The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sprouted Brown Rice?

pogrmman's picture

Sprouted Brown Rice?

Hi everyone,

I picked up some sprouted brown rice because I thought it might be a good add-in for sourdough. I’m unsure of how I should add it though — grind it up into a flour? Cook it some then mix in the grains? Let it sit, hydrated and warm, with the flour to make the enzymes work some on the flour too? 

I couldn’t find much about this stuff in bread — would it be similar to sprouted wheat berries? It just sounded like it could taste good.

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

Probably any of those things, really. Can you chew it before it's cooked? If so, you should be able to incorporate it as is into the bread if you want. I'm not sure of the enzyme activity of rice (i.e. is it similar to diastatic barley malt?) though.'s picture

No offense intended, but I cannot imagine a less consequential dough addition than brown rice, sprouted or no.

I am speaking from experience in that I eat brown rice for dinner every night.  But I process it to make it worthwhile.  Apologies in advance for this digression -- I confess I've been jonesing for an opportunity to share this process beyond our kitchen and your query cracked opened the door.  To wit...

We live on seasonal stews and curries spread over beds of brown rice.  But the raw brown rice is first run through a flaker and flavorings are then added to the cooking water/broth to generate a wonderfully flavorful and infinitely diverse polenta-like product.  Intact brown rice does not effectively acquire flavorings added to the cooking water* - it only and reluctantly becomes coated with them.  In flavoring our flaked brown rice "polenta", we try to complement the accompanying stew or curry and have included, in various combinations, dehydrated, powdered tomatoes, peppers, parsnips, porcini, garlic, onions, egg yolks and/or herbs, spices, saffron, butter and various broths at hand (e.g., dashi).  And always salt.  Flaked brown rice takes only 20 min to cook (in 2x water, w/w), btw.  And when cooled, it grills up nicely, again like polenta.

Now, if you've picked up a sprouted aromatic brown such as basmati or Venere, then that's different (see my attempt here, although I'd do it differently now, as described below).  But plain brown rice will add only texture and little or no flavor unless you have an especially sensitive palate (e.g., are a supertaster) and/or are baking a largely white flour, yeasted straight dough that would otherwise have acquired barely any flavor from fermentation.  Yet I confess that I've never tasted "sprouted" brown rice and perhaps the hydrolytic catabolites of endosperm degradation are at least detectable and hopefully gastronomically rewarding.  If you do use your recent purchase as a dough addition, soak it well until it becomes comfortably chewable (not sure how long, since it's obviously already been soaked to initiate germination).  Then drain it well and fold it into your dough at the second S&F.

Again, no offense intended and apologies for the digression.  Thanks for the opportunity to share it.

Happy baking,



* This may be attributable to rice's hull having a Casparian Strip-like layer that prevents unwanted chemicals in the soil from entering the seed during germination.  Forgive me, I'm a retired botanist :-).

gillpugh's picture

Very interesting post.  I've tasted flaked white rice in India, where they make it into a savoury porridge using spices, onions, peppers etc, and it was very tasty. You have given me an idea to add this porridge to my next experimental bake.  

  I've never seen sprouted flaked brown rice - did you flake it yourself ?  I can see a trip to the Asian supermarket coming up.'s picture

Thank you.  We flake our own with a Komo FlicFloc that we acquired primarily to expand our repertoire of porridge additions to bread.  The device works very well for that, although it took some time to develop protocols for properly hydrating and partially re-drying grains beforehand in order to obtain serviceable flakes and not a mixture of flakes, grit and flour which is what you get from running dry seeds through it.  I had a whim to run some raw brown rice (and lentils and dehydrated peas and sweet corn, name it, everything but the cat) through it at one point and ended up discovering that the output cooked up into a nice polenta-like product in only 20 minutes.  Endless experiments with flavorings have followed.

Impressed by the good sense and good taste of this "new" product I had "discovered", I was curious to see if anybody sells brown rice flakes, particularly for the burgeoning gluten-free market.  Nihil sub sole novum.  Eden Organic makes it from Lundberg rice, the same source as ours, for "breakfast porridge".  Eden pre-processes the rice to get nice oatmeal-like flakes.  I don't bother - I just run raw, dry brown rice through.  I assume the texture of the cooked product would differ were we to pre-treat the rice as we do grains for bread porridge additions. 

I think perhaps you're in the UK, so I can't help with sourcing over there.


dabrownman's picture

The digestive enzyme Phytase breaks down Phytic acid during germination making the nutrients present in brown rice easier for the body to absorb. Amylase (a digestive enzyme) breaks down some starch in the brown rice into Glucose and Oligosaccharide during germination.Enzyme Rice - Wholesum Japan

pogrmman's picture

From what I’ve seen when rice is discussed on brewing forums, sprouted rice does have enzyme activity, but not as strong as barley, and it’s degraded at a lower temperature. 

I can chew it before cooking — it’s much, much softer than I’d expect a grain of rice to be. It’s got a nice flavor — mildly sweet and with a noticeable brown rice flavor. 

Im thinking I’m probably going to go the route of cooking it at a low temperature, then integrating it into the dough (like you would for an oatmeal bread). It should add some nice texture and mild flavor to the dough. I may leave out the whole wheat flour I normally use to not cover the flavor up, but I’m undecided about that.'s picture

Thanks for the further info on sprouted brown rice.  Now I'm curious to know how well the "sweetness" of sprouted brown rice comes through in your bread.  Good idea to reduce wholegrain background flavors to give it an emptier stage on which to perform.  Makes sense that it would taste sweeter since polysaccharides are essentially tasteless but their hydrolysis products produced during germination -- monomeric or oligomeric sugars -- are what we can taste (and enjoy).  Interesting that it's soft enough to chew right off the shelf.  Must be fairly wet, and therefore of limited shelf-life.  Use it soon!

Note that there is also "Sweet Brown Rice" (BRM sells it).  I haven't experimented with it but I assume that it's not "sweetened" industrially but rather something akin to sweet corn, having a genetic inability to convert simple sugars to stored polysaccharides during seed maturation.  Maybe it's commercially available "sprouted".  Or you could sprout some yourself.  Might be interesting to try.