Sprouted Quinoa-Spelt Bread

Not too long ago, the trick of pre-ferments was not widely used. Now it is common knowledge among bakers. Sprouted grain is a nothing new, but it is not a common bread-making approach. Try to think about it, sprouted grains are pre-ferment of sorts. You’re pre-fermenting the grains that would later incorporate into the dough as a flavoring agent, a way to up the anti on whole-grain flavor to a loaf, and without sacrificing the open texture of the finished loaf. It’ll be a matter of time before the words get out on sprouted grains (not sprouted flour) breads.
Again, it’s from Chad Robertson’s Tartine Book No.3 that I learned about this recipe and the benefits of sprouted grains. I ate a lot of bean sprouts growing up. “You are digesting a vegetable rather than a grain,” I was told. Quinoa has become trendy and is considered a super food high in protein and full of nutrients from the Andes. Sprouting quinoa is a convenient way to make the grain edible and more digestible without cooking. Adding sprouted quinoa in the already flavorful naturally leavened dough yields something quite remarkable—with a green note similar to that of spinach. Now I get it: you are having a piece of great tasting bread and getting a serving of grains at the same time. A win-win!


Sprouting grains is relatively straightforward. The steps are outlined in the cheat sheet. You start by soaking the whole intact quinoa in water in a clean glass jar until it germinates. It would take two to four days depending on the room temperature. Rinse, drain, aerate (oxygen promotes sprouting) the grains twice a day until you see sprouts emerge, but before spider shoots develop. The sprouted quinoa can be kept in the refrigerator in an airtight container for a few days. Drain the sprouted grains thoroughly before incorporating them into the dough, an hour after the start of bulk rise.

The amount of sprouted quinoa to the total amount of flour (40% spelt, 10% whole wheat, 50% bread flour) is roughly 25 percent. You could add more or less to suit your taste. The resulting bread will become denser as the amount of grains increases. Quinoa has no gluten and its flour cannot be used to make conventional style bread. I was pleasantly surprised how light and open this bread turned out given 50% in whole grain flour: dense in protein, and nutrients, but not at all in texture. Another win-win!


Sprouted quinoa (25% of total flour) added to the dough


Remarkable open crumb given 50% in whole grain flour




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