A way to enhance flour sprouts up

Timing is pivotal in the process of sprouting grains. Timing also is crucial in the launch of new products. Could this year be the right time for launching products made with flour from sprouted grains?

Vitamin C, folate, antioxidants and soluble fiber all may increase when grains are sprouted, according to Bay State Milling, Quincy, Mass. Results from bake tests at the company’s Rothwell GrainEssentials Center found sprouted whole wheat flour may enhance volume, grain texture and crumb when compared to conventional whole flour. Bay State Milling offers sprouted whole wheat, brown rice, amaranth, millet, quinoa, flax seed and chia seed through its BeneGrain line.
Sprouted whole wheat flour may enhance volume, grain texture and crumb when compared to conventional whole wheat flour.

“Nutrient composition is directly related to the process, including time and temperature, and the level of germination that takes place,” said Sean Finnie, Ph.D., principal lead chemist, commercial science for Bay State Milling. “Bay State Milling is focused on optimizing germination whereby we control the process to enhance bioavailability and digestibility through increased enzyme activity, while maintaining functionality.”

He said the company has replaced up to 100% whole wheat with sprouted whole wheat and has seen enhanced tolerance and volumes.

“Alternative sprouted grains and seeds function similarly to their un-sprouted counterparts,” Dr. Finnie said. “Currently there is no industry standard on sprouted content claims. However, we recommend utilizing current whole grain standards.”

Companies should be aware of processing issues.

“Because sprouting enhances enzyme activity such as alpha amylase, any additional enzymes in a formulation may need adjusting at the risk of overdosing,” Dr. Finnie said. “This is seen as a benefit to bakers for potential cost reduction and cleaner labeling.”

Ardent Mills, Denver, offers sprouted white spring whole wheat flour.

“While the jury is still out on the precise nutritional changes involved when grains are sprouted, research continues because of growing consumer interest,” said Don Trouba, director of marketing for Ardent Mills. “In fact, consumers are drawn to the wholesome, life-giving images associated with sprouting despite a lack of clear health benefits.”

Ardent Mills controls the sprouting so that the finished flour is both sprouted and whole grain.

“Working with sprouted grains can present unique challenges for bakers, depending on the format of the sprouted grains,” Mr. Trouba said. “For example, wet mashes don’t have the typical gluten benefits of wheat flours.”

When creating its sprouted white spring whole wheat flour, Ardent Mills worked to ensure the whole grain wheat flour would perform equally to or better than traditional whole wheat flour in bread.

“Because it’s flour, it’s extremely convenient to use whether in yeast-raised applications or other flour-based foods like cookies, bars and crackers,” Mr. Trouba said. “Like other whole wheat flours, moisture, baking temperature and mixing time may need to be adjusted depending on the expectations for the finished product.”