Some months back now, my friend Audra spread the word that she was ordering bulk grains and other dry goods from her favorite organic suppler. Her hope was to spread the word about this very good way to get high quality food and to get the total weight of the order high enough to qualify for discounted shipping.
I took her up on the call and ordered 25 pounds of hard winter wheat berries. My goal was to improve my bread baking habit with the addition of sprouted and freshly ground flour. Of course, when I committed to 25 pounds of wheat berries, I’d never sprouted or ground my own flour before. But I had enthusiasm, a vast array of cookbooks, and all the internet at my disposal. What could go wrong?
The truthful answer is that actually, there’s not a whole lot that can go wrong, but as is the case with many new things, I did have a few missteps. The first time I tried to sprout a batch of wheat berries, I left them in the soaking water too long and they developed a funky smell, akin to stinky feet.
And I’ve also learned that I really need to get a few of these non-stick sheets to prevent the wheat berries from falling off the dehydrator trays as they dry and shrink a little. Both are relatively low prices to pay in pursuit of greater knowledge and understanding!
I’ve been using my new, fancy 5-tray Excalibur to dehydrate the berries once they’ve been soaked and sprouted and that part couldn’t be easier. I love that I can set both the time and temperature so precisely. I run it at 112F to preserve the enzymatic activity of the wheat (a useful thing if you’re working with a sourdough starter), so appreciate how easy it is to dial in that exact temperature.
Now, you might be wondering why I’d take the time to soak, sprout, and dehydrate my wheat before grinding it into flour. The primary reason is that it helps make it easier to digest. Secondarily, I find that it grinds more readily (which is good, since I’m using the KitchenAid Grain Mill, and the unsprouted grain made the motor work really hard).
If you find yourself intrigued by the idea of homemade sprouted wheat flour, here’s how you do it.
- Measure out a pound of wheat berries and put them into a bowl or jar with some clearance. Cover them with water, making sure that they’re submerged by a couple of inches. Let them soak for 8-12 hours (overnight is good).
- Drain the wheat berries and return them to the bowl or jar. Rinse and drain 2-3 times a day.
- After 2-3 days of rinsing and draining, you should notice that the wheat berries are beginning to sprout (look for little white shoots). At this point, they are ready to dehydrate.
- Arrange the sprouted wheat berries on several dehydrator trays. Dehydrate for 12-24 hours, until the berries are completely dry.
- Grind into flour in a grain mill or a Vitamix dry container. Use as you would any other flour.