an ancient recipe from the book Bread on Earth
* 3 cups wheat berries (available from your natural foods store)
2 small breads
Beginning several days before you hope to be eating this bread,
rinse the wheat berries in cool water, drain and submerge the
berries with cool water in a large bowl. Cover the bowl with a plate
or cloth, and allow the berries to soak at normal room temperature
overnight or for about 12 hours.
The berries will soak up a considerable amount of water. Drain the
berries in a colander, cover the colander with a plate to prevent
the berries from drying out, and set it in a place where the sun
won't shine on it.
Rinse the berries about 3 times a day, and they will soon begin to
sprout. In a couple of days the sprouts will reach their optimum
length of about l/4". Growth depends on moisture and temperature.
Grinding the berries is the next step. Probably the Essenes ground
them up with rocks, but that isn't required. I use a Corona hand
mill for this rather messy task-the messy aspect is cleaning the
mill-but a meat grinder or a food processor might also work.
After grinding, dump the mushed up grain onto a clean work surface.
Squeeze and knead the grain for about 10 minutes, and then form up 2
small round, hearth-style loaves with your hands.
Sprinkle an insulated cookie sheet with a little bran or cornmeal,
and put the loaves on it. Preheating the oven is not necessary.
Cover the loaves with cloches and bake at 35° degrees F for 30
minutes. Then turn the oven down to 325 degrees F and bake for
approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes more.
During this extraordinarily long bake, you'll have plenty of time to
clean your grinder or even take a longer than usual power nap. Your
efforts will be well rewarded with a couple of most singular
breads-solid, sweet, and moist.
Traditionally, Essene bread was probably baked on hot rocks under
scorching sunlight, but where I and most of us live, this is not
possible. Baking at the oven temperatures which I suggest might
destroy the sprout enzymes, but monitoring baking loaves for much
longer than 2 hours is too long for me. Guaranteeing the
preservation of the enzymes might require baking at a very low
temperature for perhaps 4 hours. If you have the stamina, then go
Allow the breads to cool thoroughly on cooling racks for several
hours, and then, because of the high moisture content, store in the
refrigerator. For best results, slice this bread thinly or break