OK, this went pretty well.
After soaking the berries and letting them sprout (it took about three days),
I set them out to dry. I used the oven method of turning on my oven to its lowest setting (200) every hour for six hours. Honestly, I did it once in a three hour span, left the grains in the oven over night, and did another two-hour run the next day. Seemed to work fine. I tested the "dryness" of the wheat berries by crunching one between my teeth. If it was still a little soft, it needed more time in the dryerooo.
Then came the grinding. Alright, I've got a cheapo food processor that obviously was not up to the job. I gave up on that rig and turned to my little coffee grinder. You can only fit so much in at one time, so this was kind of a pain in the ass. It took about 7 batches to get through it all - and even then it turns out I didn't have enough flour. Sigh...someday I'll invest in a grain mill (because - fast forward - it will be worth it). Here's the sprouted grain flour that I did end up with (about 2.5 cups):
I supplemented the lack of enough sprouted wheat flour with a local red berry wheat flour that I'd received in my winter CSA share and got to kneading. A cement mixer or people with tiny feet would come in handy for this step. This dough is dense! After kneading, resting, kneading and resting:
By this time, it was 8 pm and what I really wanted was a fresh loaf of bread for breakfast, so I covered her up and let her sit overnight.
I preheated the oven with my pizza stone, forgot to brush the loaf with cream and 45 minutes later, I had a slightly ugly, cracked and heavier-than-a-doorstop loaf of sprouted wheat bread.
Needless to say, I was not optimistic. My thought was: "well, at least the ducks in JP Pond will get their vitamins"...
I sliced in. The knife glided through a slightly crispy crust and into the soft, dense flesh inside. A bit of the crust crumbled away from the flesh, but it mostly came off in a solid, moist piece.
The smell evoked memories of childhood, cozy winter mornings, comfort. I quickly grabbed the pastured butter, dropped thick slices of it on the still steaming bread and let it melt in a bit.
Heaven. Really tasty - with a noticeable flavor from the milk and honey - dense and moist. I stopped at two slices and wrapped the rest in wax paper to enjoy tonight with the oxtail stew I've got planned. Highly recommended!
I'm looking forward to trying the recipe again with 100% sprouted wheat flour and may try using maple syrup instead of honey. Do you think that will still activate the yeast?
Also, why do you think the loaf cracked so extremely? Could it be because I didn't brush on the cream?
All in all, it was a fun and pretty easy first try. Now I think I'm hooked!
This is great and I have some wheat berries to give it a try!! Do you know about how many cups it will produce once ground? I would like to sprout the amount I need for a recipe, but it seems like it would be a lot?