Sprouted Grains and Welcome Spring!

Whole Wheat Bread with Wheat Germ and Rye

Welcome spring! Well, at first the calendar spring – with all the deep snow lying around and the ice obstructing your way. Anyway, it’s time for spring cleaning (and much throwing away! and restructuring of your kitchen too), new life and longer days (and this IS serious here, in the North). Birds know it when the spring has come and we learn it from them even if the winter doesn’t seem to be leaving.

I’m already on the last chapter of the last book of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, reading it finally in the original 10 years after I first read it (or better swallowed it and was hungry for anything connected). Remembering those times now it came to my mind that that was still a time when we did not have a computer at home (and that was the last year of no-computer life, actually), my Dad (who you cannot drag from the screen now) was against computers and we just did not have money. So I had only the printed sources to feed my first ‘falling in love’ (even before all the Pink Floyd craze) and also the printed interviews my computer-advanced friend and co-fan gave me. Of course I fell in love with Frodo and the actor but I think that was mostly projecting my fascination with the book, its cozy atmosphere albeit all the nasty things, its out-of-this-world… world and the chance it presented to dream and be somewhere else. This is what amazes you when you read the book – the tangibility of the world, it seems so near, so familiar, so very real. It’s no good comparing the book and its screen version but…  what strikes you when you watch the film is the exaggerated evil of just about everything, the darkness, the disgusting creatures… there’s nothing of the kind in the book, it’s evil is way beyond the horror-movie evil – it’s in the soul, in the doubt, in the fear of choosing the wrong way, in being on the brink of betrayal or turning to evil or losing hope. There are of course completely evil creatures, as is common in such epic stories but everything else is filled with light, courage and hope, because just as the light can become darkness so the darkness contains light in it. The entire book is actually about hope, love and loyalty. And the most successful creatures in these are are the hobbits, also the most humane, and not the valiant Men, nor the subtle Elves, but the hobbits. Well, you see, I’m still happily in love with the book : )

lilies in our kitchen

{lilies in our kitchen for an extra-spring mood}

But I’m not going to make you read LOTR or anything, I’m going to tell you about my recent experiments. As I’m having an increased amount of free time, I’ve been trying to discover some new things in baking. Experimenting with sprouted grains is one of them. I’ve read some stuff about the benefits of these sprouted grains and was wondering whether I should try it too… So, coming back home after one of the job interviews I dropped in at the local honey-natural products store and went out with two bags of rye and wheat grains ‘for growing’. I followed the process stated on the packaging and after two days of constantly forgetting to water my ‘babies’, I got this from the rye grains:

sprouted rye

and this from the wheat grains:

sprouted wheat

Next time I sprouted more grains and tried not to forget to keep them watered – and they were more happy apparently, responding with larger sprouts in the same period of time. Then I chopped up oooops my babies and what I didn’t use right away, I froze putting it in a small container. So far, I have tried four bread recipes with sprouted grains (both leavened and sour dough) – and only one of them actually asked for some. Here it is:

Sprouted Wheat Bread

A year ago – Classic Sourdough Pancakes (might make them for Maslenitsa this year)

Sprouted Wheat Strawberry Bread adapted from will make a VERY soft bread with a hidden virtue in it – and no need for strawberries as I have discovered!

Obviously, it’s no time for our dacha type of strawberries yet (the soil there is rather boggy and acid plus (or rather minus) the capricious Northern sun does not allow the fruit to develop much sugar, so all our berries require lots of extra sweeteners), and I skipped the strawberry in this bread. As for the sprouted grains, I also added sprouted rye, both chopped (the recipe suggests pureeing them). The dough took more than 1 cup of flour – and this without the extra liquid from strawberries. The amount of whole wheat flour in thus bread is a minor one and so the bread is mostly ‘white’ with the specks of the grains. Look here:

Sprouted Wheat Bread

I had some leftover egg white so I used it to glaze the top of the loaf + sprinkled some poppy seeds.

Sprouted Wheat Bread

Result: I cannot say that the  presence of the sprouted grains made this bread particularly … particular, but there were these crunchy grains in the absolutely soft crumb (we could not even cut the bread when I baked it, it was soooo soft!). And let’s believe that there was more than that, the hidden virtue as I said. And indeed, who would believe that these hard grains actually contain in them new life, myriads of these new lives which in their turn contain even more… Just imagine, each grain has inside a whole universe!

Sprouted Wheat Bread

{closer to you – rye and closer to the bread – wheat grains}

 Here’s another recipe, also a leavened bread – but with more wholewheat flour – which originally asked for wheat germ:

Whole Wheat Bread with Wheat Germ and Rye

I don’t know how about you, but when I see this brown colours mingled with the sunlight, I don’t know, I just LOVE bread and spring! And here’s where I got the recipe for two nice loaves of wholewheat bread:

Whole Wheat Bread with Wheat Germ and Rye adapted from

My changes: Along with the warm water, I mixed in some water left from boiling the potatoes (aka potato water). I added both sprouted wheat and rye, chopped, instead of the required toasted wheat germ + some wheat bran just in case ;).

One of the loaves I made round and the other – in a brick loaf tin. The latter – and the larger – required more time to get baked, about 45 minutes in total (during the last minutes I took it out of the pan and baked it directly on the rack), while the former – just about 30 minutes.

Look at this cracked crust!

Whole Wheat Bread with Wheat Germ and Rye

I like the taste of the rye and the wholewheat in this bread, it makes a regular morning butterbrod a more… flavour-loaded treat. And again – there’s a soft crumb combined with crunchy grains:

Whole Wheat Bread with Wheat Germ and Rye

Result: The bread disappears quickly. It’s not THAT soft as the strawberry one but very soft indeed. It’s also very nice toasted – and the grains get thus crunchier too somehow. To my taste buds, the amount of salt can be reduced, because if you eat this bread in the morning with a salty enough type of cheese, you don’t need that much salt already in your bread. Here it is pictured with smoked Adygea cheese (we’ve already tried smoked suluguni but I prefer both without this smoked ‘crust’):

Whole Wheat Bread with Wheat Germ and Rye

Let me share with you two citations (well, rather ideas as I don’t remember them exactly) from a Soviet (Rozygrysh) and an Armenian (Avgust) movies (late 1970s):

“The sense of life is in life itself” and “It’s not that easy to come back home, because my home is me, and if you’ve left yourself somewhere like an overcoat on someone else’s hanger, then it’s not clear whether you’ll find way back to your home”…

The spring is here whatever this lingering winter might think, right, birds?



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