"He causeth the grass to grow for food, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth; And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth a man's heart." ~Psalm 104: 14-15


Soaking Grains: Why and How

Guest post by Katie Mae Stanley of Nourishing Simplicity 

I've eaten her bread - and love it. On the scale of delicious, it hits as high as my family's rolls! (Plus it's more easily digested and healthier for the body.) ;D

Soaking Grains:  Why and How

About seven years ago when I first read about soaking grains I thought the idea sounded ridiculous and unnecessary. I dismissed the idea and didn’t even look furthered into it.  I already ate whole grains like wheat and brown rice. It just seemed like an unnecessary step. Who would want to do that?  It was healthy enough for me. 
Back in the spring of 2009 I was reintroduced to the practice of soaking grains. Now there is rarely a time that I don’t soak my grains before eating them. Sure whole grains are full of essential vitamins and mineral but unfortunately when they aren’t prepared properly our bodies can’t use them.  There are actually enzymes in all whole grains that effect digestion and don’t allow your body to absorb those minerals and vitamins. Soaking grains is an ancient practice that most cultures practiced; some still do. It wasn’t until more resent years that we abandoned this practice.  
Phosphorus in the bran of whole grains is tied up in a substance called phytic acid. Phytic acid combines with iron, calcium, magnesium, copper and zinc in the intestinal tract, clogging their absorption. Whole grains also contain enzyme inhibitors that can interfere with digestion. Traditional societies usually soak or ferment their grains before eating them, processes that neutralize phytates and enzyme inhibitors and in effect, predigest grains so that all their nutrients are more available. Sprouting, overnight soaking, and old-fashioned sour leavening can accomplish this important predigestive process in our own kitchens. Many people who are allergic to grains will tolerate them well when they are prepared according to these procedures.  (Nourishing Traditions, Sally Fallon, Pg 25)
When I eat too many unsoaked grains I have stomach and digestive problems. Even without knowing everything I do I would chose to soak grains just based on how it makes me feel.
There’s no need to feel overwhelmed; soaking your grain and flour isn’t nearly as intimidating as it sounds, it just takes a little thinking ahead.  

How to Soak:

You need to use one tablespoon of acid medium added per cup of liquid.
Acid Mediums- The Options:
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Water Kefir
  • Lemon/Lime Juice
  • Cultured Butter Milk
  • Whey
The Grains:
Brown rice, buckwheat and millet: Soak for a minimum of 7 hours. (They require a shorter soaking time because they are lower in phytate) Wheat, barley, spelt and kamut:  Soak for 12 to 24 hours. (They are higher in phytate so they require a longer soaking time.)
Oats: They contain the highest amount of pytate and should be soaked for no less than 24 hours. Whole Grains: Put your grain, water and acid medium in a pot or bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, a lid or towel. After soaking for desired time rinse to remove any bitterness if desired and proceed with recipe. I normally use a little less water when I cook my grains because they will have absorbed some water.
Baked Goods: I grind my own flour and always use it fresh. For baked good I mix my flour together with my acid medium and liquid.  I let them soak for 12 to 24 hours. Then I proceed with the recipe.

Here are some Nourishing Simplicity recipes for soaked grain foods:
She also has sourdough recipes:
There are also recipes for scones, sweets, Thai, Indian & Mexican dishes, lacto fermentes, and more.  Go on over and take a look around! :D

She has recipes using sprouted grain flour too!

Go check out her recipes at Grain Mill Wagon, as well! :)

Now, find even more information on eating grains healthily in her Bulk Herb Store Blog post Feb. 14, 2014:  The Whole Food Guide To Healthy Grains!

Nourishing Simplicity

This post has been shared on the following link-ups: REAL FOOD Friday @ Mary's Kitchen & Organic 4 Greenliving, Simple Life Sunday @ Melissa K. Norris, Natural Living Monday @ Natural Living Mama, Homemaking Link-Up @ Raising Home Makers, nomday Monday @ Measuring Flower Hearts for Home @ Graced Simplicity, Capture Your Journey @ Joy Dare Blog.