The Fresh Loaf

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My wheat doesn't sprout

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amber p's picture
amber p

My wheat doesn't sprout

I have some very old wheat that was passed to my husband and I from his parents, which they acquired new in about 1970 or so.  I have ground it and baked bread with it many times and have always been happy with the results.  I recently tried sprouting some of it, and after 5 days of nothing, I finally threw it out assuming it wouldn't sprout if it hadn't by now.  My question is, if the wheat doesn't sprout, does that mean there is no nurtitional value to it (aside from calories, I guess)?  I have searched this forum and the web for an answer but haven't found anything yet, so I really appreciate anything anyone has to offer.

:) Amber

taramacon's picture
taramacon

Hi Amber;

Your noodles will not sprout, but they still have food value. The thing is it depends on how the wheat was stored. When putting wheat up for long time storage  you store it in CO2 gas. This can be done by  using dry ice to get your CO2 gas as that is what  dry ice is. Remember that plants take in CO2 and give off oxygen. Seeds are still plants and still  do , at a very low rate. If the grain was stored so that it was not able to then it will die. It doesn't mean that it is spoiled for food value it's just dead. After it dies it will start to loose some of its vitamin value and can also go rancid. If it cooks OK then use it. but use it up before it truly does go bad.

taramacon

amber p's picture
amber p

Thanks, taramacon, for your reply.  The wheat was stored in 5-gallon cans with CO2, as you suggested.  Isn't the purpose of the CO2 to drive out the O2, and if so, what is the point if the seed is going to consume some of the CO2 and produce more O2?  Perhaps the resulting O2 levels are low enough to not affect the wheat.  Does CO2 storage generally render wheat unsproutable, and should I expect that all of my wheat is dead if it was stored this way?  I'm nearing the end of my first 5-gallon can, so I guess I will see what happens when I try to get some sprouts from the next one.  For now, I'm at least glad to hear there is some nutritional value even though the wheat won't sprout.  Any chance you could direct me to a good book or another source where I could get more info on this topic?

Thanks, :) Amber

taramacon's picture
taramacon

Hi Amber;

The point of storing grain with CO2 is the bugs can't live in it, so you don't need to use anything else for vermin. No CO2 is not going to kill the grain,it must have been something else. Some people use nitrogen gas to store grain and that will kill the grain. I got to thinking after I posted the last reply and was wondering how hot the grain might have gotten in storage. Heat can also kill grain. What were you going to do with the sprouted wheat? I have always wanted to try some sprout bread but have not taken the time to do so.

Taramacon

taramacon's picture
taramacon

I found the following on another web page and copy it hear for your use.

 

Study Of Concentrations of CO2 In Home Food Storage

From the University of Utah

Interim Progress Report on Storage of Dry Foods and Methods of Using Carbon Dioxide in the Home

[This paper was written in the late 1980's.]

Two methods of storing dry foods under carbon dioxide were compared.

Method 1: Place 10 grams (A piece having about the same volume of 1 tablespoon.) of dry ice per gallon of container volume into the chosen container. Fill the container, pouring the dry food on top of the dry ice. Set the lid on top of the container so that air currents will not carry away the carbon dioxide gas released from the dry ice. After two hours of venting, seal the container. The amount of dry ice recommended is adequate to completely fill the container with gaseous carbon dioxide. In areas of high humidity, wipe away the whisker growth of ice crystals on the dry ice just before putting it into the container. Do not seal the container before all of the dry ice has sublimed into the gas.

Method 2: Place one pound of dry ice per eight gallons of container volume into a plastic bag. Tie the plastic bag securely to a tube. When carbon dioxide gas flows from the tube, fill a container with carbon dioxide. The flow of carbon dioxide and the fill of the container may be checked with a burning match or candle. Carbon dioxide will extinguish the flame. Carefully and slowly add the dry food to the container, avoiding air currents which will replace the carbon dioxide. When the container is full, slowly withdraw the tube and immediately seal the container. A convenient tube may be obtained from an automotive store as 1/4" or 3/8" flexible fuel line. The flow of carbon dioxide may be speeded up by placing the plastic bag into warm water.

Procedure: Wheat and flour were treated by each method of five-gallon plastic containers with press-top lids and in No. 10 cans with sealed lids.

The five-gallon plastic containers were equipped with a serum of bottle caps. The container cap of flour treated with dry ice was entered with a 23 gauge syringe needle connected to a 3mm I.D. rubber tube. The end of the tube was immersed to a depth of 1-2 mm in soapy water. With the lid pressed into place the tube was the only escape for the gas. Wheat in no. 10 cans with dry ice were sealed after 15, 30, and 60 minutes. The level of carbon dioxide in the containers after 48 hours was estimated by measuring the amount of oxygen with an oxygen electrode. The electrode was adjusted to give a reading of 100%. Readings obtained from the electrode then indicated the displacement of air from the container. The percent of carbon dioxide was calculated as (100 - electrode reading.) The plastic containers equipped with serum bottle caps were penetrated with a 20 gauge 1" syringe needle to obtain a sample of gas from the container. The metal cans were penetrated by a 14 gauge 1" syringe needle.

A sample of flour was taken 48 hours after sealing from a no. 10 can representing each treatment.

Results:

Table 1

Carbon Dioxide Content Inside Containers
of Wheat and Flour 48 Hours After Treatment

Container Product Treatment % CO2

5 Gal Plastic Wheat Dry Ice 36%
CO2 Gas 20%

Flour Dry Ice 49%

#10 Cans Wheat Dry Ice
15 Min 62%*
30 Min 76%
60 Min 89%

CO2 Gas 40%

Flour Dry Ice 53%

CO2 Slow 21%
Addition

C02 Fast 5%
Addition

*The can sealed after 15 minutes of venting was extremely bulged and apparently leaked. The cans vented for 30 minutes were slightly bulged as in a "soft swell."

The moisture contents of flour 48 hours after treatments was 12.99% for the dry ice treatment and 12.97% for the CO2 gas. These differences are not significant because the AACC methods claim reproducibility to 0.05%. Gas escaping from the plastic container equipped with a vent tube was forming a bubble every 1-2 seconds for 1 hour after sealing the lid. Bubbling stopped between 1.5 hours and 2 hours after sealing the lid.

Conclusion: Both methods are capable of giving carbon dioxide above 10% which is adequate to kill insects by inhibiting aerobic respiration. The food must be added cautiously when using the gaseous carbon dioxide to avoid displacing the carbon dioxide with air.

There was no evidence of injury to the food by direct contact with the dry ice, and no evidence that the method adds moisture. The cans were treated on a rainy day with the humidity near 100%, thus conditions were such as to maximize the risk of adding moisture. When using dry ice, it appears that there would not be any advantage to using greater amounts because a 1 volume displacement seems very adequate. The container must not be sealed before the dry ice has sublimed. When using the recommended amounts of no.10 cans, the dry ice will sublime with one hour. When using the larger amount as required by the 5 gallon plastic containers, the lids should not be sealed for two hours.

 

I hope this helps with some of your thoughts

taramacon

amber p's picture
amber p

Thanks for the great data find, taracom.  It was very informative.

I think heat is a possibility for the wheat being dead, though I don't know how high the temperature needs to rise to kill the grain.  It spent its life in the Pacific NW where we don't see too many temp extremes.  Right now it is stored in my garage which stays below 80 even on our hottest (90-100 degrees) days, which only come along a few times each summer (or as in this summer, haven't come along at all).  Anyway, I would guess it probably never went above 80 or 90 degrees.  I'll have to double-check what gas the wheat was stored using - I thought it was CO2 but it could have been nitrogen.  If it was nitrogen, then I guess all of my grain will be unsproutable, but as long as there is still nutritional value to it, I will continue to bake with it.  I think I read somewhere once that you could submit a sample of your wheat to a college (it was in Utah, so probably UofU or BYU, I don't think it was USU), and they could analyze it for you.  I may look into that more.

So, the reason I want sprouts is to make sprouted bread, as you supposed, and also to dry to make sprouted flour to later turn into bread.  I also wanted to try making some diastatic malt powder, which I understand is the same process as making sprouted flour, but drying the wheat sprouts at a lower temp so you don't kill the enzymes (and I think you can make it using barley sprouts as well???).  I actually just finished sprouting some "living" wheat this morning and turned it into sprouted bread this afternoon.  It is tasty, but I didn't cook it long enough (I took it out at 195F which is about the highest I let my breads go), so it is a little mushy in the middle, but still good.  I should have finished reading the recipe...it says to take it to 200F.  Oh well, like I said, it is still tasty even if it's very soft.  It slices fine.  I'm learning.

:) Amber