Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Trials in Sprouted Grain Land...and Some Applesauce Cocoa Cookies

There's an awesome couple that visits us at the market every week, and a couple of weeks ago, they commissioned me to try making sprouted grain bread. My first attempt was a hilariously awful round rock consisting of nothing except sprouted wheat berries ground into a dough-like paste and then baked in a crock pot for upwards of eight hours. I had success the next week, with a loaf modified from the Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book (always a great read for getting in touch with your inner hippie). This one had yeast, a little honey, and some salt in addition to the wheat berries, resulting in a couple of loaves of pleasantly dense, chewy bread. The customers enjoyed it, but they asked for something made without wheat, so I'm on to trying a six-grain sprouted bread. I'm going to try to basically follow the Laurel's Kitchen recipe, but I have no idea if the combination of grains I have is going to work. Here's a picture of the grains I chose (from one of my favorite stores in the area, Greatest Grains):

Starting at the left and going in a clockwise spiral: rye, amaranth, millet, oat groats, barley, and red quinoa.

First soak: The basic idea here is to soak the grains for a couple of days, rinsing them 2-3 times per day, until they "sprout" little tails. Different grains take different amounts of time and grow different lengths of tails. I learned today that quinoa sp
routs really fast...the other grains haven't done much but it's only been a day so I'm not worried yet.

This ingenious set-up makes it incredibly easy to drain the soaking water from the grains...it's just window screen cut to fit inside the ring of the mason jar so that it can be tipped to drain the water without dumping the grain. The only problem is that I chose to use amaranth. Amaranth is the smallest grain. So small that it goes right through window screen. Not exactly sure how I'm going to deal with that, but I'm probably going to end up trying cheesecloth to drain the water.

In between drainings the jars should stay covered, so I just put the lid under the window screen and screwed the band on.

I plan on making a variety of mini-loaves of this bread with different flavors like cinnamon-raisin, sesame seed, everything, etc. Stay tuned for the results!

And now on to those applesauce cookies. As I mentioned before, I make something naturally-sweetened every week. Today it was these cookies, adapted from a recipe from allrecipes.com. The original recipe called for artificial sweetener, but I try to stay away from that when I'm baking for the market, so I substituted honey and cut back on the water by about two tablespoons. They turned out very cakey and spongy. Anyone with a desire to make whoopie pies would probably have good success with these.

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