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 any grain bothers them. Add to it the controversy of whether or not to even eat grains and you’ve got a mess, haven’t you.
So what’s up with grains? Many reasons can lead to problems with grains like the fact that:
- We simply eat them WAY too much
- We don’t buy organic or non-GMO
- They are eaten processed (with enormous amount of preservatives, sugars, and even more gluten added to them)
- It’s hard for our bodies to digest them
- They’re full of starches that can lead to candida
The limited grains we do eat should be soaked or soured (our favorite) so our digestive systems aren’t overloaded. This works for grains such as wheat berries, oat groats, rice, millet, buckwheat, quinoa. . .
Today we’re going to show you. . .
How-to soak and sprout grains before cooking or grinding into flour
1. Combine 1 cup of grain, 1 cup of warm water, and 2 tablespoons 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 soak 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 rubber-banded 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 water drips.
2. Rinse the grain 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 soaked or sprouted grains as you normally would in any recipe. If you want to store them to grind into flour later, spread them out on dehydrator sheets and dry them until they’re good and dry. Store in a glass jar.
How to soak flour when 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 (preferably whole wheat) called for in a recipe and still receive the health benefits.
1. Combine only the wet ingredients from the recipe with the flour.
2. Add 2 tablespoons 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 are broken down better at room temp.)
4. Add the rest of the ingredients (and eggs if you’ve left those out) and continue the 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 our favorite method – and it’s not too complicated either. (whew!)
How to soak rice
Rice is one grain that has few more steps in the process. It needs a starter and to sour at a very warm temperature (90 degrees F).
1. Soak 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.
After the fourth cycle of using this liquid, the rice becomes significantly softer and more digestible.
That’s all there is to it! Don’t let it intimidate you – it really is easy to do once you’ve got the hang of it. If not, come back and let us know what we can do to help!
Read these articles for more information:
Part 1: The Why of Soaking and Sprouting
Part 2: How to Soak and Sprout Grains
Part 3: How to Soak, Sprout, and Dehydrate Nuts
Part 4: How to Soak and Sprout Beans (Legumes)