Learnings from Latest Bread Experiments

I’ve continued work with the roughly 30/30/30 seed/flour/grain recipe. The latest iteration used 5 oz of hemp/flax/pumpkin/sunflower seeds, 5 oz of windmill ground rye, and 4 oz cracked rye.

Because the windmill rye was quite coarse, more like meal than flour, I added about a half cup of wheat flour as well, a local red fife, as well as 1/2 cup vital wheat gluten.

My process has also changed. I now do an overnight soak of the seeds/cracked grain in cold water. Cold water seems to be the ticket for non-gummy rye grains.

This time I added yeast to the preferment and then again when I mixed all the ingredients together. I finally got a great rise in the pan but the loaf slowly sank as it baked. I’m still quite happy with the end product. The texture is dense which means it slices nice and thin.

I need to do some more reading about rye and rising. Next time I will increase the proportion of seeds and try 40%. I also want to do a slower, cooler bake like I might for a Westphalian rye.

How many seeds can I add to my bread?

One way to make bread lower carb is to replace some of the flour with seeds or nuts. Seeds have more protein and fiber than flour which makes for a slower blood sugar rise. They also add flavor and interest.

How many seeds and nuts can one add to a dough? Several threads on The Fresh Loaf suggested 15-20%.

On page 78 of Bittman Bread, Mark Bittman suggests adding seeds up to 15-30% of the flour weight.

Master baker Jeffrey Hamelman has several seed heavy recipes in the 2004 edition of his book Bread. The sourdough seed bread on page 176 appears to be the most densely seeded, with 7.9 oz of seeds in 32 oz of flour. This is a 1:4.6 ratio of seeds to flour. A couple of other recipes were closer to 20% of the flour weight as seed or a 1:5 ratio.

Hamelman’s recipe calls for toasting the sesame and sunflower seeds for 5-6 minutes at 380 degrees to bring out their flavor. The flax seeds are added to water and soaked for 12-16 hours. Some people theorize that toasting seeds like chia may limit the water they soak up.

What does Peter Reinhart say? In Bread Revolution one variation of the Naturally Leavened Carolina Wheat Hearth Bread created by Harry Peemoeller calls for 283g sunflower seeds in a bread with about 535 grams of flour. That’s a bit more than a 1:2 ratio of seed to flour!

Reinhart’s recipe empowered me to go crazy with the seeds. Experiments with roughly 1/3 flour, seed, whole grain ratios have shown some promise.

Cracked Rye Seed Bread Take 2



  • 5 oz sprouted whole wheat flour
  • 3 oz seeds (1 oz each raw golden flax, sesame, and pumpkin)
  • 2 oz walnuts
  • 4 oz cracked rye
  • 1/4 cup vital wheat gluten
  • 15 oz water
  • 1 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp diastatic malt powder

Step 1:


Combine whole wheat flour and 5 oz water. Mix well and let sit a few hours.


Boil 8 oz water on stove. Add rye and salt. Cook until soft. Let sit a few hours.

Step 2:

Combine poolish, soaker, yeast, and vital wheat gluten. Knead until dough forms. Mix in seeds.

Bulk ferment in covered bowl. Shape loaf and put in Pullman pan.

Preheat oven to 350. Bake for 30 minutes. Take off Pullman lid and bake another 30 minutes.


This loaf might be flatter than the last one. I saw some activity during the six hour bulk ferment but absolutely nothing after shaping the loaf. It had two hours before going in the fridge and about ten hours in the kitchen before I gave up and baked it.

The dough is quite wet and sticky so I wouldn’t think hydration would be an issue but it’s possible the rye grains are sucking up all the water. Typically hydration is represented as a percent of flour but I am not sure that works well for a recipe that contains more seeds/grains than flour. I had roughly 370 grams of dry ingredients and the same amount of water. A Tartine recipe for a sprouted grain bread had 940 grams of liquid to 1575 grams flours and seeds.

Cooking the grains did not entirely eliminate the tough chew.

A couple of thoughts:

– My yeast may be dead.

– Maybe bread made from mashed grains doesn’t rise.

– Boiling the cracked rye may have affected the amount of enzymes and required hydration in ways I don’t yet understand per this thread on The Fresh Loaf.

– Use a little more salt next time.

Lower Carb Bread: Cracked Rye Seed Bread



  • 5 oz sprouted whole wheat flour
  • 3 oz seeds (1 oz each raw golden flax, sesame, and pumpkin)
  • 5 oz cracked rye
  • .25 cup vital wheat gluten
  • 13 oz water
  • 1 tsp instant yeast

Day 1:


Combine whole wheat flour and 5 oz water. Mix well and let sit overnight.


Combine 7 oz boiling water with rye. Mix well and let sit over night.

Day 2:

Combine poolish, soaker, yeast, and vital wheat gluten. Knead until dough forms. Mix in seeds.

The dough will be very wet. Press into Pullman pan and cover. Let rise until doubled.

Preheat oven to 350. Bake for 30 minutes. Take off Pullman lid and bake another 30 minutes.


The loaf is quite flat. The bread did not rise very well, possibly due to the volume of seeds and whole grain to flour. I also wonder if something caused it to deflate because it was doubled when I put it in the oven but not when I took it out. I thought it might have been overproofed.

Salt would substantially improve the flavor (I forgot, whoops).

Loaf was cut into 32 slices. It would be easy to get 40 with careful cutting – it was firm and did not tear easily. Two slices were needed to make one normally sized slice of bread. For this reason, the recipe below uses two slices for one serving.

<a href=”https://www.verywellfit.com/recipe-nutrition-analyzer-4157076″ target=”_blank”><img width=”320″ height=”634″ src=”https://www.verywellfit.com/thmb/H_BaX-Wvl_gFC6DIusai0Qb_pkU=/1000×0/Nutrition-Label-Embed-434312123-ea259ca5cfa14e539b5d133c2dfb4d1e.png” /></a>

11 carbs per serving seems great. Personal past experience suggests sprouted whole wheat flour causes less of a BG increase than straight whole wheat. The 3.5 grams of protein and fiber also help.

I ate two servings for breakfast for about four days. My BG barely blipped. This has been the most successful of my bread experiments by far.

The bread got moldy very fast so I will move it to the freezer immediately next time.

For next time:

  • Remember salt.
  • Fully cook the cracked rye in a pot instead of soaking.
  • Consider using 4 oz grain, 4 oz seeds.
  • Investigate how much rise I can expect from a whole grain mash. What makes bread rise?
  • How does the Pullman lid affect the height of the finished product?

Grinding Wet Sprouted Grains

I did not realize how hard it would be to grind wet sprouted grains. Here are some lessons I learned:

  • Most grain mills are not designed to grind wet grain. Wetting the burr could damage it. The same applies to fancy coffee grinders.
  • A food processor works better than a blender but neither result in anything like flour. This is not a good long term solution due to the risk of motor burnout.
  • Grinding in a mortar and pestle takes forever.
  • Some suggest drying the sprouted grain in a food dehydrator and then grinding using a grain mill. My first thought was that the heat may destroy some of the enzymes and nutrients that theoretically make sprouted grains healthier. On the other hand, if I am baking bread, wouldn’t that also kill the enzymes?
  • Some people run the grain through a meat grinder several times. I have invested $10 in a “Universal #1 Food Chopper” similar to this one,  but I haven’t tried it yet.

Historian Rachel Laudan’s blog has some interesting notes on wet grinding.

Sprouted Rye Grain Bread

In his book Bread Revolution, Peter Reinhart includes a recipe for flourless bread baked from self sprouted grains. This experiment is loosely based on that recipe.

I soaked three cups of Maine Grain rye berries for six hours. I needed 3 cups of pulp and wound up with enough for six cups.

I then rinsed the grains and and let them sit overnight. In 24 hours, a few had sprouted but not many. I rinsed again. About 36 hours after the initial soaking, the majority had sprouts. The rye did not sprout as evenly or quickly as farro.

I planned to crush the rye berries using a stone mortar and pestle to avoid the heat generated by a mechanical grinding process. However, after ten minutes of pounding, I had about a third cup of pulp. I used a coffee grinder for the rest. The output was quite coarse.

The recipe:

-18 oz sprouted rye berry pulp

-3.3 oz water

-1.5 oz sprouted wheat flour

– .5 oz yeast

-4 grams salt

The end result wasn’t exactly bread. Even after 24 hours, attempts to cut a slice resulted in crumbles, probably a result of using nearly 100% rye that couldn’t quite be called flour or even ground.

For my experiments, I tossed two ounces of crumbles in omelets made with two eggs and a pat of butter. Meals were eaten at breakfast with coffee and cream.

The results were surprising. Rye has a low GI and GL compared to other grains and I expected it to have less of an effect than whole wheat breads. Also, another study I’d read suggested that bread made from coarser grains may raise glucose less than bread made with finer grains.

I lost some of my data and will not repeat this experiment to recapture. The end result wasn’t very tasty and I was not sorry that it spoiled quickly.

Effect of Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Grain Flourless English Muffins on Blood Glucose

Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Grain Flourless English Muffins


These English muffins are made from sprouted whole grains and beans. The grains are not milled into flour. The muffins are purchased frozen and remain in my freezer.

The product nutrition label states each muffin weighs about 76g (2.7 oz) and has 30g of carbs. Six muffins in two different packages were weighed using a MyWeigh scale. The muffins ranged in weight from 3.05-3.25 oz (86.5-92.1g). The average weight was 3.13 oz.


To test the muffins, I ate one each morning with two poached eggs, a half pat of butter, and coffee with cream. I’ve typically fasted at least 12 hours before breakfast.

Every other day, I took 1000mg of apple cider vinegar in the form of two capsules just before starting the meal.

I recorded the time I started eating and the time I ended. I scanned my Libre 2 sensor every fifteen minutes. This was a manual process and prone to some error. I did not eat anything else and continued to scan until my blood sugar went back to baseline or it was time for lunch.


After repeating the experiment six times, the vinegar capsules look extremely promising.



Thank you to Quantified Diabetes for sharing your R notebook so I could create these graphs and also for inspiring these experiments!

I did ‘feel’ the vinegar in my stomach. I would not use these capsules every day but could see using them on a special occasion since I don’t have access to insulin or other medication that can spot treat out of control numbers. I like the capsules because I don’t enjoy drinking vinegar and also worry about damage to tooth enamel.

However, it is clear that eating an entire flourless English muffin is not something I should do on a regular basis. I will continue these experiments using 1 or 2 oz of bread instead of 3.

Finding Bread I Can Eat – Literature Review

This is a list of articles relevant to the experiments I am trying. I will update this list as I go.

I have no medical background. If I have misinterpreted the results of any of these studies, please let me know.

Wholegrain Particle Size Influences Postprandial Glycemia in Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized Crossover Study Comparing Four Wholegrain Breads

This small study found that bread made with larger grain particles had less of an effect on blood sugar than bread made with more finely ground particles. Roller milled and stone ground grains were tested. Stone milled grains had fewer fine particles than roller milled grains.

Effect of Wholegrain Flour Particle Size in Bread on Glycaemic and Insulinaemic Response among People with Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomised Crossover Trial

This small study examined the effect of three different types of flour: very fine roller milled, fine stone ground, and coarse stone ground. The population tested was pre-diabetic rather than diabetic and the results surprisingly did not show a significant difference between types of flour. The authors speculate that the flour they used had fewer large particles than the flour used in other studies. Another very interesting suggestion is that the stone ground flours they used may have been processed at higher heat which leads to more starch damage. Starch damage increases the glycemic response. Thought provoking discussion.


Finding Bread I Can Eat – Background

Some facts about me which may or may not be relevant:

  • – I’m a woman in my early 40s.
  • – I have a family history of Type 2 diabetes on both sides of my family.  I did not know that I had a 40% chance of developing the disease if my father had it.
  • – I have been a vegetarian for 30+ years, sometimes vegan. My diet, even as a child, was focused on whole foods and plants. I have never eaten much processed food. I grow and forage my own food. I buy direct from farms. The junk food I ate was artisanal or close to the source i.e. eclairs from a local bakery, ice cream from a farm.
  • – I am a serious amateur bread baker. I have volunteered and attended the Kneading Conference, belonged to the Bread Bakers Guild of America, and built a wood fired oven in my backyard. I am passionate about pizza.
  • – I have been 20-50 lbs overweight for about ten years. I ballooned to 170 in 2018, lost about 15 lbs in 2020, and have lost another 15 in the past three months.
  • – The diabetes diagnosis felt like it came out of nowhere. I skipped my annual physical last year because of Covid.
  • – My ALT/AST numbers had been on the high side of normal for years. I now wonder if this was an early warning sign of things to come.

Finding Bread I Can Eat – Project Overview

Inspired by Quantified Diabetes, I am starting a project to identify a delicious grain based bread I can bake myself which does not raise my blood sugar over 140-150.

In August 2021, I was diagnosed with T2 diabetes with an A1C of 12. I began taking 1000mg of Metformin and immediately cut out all grains, sugars, and foods high on the glycemic index. I switched to a lower carb diet, a challenge as a vegetarian, and ate 45-100 carbs per day. I also restricted calories to lose weight. Three months later, my A1C is at 5.8 and I feel I am in a good place to undertake this experiment without damaging my health.

My plan is to eat various types of grain based breads and record how they affect my blood sugar using my Libre continuous glucose monitor.

I am learning as I go and do not have a medical background. This research will be anecdotal rather than statistical. If anyone else has self-experimented in this way, I would love to hear about it!

Literature Review

Possible Experiments
– The Control: My Favorite Bakery Sour Dough
– White Bread
– Pizza
– Sprouted Grain, flour free bread, store bought.
– Sprouted Grain, flour, store bought.
– Sprouted Grain, flour, self sprouted and milled.