As I have endeavored to learn more healthful ways of cooking and eating, one of the things I discovered was that, not only is it important to eat whole grains, beans, and legumes, but that these things contain phytic acid. Phytic acid is difficult for our bodies to break down and digest. However, Passionate Homemaking states,
“Soaking, fermenting, or sprouting the grain before cooking or baking will neutralize the phytic acid, releasing these nutrients for absorption. This process allows enzymes, lactobacilli and other helpful organisms to not only neutralize the phytic acid, but also to break down complex starches, irritating tannins and difficult-to-digest proteins, including gluten. For many, this may lessen their sensitivity or allergic reactions to particular grains. Everyone will benefit, nevertheless, from the release of nutrients and greater ease of digestion.”
For more information on the value of soaking whole grains, check out this post at Passionate Homemaking’s website.
It took me a really long time to get the gumption to test out adapting my recipe for soaking. I think the first time it failed, the second time it worked, and the third time it failed again. I was so discouraged I didn’t try again for a year! But now I have tried it again and made two successful and delicious batches. I am ready to share my recipe and hope you enjoy it! A word on whole grain flour: Milling your own flour is extremely important, as flour only maintains its nutrients for 72 hours at room temperature, after which point it becomes rancid. This is why breads made from store bought whole wheat flour often taste bitter. If you cannot mill your own flour, buy whole wheat flour from your local health food store if it is kept in the refrigerator and store in your freezer. Or find someone like me who would be more than happy to mill some extra for you!
Soaked Whole Grain Oatmeal Bread
6 cups freshly milled whole grain flour (I use a combination of hard red wheat and prairie gold wheat. If it was in the freezer, bring it to room temperature before using for best results.)
1 cup oats
1/4 cup raw honey
2 Tbs melted coconut oil (or oil of your choice)
2 1/4 VERY WARM tap water
1/2 cup acid medium (I used plain yogurt, but you can also use part water/part lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, whey, or kefir, to name a few. If you were using lemon juice, use 2 Tbs lemon juice and 6 Tbs water)
1/4 cup warm water
2 1/2 tsp yeast
1 tsp honey
1 Tbs salt
- Combine the flour, oats, acid medium, honey, coconut oil, and 2 1/4 cups very warm water. Mixture will be barely moist. Cover and soak at room temperature 12-24 hours.
- After soaking, in a small separate bowl combine 2 1/2 tsp yeast, 1 tsp honey and 1/4 cup very warm water. Allow yeast to “proof” about five minutes until puffy.
- Add proofed yeast mixture to soaked flour mixture in mixer. Add salt while mixing. You may need to add a cup or more of white flour to the mixture to get the right consistency. Dough should clean the sides of the bowl.
- Knead for 10 minutes until gluten is fully developed. Dough should be “springy” and stretch when pulled, not break immediately when gluten is fully developed. (Over-developed gluten will result in “gummy” bread, however, so don’t make that mistake either!)
- Place in greased bowl, cover, and let rise til doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.
- Punch down and let rise again, about an hour.
- Form into two equal sized balls and punch into greased loaf pans. Let rise until about an inch taller than the sides of the pan, about 45 minutes. (Rising times vary drastically depending on heat and humidity. In the summer, I cover my dough and place it on the porch and it rises rapidly. In the winter, it usually takes twice as long to rise.)
- Heat oven to 350* and bake bread for 28 minutes until golden brown on top. Let cool on cooling rack for ten minutes before removing from pans.