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A Review of Organic and Non-GMO Sprouted Grain Manna Bread

Updated on April 3, 2017
AliciaC profile image

Linda Crampton is a teacher with an honors degree in biology. She enjoys exploring nutrition as well as the culture and history of food.

Slices of manna bread
Slices of manna bread | Source

What Is Manna Bread?

Manna bread is a delicious unleavened product made from sprouted grains. The bread may be produced from whole grains and water alone or may have added fruit, nuts, and seeds. It contains no yeast, added sugar, salt, oil, or preservatives, is cholesterol free (like all plant foods), and is suitable for vegans. The sprouting process and the simple recipe produce a dense, nutritious, and tasty product.

Some people make their own manna bread at home. Others find it more convenient to purchase the bread in a store. The version that I buy and that I will review in this article is produced by the Manna Organics company in Illinois. Their bread is certified organic, kosher certified, and made from non-GMO ingredients. It comes in eight different varieties, ranging from plain grain breads to loaves that contain fruit, nuts, or seeds in addition to grains.

The bread was created by the Nature's Path company in British Columbia, Canada. In 2007, the manna bread division of the company was purchased by Manna Organics LLC, which is based in Lisle, Illinois in the United States. This is not the same company as Manna Organics Inc., which is based in Newark, New Jersey.

Fruit and nut manna bread
Fruit and nut manna bread | Source

How Is Manna Bread Made?

The basic steps in making manna bread are to sprout the grains, blend them with water in a food processor to make a dough, put the dough in a pan, and bake it. Some people who make their own manna bread like to eat "raw" food and place the dough in a dehydrator. They leave the dough at a low temperature for a long time to turn it into a solid bread. The Manna Organics website says that their sprouted grain breads are "slowly baked at a temperature much lower than conventional bread". They don't offer any more details about their sprouting and baking processes because their preparation method is proprietary.

Manna bread is sometimes called Essene bread. The Essenes were an ancient religious sect. Both of the names for the bread are based on the idea that earlier people ate or made this natural and nutritious product. According to the Bible, manna was a food provided by God.

Manna bread contains simple ingredients. Since the bread is minimally processed, many of the nutrients in the ingredients are retained.

Four kinds of Manna Organics manna bread
Four kinds of Manna Organics manna bread | Source

Whole Grain Bread That Is Rich in Nutrients

The Manna Organics version of manna bread contains whole grains and is high in insoluble fiber. This type of fiber provides bulk to the stool and helps it move through the large intestine. It may also reduce the risk of some diseases. Whole grain bread is far healthier than white bread, which has had the bran removed. The bran is the outer layer of a grain kernel and contains insoluble fiber.

Manna bread also contains soluble fiber, which reduces the level of LDL cholesterol in the blood. This type of cholesterol is often referred to as the "bad" cholesterol.

The various varieties of the bread are high in protein. They are very low to moderately low in fat. The nut and seed versions contain a little more fat than the plain grain versions. The whole grains in the breads provide useful vitamins and minerals. The fruits, nuts, and seeds that are added to some varieties of the bread supply more vitamins and minerals.

The flax and hemp seeds in the bread contain omega-3 fatty acids as well as other beneficial nutrients. Omega-3 fatty acids may reduce inflammation, lower the risk of heart disease, and reduce the triglyceride level in the blood.

Manna bread contains a moderate amount of natural sugar. The fruit and nut version contains a lot of natural sugar, however. A buyer might want to save this version for a special treat.

Sunseed manna bread is my favorite kind.
Sunseed manna bread is my favorite kind. | Source

Possible Benefits of Sprouted Grains

The sprouting process causes complex carbohydrates to change into simple sugars, such as maltose, which gives manna bread its sweetness. I don't find this sweetness overpowering, though. The bread varieties without fruit taste mildly sweet to me, while the varieties that contain fruit are sweeter.

Proponents of sprouted grains claim that eating a grain in sprouted form provides several health benefits compared to eating it in an unsprouted form. They say that the sprouting process increases the vitamin levels in the grain. They also say that phytic acid is broken down during sprouting. Phytic acid binds with minerals such as calcium, iron, and zinc, making it harder for our small intestine to absorb them. When phytic acid is destroyed, more minerals are available. It's also said that sprouting makes grains easier to digest.

Sprouting grains does provide the claimed nutritional benefits, but some scientists wonder whether the benefits are large enough to be significant. Researchers say that sprouted grain breads are good for us even if sprouting the grains doesn't significantly increase their health benefits, however. The breads are made from whole grains, are minimally processed, and tend to include healthy ingredients and omit less healthy ones.

How to Sprout Grains

Non-GMO Grains

The Manna Organics website says that all the ingredients in their products are GMO-free. GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism. It's a classification used to refer to a plant, animal, or microorganism whose genetic material has been altered by humans, generally in an attempt to improve a useful property or behavior of the organism. Some people are very concerned about the consequences of changing an organism's genetic material, or genome, especially when it's done in a plant or animal that is eaten by humans. The behavior of genes in a living creature is very complex and isn't completely understood by scientists. It's possible that altering a genome may have unexpected and detrimental consequences.

Cinnamon is a delicious addition to sprouted grain bread.
Cinnamon is a delicious addition to sprouted grain bread. | Source

All of the ingredients in the bread listed below are organic. The main ingredients are sprouted; the others aren't. The cinnamon date version of the bread may be available somewhere in a frozen form, but the Manna Organics website no longer lists it for sale. It seems to have been discontinued.

Varieties of Manna Organics LLC Manna Bread

Variety
Ingredients
Rye
Sprouted rye kernels, filtered water
Millet Rice
Sprouted wheat kernels, filtered water, millet, brown rice
Multigrain
Sprouted wheat kernels, filtered water, brown rice, barley, millet, flax seeds, rye kernels, soybeans, rolled oats, oat bran, cormeal
Sunseed
Sprouted wheat kernels, filtered water, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, flax seeds, millet, poppy seeds, caraway seeds
Carrot Raisin
Sprouted wheat kernels, filtered water, carrots, raisins
Fruit and Nut
Sprouted wheat kernels, filtered water, raisins, raisins, dates, almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, cinnamon, nutmeg, oatmeal
Banana Walnut Hemp
Sprouted wheat kernels, filtered water, dried banana, walnuts, flax seeds, hemp seeds
Fig, Fennel and Flax
Sprouted wheat kernels, filtered water, diced figs with oat flour, flax seeds, fennel seeds, poppy seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds
Cinnamon Date*
Sprouted wheat kernels, filtered water, dates, cinnamon, oatmeal
* = Discontinued, but may be available in frozen form in some locations
Sunseed manna bread contains caraway seeds.
Sunseed manna bread contains caraway seeds. | Source

Sprouted Grains and Celiac Disease

Gluten is a protein complex that is present in certain grains. It's very important to note that although there are chemical changes in a grain when it sprouts, sprouted wheat, rye, and barley still contain gluten. Oats may sometimes contain gluten as well. Check with your doctor if you have celiac disease and want to eat oats.

People with celiac disease mustn't eat any version of manna bread. In this disease, the tiny projections on the lining of the small intestine, which are called villi, are damaged and destroyed due to the presence of gluten. This greatly reduces the absorption of nutrients. Celiac disease can produce a long list of very unpleasant symptoms. In addition, it can sometimes cause serious complications.

People with celiac disease must completely avoid gluten in their diet. They also need to ensure that anything that enters their mouth—such as toothpaste—is gluten-free. Even a small amount of the protein can trigger damage to the villi.

If you can't tolerate wheat but can eat other gluten-containing grains such as barley and rye and if you have also tested negative for celiac disease, you might want to try sprouted grain wheat products. Some people who develop problems when eating wheat find that sprouted wheat suits their body better than wheat that hasn't been sprouted.

What Is Celiac Disease?

Some people may choose to eat manna bread because they're yeast intolerant. Others may want to avoid the high sodium content in many other breads or they may wish to avoid added sugar or preservatives. Manna bread is not gluten-free, however.

Dense Bread

There may be some disadvantages to buying manna bread, even for people without celiac disease. The bread is not the best type for making sandwiches, for example. It's a dense and moist product that doesn't have the soft, spongy texture of flour bread. For me, this isn't a disadvantage, however. I treat manna bread like a healthy version of cake, even though it doesn't have the texture of a cake. A slice of manna bread with a nut butter spread on it is delicious as a snack or as a meal accompaniment. I buy a different type of bread for making sandwiches.

Manna bread could be used to make sandwiches if a person is determined to do this. One problem with this idea is that the bread is sold in small loaves, each of which is quite expensive compared to many regular brands of sandwich bread. In my area, the varieties without fruit cost about $3.20 Canadian, while the varieties with fruit cost about $3.85. The healthier flour breads and the sprouted grain breads with yeast cost the same amount or even more than the manna bread, but they are sold in bigger packages that last longer. Using manna bread to make daily sandwiches in a family with several people could get very expensive!

Another problem with using manna bread to make sandwiches is that the slices made from a loaf are smaller in area than the slices produced from a loaf of sandwich bread, unless the manna bread is sliced lengthwise.

Eating manna bread can be a great way to include oatmeal in the diet.
Eating manna bread can be a great way to include oatmeal in the diet. | Source

No Preservatives

Manna Organics brand manna bread is sold frozen (at least in my area). When it's defrosted it needs to be kept in the refrigerator and eaten within a few days, since it doesn't contain preservatives. I happily accept this "disadvantage", however, because I like to avoid preservatives in my food. To me, having no preservatives is an advantage, not a disadvantage.

Another Potential Problem: Plastic Packaging

All of the brands of manna bread that I've seen in stores, included the brand that I buy, are wrapped in a plastic bag. In fact, each Manna Organics loaf is packed in two plastic bags—an outer one and an inner one. This is okay if the purchaser conscientiously recycles all their plastic and if their recycling depot accepts bread bags, but not if these requirements aren't met. Plastic garbage is a serious environmental problem, especially for animal life. Most plastic either doesn't degrade or takes many years to do so.

A hazelnut that is starting to ripen: hazelnuts are found in fruit and nut manna bread
A hazelnut that is starting to ripen: hazelnuts are found in fruit and nut manna bread | Source

Nut, Soy, and Corn Allergies

People who are allergic to soybeans must avoid the multigrain version of Manna Organics manna bread, since the beans are one of the ingredients. The multigrain manna bread also contains corn, which causes an allergic reaction in some people. If you have a nut or seed allergy, or if you wish to avoid certain seeds, several varieties of the bread will have to be avoided. Luckily, there are nut and seed-free versions of the bread, as the table above shows.

Your Favorite Manna Bread

Which variety of manna bread appeals to you the most?

See results

Where to Buy Manna Organics LLC Manna Bread

Manna Organics LLC manna bread is sold throughout North America as a frozen product. Here in Canada my local stores are well supplied with the bread. It's generally sold in health food stores, although I have occasionally found it in a nearby supermarket. The company's website says that the bread is sold in "most" Whole Foods markets. I've seen it in the markets close to my home. The bread can also be bought from the online store on the Manna Organics website, but since it needs to be transported in a frozen form the store only sells it to United States addresses.

Banana walnut hemp is another variety of manna bread. Hemp seeds are a nutritious food.
Banana walnut hemp is another variety of manna bread. Hemp seeds are a nutritious food. | Source

Manna Bread in My Diet

Manna Organics manna bread is one of my frequent purchases and has been ever since it was produced by Nature's Path. I don't have the bread in my refrigerator or freezer all the time, but I buy it often. The eight varieties give me lots of different flavors to choose from. I choose the plainer kinds most often and save the sweeter ones for an occasional purchase. I like incorporating the bread into my diet for both its nutritional benefits and its taste.

© 2012 Linda Crampton

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    • GoodLady profile image

      Penelope Hart 4 years ago from Rome, Italy

      It's a meal in itself! Will pop by our herb shop to see what grains they have to sprout and give it a try - but I wonder if I can buy it on Amazon? Sounds lovely with the nut butters. Thanks, it's precious.

    • AliciaC profile image
      Author

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you for the comment, GoodLady. I want to grow some sprouts myself. I've done it as part of school experiments, but never for food. It should be fun!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 4 years ago from south Florida

      Alicia - this has to be one of the most thorough explanations of a subject - in this case, manna bread - that I have ever read on HP. Kudos to you for your diligent research and common sense presentation.

    • AliciaC profile image
      Author

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you so much for the lovely comment, drbj. I appreciate it!

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I don't have celiac disease, but I am wheat intolerant. Alas...

    • AliciaC profile image
      Author

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Hi, Deb. I'm in a somewhat similar situation. I don't have celiac disease either, but I have a wheat sensitivity. Things are easier for me than for you, because I can eat small amounts of wheat, but if I eat too much I experience heartburn and nausea. I find sprouted grains easier to deal with than non-sprouted ones. Manna bread doesn't cause me any problems, although I'm careful that I don't eat it at every meal.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

      A brilliant hub and thanks for sharing.

      Eddy.

    • AliciaC profile image
      Author

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you very much for the visit and the comment, Eddy.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

      Thanks for this educational review of Manna Bread. It's very informative and interesting. I'll definitely be looking for this food product soon.

    • AliciaC profile image
      Author

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for the visit, RTalloni. I appreciate your comment.

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 4 years ago from South Carolina

      Congratulations on your Rigorous Review Contest win for this worthy hub.

      I've never heard of or eaten Manna bread, but after learning so much about it's nutritional benefits it sounds like it would be good to try it.

      Thanks for sharing this information.

    • AliciaC profile image
      Author

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you for the congratulations, Happyboomernurse! I appreciate your comment very much.

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      Congratulations for winning the Contest Review - grand prize!! This hub is truly wonderful and is a fantastic explation of manna bread. I had no idea what it was before reading. Fabulous hub! Congrats again!

    • renegadetory profile image

      Carolyn Dahl 4 years ago from Ottawa, Ontario

      Congrats on winning! I see you are from Canada too! I love all your pictures and quite honestly, I never knew there was such a thing as manna bread. After reading your hub, I will definitely try it out!

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 4 years ago from South Carolina

      Hi AliciaC,

      Congratulations on earning the Grand Prize in the Rigorous Review Contest!!!!

      I think the judges made an excellent choice.

    • GoodLady profile image

      Penelope Hart 4 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Congratulations super lady for this worthy Hub.

    • AliciaC profile image
      Author

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you so much for your kind comment, cclitgirl! I appreciate your visit and congratulations!

    • AliciaC profile image
      Author

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you very much, renegadetory. It's so nice to meet you. Congratulations on your win, too - I'm looking forward to reading your hub!

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you, Happyboomernurse! I appreciate your comment very much!

    • AliciaC profile image
      Author

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you, GoodLady!! I appreciate your congratulations very much. This is such an exciting day!

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Alecia-I just found out the contest results-Congratulations and well done. :)

    • AliciaC profile image
      Author

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you very much, Denise - and congratulations on your win, too! I love your review of the bird sanctuary.

    • Les Trois Chenes profile image

      Les Trois Chenes 4 years ago from Videix, Limousin, South West France

      Congratualtions on your win. Lots of work here & great information.

    • AliciaC profile image
      Author

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you for the comment and the congratulations, Les Trois Chenes. I appreciate your visit!

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 4 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      I can see why you won the award Alicia! This is a very well written hub with tons of great information! Congratulations on your win, it is well deserved! :)

    • greatstuff profile image

      Mazlan 4 years ago from Malaysia

      Congratulations on winning the grand prize. Very informative and well formatted hub. Well done.

    • CarlySullens profile image

      CarlySullens 4 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      Congratulations!! I love your voice in the video, it is so soothing and the images just makes me want to make and eat this bread. Voted up++++

    • AliciaC profile image
      Author

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you so much, sgbrown! I appreciate your congratulations and the lovely comment.

    • AliciaC profile image
      Author

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you very much for the comment and the congratulations, greatstuff!

    • AliciaC profile image
      Author

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you for the congratulations and the comment, Carly! I appreciate your visit and vote.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

      I've never heard of manna bread until now, thank you for the lesson. Congrats on your win! :)

    • AliciaC profile image
      Author

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you very much for commenting and for the congratulations, Sunshine625!

    • Fossillady profile image

      Kathi 4 years ago from Saugatuck Michigan

      I liked your video, you did a nice job. Hmm, Suddenly I want to make some manna bread! Truthfully, I've been making my own multi-grain bread using whole grain flour, but I never heard of this. I want to give it a try cause it's even healthier.

    • AliciaC profile image
      Author

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I love the taste of homemade bread, especially when it's fresh out of the oven! I'd like to make it more often. Thanks for the visit and the comment, Kathi.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      This is wonderful. I love the looks of the manna bread and its wholesome content is just what I was looking for to start off the new year right. I'll be sharing this hub!

    • AliciaC profile image
      Author

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you very much for the comment and the share, Peg! It's nice that manna bread is both healthy and tasty. I like the selection of flavors, too.

    • profile image

      Beverly 2 years ago

      How can Manna bread say it's non-GMO, if modern wheat is severely GMO for the past 40+ years? Anything with wheat is automatically GMO.

    • AliciaC profile image
      Author

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Hi, Beverly. I think you may be confusing corn and wheat. Most corn in the United States is GMO Corn, but GMO wheat is still in the experimental stage. Neither GMO crop has been in production for forty years. Humans have used selective plant breeding for a long time, but this isn't classified as genetic modification because no genes are added to the plants. The mixture of genes occurs naturally as the plants reproduce.

    • poetryman6969 profile image

      poetryman6969 2 years ago

      I am not sure I will like it but I would like to try some of this bread.

    • AliciaC profile image
      Author

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I hope you like manna bread if you try it, poetryman. Thanks for the visit.

    • Virgo Rouge profile image

      Virgo Rouge 2 years ago from New York, New York

      Thank you for this educational video. I just ate Fruit and Nut Manna Bread...what a beautiful food..no sodium..no saturated fat...awesome taste...

    • AliciaC profile image
      Author

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Fruit and nut manna bread is definitely a delicious variety! Thank you very much for the comment, Virgo Rouge.

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