GRK’s Sprouted Grain & Seed Bread: The Benefits of Soaking & Sprouting
One of our most popular items at Golden Roots Kitchen is the Sprouted Grain & Seed Bread that we have on weekly rotation. From week to week you’ll find variations of this GRK favorite—ranging from last week’s sweeter Cranberry Walnut Sprouted Oat & Seed Bread, to the more savory Sprouted Oat & Seed Bread with Fresh Onion and Dill.
As with all of our dishes, the bread is gluten-free. However, you’ll find that the bread is considerably different from the majority of GF breads you’ll find on the shelves or in the freezers of your local market. We rely on a heartier base of oats, seeds, and whole grains—and avoid using flour blends entirely. In doing this, we aim to create a loaf of gluten-free bread that is not only delicious, but also remains incredibly nutrient-dense.
Soaking and sprouting our ingredients before baking is integral to the process of making our denser loaves easier to digest and more bioavailable (bioavailability = the degree to which nutrients are more readily absorbable or available to the body). Here’s a super-scientific breakdown—stick with us!—of the WHY behind our process of soaking and sprouting:
Phytic acid is a naturally occuring anti-nutrient (compounds in food that interfere with nutrient absorption) found in high concentrations in grains, nuts, seeds and legumes—all major players in several GRK dishes! Phytic acid stores phosphorus (used with calcium to help build healthy bones) in the seed until the conditions are appropriate for sprouting and growth. When phytic acid is tightly bound to phosphorous, it is not readily available for absorption. And when phytic acid is left untreated, it also binds to other minerals such as magnesium, calcium, copper, iron, and zinc—causing these to also become unavailable for absorption, which can potentially lead to mineral deficiencies. Over time, high consumption of anti-nutrients can lead to digestive discomfort because it inhibits enzymes necessary for the breaking down of proteins and complex sugars.
Soaking and/or sprouting nuts, seeds, grains and legumes in water with an acid medium such as lemon, apple cider vinegar, or whey activates enzymes and other helpful organisms to break down and neutralize phytic acid—in turn allowing nutrients to become more readily available for absorption. Sprouting grains activates the enzyme phytase, which dissolves phytic acid and releases beneficial minerals stored in the seed. Sprouting also neutralizes enzyme inhibitors in seeds that can neutralize our own digestive enzymes.
Consuming sprouted grains should be a routine feature of the diet. At Golden Roots Kitchen we use careful preparation techniques to reduce the amount of phytic acid in our foods, to allow for better absorption of nutrients, and digestive comfort for all. While we carefully craft our bread with nutrient dense-ingredients, we want to ensure our patrons are actually able to enjoy all of its nutritional benefits!
For example, last week’s bread showcased a blend of steel cut and rolled oats, psyllium husks, chia, and flax seeds. These ingredients offer a boost of both soluble and insoluble fiber—promoting good gut health, stabilized blood sugar, and a healthy immune response. Chia and flax seeds contain high amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids, which support heart and brain health. Other important nutrients found in seeds such as vitamin C, B2, B5 and B6, as well as carotene (a precursor to vitamin A), are also increased during the sprouting process.
We know some of this info can feel a little dense—pun intended!—but we hope it helps you to understand more of our process and why we put so much extra time and care into our bread at GRK. From conception to execution, we truly strive to create a bread that’s packed with nutrients, easily digestible—and most importantly—delicious!
Wishing you wellness, always,
Dena & Mary
Dena Zlotziver, M.Ed., is a teacher, writer, and member of the kitchen staff at Golden Roots Kitchen.
Mary Smith has her Bachelor’s of Science in Nutrition and Food Science, and serves as GRK’s in-house nutrition expert.
For more information, check out the following sources:
Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats by Sally Fallon