Saturday, July 16, 2011

Soaked Grains?

One somewhat unusual thing that I do with my whole grain staple recipes is to soak the grain before I use it. Most of us are familiar with the idea that it is more nourishing to use whole grains  than white flour. Whole grains (especially freshly milled!) contain vitamins, minerals and fiber that is completely lost in the refining process of white flour. Unfortunately, whole grains also have something called phytic acid.

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, blocking 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 pre-digestive 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
I have found that my body responds much better to soaked grains than to unsoaked grains, therefore I try to include this step as often as possible (though there are occasions where, due to a lack of planning, I'm in a hurry and skip it).

The soaking process is quite simple. Just take your grain--I usually use the grain after it has been milled, and soak it in some water with 1-2 tbs of Apple Cider Vinegar, Yogurt, Lemon, Buttermilk, Whey or Kifer. (I choose the acidic medium based on what I'm making and what I have on hand). 

While this does add one more step to cooking, it is a simple step and I haven't found it to be a problem provided I plan ahead. It is certainly something worth doing for the health of my family!! 

I will post a couple recipes that I have developed using this technique starting on Wednesdays. Stay tuned!! 

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