Sprouted grain bread

Bread made with sprouted grain is claimed as flourless bread.

Sprouted Grain Bread

Also known as Sprouted Bread

What is Sprouted Grain Bread?

Sprouted grain breads are made from a flour or mash created from sprouted cereal grasses. The sprouting process releases nutrients normally trapped in the grain by standard flour-making processes.

Sprouted flour or mash creates whole grain bread with a longer shelf life. These breads are popular because they are an  easily digestible bread product and are often made with less sugar than standard flour products.


Sprouting grain is no new fad, but an old tradition. In the past, standard grain harvesting practices around the world involved leaving grain in the field after cutting it. While waiting to be threshed—separating the seed from the shaft—the grain would absorb moisture. So by the time the grain was milled, it was at least partially sprouted. By the end of Industrial Revolution in the late 1800s, mechanical farm equipment had sped up and commercialized the harvesting process—quietly ending natural sprouting.

In recent years, food researchers have called attention to the added benefits of a timely sprouted whole grain and developed methods to sprout in a more sophisticated and measured way.

How it Works

When grain seeds are sprouted—by using a soaking and rinsing process to activate germination—the outer shell of the grain cracks. Sprouting also signals enzyme inhibitors to shut down. Both actions make it easier for the human body to digest and absorb nutrients.1 The dry matter of sprouted grain is decreased due to grain respiration during sprouting, which leads to the increased levels of protein, lipid etc.

Sprouting has been reported to increase key nutrients in grains, including antioxidants, tocopherols, thiamin (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), pantothenic acid  (vitamin B5), biotin (vitamin B7), folate (vitamin B9), and fiber, by 1.5-3.8 times in germinated seeds.2

Sprouting increases phytase activity. Phytase breaks down phytic acid, which binds with minerals and reduces their absorption in the small intestine. The degradation of phytic acid increases the bioavailability of minerals, like calcium and iron.3

Amylase activity is increased in the sprouted grains, which degrades amylopectin into simple sugars. Amylopectin is one kind of starch molecular, and it contributes to the blood sugar level. The decrease of amylopectin lowers down the risk of diabetes.

The increased simple sugars will be utilized by yeast fermentation and result in increased bread volume.

Commercial Production

There are two standard methods for commercially producing sprouted grains for bread products. Both begin with sprouting the grains to start the germination process under closely monitored heat and moisture conditions. Over-sprouting causes fermentation and can influence the nutritional value of the sprout and the quality of the bread.4

One process stops and dries the sprouts, locking in the sprouting stage. These sprouts are either stored for sale or milled into flour. Another process pounds the sprouts into a mash. Wet sprouts are sold in this state, mostly frozen, for products like bread or tortillas, normally labeled “flourless.”

Cereal grains, such as wheat, millet, barley, spelt, or a mix of these, are most commonly used. However, sometimes legumes such as soybeans or lentils are used for sprouts as well.


Unlike 100% whole wheat flour that often leaves bread with a bitter taste, sprouted flour introduces a unique flavor and sweetness.2 In most cases, little to no sugar is used in sprouted grain bread products.

Sprouted grain flours have a lower water activity level compared to standard flour. However, research has shown that sprouted flour increases dough stability, decreases proof time and increases loaf volume and stability.2

Some sprouted grain flours have double the shelf life of conventional whole wheat flour.5 However, storage is still needed in a dry, cool place.

FDA Regulation

There are currently no FDA requirements on sprouting or what constitutes a “sprout.” However, the agency does provide guidelines to reduce the risk of contamination, including production, treatment, condition, storage and transportation.6


  1. Koehler, Peter, Georg Hartmann, Herbert Wieser, and Michael Rychlik. “Changes of Folates, Dietary Fiber, and Proteins in Wheat As Affected by Germination.” J. Agric. Food Chem. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 55.12 (2007): 4678-683.
  2. Richter, K., K. Christiansen, and G. Guo. “Wheat Sprouting Enhances Bread Baking Performance 1.” Cereal Foods World 59.5 (2014): 231-33.
  3. Snider, M. and Liebman, M. (1992), Calcium Additives and Sprouted Wheat Effects on Phytate Hydrolysis in Whole Wheat Bread. Journal of Food Science, 57: 118–120. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2621.1992.tb05437.
  4. Mitchell, T. A. (1968), Hagberg penetrometer method for α-amylase activity in sprouted grain: Prediction of activity of flour blends. J. Sci. Food Agric., 19: 102–106. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.2740190209
  5. Ariyama, T., and K. Khan. “Effect of Laboratory Sprouting and Storage on Physicochemical and Breadmaking Properties of Hard Red Spring Wheat.” Cereal Chemistry 67 (1990): 53-58.
  6. Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. “Guidance Documents & Regulatory Information by Topic – Draft Guidance for Industry: Compliance with and Recommendations for Implementation of the Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption for Sprout Operations.” U S Food and Drug Administration Home Page. 19 Jan. 2017. www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/ucm510578.htm. Accessed 05 May 2017.