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Seeking the Perfect Homemade Whole Wheat: Essential Eating’s Sprouted Bread and Rolls (no. 2)

Time for the second installment of “let’s watch the girl who doesn’t know a whit about bread baking try to figure out how to make the perfect loaf!”

Essential Eating's Sprouted Bread and Rolls

There were so many excellent comments on last week’s two posts (the introduction and first recipe) that I now have SEVENTEEN bread recipes on my list, plus two more in my email that I haven’t addressed yet, besides the SEVEN I’ve already tried, some of which need more testing with soaking adaptations or tweaks.

Anyone want to come over for tea and toast? Lots and lots of toast? Smile

I’m going to have to pick through those and make my list of priorities carefully, because something tells me trying them all would be a bad idea. (Here come four fat Kimballs waddling down the road…)

One of the fascinating parts about having such a collection is that I can compare the basic structure of what all these other people think is the “best bread ever.” What’s the ratio of flour to fat to yeast? How is it kneaded? Soaked or unsoaked? Dough enhancers?

Why Is Katie Baking Bread, Anyway?

I’m becoming more and more certain that I’m really not qualified for this. In revising the Kimball Family Bread Ratings (which now has 5148 possible points instead of 20), a reader recommended that I rate the “open crumb and chewy crust.”

Notice the blank look on my face.

Katie wonders: what is an open crumb? Heck, what’s a chewy crust? What if I like it crunchy?

Am I cut out for this???

The only saving grace is that if I can do this, anyone can!

You can see the actual Kimball Family Bread Rating System at the introduction post along with an ongoing list of the contenders. It actually worked out to be exactly 30 points with various bonus and deducted points besides.

**Be sure to visit last week’s recipe for the updated bread rating system on all of its variations!

Here is a touchpoint post on how I bake bread: Katie’s Basic Bread Baking Techniques (or lack thereof) If you have questions about any of my processes or choices, you’ll find answers there!

sprouted whole wheat rolls

Learning About Bread Baking

I’m determined to learn a little bit about gluten development, kneading methods and results, and the optimal look and feel for bread – maybe even how to describe the “crumb” other than “all over my kitchen floor, all the time.” I’ll share as we go, okay?

But I digress. I am working on a post titled something like “Katie’s Basic Bread Baking Techniques (or lack thereof)” which will cover the following topics for all recipes involved:

  • how to get water hot
  • what kind of fat to use
  • sweetener philosophy
  • what kind of yeast I use
  • what kind of flour
  • what are dough conditioners?
  • how to tell if the gluten is developed
  • rising places
  • forming a loaf (or not)
  • how to adapt to soak
  • how to use various machines – dough cycle vs. Kitchen Aid vs. hand knead
  • and some more I haven’t thought of!

This way I won’t have to repeat some of the basics in every post but can simply link back to this one.

Ready for this week’s recipe? (She asks, as she finally gets around to the point of the post 500 words in!)

Recipe: Sprouted Sandwich Bread and Rolls

This recipe is from the book Essential Eating Sprouted Baking by Janie Quinn. Essential Eating and Shiloh Farms have been sponsors that keeps the site rolling. I was skeptical, having never baked a yeast bread recipe with 100% sprouted flour.

Essential Eating's Sprouted Bread and Rolls
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Sprouted Sandwich Bread and Rolls

  • Author: Essential Eating Sprouted Baking by Janie Quinn


  • 4 Tbs. room temperature butter
  • 4 Tbs. maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 c. room temperature water
  • 4 c. sprouted flour (I used Essential Eating’s white wheat)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. sea salt (Use the code kitchenstewardship for 15% off of your first purchase)
  • 2 tsp. yeast

ship kroger


  1. With a stand mixer:
  2. Mix the flour, salt and yeast together, then add the butter, syrup and water.
  3. Mix with the dough hook until the dough has formed a ball (I had to add a little water at this point to get all the flour to incorporate).
  4. Knead on level 2 for 7-8 minutes.
  5. Cover and allow to rise in a warm place for about an hour or until doubled in size.
  6. Form the dough into a loaf in a large greased pan and rise again until the loaf crests the pan.
  7. Bake at 350F 15-20 minutes .
  8. Cool loaf on a wire rack once removed from pan.
  9. Alternately, you can roll the dough into about a dozen rolls, allow to rise until doubled, and bake in a preheated 350F oven for 12-15 minutes.
  10. I like to bake breads on my baking stone.
  11. With a bread maker:
  12. Pour the wet ingredients in first, then the dry, ending with the yeast.
  13. Start the basic rapid cycle and remove the dough before baking time, usually after about an hour (check your manual for details).
  14. Form a loaf or rolls and proceed with directions as stated above.

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I made this bread twice, once with the Kitchenaid and once with the breadmaker, with quite different results. The first time, in the KitchenAid and rising in a slightly warm oven with the light on, the dough had zero rise after an hour, and since I saw so little action, I decided to go with rolls so I wouldn’t have to feed my family a sprouted doorstop.

The rolls rose a bit better once formed, and the final result was a shock – perfectly fluffy and soft rolls, very moist and spongy. The kids, even a visiting friend, loved them. I am pretty sure that some folks would say they’re simply too soft, however, so be warned.

The second go-round I followed the book’s directions exactly and used the “rapid rise” cycle on my breadmaker. That meant that in an hour, the bread was kneaded and risen (so well I thought it was a different recipe), and I chose to take the dough out and put it into a loaf pan. I almost let it bake in the machine on accident, so it had gotten pretty warm but not too hot.

Essential Eating's Sprouted Bread and Rolls

Within 15 minutes rising time, I had this problem on my hands:

Essential Eating's Sprouted Bread and Rolls

Rather than overflow the pan while baking (been there, done that, makes a mess in the oven), I decided to pull off about 5-6 rolls, which made for an ugly loaf but one that was intact.

Kimball Family Bread Ratings:

      • Whole Grains: 5
      • Softness: 3 (lost points because it’s almost too moist)
      • Flavor: 3 (a bit different because of the sprouted flour, although my son says they’re “amazing!”)
      • Workability: 4(one point lost for not coming together in the stand mixer)
      • Good Rise: 2, 5
      • Easy Recipe: 5
      • Bonus points: +2 sprouted, –1 cost of sprouted flour

Total Score: 23-26/30 (view the bread rating system and all recipes HERE)

Essential Eating's Sprouted Bread and Rolls

My final description: Sprouted bread is, as I expected, different than traditional whole wheat. There is a certain sweeter overtone, but not sweet like honey, sweet like “I’m related to carrots and lettuce.” Sprouted flour is said to digest like a vegetable, after all, and I for one taste the “plant-ness” in there.

The bread was way too soft to spread 64 degree butter (mushed and fell apart), and once lightly toasted the raw honey (use the code Katie15 for 15% off at that site!) made a mess of it. I have a hunch making a PB&J would be a bit frustrating. If you like melt in your mouth softness that falls apart in your hands, this bread’s for you. The rise points are radically different simply because I had two different experiences, one that rose and one that didn’t. Perhaps the environment inside the bread maker is just so optimal for yeast that it can’t fail, whereas my attempt in the warm oven was humanly flawed.

As for the cost of sprouted flour, if the health benefits of sprouted wheat are important to you, you won’t have a problem with that. Here’s how to be frugal about it and make homemade sprouted wheat flour (in bulk!).

Want to Play?

If you try the recipe, either as written or with some changes, let us know! Leave a comment with what you did and how it turned out.


Do you know how to find healthy eggs? Have you seen the Online Resources I Love?

Disclosure: Shiloh Farms is a paid advertiser for January receiving their complementary in-post mention. See my full disclosure statement here.

Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

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22 thoughts on “Seeking the Perfect Homemade Whole Wheat: Essential Eating’s Sprouted Bread and Rolls (no. 2)”

  1. I know this is an older post, but I’m baking these sandwich rolls for my second time today. The dough doesn’t rise on the first time for me, either, but does great once made into rolls. They are definitely “moist,” as you described, and I thought they’d be a bit too heavy. BUT, my family loved them enough to request them again and again (and they are finicky). It’s so hard to get 100% sprouted whole wheat that everybody likes, so I’ll keep this recipe, for sure!

  2. Pingback: Katie’s Basic Bread Baking Techniques (or lack thereof) | Kitchen Stewardship

  3. I should not be reading this post while on a two week grain free diet! But I am looking forward to more bread posts- it’s very gracious of you to do all the experimenting to find the perfect bread recipe while we just “watch” you and see the results. 🙂 Thanks!

  4. Heather Ledeboer

    I can’t wait for the new upcoming posts: “Katie’s Basic Bread Baking Techniques (or lack thereof)” keep ’em coming, I enjoy learning with you!

  5. I’ve been using this recipe for several months and it turns out delicious. I never noticed a vegetable taste. I used my KitchenAid for kneading and all white whole wheat. I use honey instead of maple syrup simply because that’s what I have access to locally. I’m thinking that the small amount of yeast makes it take longer to rise. Mine usually takes about 1-1/2 hours to rise for each rise.

  6. Katie, I’m enjoying this series–love all the experiments! I just wanted to mention a bread baking site you might enjoy called (but set the timer when you go there or you might stay there forever!). It has tons of forums with questions and lots of answers/thoughts being tossed around. I have found it very helpful when I’ve run into problems with my loaves.

    Also, here’s a thought: if you decide to go with part white flour (or removing some of the bran) in a loaf, that automatically would cut down on your need for dough conditioner/gluten. (Without as much sharp bran, the gluten developed by kneading stays more intact.) You might have already thought of that, but I don’t have time to go back through all your other bread posts right now to check!

    Again, thanks so much for this series!

    1. Diana,
      I have used some white flour in a recipe (not posted yet) as a sort of “dough enhancer” but probably used a little too much! The bread, of course, was amazing, but I couldn’t in good conscience classify it “whole wheat.” Good thought! 🙂 Katie

      1. Very true, and I guess I wasn’t thinking it should be! 🙂 That was if you decided to go with the notion that traditional societies didn’t always use 100% whole wheat. But then I guess you’d have to change the name of the series or something 🙂

  7. I agree with Marcella, that loaf definitely needed more time. The other really difficult thing about bread, especially whole grain bread, is that it rally needs to be completely cool before slicing. And if you can wait at least 12 hours so much the better. It will slice better and keep better. Now ask me if I can wait that long. ☺ At least wait until absolutely completely cool for loaf slicing and you won’t have to deal with a gummy middle if it’s fully baked. This one was cut while mostly cool. If I had waited overnight the crumb would not have any stickiness to it.

    1. Kelly,
      The loaf did sit overnight, and like I told Marcella, I’m so curious to see if I could bake it 10 minutes longer and have a better result now! You’re teasing me talking about “the crumb” right? You know it’s Greek to me! 🙂 katie

      1. LOL, I love all your experiments! It’s probably been said in another comment, but crumb is just a general descriptor that includes the texture, moistness and “hole-yness” of the bread. Like ciabatta should have large holes in the structure and a moist, almost elastic texture even after baking. Sandwich bread you want to have a fine crumb and grain along with enough moisture to complement their use. The fineness of the holes is influenced by water content quite a bit. Are your eyes glazing over yet? 🙂 Bottom line is, if you like it, it’s good bread. And there is a never-ending supply of recipes out there. I’m actually trying out my soaked recipe today in the machine with only a tsp of added gluten. (It’s had a good long soak, because I forgot it yesterday!) Hopefully I haven’t broken down too much gluten with that long soak and will still get a good rise!

        1. Kelly,
          My eyes only glazed over a little… 😉

          Sometimes the best experiments are the “oops” kind! 🙂 Katie

  8. Susan Alexander

    I’m wondering if it didn’t rise because you didn’t “proof” the yeast first?? Maybe I read too fast, but typically you add the yeast to warm water (not too warm!) and possibly the sugar ingredient (I’ve seen both ways and I am NO expert) and let sit for 10-15 minutes. The yeast mixture gets foamy and then is more likely to rise later…

    I may try this recipe with white flour (shame of shame, but whole wheat has NOT worked well in our house) and just see… 😉 I also have the joy of working with not-butter because of dairy allergies. I’ll post back if I do try with how my horrible not-as-healthy version comes out. LOL

    1. Susan,
      The recipe was for a breadmaker and didn’t call to proof the yeast – the writers of Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day are convinced that modern yeast doesn’t need proofing. It doesn’t help in the rise, just in the knowledge that “it’s working,” from what I understand. The rise was awesome the second time, similar circumstances but different machine, so who knows?
      🙂 Katie

      1. Susan Alexander

        Well, I tried something similar… Here is what I did and the results…

        I started with the water, warmed slightly, the maple syrup, and yeast, let it proof 10 minutes.

        Then I added my fake butter, the salt, and then flour – I started with 1 cup of whole wheat and 3 cups of white. The dough was really stretchy and sticky so I added another 1/3 cup whole wheat and it got a bit more formed.

        I let it rise an hour in the bowl, covered by a towel in my oven with the light on. It rose beautifully. I punched it down and put it in the pan with a moist towel on top and let it rise another half hour in the oven and it was rising really well.

        Then I baked 14 minutes at 350 because I misread the directions! It was yummy, but way underdone…

        My plan – try again with 2 cups whole wheat flour and 2.5 cups white flour and make sure to cook for a solid 18 minutes in my oven. I think it may actually be a winner in my house!

  9. Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama

    Interesting! I’m sure commercial sprouted flour is different than what I’ve baked with, though.

    I baked my favorite recipe yesterday using 2 c. unbleached white flour and the rest sprouted. It came out really well! It’s a little dry today, it doesn’t hold its moisture at all. But it tastes really good. I’ll probably keep playing with it some, but I’m generally satisfied.

    Now I just have to play with my strawberry cake! It was much too dense and moist [I’m trying to use as many whole foods ingredients as possible] and not quite strawberry enough. But the kids LOVED it and asked for more, and they don’t usually finish cake. So at least I have a starting place? Gotta love these baking experiments!

  10. This is a really fun series to read! I love, love baking bread. By the looks of things, your sprouted loaf is not fully baked. It is far too light colored on the bottom/sides where the pan is. If you were to bake it for another 10 minutes or so than the recipe calls for I suspect the too soft, falls apart when buttered problem would be much less of a problem. Most breads are done at 190 degrees, just pop your instant read thermometer in there. It should also sound hollow when slapped on the bottom of the loaf.

    1. Marcella,
      Numbers I can deal with! That tapping thing is all too subjective for me. Strange that the loaf was still yummy, and not at all doughy in the center. Now I want to try it again…but I have so many other recipes! Great advice, thank you! 🙂 Katie

  11. Katie,
    I stumbled across your blog a couple of months ago, and have really been enjoying it. I too, had been on a serious mission to find a homemade bread recipe that I could handle. I pack the kids lunch everyday and after the food scientists at my husbands company commented they they NEVER ate commercial bread…the light went off! I found this on and follwed some recommedations from the comments. I don’t do bread machines because for me, I end up with a giant hole in the middle 🙁 The kneading for this is only 4-5 min., and just keep adding flour until it IS NOT sticky. I do add 4 tbs. of wheat gluten (which is two per loaf) but I have done it without and it was still good..I’m inspired by you to try to cut it back to maybe 1tbs.per loaf. Only divide recipe into 2 loaf pans for perfect sandwich loaf. I have also experimented with using veg oil instead of butter when we were limiting dairy for my son. The results were fine; thus..the perfect vegan bread! I’m curious to try adding some oatmeal, or sunflower or’s pretty basic and I think it will tolerate a good grain upgrade fairly well. I have shared it with friends, and all have good results…all novice bread bakers, I promise! Keep up the great site, I’m lovin’ it 🙂

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