Healthy Breads Using Sprouted Millet Flours

Sangeeta Khanna

It’s about time we looked at the everyday roti a little differently. The staple flatbread that is consumed in every Indian home is not so wholesome anymore. The bran has been stripped out of the whole wheat, and it has undergone some bleaching and unnecessary fortifying,by the time it reaches our pantry dressed up in shiny plastic packs. The advertising industry would have us believe that these softer and whiter rotis are good for your health.

So how do we find better solutions for our everyday nourishing food? After all Dal Roti is the phrase we use instead of Bread & Butter in India, to the same effect. Our everyday staple food is mostly breads of some type. 

Griddle baked flatbreads of many shapes are made all over India, using flours ranging from millets like Bajra, Ragi and Jowar, pseudo grains like Buckwheat and Amaranth, wheat, rice and lentils. Some of these breads are leavened with sourdough traditionally, like kulcha; an oven baked flat bread and bhatura which is a deep fried flat bread served with a spicy chickpeas curry.

We have an age-old tradition of growing millets. Millets can grow in a wide range of climatic and geographical conditions and hence we see some similar varieties of millets growing almost all over India. The breads made with millets are rustic and wholesome. Millets are rich in minerals and micronutrients and their low Glycemic diet makes them suitable for weight watchers and diabetics.

The traditional recipes using millets are all very different from each other in terms of flavour, the cooking techniques and even the usage. Most of these millets and grains ended up being made into bread of one type or the other, while the coarsely milled millets are also made into porridge or khichdi etc. 

Since all grains including millets have some phytates (compounds that prevent nutrients absorption to an extent), the traditional cooking techniques that have evolved over several generations have taken care of the phytates up to a large extent.

Some of the rustic types of breads are steamed, some poached, some baked in charcoal and others are cooked delicately on a griddle into thin or fluffy flatbreads.

Flatbread varieties of India include the rotis and flour parathas of several types. And then there is the thalipeeth and the rotla, the several types of akki-rotti, bati, bafla and dhebra, each one of them cooked using a technique that suits the type of grain grown in the respective geographical region.

All these traditional breads are cooked in a way that the phytates are naturally neutralised.
Roasting the grain, soaking it overnight or fermenting the dough neutralises the phytates and makes the grain more nutrient efficient.

Sprouting is another process that lowers the phytates naturally and mobilises the plant nutrients to make it much healthier. When the grains and lentils are soaked and sprouted, then dehydrated and milled to make flour, it becomes much more nutrient-efficient and the bread made with these flours are healthier.

Try a quick recipe made using Traditions by Foodhall Moong Flour. Click here