times per day until water runs clear.  At all points keep them in your oven with light on which creates a nice cozy 77 degree environment - they should sprout withing 18 hours.

It is likely your technique rather than the wheat.  For small batches try canning jars using a 4" x 4" piece of plastic window screeen as the lid, held in place by the rim.  It makes a good container being very easy to rinse and drain in this manner.  Only fill jar half way at the start.  this works well for other grains too having used rye, barley, millet, quinoa, lentals and beans - although the time it takes to sprout can vary a bit among these.   Give it a whirl!

chersbread's picture

Thank you so much for the pointers...I will give it a try  ;-)

UnConundrum's picture

I've never made a sprouted wheat bread.  Could you point me to a good recipe to start out with?

chersbread's picture

 Here's my recipe - I have had great success with it for a couple of years, until I changed my source for purchasing wheat. For some reason I'm having a hard time sprouting the new berries before they go rancid. I'm trying some new things. Good luck. Read through the recipe a couple of times to get familiar with it. There are quite a few steps, but it's not difficult at all. I can do it blind folded!!

Sprouted Grain Bread




For one big loaf or 2 medium loaves -


-3 cups wheat berries

-3-4 Tbls yeast

-1Tbls water (I have actually stopped using water and now double the honey)


-2Tbls vital wheat gluten (optional)

-1 Tbls salt

-2 Tbls honey



2-3 days before you want to bake the bread, divide the wheat berries into two quart size mason jars.


Fill each jar with tepid water and cover with cheese cloth or clean lady's nylon stocking. Let stand for 24 hours.


After wheat berries have soaked for 24 hours, drain. Fill jar again to rinse, and then drain again COMPLETELY.


Rinse wheat berries at least every 12 hours until you see them just barely begin to sprout. This can take anywhere from 24 hours to 3 days. This is the key time to make your bread.


If you are not ready to make the bread at this time, you can place the berries in the refrigerator for up to a day - but remember, the berries will continue to sprout in the refrigerator. If they sprout too much the dough will be too heavy and not bake through.




Making the dough



1. Place ONE jar of the wheat berries and ½ of the yeast, water, salt and gluten (if using) into food processor and process on high for a couple of minutes.  A rough dough should begin to form.


2. Remove about ½ of mixture and set aside.  


3. Process remaining mixture again for a minute or two - it should begin to look and feel like bread dough at this point - very elastic. It will travel around the food processor container and turn into a dough ball and sound pretty rough.


4. Place dough ball into bowl of stand mixer (mine is a Kitchen Aid which can handle kneading this kind of dough very well).


5. Repeat process with the mixture that was set aside.


Repeat steps 1-5 with REMAINING  jar of sprouted seeds. You should end up with 4 dough balls before you start the kneading process.


After placing  the fourth dough ball into kneading bowl, attach kneading hook and knead dough - knead for about 10 minutes( or longer) - this really helps develop the gluten.


If the dough is too wet, add a little whole wheat flour or more gluten. It doesn't seem like 2 Tbls of water would be enough, but trust me, it can be TOO much. You might even try adding a little less. You can always add more during the kneading process.



Making this bread is kind of an art and takes patience and practice and some experimenting!


After all kneading is done, let rise once.  I have found that rising it twice sometimes results in the bread being denser. Just experiment - you might find that a double rise works best for you.


Bake in 400 degree oven for about 27- 30 minutes.


A combination of different grains can be used - here is a mix I like:


2 cups wheat berries

½ cup barley

½ cup Kashi  7 Whole Grain Pilaf (Wal-mart - I don't remember where I found it)


Some other grains:







Long grain brown rice

Pinto beads can be used but they need to begin sprouting several days before the other grains