Packed tightly inside the grain, the beginning of new life is waiting. Put the grain—the seed—into the ground, give it some water and wait. Within days, the first small green leaves pop up from the ground. If nurtured properly, over the next few months the seed will grow and become a plant capable of producing more grain. This is the miracle of life that we call agriculture — the one thing that makes it possible for us to enjoy bread as we know it.
But you don’t even need to bury the seed into the ground for it to start the process. Give the grain enough moisture, and sprouting begins. An enzyme called amylase gets to work inside the grain, converting the starches into maltose, a simple sugar that the seedling can use to power its growth. For us, this also means new sweet and nutty flavours from the sprouted wheat that we can use in baking bread.
Historically it was often an accident that grains sprouted, and with the development of modern techniques, sprouting was essentially eradicated. But the sprouting of wheat and other grains is a great way of significantly increasing enzymes, which means the nutrients are easier to digest and absorb.
Sprouting also causes a beneficial modification of various nutritional elements. According to research undertaken at the University of Minnesota, sprouting increases the total nutrient density of a food. For example, sprouted whole wheat was found to have 28% more thiamine (B1), 315% more riboflavin (B2), 66%more niacin (B3), 65% more pantothenic acid (B5), 111% more biotin, 278% more folic acid, and 300% more vitamin C than non-sprouted whole wheat. This phenomenon is not restricted to wheat. All grains undergo this type of quantitative and qualitative transformation.
Sprouting the Single Origin wheat from the Flinders Ranges led to a completely different flavour that has the aroma of sweet and fresh wheat grass. It is a beautiful combination with the sourness of the crumb in our Single Origin Sprouted Wheat Sourdough.