The planting season is well behind us, but there's a lot of sprouting going on at Angelic Bakehouse. Among the country's first bakeries to produce sprouted grain baked products, Angelic Bakehouse in Cudahy, Wis., is owned by James and Jenny Marino of nearby Milwaukee. The couple launched the enterprise in 2009 when they purchased Waukesha-based Cybros, a commercial bakery with a line of natural, whole-grain products.
James decided to leave a career in the mortgage industry during the financial crisis; Jenny was a stay-at-home mom, with daughters ages 5 and 7, who was interested in natural, healthy, wholesome foods. As fate would have it, Cybros had come up for sale just as James was ready to make his move.
"We decided it was time, so we bet the farm on sprouted bread," Jenny said.
She began working with the Cybros bakers and with a consultant to focus the line of products on non-GMO sprouted grains, changing the corn and rice for quinoa and amaranth in the doughs.
"We wanted to make something healthy, but it had to taste so good our kids would love it," she said. The products hit the market just as consumers became interested in the benefits of sprouted whole grains; sales soared. By February 2013, they moved the business to a facility three times its former space and rebranded, becoming Angelic Bakehouse.
The process of making these products begins with a time- and temperature-controlled soak of seven whole grains: wheat, rye, barley, quinoa, oats, amaranth and millet. When these grains begin to germinate, they're drained, rinsed and ground into a "wet mash," the basis for the dough.
This process produces pliable, delicious whole-grain baked goods. Unlike some sprouted grain options, which can have a cardboard-like appearance and taste, Angelic Bakehouse breads are especially easy to work with and versatile. They are delivered fresh, not frozen, and are available on the fresh bread and artisan bakery aisle.
"Sales have gone up 15-fold in the past five years," said Jenny, who is now CEO. They're available in more than 1,000 stores nationwide.
I top the flatbreads as I would pizza, with fresh vegetables, strong cheeses and leftover roast chicken. The wraps are pliable and yet sturdy enough to roll up a hearty filling of sandwich fixings or a breakfast wrap of scrambled eggs. Filled and sliced into finger-sized portions, they work nicely on the appetizer tray. The website offers plenty more suggestions.
Angelic Bakehouse's sprouted seven-grain flatbreads run about $6 for a package of two; the premium wraps, six to a package, retail for about $5. They are available at Target and Costco, food co-ops and grocery stores (angelicbakehouse.com).