Sprouted Grain vs. Whole Grain Breads
Bread seems to be constantly evolving with changes on the horizon. Sixty years ago, bread was usually purchased from the neighborhood bakery or made at home but with the growth of processed foods in the 1960’s and 1970’s, large-scale production of bread made with refined flour soared and took over grocery store shelves. Although commercial loaves full of processed and enriched flours, chemicals, and preservatives still dominate the market, the most recent trend has been towards breads made with sprouted or whole grains, both of which offer a more nutritious and tasty alternative to white bread.
Grains are actually seeds of certain plants (primarily grass) and contain the potential to grow into a whole new plant. The grain – just like a seed – has three edible parts: the germ (the embryo), endosperm (the starchy food for the embryo that includes the protein rich aleurone layer), and bran (provides additional nutrients and protects the grain until it is ready to start the growth cycle).
The built in inhibitors in the grain that temporarily protected the grain until it was ready to germinate are turned off by the enzymes created when the grain sprouted. To nourish the sprout, the starch of the endosperm is converted to easily digestible molecules. It is during this stage when the grain is straddling the line between seed and plant that many people believe they can enjoy the nutritious value of whole grains while being more readily digestible.
Sprouted grains can be used two ways in the bread making process: the dry approach or the wet approach. In the dry approach, the grain is allowed to sprout but is then dried, stored, and milled into a sprouted grain flour which is then used to make bread or other food products. The wet approach involves mashing the sprouted grain into a thick puree used to make bread or food products.
To make bread using whole grains, all three parts of the grain are used to mill into flour thereby preserving all the nutrients (white flour has had the endosperm and bran removed which takes away protein and vitamins).
So, the only difference between sprouted grain and whole grain breads is that one is made with the grain once it has germinated while the other is made using grains before the new growth process starts. One (sprouted whole grain) is advertised as more easily digestible while both are big on flavor and nutrition.