Flour, Grains and Malt
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Malt is sprouted flour. Grains are malted or sprouted to make a sugar, maltose, that can either be used to  brew a fermented beverage or sweeten food or bread.

Modern versus Legacy Grains
All modern wheat has been altered to produce greater bulk on each stalk and is grown on insufficient soils to support their unnatural bulk. The only types of wheat that still have the ratio of nutrients that were in wheat in ancient times are the legacy grains emmer, einkorn, spelt and khorasan kamut. Rye is also a legacy grain.

Barley is the preferred grain for malting and brewing, though any grain that could be sprouted could be used as a malt or flour.

Do not
use self-rising flour when brewing ale.

Should grains be ground into flour and stored or ground fresh?

No primitive society stored already-ground flour for later use. They stored whole grains and ground them when they needed them. So, any question about method of preparing store-bought or already ground flour, other than what you ground yourself and put in the freezer immediately after grinding, is asking how to restore nutrients as best you can with what you've got, with the aspiration being to not have to buy and/or store ground flour.

Storing whole grains in the freezer will probably help keep them as fresh as possible, but Pharoah stored grains in the hot Egyptian heat for seven years, so storage temperature is probably not extremely vital. However, keeping out mice and mold would be an issue in storage at room temperature so, if a freezer is available, that would probably be a good storage choice for those reasons rather than any need to freeze the grains themselves.

Can Flour Lose Its Nutrients When Stored?

Depends on what is meant by "nutrients"

Minerals
Minerals are forever. Not that grains are a good source for minerals, but, what there are, are there forever.

Vitamins
Vitamins, especially the water-soluble ones, will degrade after time, but if you ferment for a long time, particularly in sourdough, new vitamins will be created by the activity of the enzymes, which will also be created. The act of soaking (ideally in alkaline or hard water to supply minerals) and fermenting in acids (the fermentation will create its own acids so adding acids is not necessary) makes the grain more digestible and creates vitamins and enzymes. Cooking probably reduces some of them. Eating with homebrewed beverages will probably replace some of them.

Carbohydrates
Those will still be there. Science says they are devoid of nutrients, but I don't believe that. Carbohydrates are the energy of the cells and any carbohydrate, even one with no science-detectable vitamins in it, can still be used by the cells for energy. People who have been rescued from starvation have been given spoonfuls of white sugar as their first food because they have lost the ability to eat any other food, and it brings them around enough that they are then able to go back to eating. There's gotta be something in it.

Should grains be sprouted before making into flour?

No traditional societies sprouted grains to make flour. They sprouted and dehydrated grains to make sugar, most of which was used to make "booze"*, except in Hungary where they use it to make buza* (biscuit sweetened with barley sugar). (*from the Arabic "buza", meaning "beer".)

That's not to say it is bad, just that it's a lot of work for little gain. If you wanted a flour that was half grain and half vegetable, which is what sprouted grains are, you could mix wheat flour and dried vegetable flours. I mix my kamut flour with chickpea flour, which is still a seed but more vegetative, to get a grain-vegetable mix. Many traditional people did mix flour with dried vegetables. Linnaeus mentions specifically that one of the great things about wheat flour is that it makes the more nourishing vegetable flours it is mixed with more palatable.

People in traditional societies that made bread often ate a pound of it a day. When it is your main food source, it is more important that it be a complete source of nutrition than when it is a slice of bread with a varied meal.

Ancient people that made bread did not make bread in loaf form to eat, except maybe the Pharoahs and even then, it is an ongoing controversy as to whether they made the bread loaves to eat or to use to make beer. Ordinary people used a flat rock or pan-fried flat breads or cooked dough directly on hot woodfire ashes.

Rancidity
Traditional people wanted to prevent food going rancid because, in most cases, it made it taste bad. There is no health or safety issue with rancid food, however. Some traditional societies used rancid yak butter in tea as a medicine, presumably because rancid butter is good for you even if it tastes bad. Medicine isn't expected to taste good.

 Issues With Grains.

Phytic Acid -- Can be a good
source of phosphorus  but, like any acid, without enough minerals in the diet can deplete minerals from the body. If you're taking grains in any form, you should be adding minerals to your diet. See Minerals Scientific studies "proving" that phytic acid was a super-mineral leacher were based on a form of phytic acid, IP6, that was synthesized in the lab and is rarely found in plants grown in soil that has not been artificially fertilized.
Anti-nutrients -- These are the things the plant grows to prevent predators from eating it or its seeds until they are ready to germinate. Anti-nutrients can be neutralized by soaking or fermenting, or can be mostly discarded by removing the outer layer of the seed, as in refining or polishing.
Fiber -- This is the outer hull of the grain where most of the anti-nutrients are found. If you discard them, you also discard the fiber. The function of fiber is to create bulk in the stool to ease passage which function must then be replaced. The best way to do this, even better than eating the fiber in the first place, is to have a healthy, biotic-rich digestive system. The bacteria will eat the food, multiply and grow and their bodies will provide the bulk needed for digestion so fiber is not needed.
Phytoestrogens -- These are more plant acids that are good if taken with sufficient minerals but will deplete the body of minerals if not enough minerals are available.

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Cooking with Coconut Flour  by Bruce Fife  For those who believe they are allergic to gluten, or who want to avoid grains



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