There are a growing number of folks out there having a hard time tolerating grains. Some discover allergies to wheat or gluten, but others find that any grain bothers them.
So what’s up with grains? Many reasons can lead to problems with grains, but one of the biggest issues is that we simply eat grains WAY too much, and we eat them with an enormous amount of preservatives, sugars, and even more gluten added to them.
There’s wisdom in the saying, ‘too much of a good thing’. Our culture is saturated with grains in every meal and snack – and we happily eat it in abundance.
Grains are hard for our bodies to digest. They’re full of carbohydrates that, once digested, are quickly converted to sugar. Over consumption of any food that is high in carbs or sugar can lead to candida. And the limited grains we do eat should be properly prepared by soaking or souring so that our digestive system isn’t overloaded.
I’ve only scratched the surface here. If you’re concerned about grain I encourage you to keep researching and becoming informed. Some of my favorite books on this topic are:
You only have one body – be good to it.
Soaking and Sprouting Grains Before Cooking or Grinding into Flour:
1. Combine 1 cup of grain, 1 cup of warm water, and 2 tablespoon of an acidic liquid (homemade yogurt, kefir, buttermilk, whey, lemon juice, or apple cider vinegar) in a large jar. (You can increase the total amount of grain to be soaked as long as the water and acidic liquid is increased as well.)
2. Cover your jar with a cheesecloth and rubber band to keep out bugs. Let it sit at room temperature for at least 7 hours and as long as 24 hours for best results.
3. If you go for longer than 7 hours, you should drain the liquid, rinse the grains, and add more water and acidic liquid about every 8 hours.
4. When your soaking time is done, drain and rinse.
If you want to sprout your grain, continue with the steps below:
1. Tilt the drained jar on its side (with the grains still inside and the cheesecloth still rubberbanded to the top of the jar). Shake the grains to level them out (for more air flow). Tilt the jar into a bowl or pan to catch drips.
2. Rinse every 8 hours or so. After another 24 hours you should notice tiny little sprouts on the ends of your grain.
Voila – you’re done!
Now you can cook your grains as you normally would, or if you want to grind them later, spread them out on dehydrator sheets and dry them until they’re good and dry. Store your grains in a glass jar. You can then grind the grain into flour and use as you normally would.
Soaking Flour for Baking
If you don’t grind your own grains, or you don’t have the time or equipment to sprout and dehydrate them, you can *soak the flour (it’s still best to use whole wheat flour) called for in a recipe and still receive the health benefits.
1. Combine all of the wet ingredients in the recipe with the flour only.
2. Make sure to add 2 tablespoon of acidic liquid (homemade yogurt, kefir, buttermilk, whey, lemon juice, or apple cider vinegar) for each cup of flour. (This is not necessary if the recipe already contains one of these acidic liquids.)
3. Cover and let sit for 12-24 hours – the longer the better. (Note: If you include eggs in your ‘wet ingredients list’, refrigerate the batter for the 12-24 hours. If you have enough liquids in a recipe that you don’t need the eggs to help moisten it, then you can leave them out until you finish the recipe later. If you leave the eggs out you can let the batter set out at room temp for the 12-24 hrs. It seems that the proteins and phytic acid is broken down better at room temp.)
4. Add the rest of the ingredients (and eggs if you’ve left those out) and continue recipe as normal. Add more liquid if recipe seems dry.
Note: soaked flour recipes may take a bit longer to cook.
*If you want to get every possible benefit from soaking your flour, sourdough is the best method. Fermenting/Sourdough grains break down gluten and other difficult to digest proteins is a practice that goes back to biblical times, our ancestors in the days of sourdough bread and covered wagons, and the not so distant past of our grandparents. It’s not too complicated either (whew!).Read how on our Sourdough page.
Rice needs a starter and to sour at a very warm temperature (90 degrees F).
1. Soak brown rice in water for 16-24 hours at about 90 degrees. (you can do this by setting up a hotplate, a pan of the water and rice, and letting it ‘sour’ in 90 degree water.)
2. Change the water and rinse every 4-6 hours to remove waste and bacteria from the rice.
3. Drain and reserve 10% of the final soaking liquid (keep in fridge – keeps for a long time).
4. Cook the rice in broth or fresh water and butter. (You won’t need as much water since it has soaked up quite a bit at this point.)
5. The next time you make rice, sour it in water PLUS the reserved soaking liquid. Repeat the steps for souring the rice and again reserve 10% of the soaking liquid in the fridge. The process will gradually improve until 96% or more of the phytic acid is degraded at 24 hours. After the fourth cycle of using this liquid, the brown rice becomes significantly softer and more digestible.