How to Make Sprouted Grain Bread: The Essene Whole Grain Bread Recipe

Here's how to sprout whole-grain berries for use as an ingredient in sprouted-grain bread.
By the MOTHER EARTH NEWS editors
January/February 1984
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Essene sprouted grain bread is a simple and nutritious whole grain bread. Here's the ancient Essene bread recipe. 
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Of all the known breads, the simplest and possibly the most nutritious is Essene whole grain bread. An ancient recipe for this unusual loaf appears in the first century Aramaic manuscript entitled The Essene Gospel of Peace (from which the bread derives its name). It dates back to prehistoric days when wafers made from a grain and water paste were cooked on sun-heated stones.

There's not much difference between the baking technique used by the monastic brotherhood 2,000 years ago and our modern method. Both result in a round, flattened loaf — rather like a sweet, moist dessert bread or cake — containing all of the virtues of unadulterated sprouted grain, its sole ingredient. The recipe offered below is adapted from Uprisings: The Whole Grain Bakers' Book, a compilation of bakers' recipes inspired by the Cooperative Whole Grain Educational Association Conference of 1980.

Sprouted Wheat Grains 

To sprout your grain, you'll need a wide-mouthed glass jar (or a large plastic tub or soup pot) that has a screw-on lid with holes punched in it or a piece of fine screening, cheesecloth, or netting secured to the top with a strong rubber band. A meat grinder (or a food processor or hand-cranked grain mill), a cookie sheet, and an oven will take care of the rest.

Hard red winter wheat is a good choice for sprouting. Just be sure to buy uncooked, unsprayed, whole grain berries. Two cups of wheat yields about four cups of dough — enough for one loaf — so purchase accordingly.

From Whole Wheat Berries to Fresh Baked Bread: The Essene Bread Recipe

Sprouting Wheat Grains for Sprouted Flour

Begin by measuring the desired amount of whole wheat berries into the sprouting jar. Soak the berries overnight, using twice their volume of water. The next morning, drain off the liquid (which is rich in nutrients and can be added to soups, drinks, etc.), then set the jar in a dark place and rinse the berries with cool water at least twice a day. Drain the jar thoroughly after each rinsing, and shake it occasionally to prevent matting and spoilage.

When the sprout tails are about twice as long as the berries and have a sweet taste (try them!), they're ready to use. This takes three or four days, depending on the temperature, humidity, and so on. Skip the last rinse before grinding so that the berries won't be too moist to use.

Making Sprouted Flour Bread Dough

Next, oil the grinder parts and put the sprouts through the grain grinder. The resulting dough should be juicy, sticky, mottled light and dark, and rather like raw hamburger in consistency. If you think nuts or fruit would give some extra zing to the finished product, now's the time to put them in. Whatever dried fruits you plan to add should first be soaked in hot water for 20 to 30 minutes.

Shaping Your Sprouted Grain Loaves

Ready? Now, wet your hands and take up a quantity of dough. One handful makes a nice roll, while a double handful is good for a small loaf. Work the dough briefly to get out any air pockets, then shape it into circular, somewhat flattened loaves. Place them on an oiled cookie sheet.

Baking Sprouted Grain Bread

Bake for approximately 2 1/2 hours at 250 degrees Fahrenheit, until the outside is firm—but not hard—and the bottom springs back slightly after a gentle prod with the thumb. The inside will be quite soft, developing a firmer texture upon cooling. (To prevent the loaves from drying out, some bakeries spray them with water before and during baking, or place a pan of water on another shelf in the oven while the bread is baking.)

Allow the loaves to cool on wire racks and then store them in sealed plastic bags. If you're going to eat your Essene sprouted grain bread within three or four days, don't refrigerate it, as it will stay moist if stored at room temperature. Refrigerated, it will keep up to four weeks, and the bread can also be frozen.

That's all there is to it. Sprout, grind, shape, bake and enjoy! One might say that it's the very essene — excuse us, essence — of simplicity!


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Post a comment below.

 

Jacqui Sinek
10/17/2012 11:51:34 AM
I have a wheat intolerance. I've heard that I would be able to eat sprouted wheat bread with no side effects. Is this correct ?

Anne Hines
6/22/2012 11:02:36 PM
It's probably in here somewhere, but I can't find it. How much grain should you keep on hand to make 1-2 loaves of bread a week?

Karil Rauss
6/9/2012 2:08:40 PM
Spelt is fine, Teresa. I just made a loaf from 800g sprouted kamut and it was delicious. I ground the sprouted kamut in a food processor. Actually, I followed another recipe in which yeast, salt, and honey were included. These ingredients I added to the pulp and then processed another minute (until The gluten was well developed). The recipe then called for fermentation and proofing. It was supposed to rise—the same as flour-made bread—first during a fermentation period of 1 1/2 hours and then a final proof. It did rise a bit, but not nearly what it should have. In all, it fermented and proofed for about 18 hours and smelled delightfully soured before I finally submitted the flat loaf to the oven. I preheated a pizza stone to about 300°C and then baked the loaf for about 50 minutes at 220ºC. After cooling for an hour, we devoured the loaf with friends—served with hard cheeses, salted butter, and honey. What simple feast. I especially enjoyed the slightly sour-dough taste that complemented the sweet nuttiness of the bread. The crumb was quite moist and and dense and the crust was very chewy. Our teeth, gums, and jaws got a healthy workout! Look to Richard Reinhart, Laurel Robertson (Laurel's Kitchen) , and Mother Earth News for recipes for Sprouted Wheat or Sprouted Grain Bread.

teresa olofson
11/7/2011 6:31:37 AM
i would like to use Spelt berries ...as i am alergic to wheat ...will that work...or do you have anohter suggestion? i dont own a meat grinder...will a cuisinart work? or pulse in a blender?....kindly thank you...i also have a clay baker with a lid...they suggest soaking it in water what do you think? about using this with or without the lid?

Christel
7/23/2011 3:12:21 PM
My Mom makes sprouted grain/wheat bread...but after she grinds the sprouts, she mixes it as she would regular bread. yeast,honey,coconut oil,eggs..and it makes a wonderful tasting bread. Just wondering if anyone else does it this way..as I'm not familiar with just baking the ground sprouts only.

Dmitry
11/30/2010 12:19:33 PM
I do not use the oven, rather make patties and dehydrate them in the dehydrator: (1) I tried 110F - I didn't like the result particularly (tastes too raw/uncooked). The only reason I tried this low temperature was that it allegedly still is not "cooking", i.e. the result is the raw food product. (2) Then I tried 135F - I definitely liked this one better. It took anywhere from 5 to 10 hours (in other words, just keep checking on progress while it dehydrates). Of course, I also tried the oven - but the result was not 100% favorable: the bottom was somewhat overcooked, while the top was good and the middle was chewy. I liked the chewiness alot, though overall the bread tasted less of a "live" food than when dehydrated. Hopefully someone could make use of the dehydrating idea!

Dmitry
11/30/2010 12:13:54 PM
I do not use the oven, rather make patties and dehydrate them in the dehydrator: (1) I tried 110F - I didn't like the result particularly (tastes too raw/uncooked). The only reason I tried this low temperature was that it allegedly still is not "cooking", i.e. the result is the raw food product. (2) Then I tried 135F - I definitely liked this one better. It took anywhere from 5 to 10 hours (in other words, just keep checking on progress while it dehydrates). Of course, I also tried the oven - but the result was not 100% favorable: the bottom was somewhat overcooked, while the top was good and the middle was chewy. I liked the chewiness alot, though overall the bread tasted less of a "live" food than when dehydrated. Hopefully someone could make use of the dehydrating idea!

Dmitry
11/30/2010 12:11:08 PM
I do not use the oven, rather make patties and dehydrate them in the dehydrator: (1) I tried 110F - I didn't like the result particularly (tastes too raw/uncooked). The only reason I tried this low temperature was that it allegedly still is not "cooking", i.e. the result is the raw food product. (2) Then I tried 135F - I definitely liked this one better. It took anywhere from 5 to 10 hours (in other words, just keep checking on progress while it dehydrates). Of course, I also tried the oven - but the result was not 100% favorable: the bottom was somewhat overcooked, while the top was good and the middle was chewy. I liked the chewiness alot, though overall the bread tasted less of a "live" food than when dehydrated. Hopefully someone could make use of the dehydrating idea!

Robyn_10
7/26/2010 8:31:58 PM
I made this bread, the only thing I did different was I added a bit of organic black strap molasses and a touch of sea salt. Its simply devine.

Lucy_4
5/4/2010 5:05:17 PM
Yes! Just the sprouted grain. I add just a little water, maybe a tablespoon, while processing. Use just enough that it comes together. I've added sea salt but I think it tastes better without the salt.

jane asberry_2
4/23/2010 9:46:42 AM
Is sprouted grains all that goes into this bread??

Dakota Woman
11/11/2009 12:07:03 PM
Make bread in a crock pot! What a great idea! I have one crock pot that doesn't cook at a low enough heat but would work great as a miniature oven. Wopila tanka! Strong thanks!

Lucy_4
8/7/2009 8:01:22 AM
My first try of this delicious bread turned out wonderful! I cooked it in my crock pot on low, with an insert. It's been hot here and I didn't want to turn on my oven. The inside is moist, the crust got a little hard, but that was easily fixed with some butter. Thank you so much for posting these instructions. Lucy in Ohio

Gina_5
11/5/2008 1:07:58 PM
First time! The sprouts will be ready tonight or tomorrow morning. I wonder if I can use a blender instead of a grinder. On low and just briefly using small amounts at a time so I don't make soup out of it.

Greg_1
6/22/2008 10:38:15 PM
A great simple recipe that is fun to make and is very healthy.








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