This photo shows the preschoolers the life cycle of wheat, helping them discover that grain is grass seeds. Sprouting some certainly beats a photo, if you've got the time; just put a few on a wet paper towel, inside a zip-lock. They will absorb water, and sprout in just a couple of days. I started three varieties going at home yesterday, to show my daughter and to get some pictures. They are already plump from the water. I hope to keep them going until they look like green blades of grass; one day maybe I'll grow some that I can harvest... Hopefully the teacher will sprout some too.
Images from here, here, and here.
It's probably waaay overboard, but I gave the class 13 kinds of grain to crush. Most of them can sprout, too.
It's normal to have a grain collection, right? Once I wondered why we make bread with so few, given how many varieties there are. With tasting comes understanding. Much as I wanted to love them all, alas, it was not to be. Also, many of them are too low in gluten to make a loaf; they can only be additions to a good dough.
Here's info I've collected on grain varieties. I'm probably missing some. Unless someone tells me that teff or sorghum really do something fantastic for bread (do they?) I probably won't try any more. Anyone have opinions to share?
My greatest discovery: Kamut®; great story behind it, and it tastes great, good for you, hypo-allergenic, and more nutritious than red wheat.
My greatest dissapointment: Quinoa; great story, great nutrition, native to America, I really wanted to like it, but, yuck; big time yuck; tried it again, still yuck.
|Wheat||high||"Hard" wheats are high in gluten. People who don't like whole wheat often like the taste of white wheats.|
|rice||none||Haven't tried in yeast bread.|
|corn||none||A bread called "Anadama" calls for corn meal.|
|millet||none||It's very mild; it might give some texture to a loaf.|
|sorghum||none||I have never tried it.|
|rye||high||Not my favorite, so I haven't used it much.|
|triticale||high||I don't care for this grain.|
|oats||none||I like adding a handful or two, either rolled or steel-cut, to my bread.|
|barley||moderate||Apparently you can make bread from barley alone, but I have not ever tried. It's nice in soup.|
|teff||none||I have never tried it.|
|wild rice||none||Haven't tried in yeast bread. Just doesn't strike me as a great idea.|
|spelt||high**||I think this one tastes ok, but not as good as wheat.|
|Kamut®||high**||My favorite whole grain, even more than wheat.|
|buckwheat*||none||I have never tried it.|
|amaranth*||none||I like throwing these into yeast bread whole, for texture in the bread.|
|quinoa*||none||Reading about Quinoa makes me want to like it, but I just don't; tastes bad.|
|kañiwa*||none?||I have never tried it.|
|cockscomb*||none?||I have never tried it.|
*a non-grass grain, or "pseudocereal".
**The gluten is different from wheat gluten, and may be ok for people who cannot eat wheat gluten; or so I understand.