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Essene Sprouted Grain Bread is a simple and nutritious whole grain bread. Here is the old recipe for Essene bread.
Of all known breads, the simplest and perhaps the most nutritious is Essene Wholemeal Bread. An ancient recipe for this unusual bread appears in the first-century Aramaic manuscript titled The Essene Gospel of Peace (hence the bread got its name). It dates back to prehistoric times when wafers made from a dough of cereals and water were cooked on stones heated in the sun.
There is not much difference between the cooking technique used by the monastic brotherhood 2,000 years ago and our modern method. Both result in a round, flattened loaf – much like a sweet, chewy dessert loaf or cake – packed with all the goodness of pure sprouted grain, its only ingredient. The recipe below is adapted from Uprisings: The Book of Whole Grain Bakersa compilation of baker’s recipes inspired by the 1980 Cooperative Whole Grain Educational Association conference.
sprouted wheat grains
To sprout your grain, you’ll need a wide-mouthed glass jar (or large plastic pot or soup pot) with a screw-on lid with holes in it or a piece of fine sieve, cheesecloth or netting secured at the top with a strong rubber band. A meat grinder (or food processor or hand-cranked grain mill), cookie sheet, and oven will do the rest.
Hard red winter wheat is a good choice for germination. Just be sure to buy uncooked, unpulverized whole grain berries. Two cups of wheat yields about four cups of dough – enough for one loaf – so buy accordingly.
From whole wheat berries to fresh bread: the recipe for Essene bread
Germinate wheat grains to obtain sprouted flour
Begin by measuring the desired amount of whole wheat berries into the sprouting jar. Soak the berries overnight using twice their volume of water. The next morning, drain the liquid (which is rich in nutrients and can be added to soups, drinks, etc.), then place the jar in a dark place and rinse the berries with cold water at least twice a day. Carefully empty the jar after each rinse and shake it occasionally to prevent matting and spoilage.
When the sprout tails are about twice as long as the berries and taste sweet (try them!), they’re ready to go. It takes three or four days, depending on temperature, humidity, etc. Skip the last rinse before grinding so the berries aren’t too wet to use.
Making Sprouted Flour Bread Dough
Next, oil the grinder parts and pass the sprouts through the grinder. The resulting dough should be juicy, sticky, mottled with light and dark, and more like a raw burger in consistency. If you think nuts or fruit would give the finished product a little extra spice, now is the time to put them in. Whatever dried fruits you plan to add, they must first be soaked in hot water for 20-30 minutes.
Shaping your sprouted grain breads
Ready? Now wet your hands and scoop out some dough. One handle makes a good bun, while a double handle is good for a bun. Briefly work the dough to remove any air pockets, then shape it into circular, slightly flattened loaves. Place them on an oiled cookie sheet.
Make Sprouted Grain Bread
Bake for about 2 1/2 hours at 250 degrees Fahrenheit, until the outside is firm – but not hard – and the bottom springs back slightly after a gentle push with your thumb. The inside will be quite soft, developing a firmer texture as it cools. (To prevent the loaves from drying out, some bakeries spray them with water before and during baking, or place a pan of water on another shelf in the oven while the loaf bakes.)
Cool the loaves on wire racks, then store them in sealed plastic bags. If you plan to eat your Essene Sprouted Grain Bread within three or four days, do not put it in the refrigerator, as it will stay moist if stored at room temperature. Refrigerated, it will keep for up to four weeks, and the bread can also be frozen.
That’s all we can say about it. Sprout, grind, shape, cook and enjoy! You could say it’s the very Essene — excuse us, gasoline — of simplicity!
Posted January 1, 1984
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