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Grains /Bread:

How to soak whole grains before cooking

How to prepare Whole Grains:   Soak  +  Sour or Sprout before cooking

Soak Grains

Health Benefits of Soaking Grains

Soaking WHOLE grains activates digestive enzymes that increase the availability of nutrients for consumption.    Soaking in warm water mimics the natural seed germination process in the ground, causing the seed to swell, and BEGIN the sprouting and fermenting process; 

If you wish to further the sprouting and fermentation process for even better nutrition (and to remove more antinutrients) - you can either:

-   Sprout the grains after soaking

-   Or allow the grains to soak longer (~3 days) to more completely ferment the grains.   This changes the grains from a poor to a good source of nutrients.  E.g. Make sourdough, provided you can tolerate the tangier taste. It is likely that our ancestors fermented their whole grains to improve their nutritive value.

Soaking partially deactivates lectins in whole grains.    Including the troublesome lectins: gliadin (50% of gluten), and wheat germ agglutinin (WGA), which is highly present in WHOLE wheat grains

Soaking partially breaks down phytic acid in whole grains.   Only high phytase activity grains will have any significant reduction in phytic acid; Egli I, Davidsson L, Juillerat MA, Barclay D, Hurrell RF, The Influence of Soaking and Germination on the Phytase Activity and Phytic Acid Content of Grains and Seeds Potentially Useful for Complementary Feeding. (July 2006) J. of Food Sci  Note that whole oats inherently don't contain many phytase enzymes, and what little they do have is deactivated by heat in the production of rolled oats;  when soaking oats, add a bit of high phytase flour, such as rye;

One solution to avoiding antinutrients is to simple eat "white" flour products - If you are not concerned about nutrients, you can use refined / dehulled grains; certainly prefer refined ("white") bread to improperly prepared WHOLE grain bread; WHOLE Wheat is particularly high in wheat germ agglutinin (WGA), a lectin that can perforate your gut lining, interfere with the immune system and more. Since WGA resists removal by soaking, souring and sprouting, and since wheat has other problems, avoiding wheat altogether is probably your best choice.

How to Soak Grains

(1)  Soak grains in warm acidified water to begin germinationUsing a mildly acid medium for soaking helps neutralize antinutrients, many of which inhibit digestive enzymes (E.g. phytates, lectins, tannins), thereby allowing digestive enzymes to make the grains more digestible and nutrient-dense. Grain phytase is maximally active at a pH of 4.5 to 5.5, which is mildly acidic.

-   Use enough water to keep the grains covered - they will swell;

-   What to add to make a mldly acidic medium  - either lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, whey, plain yogurt or kefir;

-   When soaking a low-phytase grain, add some high-phytase grain flour (whole grain rye, wheat, triticale, buckwheat or barley flour) - the addition of some phytase enzymes helps break down phytic acid in the low-phytase food.

 Guideline Only - everyone has their own ideas :)
 Approximate amounts Acidic medium Soak time
 2 cups millet *  4 tbsp  7 hours
 1 cup buckwheat  2 tbsp  6 hours
 1 cup wheat berries  2 tbsp  7 hours
 1 cup wild or black rice  2 tbsp  9 hours
 1 cup kamut  2 tbsp  12-24 hours
 1 cup quinoa  2 tbsp  12-24 hours
 1 cup teff or amaranth  2 tbsp  24 hours
 2 cups brown rice *  4 tbsp  7 hours
1 cup oat groats  2 tbsp  24 hours


(2)  After soaking for the required time, discard the acidic soaking water and rinse grains - using a sieve makes this easier;  for very small grains line the sieve with a cheesecloth. Also rinse and change water every 12 hours if using a longer soak time

(3)  Refrigerate drained grains and use within a few days to prevent spoilage

Sprout or Sour

 (after soaking grains)

After soaking whole grains, they should be either sprouted or soured (i.e. fermented) to further increase nutrient availability and reduce antinutrients:

How to sprout / germinate grains

How to sour / ferment grains (E.g. in sourdough)

Extra Notes on grains

Fresh milled flour has more phytase enzymes.   These generally deplete with time; more phytase aids break down of phytic acid;


Attend to Diet, Lifestyle & Emotional State


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