Category Archives: Soaked / Sprouted Grain

Test Kitchen Bonus: Bacon Irish Soad Bread


Image by plusonetwo via Flickr

While preparing to tackle the Test Kitchen Tuesday recipes I stumbled across this recipe from The Nourishing Gourmet for Bacon Irish Soda Bread—honestly, it had me at Bacon (the photo is amazing too).  According to Jim Gaffigan, bacon is the fairy dust of the food world, making everything better!

I thought I would pass it along in case you were still looking for something Irish to celebrate today. The recipe calls for soaking the flour, which if you start early this morning you still have time to make it for dinner tonight, or you may decide to skip the soaking process just this once.  If you already have a soda bread recipe, you may just include this bacon technique for a new twist on an old favorite.

If you make it, let me know what you think and I will be sure to pass along the feedback.  Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Bacon Irish Soda Bread

Source: The Nourishing Gourmet
(makes one large loaf)

4 cups of whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup of rolled oatmeal
1/4 cup of butter, or coconut oil
1 ½ cups of buttermilk
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons of unrefined salt.
8 slices of bacon

Bake 450 degrees for 15 minutes, and then 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes more 20 minutes plus ten minutes, plus ten (cover with foil), plus another ten.

1) The night before combine the flour and oatmeal and cut in the butter, shortening or coconut oil. Add the buttermilk or the water and vinegar. Gently mix together. If too dry to form a soft ball, add more water or buttermilk until the consistency is a soft dough. You do not want it to be tough or dry otherwise it will be too hard to work with in the next step. Cover airtight using a lid on a bowl or plastic wrap and leave in a warm place overnight.

2) The next morning, place your dough on the counter and flatten. Sprinkle the salt and baking soda over the dough and gently knead into a ball, until you feel that the salt and baking soda is distributed. Form into a ball and then press out into a round shape about 2 inches high. Cut a cross on the top and then crisscross the bacon over the top. Place on a buttered baking sheet.

3) Put in the oven for 15 minutes and then reduce heat to 400 degrees. Cook for another 30 minutes. Cover with foil, if needed and then cook until done (about another 10 to 20 minutes). You will know it’s done when it’s nicely browned and the bottom sounds hollow when knocked.

4) Cool on a cooling rack. This tastes best when warm, not hot. (cool for about 30-45 minutes).Cut into thick slices, and then cut in half for a serving size.


Cornbread [Whole Grain]

Whole Grain Cornbread

Do you ever comparison shop?  Well, I often comparison surf, especially when it comes to refining recipes. Many of my recipes I consider tried and true, but I am always open for suggestions to improve technique, flavor, or nutritional value.  Surfing for cornbread recipes will lead you on an endless journey considering regional differences, add-ins, and baking preferences (some folks swear by cast iron).  I look for cornbread to complement a meal, not try to stand on its own, so I prefer it plain, yet moist, ready to receive a slather of butter—add a drizzle of honey and dessert is taken care of too.

Most cornbread recipes call for equal amounts of cornmeal and all-purpose flour, which produce cake-like bread.  Since we choose to eat only whole-grain products, white flour is not a consideration, so we use King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour or grind the grain fresh.  Using whole wheat flour can make the flavor a little wheaty, so I adjust the ratio to include more cornmeal than wheat flour.  For an even healthier version, the second recipe (below) includes a soaked-grain method.  Want more information about soaking grains and soaked grain breads? Visit:

This is a great tasting cornbread recipe whether you use regular flour, soaked grain, add-ins, cast iron—it’s up to you—just be sure you have butter and honey close-by.  Our favorite meal to serve it with is Smoked Turkey & Bean Soup.

Are there add-ins you just cannot imagine cornbread without?  Is there a certain meal you must serve with fresh cornbread?

Please share your ideas and favorites by leaving a comment—thanks!

Cornbread [Whole Wheat]

1 1/4     cups  whole-grain cornmeal — not degerminated
3/4        cup  freshly ground flour -or-
King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour
4             teaspoons  baking powder
1/2        teaspoon  sea salt
1/4        cup  honey
2             whole  eggs — beaten
1             cup  buttermilk
1/4        cup  butter or coconut oil — melted

Preheat oven to 400° Mix salt and baking powder with the cornmeal and flour until well combined.  Add beaten eggs, milk, melted butter, and honey to dry ingredients and mix only until moistened.

Pour into a greased 9×9 pan and bake at 400° for 25 minutes. Allow to rest in the pan after baking for 5 minutes before slicing. Serve warm.

Cornbread [WW Soaked Method]

1 1/4    cups  whole-grain cornmeal — not degerminated
3/4       cup  freshly ground flour -or-
King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour
1             cup  buttermilk or plain yogurt
3            teaspoons  baking powder
1            teaspoon  baking soda
1/2       teaspoon  sea salt
1/4       cup  honey
2            whole  eggs — beaten
1/4       cup  butter or coconut oil — melted

Preheat oven to 375°. Mix cornmeal and flour together with buttermilk or yogurt until moistened. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit for 12-24 hours in a warm place (in the oven with just the oven light on is ideal).

Once the grain has soaked, add the baking powder, baking soda, beaten eggs, melted butter, and honey; mix well.

Pour into a greased 9×9 pan and bake at 375° for 30-35 minutes. Allow to rest in the pan after baking for 5 minutes before slicing. Serve warm.








Shared on the following Blog Hops:
Real Food Whole Health Fresh Bites Friday

Whole Wheat French Bread [Soaked Method]

Since our soaked grain adventure began a few months ago, the one bread I have missed more than any is French bread.  Unable to find any recipe on-line that used authentic cooking methods for this type of bread which included soaking the grain, I decided to try to convert a basic recipe found on Famous French Desserts.

Understanding that whole wheat creates a softer texture than white flour, I did not expect the loaf to have the same crunch to the exterior nor the same airy interior of French bread made with white flour.  However, as much as we want to eat food that is good for us, it has to taste good too. This recipe accomplished both goals, so I was very pleased with the results. I used half hard white winter wheat and half Kamut flour for this recipe, although I did note that you can use King Arthur White Whole Wheat if you do not have a grain mill.

Baking the bread with a pan of water to replicate the steam ovens used in French baking helped to create a crust that had pull and was pleasantly chewy.  The interior was soft with a mild wheat flavor that yielded to the bright green tang of the extra-virgin olive oil we used for dipping.  Garlic bread, bruschetta, rosemary bread for warm brie, all come from a basic French loaf and I look forward to these delights once again—a healthier version that not only tastes good, but is good for us.

Whole Wheat French Bread
(Soaked Method) Yields 2 loaves

4 cups freshly milled flour -or-
King Arthur White Whole Wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 tbsp. kefir or whey
1 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. dough conditioner
1 tbsp. wheat gluten
1 tbsp. active yeast
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. sea salt
2 cups warm water

1. In a bowl, mix together 4 cups of whole wheat flour, 1 3/4 cups water, olive oil, and kefir until flour is moistened.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot (above 70°), or in the oven with the oven light on.  Allow to soak for 12-24 hours.
2. In another bowl, combine yeast, 1/4 cup warm water (100-110°), and honey. Allow yeast to proof for 5 minutes until bubbly.
3. In a mixer, add soaked flour, yeast, dough conditioner, gluten, and salt. Mix on low speed until well incorporated. Add 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour and knead with the mixer for 8-10 minutes. This dough is quite soft so using a mixer works better than hand kneading.
4. Dough will be slightly sticky; don’t be tempted to add more flour.
5. Lightly oil a bowl. Place dough in bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the oven with the oven light on. Let rise for 1 hour until double in size. Remove from oven.
6. Place a shallow pan of hot water in the bottom rack of the oven. Preheat oven to 450°.
7. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and gently knead again. Divide dough into two parts. Roll each half between your hands and the counter to stretch the dough into a long loaf shape.  Place on a baking sheet or in a baguette pan (see photo). Slice the tops of the loaves diagonally about 1/4″ deep with a razor blade or sharp knife.  Let rise for at least 20 minutes.
8. Bake baguettes for 12-15 minutes. Remove the pan of water, turn oven off and allow bread to remain in the oven for 3-5 more minutes of baking. Watch closely to prevent baguettes from becoming too brown.

Optional: Use 1 egg white and 1 tbsp cold water to brush on loaves after removing the pan of water and before returning to oven for 5 minutes.  This will give the crust a shiny finish as shown below.

Shaped for smaller French rolls and fishished with an egg wash.

For more info on the nutritional benefits of soaked grains, click here.

This recipe also shared on the following Blog Hops:
The Nourishing Gourmet
Real Food Forager Fat Tuesday

Soaked-Wheat Dinner Rolls

Healthy Holiday Menu Choices

Adorning tables across our country during the holidays, bread is comforting and satisfying. Loving everything about bread—the aroma as it bakes, its perfect texture with butter or virgin olive oil—I wish it were as good for me as vegetables. While it will never reach the nutritional heights of the veggie tray, if chosen carefully, bread can be an enriching element of our holiday meal, rather than the empty-carb-diet-busting cheat we regret.

In the journey toward optimal health, sprouted or soaked whole grain products have become the standard in our home. As the holidays inch closer, we are determined to not compromise while also enjoying long-standing traditions. This led me to revamp an old recipe for dinner rolls into a healthier, soaked version we could feel good about.

Two adjustments in this common recipe recreate a holiday staple that is as nourishing as it is comforting.  Mashed sweet potatoes are a substitute for regular mashed potatoes. This subtle change incorporates all the added nutritional value of sweet potatoes, while also decreasing the amount of sugar needed.

Soaking the wheat flour breaks down the phytic acid, which can act as an anti-nutrient if untreated. Phytic acid in grain combines with key minerals, especially calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, and zinc preventing their absorption. Soaking or sprouting the grain before baking neutralizes this acid, releasing the full benefit of the grain. This simple step also aids digestion, avoiding that too-full feeling often experienced after eating bread products.

Foodie that I am, it is vital to prepare food that is not only healthy, but tastes good too.  This dinner roll recipe accomplishes that goal, ready just in time for our Thanksgiving feast.

Soaked-Wheat Dinner Rolls

5        c  freshly ground whole wheat flour
2        c  all-purpose flour
1        tsp dough conditioner*
1 ½   tsp salt
1 ½   c  warm water
3        tbsp whey, kefir, or buttermilk (warm)
1        c  warm mashed sweet potatoes
1/3    c  palm coconut sugar or honey
2/3    c  butter, softened
2        whole eggs
1        pkg  active dry yeast

1.  Peel and cut sweet potato into 1” cubes; boil until soft. Mash until no lumps remain.

2.  Grind wheat berries into flour, sift to remove any large pieces, and measure.

3.  Mix 5 cups ground flour with salt, dough conditioner, sugar, 1 ¼ cup warm water (other ¼ cup is for dissolving the yeast), whey, mashed sweet potatoes, and butter in a mixer or food processor. Mix until well incorporated.

4.  Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place at least 12 hours. Overnight in an oven with the oven light on is a good spot.

5.  After allowing the dough to soak in this manner, it is now ready to mix with the yeast and eggs. Dissolve yeast in ¼ cup of warm water with 1 tsp. honey.  With a mixer, stir yeast and eggs into dough.  Add all-purpose flour, ½ cup at a time, until dough pulls away from the bowl and forms a ball; continue kneading dough about 8 minutes. The dough will be tacky, wheat dough can become dry if too much flour is added.

6.  Place in a greased bowl; turn greased side up.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place until double, about an hour.

7.  Punch dough down and shape into rolls in a 9×13 pan or use muffin tins to make clover or pull-apart rolls. Brush with melted butter and allow to rise in a warm place until double in size, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

8.  Bake at 375° and until golden brown, 20-25 minutes in a 9×13 pan, 15 minutes in muffin tins. Makes approximately 2 dozen dinner rolls.

*Notes: The natural dough conditioner I use contains datem, ascorbic acid, l-cystine, enzymes, and wheat flour. Other natural dough conditioners include lecithin, gluten, and ginger.

On-line resources for sprouting or soaking grains:

Judy Purcell on Foodista

“Sprouted” Wheat Banana Spice Bread

Sprouted Wheat Banana Spice Bread

Who wouldn’t want Banana Bread that is good tasting and good for you?  Cooks across the country have purchased grain mills to bake better whole grain bread.  Fresh milled flour is certainly better than anything found in the grocery isles, but it stops short of releasing the full nutritional potential of whole grains.

For cooks looking to add optimal nutrition to their baked goods, sprouting grains or soaking fresh milled flour is the optimal way to go. Soaking the flour overnight increases the vitamin content and absorption of the beneficial nutrients in grains.  This important step also breaks down the phytic acid that blocks absorption of important minerals and interferes with digestion. As described in Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, soaking allows enzymes, lactobacilli and other helpful organisms to break down and neutralize phytic acid.

Wheat, spelt, or kamut flour works well for this recipe.  Soft white wheat is lower in protein and higher in carbohydrates than hard wheat varieties making it ideal for pastries, cookies, muffins, cakes, pancakes, and waffles.  Less sweet than traditional recipes, this Banana Spice Bread recipe produces a moist, tender crumb, rich banana flavor, and all the nutrition you would expect from whole grains. Fresh milled flour soaked overnight and loaded with six ripe bananas provides a healthy on-the-go breakfast or snack.

To print this article and recipe, click here. The print icon is at the bottom, left corner of the article.

“Sprouted” Wheat Banana Spice Bread
Yields 1 loaf


Image by RosieTulips via Flickr

1 3/4  cups fresh ground soft white wheat flour, sifted
1 1/4  cups buttermilk or kefir
2         whole eggs, lightly beaten
1/2     teaspoon sea salt
1/3     cup maple syrup
1         teaspoon baking soda
1/4     cup butter, melted
6         very ripe bananas, dark brown is best
2         teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2     teaspoon cinnamon
1/2     teaspoon nutmeg
1/4     teaspoon ginger
1/2     cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

Mix freshly ground flour in buttermilk or kefir just until moist, cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit in a warm place for 12-24 hours.

Preheat oven to 350°.  Line the bottom of a loaf pan with parchment paper and spray loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Place 5 peeled bananas in a microwave-safe bowl, or large 4-cup measuring cup. Cover with a plate as a lid, set slightly askew to allow steam to escape. Set the measuring cup/bowl on another plate in case the banana juices run over. Microwave on high for about 5 minutes until bananas have released liquid.  Transfer bananas to a mesh strainer placed over a bowl.  Allow to drain, stirring occasionally.

While bananas are draining, combine melted butter, egg, baking soda, salt, spices, maple syrup, vanilla, and stir well.

Once bananas have released their liquid, transfer liquid to a saucepan and cook over med-high heat to reduce and concentrate.  You should end up with about 1/4 cup of liquid. Mash bananas and add to mixture of butter, eggs, and spices.  Once the banana liquid is reduced, combine with wet mixture.

Stir soaked flour and nuts into wet mixture until well combined. Pour into prepared loaf pan.

Slice 1 banana into 1/4 inch thick slices. Shingle banana slices on each side of loaf, leaving a wide space down center of the loaf so it rises properly.  Bake for 1 1/2 hours, or until toothpick inserted in the center, comes out clean. Begin checking loaf at 1 hour–depending on the size of the loaf pan, the cooking time will vary.  Cool in the pan on wire rack 15 minutes before removing loaf.  Continue to cool on wire rack.

Best when served warm.

This recipe can also be used for muffins or mini loaves (picture shown).  Adjust the baking time for muffins to 15-20 minutes and mini loaves 20-25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center, comes out clean.  Cooking time will vary based on size of pan.

If you are not yet ready to make a commitment to buy a grain mill to grind your own, but want the benefits of sprouted grain, there are commercial sources available for purchasing such flours.  If sprouted grain flour is used, you can skip soaking the flour.

Shared on the following Blog Hops:
Real Food Forager Fat Tuesday

Judy Purcell on Foodista

Tomato and Basil Bruschetta

Tomato & Basil Bruschetta

Tomato and Basil Bruschetta was on everyone’s mind after seeing the movie Julie & Julia.  I can still recall the scene when Julie’s husband bites into the bruschetta—instantly, we wanted fried bread layered with juicy tomatoes, basil, and Parmesan cheese.  This follows much of Julia Child’s recipe, with a couple of minor changes of my own—the addition of Gouda cheese and more garlic.
Bon Appétit!

**For a healthier version, this recipe can be made with Whole Wheat French Bread [Soaked Method] as shown in the pictures below. Cut the bread slightly thinner, it is more dense than regular white French bread.

Tomato and Basil Bruschetta

Serves 4
1        loaf French bread, sliced 1″ thick
3/4  pound grape tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1/2   cup fresh basil, chopped
2       cloves garlic, minced
3       tablespoons butter, softened
1/3   cup extra virgin olive oil (1/4 to 1/3 cup)
1/2   cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shaved or grated

Mix tomatoes and basil, and season with salt and pepper. Set aside. Mix garlic with butter.

Heat olive oil in frying pan and fry bread until golden brown on both sides. Remove and drain on paper towel.

Lightly spread some of the garlic butter on one side of the bread. Leftover garlic butter can be refrigerated for later use.

Using a slotted spoon, drain the tomato-basil mixture of excess liquid and top each slice of bread. Salt and pepper, to taste. Top with Parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

Serve bruschetta as an appetizer or as a light lunch with a garden side salad.

Shared on the following Blog Hops:
Real Food Whole Health Traditional Tuesday