What to Sprout
I’ve been told most seeds sprout easily, as do many legumes, grains and nuts. I’ve had some interesting misadventures with fermented grains that never sprouted and beans and legumes that turned black or stunk up the place. Luckily, they were reasonably inexpensive experiments. For our purposes, I’ll share the common beans I’ve had the best luck sprouting for bread. Lentils, black beans, navy beans, and pinto beans seem to work the best, with the finest sprouts coming from lentils.
While many raw sprouts contain hemagglutinins that inhibit the absorption of proteins and fats, these inhibitors are destroyed by cooking.
How to Sprout
Experts might tell you to wash your beans thoroughly. Pick through them so only the best beans are represented. Then soak them in cool, filtered, spring water. Change the water every two hours, for a set period of time based upon a long algebraic formula that involves the size and weight of the bean and the location of no less than four planets and 3 stars.
The Naked Truth About Sprouts – They’re Easy
Here’s how I roll –
Throw some beans in a bowl, cover them with enough water to accommodate their doubling in size and forget about them overnight. Next day, whenever it is convenient for you, swish them around a bit and drain them. Don’t dry them. Just leave them a little damp. They need to be wet to sprout, just not swimming. Put them on a kitchen counter or somewhere you’ll remember to shake them every couple hours or so. Whenever you get a chance, shake them up so they are all covered with a little water and tell them to “sprout already!”
No, seriously. Talk to them. They like it.
My advice is to start with a tolerant and eager-to-please legume. The lentil is the most amenable of all the legumes I’ve tried thus far. They’ll soak all night without a peep and sprout shortly after you dump the water. Then they’ll give you light, fluffy bread. What more could you ask of a little green thing?
What About Other Beans & Legumes?
The garbanzo bean? That one’s a high-maintenance diva. Don’t even go there.
Kidney beans and red beans? Save those fools for the dirty rice.
Navy beans? There’s a reason Boston bakes them.
Black beans? Refry those buggers.
So back to those lentils –
Soak them overnight, pour out the excess water, shake them up a bit to circulate the air and keep them damp, and they’ll give you a teeny-tiny sprout in a day or two. Don’t try to hurry things along with sunlight or the lentils will get the wrong idea and go all leafy on you. Once they start sprouting, keep them in the refrigerator and shake them up to keep them damp whenever you think of it. You can now dip into them anytime you’re ready to make some bread.
Commercial Sprouting Jars
If you look around online, there are plenty of companies that will sell you some great sprouting rigs but, if you’re on a budget like me, you might want to consider creating your own sprouting bowl.
It’s actually pretty easy. All you’ll need is a really sharp knife and some poor man’s Tupperware.
I have a couple of repurposed, plastic ice cream tubs that I use. The bowl is big enough to sprout a large batch of beans/legumes. (By the way, I don’t recommend sprouting different varieties together like in the illustration above. I learned my lesson the hard way on that method. Some sprout overnight and some take days. Getting them all to sprout at the same time would take some kind of magic.)
To make your sprouting bowl, don’t change anything about the bowl of the tub. You want that to hold water. What you do want to do is take a sharp knife or razor and cut slits in the cover. These will allow the beans to breathe and provide a safe way for you to rinse and drain them without losing all your sprouts down the sink.
It’s pretty easy and far less costly than the home sprouting systems I’ve seen available.
Another method I’ve been using for about a year now is sprouting bags. They’re incredibly easy to use and, if you add the right music, they’re twice as fast! You can check out the details in SPROUTING WITH THE MOZART METHOD FOR BETTER EZEKIEL BREAD.
So go soak some legumes and let them sprout and we’ll get together in a couple days with a recipe and bake some bread!