For the best whole-grain biscuits around, reach for the sprouted flour.

For the best whole-grain biscuits around, reach for the sprouted flour. Watch: Whole Wheat Bread vs. Wraps

Whole grains have a leg up on refined ones when it comes to health. But start baking with them and you may be disappointed.

Essentially, white flour is sugar in the guise of starch-no wonder it tastes so good!

The healthy part of whole grains-the bran and germ-can taste bitter and weigh down bread and baked goods like biscuits. However, when grains are sprouted the bitterness goes away and the natural sweetness comes forth without sacrificing the nutritional perks.

In other words, sprouted flour tastes more like white flour but still has all the good-for-you benefits!

Tear into one of these flaky sprouted-wheat biscuits and you'll be a believer too.

Get the Recipe: Sprouted-Wheat Biscuits

What Is It?

"Sprouted" Grain Defined
Whole grains-with a little warmth and moisture added-begin to sprout (or germinate, for all you science nerds).

Once sprouted, the wet grains are either ground into a dough or dried and milled into flour. The dough is made into sprouted-grain breads found in the bakery section or the freezer case of your grocery store. (Their high moisture content can increase their risk of spoiling.)

Sprouted chips and crackers are usually made from sprouted-grain flour-as are these biscuits.

Are They Easier on Your Gut?
In the sprouting process, some of the grains' carbohydrates are broken down into a more easily digestible form, which means they have slightly less carbohydrate than unsprouted grains and may be easier on your gut.

But are they better tolerated if you have a gluten sensitivity? Research shows sprouted grains do have less gluten, however: "People experience gluten sensitivity differently, so it's impossible to say that sprouted grains are more easily tolerated," says Stefano Guandalini, M.D., founder and medical director of the University of Chicago's Celiac Disease Center.

But not all sprouted grains contain gluten. Gluten-free grains like rice and amaranth can be sprouted too.

Are There Benefits to Sprouted Grains?
Advocates say sprouted grains deliver more vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein than their unsprouted counterparts. And there's some supporting research: one study from the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture found more fiber and amino acids (the building blocks of protein) in sprouted wheat after a 48-hour germination period.

Another study showed up to a fourfold increase in folate in sprouted rye. Still, the science is somewhat limited and we don't know if those extra nutrients stick around after sprouted grains are processed into flour.

-Sara Haas, R.D.N., L.D.N.Look for sprouted-wheat flour at natural-foods stores oronline at or Flours from white wheat berries give lighter resultswhile those from red wheat give the typical "wheaty" look.

January/February 2015