Advances in technology have vastly improved farming techniques, like giving us bigger harvests in a variety of crops. But sometimes, doing things the old-fashioned way yields rich benefit.
Case in point: sprouted flour. You've probably heard the term, but you might not understand what it is. Here are three things to know about sprouted flour.
1. How sprouted flour differs from non-sprouted flours.
Sprouted flour is made from sprouted grains, including not just red and white wheat, but spelt, amaranth, Kamut, einkorn, sorghum, rye, corn, and more. As its name implies, a sprouted grain is a grain that’s been allowed to sprout and begin to germinate as it would if left to its own devices in nature. A tiny awakening happens in each one.
And according to Peggy Sutton, founder and owner of To Your Health Sprouted Flour Co. in Fitzpatrick, Alabama, the difference this makes is huge. "Comparing the flour from un-sprouted grains, the stuff most commonly found in your grocery store, to sprouted-grain flour is like comparing night and day," she says. "In our sprouted flours, nothing is taken out, and nothing is added in."
2. The flavor difference.
According to Peggy, your taste buds will instantly detect more complex flavors in bread, cookies, or crackers made using sprouted flours since sprouting allows a portion of the starch in the grain to break down into simple sugars. These sugars act like a spotlight, highlighting the individual characteristics of each grain.
"Kamut is buttery; spelt is kinda nutty," Peggy says. "And that’s the main reason I love sprouted flours. As a baker, the far superior taste is the No. 1 reason to use them."
3. Possible nutritional benefits.
Flavor is one thing, but sprouted flours also reportedly pack an impressive nutritional punch. The dormant vitamins and minerals in grains are activated and brought to life during the sprouting process. By some estimates, sprouting increases vitamin C and carotene content, creates B vitamins, and bumps up the amount of trace minerals present.
Sprouting also breaks down the grains' natural protective barrier, making them easier to digest. "There's an old saying about sprouted flour that I love: 'Sprouted flour digests like a tomato, not a potato,'" Peggy said. The same can't be said of conventional flours. "They are heavily processed and lack any real flavor," she said.
About To Your Health's Sprouted Flours
To Your Health uses only certified organic and non-GMO grains in its products. "That’s important because all grains, even sprouted ones, have to be cleaned and have the chaff removed first. In non-organic operations, chemicals are often used to speed this up." Peggy says.
Also, several of the grains and legumes used by To Your Health to make sprouted flour — brown rice, corn, sorghum, navy beans, and others — are naturally gluten-free and processed in a dedicated gluten-free facility, making them great for those who've had to give up gluten due to Celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity.
Stay tuned! Tomorrow we tour To Your Health's production facility, and get a step-by-step look at how they make their sprouted flour.