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.

| January/February 1984

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.

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.

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