Why You Should Try Sprouted Grains
All breads are not created equal. Those made with sprouted grains beat all the others.
You’ve heard that whole grain flour is a far better choice than processed white flour. But what do you know about “sprouted” grains? What might once have been popular only among hippies, sprouted grains are now showing up everywhere—in breads, certainly, but also in pastas and even chips. Here’s why these earthy, nutty grains are worth a taste.
First, let’s define sprouted grains. Basically, grains are the seeds of edible grasses such as wheat, rice, barley, spelt, and corn; every seed contains the germ, bran, and endosperm—the whole grain. The point at which the seed just starts to change into a plant is when the grain has sprouted. Of course, this process has always occurred in nature, but now food companies are intentionally sprouting grains and incorporating them into their products.
So what makes these grains such a nutritional powerhouse? It’s believed that at the point when a grain sprouts, its starch is converted into a simpler form that is easier to digest, offering all the health benefits of whole grains without the problems many people have digesting them. What’s more, sprouting increases many of the grain’s nutrients, including vitamin C, B vitamins, fiber and minerals.
Oh, and they taste great too, says Tom Gumpel, vice president of bakery development at Panera Bread®, where you’ll find the delicious, new Sprouted Grain Bagel Flat, which is made using select ingredients, including Panera’s long-fermented-sourdough recipe, whole wheat flour, sprouted grains, and a touch of honey. “Great-tasting bread that’s nutritious is the guiding principle of our company,” says Tom. He recommends our breakfast sandwich of egg whites, Vermont cheddar, and avocado — layered on the Sprouted Grain Bagel Flat and grilled in the panini press—as an ideal introduction to sprouted grains for the uninitiated customer.
Bread has come under attack lately from the anti-carbohydrate and gluten-free movements, Tom notes. Many of us are questioning the nutritional value of bread, but “we need to stand behind it,” he says. His vision is for Panera Bread to become the place people think of when they want whole, sprouted, or ancient grain breads. With the Sprouted Grain Bagel Flat, Panera has taken the first tasty step toward achieving that goal.