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Q&A on Soaking and Sprouting Grains

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Creative Commons License photo credit: *Bárbara* Cannnela

Question from a Blog Reader About Preparing Grains

Hi Kim,

I enjoy your blog.  I have a question about preparing grains, and figured you would know (or know how to find out).  I either sprout my wheat and dry (sprouted flour) or ferment or soak regular flour.  If each is good – is it better to do both?  Use sprouted flour and then soak or ferment it.  Or is that just overkill?.  Can you even use sprouted flour to make traditional sourdough?

I was also wondering if you had to pick just one, which one is better?  Not just for phytic acid, but for lowering carbs and increasing nutrition and digestibility (I would presume sprouting, but I don’t know).   I suppose soaking and sourdough fermenting are actually two different techniques too, so makes 3 to choose from, or combine.  Just when you think you’re starting to get a handle on things… 🙂 …  Thanks so much!

Lorelei

A: from Peggy Sutton of To Your Health Sprouted Flour

Hi Kimberly,

Great question from your reader. I’ll gladly answer her questions to the
best of my ability.

When using sprouted flour in recipes, it’s not necessary to soak it as
well. The sprouting process breaks down and eliminates all the phytates
and aflatoxins present in raw grain, so sprouted flour is very digestible.
Other benefits of sprouted flour include the production of B vitamins,
increased vitamin C and beta carotene, the production of enzymes, and the
break down of the grain starches into simple sugars that further aids in
the digestion of sprouted flours.

So, soaking sprouted flour would be overkill except for the following
reasons:

1. Soaking/fermentation aids the leavening process of unyeasted breads and,
2. Soaking/fermentation adds a wonderful sour flavor to your breads.

Sprouted flours work wonderfully well in sourdough breads. I’m working on
getting to be a decent sourdough bread baker this year. Here are some tips
I’ve found helpful:

1. Increase the water or decrease the flour called for in a regular
sourdough recipe when using all sprouted flour for your bread. You should
do either step slowly, such as adding water 2 tbsps. at a time, or adding
flour 1/2 cup at a time after first 2 or 3 cups called for, until you get
the consistancy you want.

2. I’ve found that adding vital gluten (3 tbsp. per lb. of sprouted flour)
helps with the leavening process. This tip also makes a great rise and
beautiful loaves when using commercial yeast as well. The sprouting
process breaks down a small portion of the gluten content of grains and
the vital gluten adds enough protein for your yeast or starter to work
with for a nice rise in your bread.

Let me know if I can assist further.

Blessings,

Peggy Sutton

A: from Monica Corrado, SimplyBeingWell.com

Thank you for the opportunity to answer these questions. I think that all of the processes are good, and all  accomplish two important things: neutralizing phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors. Where one might wish to do two of the processes, that is, sprout the grain and then sourdough or ferment the sprouted flour, is when one has an issue digesting GLUTEN.

Both sprouting grains to produce sprouted flour and fermenting/soaking flour accomplish the tasks of neutralizing phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors. Both fermenting/soaking flour and making a sourdough pre-digest the protein in the grain. Sprouting does all these things and gives the added benefit of increasing the vitamin c in the grain and increasing enzymes by changing the grain into a LIVE food: a plant. (Of course, then you dry it and bake it, which kills the enzymes and the live plant, but the alchemical reaction has taken place in the sprouting–moving from contained, dormant seed to live, life-filled plant, which is an important contribution to the nutrition of the grain, I, and many ancient traditions, would say.) One of the benefits of fermenting/soaking and making a sourdough is the pre-digestion of gluten. A true sourdough will pre-digest nearly all the gluten in a gluten-containing grain: wheat, spelt, kamut, triticale, rye, and barley. Grains that are sprouted will contain more gluten than those that undergo the sourdough process.

In my opinion, then, if you have an issue with GLUTEN, I would use sprouted spelt flour (spelt being much lower in gluten than wheat already) and then “sourdough it”. In this way, one is starting with a low gluten grain, turning it into a live plant which changes many things including decreasing the gluten content, and then putting it through a pre-digestion process, which should breakdown all or nearly all of the gluten. (So much so that celiacs have been tested to be able to eat a true sourdough without negative effect.)

One more thing in favor of sprouting. Sprouting grains and then drying them and then grinding them to make your own flour is far more nutritionally potent than using flour that one buys from the store. Once a grain is ground, it can go rancid easily. One has no idea how fresh the flour is that you purchase from a store. In order to lessen the chance of rancidity, choose flours that are in small, individual brown bags, not bulk bins or clear plastic bags. These tend to go rancid much more quickly due to exposure to light and air, and may already be so when you purchase them. So SPROUT when you can!!

all the best to you and your readers!

be well,
Monica

Today’s guest experts, Peggy Sutton of To Your Health Sprouted Flour, and Monica Corrado are sponsors of realfoodmedia.com blogs. Look for their ads on your favorite blog. When you click on an ad or resource page listing, and order from our sponsors, you are supporting our blogg-ing efforts.

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Comments

  1. Thanks for this post. I have been doing more soaking and had some similar questions!
    .-= Robin´s last blog ..Reset to Default: Reclaiming Our Natural Health =-.

  2. Does this apply to oatmeal as well: i.e., soaking it to reduce phytic acid and increase digestibility?

  3. Lorelei says:

    Wow! Nice to see my name in *lights*! Thanks for the answers ladies, that will help me decide and others too, I hope.

  4. I wanted to add that we use Peggy Sutton’s sprouted flour for just about everything. We usually do not eat a lot of grain but when we do, we use Peggy’s flour.
    We use sifted Spelt, and it is wonderful. We do not soak the flour, as it is sprouted.
    Sauces, biscuits and pancakes made with this flour do not seem to cause the blood sugar spike so typical of refined flour. This flour is great for thickening sauces, coating meat, and baking. I had an old recipe for biscuits that calls for a huge amount of fat.We used natural lard, and Peggy’s flour, and had the best biscuits ever.
    In fact, the biggest problem with this sprouted flour is that it tempts us to eat grain more often, because it is so good. But it is sprouted, and organic, and you feel good after you eat it, which is all good.
    .-= Stanley Fishman´s last blog ..Frugal, Delicious Hungarian Hash =-.

  5. Yes, oatmeal should be soaked overnight before cooked.

    Here is the recipe on the Nourished Cook blog:

    http://thenourishingcook.com/2009/12/rediscovering-real-food-old-fashioned-oatmeal/

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