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Bread of the Month: Sprouted Grain Power Bread!

Power Bread

Ever since we opened on Gordon Road people have asked me if we bake anything with sprouted grains.  Usually they ask because of the health benefits, but I also know that sprouted grains bring amazing colour and flavour to bread.  I am so glad that I finally get to say Yes, especially with this amazing, fruity, nutty, delicious loaf.

Our Power Bread is inspired by a forumla shared with me by Didier Rosada in San Francisco back in 2008 and incorporates two techniques that I've been wanting to try at Orange Boot since we opened:  sprouting grains and extra long fermentation.

We start with sprouting the grains.  Our miller, Bob Balfour, sent over a large bag of organic wheat berries that we soak in water for four days until they start to sprout.  Then the grain is washed and ground up into a wet, sticky glump in our food processor.   The sprouted grains replace 40% of the flour that we use in making the Power Bread.

After the dough is mixed and we add a big batch of raisins, toasted walnuts and toasted almonds to the dough, we get to the extra long fermentation part of the story.  Our regular bread ferments for a long time to improve the flavour, texture and keeping qualities of the final loaf; typically around 3-4 hours after the final dough is mixed (part of the dough ferments for up to 18 hours, but that's another story.) The final dough of our Power Bread ferments very slowly, for between 19-22 hours, before baking.

The sprouted grain and the extra long fermentation combine to bring an intensity of colour and flavour to the final loaf that's way beyond anything you've ever tried.  What's happening?  In simple terms, the act of soaking and sprouting the grains wakes up the enzymes in the grain to amazing levels.  They are on a mission to break down the starch in the wheat into sugars to "feed" the wheat germ as it transforms into a plant.  So the sprouted grains have slightly less starch, slightly more vitamins and minerals, and more sugars that will give you a nice dark crust when baked.  And by fermenting the bread for an extra long time, the enzymes in the sprouted grains and the flour have more time to work their magic.

Of course, a bread this special needs to look special too.  Teisha made some wild Lightning Bolt stencils so you know there's something interesting going on inside your loaf.  The lightning bolt represents the crazy energy of the sprouted grains, the energy you'll get from eating them (and the nuts, and the raisins -- it's like breakfast in every slice!) and the energy we put in to making them for you.  Shazam!

Power Bread is available at the bakery every day, starting Tuesday April 30, throughout the month of May. It's a perfect fit as you get outside, get active and enjoy Spring.