My Current Thoughts About Soaking or Not Soaking Grains

Since we started the week here talking about what healthy eating really means, I thought this might be a good time to discuss the many questions I receive about the idea of soaking grains.  There is definitely conflicting information on this subject.  If you’re wondering what I’m even talking about when I say “soaking grains“, you may want to read this post.

If you’ve been reading here long, you know that I’ve done quite a bit of struggling with the idea of soaking grains for better digestion.  I learned so much several years ago from reading Nourishing Traditions about eating real, whole foods and the importance of healthy fats and well balanced nutrition.  Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions, feels very strongly after much research that it is important to soak oats, wheat flour, and most other grains in something like whey, yogurt, kefir, cultured buttermilk, lemon juice, or vinegar for at least seven hours to allow the enzymes to break down and neutralize the phytic acid so that our bodies can digest the grain.

My initial reaction after reading Nourishing Traditions was to feel that I absolutely had to soak all of our grains before I made any breads, muffins, pancakes – everything! - otherwise I was being a horrible mother.  The book wasn’t condemning, I just took everything I read in it straight to the heart, and had a huge desire to do everything right as I transitioned our family into healthy eating.  I never really came up with a soaked bread we liked and many of the soaked muffins and such just had a funky flavor, but I kept trying anway.  I had to soak – I had to soak – I had to soak. And if I didn’t soak, I felt guilty – like I was feeding my kids junk food.  Sounds extreme, but that’s how I felt about it.

As time went on, I began to feel very overwhelmed by the need to soak all of our grains.  Was anything really wrong with me simply stirring up and baking some muffins without first soaking the grains?  Why did healthy cooking have to be so difficult?  On top of that, my family didn’t really love the taste of my soaked grain baked goods.  Truthfully, neither did I.  Keeping up with soaking became a tedious chore for me, especially as my life became more full with my family and with keeping up with the work on this site.

Somewhere in there, I read this article from Bread Beckers, detailing why soaking grains is not necessary.  It is a well researched, well written article.  And it made me question so many things I’d learned about soaking grains.

As I’ve wrestled with this through the years, I received many questions about soaking grains from you, my readers.  Here I am wavering on my conviction on this subject and you are wanting my thoughts and opinion on the matter.  I don’t want to steer anyone wrong!  I don’t want to be the authority on this subject!  I’m not saying soaking grains is right.  I’m not saying soaking grains is wrong.  Shucks, I don’t even really know what I’m saying.

I’m saying I’m tired.  I’m saying I’m a little overwhelmed by all the conflicting information out there about what it truly means to eat a healthy diet where grains are involved.  I’m saying that I give up on trying to have all the answers about grains.  Soaked grains, sprouted grains, no grains at all?  I don’t want to cop out, I just want simplicity and balance.  I wish I could provide you with something more solid.

For our family, at this point I have landed on eating whole grains, mainly freshly ground grains, and trying to work in a nice variety of them.  For the most part, I am not soaking my grains right now.  And I don’t feel guilt over it.  Mostly.  ;)

I’m doing the best I can for my family and I feel peace with this decision.

So what are your thoughts about soaking and sprouting grains?  I’d love to hear where you have landed on this subject.

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Comments

  1. Amanda says

    Thank you for posting this! I’ve been trying to do some research and have been very confused and frustrated. It seems all info sources back to one person, and I’m skeptical when I see that approach to anything in life. I’m much more balanced in how I look at things and I don’t like to see one person put in the role of all-knowing. That being said, I haven’t jumped on the soaking or sprouting wagon because I know my family won’t eat it. And I fully believe it’s better to eat food made from scratch (but not soaked) than either processed or nothing. If that’s what my options are, I’ll take the middle ground. And thank you, because now I can do that without feeling guilty! I’ve for a while lived with the belief that I will do the best I can with my time, budget, energy and family’s cooperation and trust God to provide. I accomplish nothing by stressing myself or my family over having to prepare and eat something that no one likes.

    Thank you for being honest and fair.

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  2. Valerie says

    I’ve been wondering if you were a Bread Becker person. :-D I am very grateful to you for sharing this. I have the nourishing traditions book but by God’s grace have also recently discovered the Bread Beckers. I’ve been very blessed by their information but I hadn’t come across this article about the soaking grains. It was very good and I too feel better now that I haven’t been soaking my grains since I started using their recipes. Thank you so much!

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  3. Beth says

    Thanks so much for your thoughts on this! I felt overwhelmed after reading Nourishing Traditions. I began to take things one step at a time, but like your family, we didn’t like the first soaked grain food I made, so I stopped right there to see if I would keep soaking. One day I was reading my Bible and read this verse…Matthew 12:1…”At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them.” I kind of laughed on the inside and thought, “Jesus didn’t soak those grains.” :) Here’s another Scripture that relates (in my opinion)…Matthew 15:11…”What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him unclean, but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him unclean.” Sometimes I’m amazed about how many people take what Sally Fallon says as the law. I know there must be truth in what she says, but sometimes I think we are wise to find our own way. My opinion…for what it’s worth (probably not worth much.:)

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  4. marcy says

    well, it’s certainly nice to know there is someone else out there facing the same struggles as me!!!
    i did check out the link from bread beckers. i found it to be very interesting although i am still unsure. i think perhaps i will alternate, because she kept speaking of oats, and oat flour reference to baking breads etc, rather than oatmeal.
    additionally, it still has me wondering about the ‘nut soaking’ dilema…
    any thoughts??????????

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  5. Lynda says

    We have been on a sister journey. :) I still soak when I can b/c in our case the whole grains turn out lighter and more enjoyable. HOWEVER, after feeling so overwhelmed, it got me to thinking about how the enemy likes to work. I was not living in Christ’s peace. Then I came across a passage in the OT, can’t remember where, that said something close to this… Follow the Lord and your food and drink will be blessed. So I do what I can joyfully, otherwise I don’t. I pray over our food A LOT, buying it, making it, eating it… :) Thanks so much for sharing.

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    Melissa Reply:

    I know this comment is over a year old, but THANK YOU so much for this line: “I do what I can joyfully, otherwise I don’t.”

    That is exactly what I needed to hear about preparing our family’s meals, even beyond soaking. Thank you, thank you.

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  6. Jaclyn says

    So what about soaking nuts?

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    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    Laura doesn’t soak those either at this point. :)

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  7. Charlotte says

    Thanks for this viewpoint! I got Nourishing Traditions 3 years ago, and immediately felt just like you — horrified that my young children had been eating awful unsoaked grains. It bothers me SO much when someone offers them a homemade cookie or muffin that’s unsoaked, and I realized recently that I react to that nice, homemade food like I would to a candy bar. Even if it’s whole wheat and low sugar! Many of our holiday baked goods aren’t soaked, but now I see that I shouldn’t feel so guilty about all of them.

    My big question, though: have you read “Curing Tooth Decay” by Ramiel Nigel? He writes specifically about soaking and phytic acid for healing cavities, and there are many testimonies of it working for people. Ramiel healed his teeth and his daughters’ teeth. I’m trying it on my son now. He goes by the Weston Price ideas, and says that soaking is a huge part of the regimen.

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    Laura Reply:

    I haven’t read that – sounds very interesting!

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  8. Tiffany says

    THANK YOU so much for this post!! I just started our family on a real food journey in April, so it’s been less than a year. We have made huge strides in so many areas!! But it truly amazes me how overwhelming it can be, just when you think you have understood what real good & healthy cooking is, then 3 articles pop up that challenge that. I have a 2 year old who has eaten very little processed food, & we rarely eat out, but like you I was feeling like a horrible mom because I have been too overwhelmed @ the idea of soaking grains & nuts. Just yesterday I read a response to a real food bloggers granola recipe siting an article that all granola is bad because there is no way to truly soak the grains to prepare this (or something like that). Made me want to throw up my hands for a minute & say “I quit!” Ok, I feel better now I got that off my chest :). Thanks for your honest post, I’m sure so many can relate!!

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  9. Barbara Stone says

    Hi thanks for your post.
    I started soaking 10 years ago when I could not eat the fresh bread I was baking. Just soaking the first 1/2 of the dough in water. Never heard the acid addition info. I was able to eat the bread so I know it did something. Then I read nourishing traditions and started adding lemon juice or yogurt. We did not like the taste. I am back to just water.

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  10. Barbara Stone says

    Hi thanks for your post.
    I started soaking 10 years ago when I could not eat the fresh bread I was baking. Just soaking the first 1/2 of the dough in water. Never heard the acid addition info. I was able to eat the bread so I know it did something. Then I read nourishing traditions and started adding lemon juice or yogurt. We did not like the taste. I am back to just water.
    BTW I grind the wheat in the evening put in the water and leave it. I bake in the morning or when ever I get to it. Or if I forget, I grind in the morning and bake when I get to it. I have been known to put the wet dough in the fridge because I ran out of time. This avoids the sour taste.
    All really easy. No time limits.

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    Lynda Reply:

    Barbara, thanks for relating your experience.
    This is very helpful to me as I do like to soak certain things
    to make them lighter. I’m encouraged that you noticed a change
    just from soaking in water. Because I did notice a good digestive change
    but have had my questions about the whole thing. Your note prompted me
    to finally make a point to read the article above from Laura.

    Which leads me to say, Laura, Thank you! I’m even more grateful to you
    now that I’ve finally read the article. It answered the questions and
    concerns I’ve been having! More people need to hear about this. Thank
    you for speaking up amidst a revolution of grain soaking.

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    Kathy Reply:

    Barbara, do you just add the flour and water at night and then finish with the other ingredients in the morning? What about the yeast? It needs warmth, doesn’t it?

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  11. Amber says

    Hi,
    I have to br honest I have just started baking my own bread. It feels so great for me to give my family something fresh. Now I have just got my feet wet this week will be my 2 week baking, Now a few days ago I learned about soaking. I thought wow I am overwhelmed just thinking of all the soaking.
    Thank you for being honest. I think I will stick with grinding my grain fresh for now. And maybe take on soaking later;-)

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    Laura Reply:

    Good idea! I’ve stopped soaking altogether and feel very good about that decision! :)

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  12. says

    I just came across someone who makes sourdough starter for their bread. They use the fresh whole wheat. It sounded alot like soaking, are you familiar with this or have you ever done your own sourdough starter?

    I am very new at this making bread and fresh whole wheat thing. Don’t want to overwhelm myself or my family. :)

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    Laura Reply:

    Yes I have, and I’ve tried my hand at making sourdough: http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/category/sourdough-starter

    Now though, I’ve gotten to a place where I feel peace about not soaking my grains, so I stick with making this bread recipe: http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/how-to-make-whole-wheat-bread-tutorial

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  13. jean says

    Wonderfully written. We all must pick our battles. I’m now “splitting the difference”, and making as many beer breads, etc., as possible, but not soaking. Somehow, i sense that drinking raw apple cider vinegar in water, baking with beer or watered down juice can help. Maybe not…? At any rate – nutrition has MUCH to do with thankfulness, so that’s a great place to start. Using nutritious oils and salts are also basics we can do without feeling overwhelmed.

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  14. Cori says

    AMEN! Thank you for this post! I am trying to eat more healthfully and am so overwhelmed by all the information out there, not just about soaking grains, but with anything and everything to do with food. It is enough to make me crawl into bed and hide from the kitchen!

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  15. Laura :) says

    Great post Laura! Thankyou for creating a place where we can talk about this!

    I SO get your anxiety about this. I’ve been battling adrenal burnout the last few years so I’ve needed a major overhaul of my diet and lifestyle, and I am left paralysed at times with indecision about doing things the ‘proper’ way etc.

    That was until I really started using my gut – trying to look at worldwide food trends from more of a philosophical viewpoint, that maybe there is some destined reason we went from soaking to dry grains? – I’m still uncertain whether to really CUT grains altogether, but maybe there’s a reason why it is so damn IMPRACTICAL, so difficult? Because if it should play a part, maybe just not as the ‘staple’ it has gained the reputation of.

    The only thing I’m convinced of is limiting carbs, especialy if unsoaked is less good for you, put more emphasis on other food groups I’m lacking and see how I go.

    If you look into Ayurvedic Medicine, they discuss the three different body types and how carbs are naturally more suited to some people than others etc so there must be some kind of spiritual need behind the food groups.

    Good luck with your journey Laura :) x

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  16. says

    “I had to soak – I had to soak – I had to soak. And if I didn’t soak, I felt guilty – like I was feeding my kids junk food.”

    Oh man, that sounds familiar. Thank you for this post!

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  17. Kimberley says

    Thank you for such an honest post that included a link to a well researched post (breadbeckers). I recently finished You Can Do This and in my follow-up googling came across this topic. I was so torn and felt it was not right for my family, yet felt guilty that I was not soaking. I re-googled and came across a post from Stacy Makes Cents with a link to this post. I literally laughed out loud at myself as I remembered you talking about going overboard during You Can Do This. Oh my! Yep, I went there. But thanks to you and Stacy, I remembered all the great steps our family is making. Oh, For Real is next up on my reading list and I am so excited to learn more! Thank you so much to you and all the other great bloggers out there who keep it real and so generously share what y’all have learned!

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    Kathy Reply:

    What is For Real?

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  18. Corrine Engelgau says

    I read the article on BreadBeckers and I guess I’m not really sure how anyone finds this thoroughly researched? It mentions nothing about the reason people steer clear of manufactured yeast: http://ranprieur.com/readings/natleavbread.html

    As a candida sufferer, I’m going to tell you that pH is everything. The key to good health is in alkalizing and in my experience the great majority of manufactured products don’t fall into an alkalizing category. Manufactured yeast is no different.

    I’m also going to say that I really think a LOT of people suffer from candida. Especially people on WAPF diets. It’s incredibly easy to acidify your body if you’re not careful, especially with meat. So I think the answer to the grains debate is more about moderation than anything else unless the grain is particularly alkalizing (like millet or quinoa).

    Souring your grains is the best way to go, and if you don’t have the energy for it or the drive, don’t do it. The thing I do like about traditional food preparation is that it helps keeps thing in moderation. When something takes you four days to make, you’re not going to eat it all at once or want to make it every single day. And preparing things so far in advance teaches us patience, gives us anticipation in a society that wallows in instant gratification.

    I’m sorry, I know this is probably sounding rant-y, but I’ve just made my way through 50 sites all decrying phytic acid as a farce. Maybe it has nothing to do with phytic acid, but I know that sprouting/souring/soaking have all helped me be healthier. I know eating is intensely personal and if you’re willing to make those compromises, I guess go for it. But I think the reduction of acids isn’t really the whole point in the traditional method. It keeps us honest in moderation to know the time involved in a process.

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  19. Angela says

    I am on the fence about soaking as well. I don’t think we need to do it all the time. I think that food pairing is a factor in eating as well. I think pairing grains with something fermented aids in digestion as well as drinking lemon in water. I also drink apple cider vinegar with water and stevia on a regular basis. I can’t do it all. As a mother who is slowly getting into the workforce again, this whole soaking business is just not going to happen very often. We limit our grains and focus on fruits and veggies most of the time with meats of course and lots of fish. We do what we can. I think all the trends out there and legitimate emerging old-food wisdom is great but it can deal out a huge amount of stress.

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  20. Bethany W says

    Every so often I have to go back and re-read articles like these to re-affirm my courage and reasons for not soaking. Thank you. This was one of those mornings. I’m blessed because of you.

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  21. Molly Malone says

    This is a good article that will touch the hearts of many. Soaking is so much better for you and so much easier than you have all been led to believe.

    I love Nourishing Traditions for the excellent information in it, but I can’t stand a single recipe! If that were my only cookbook, I’d have died of starvation years ago. :o) I’m not kidding. [Please don't tell Sally...]

    If you don’t have Celiac or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, you don’t need to cut out grains unless you want to. Even Celiacs can eat certain grains, and some can even eat the ancient grain einkorn. You just need to eat the grains that work for you, that agree with your digestion. You also need to prepare them according to traditional methods. There’s a reason for those methods, and sadly we are not taught them in our ‘modern’ American society.

    By the way, the traditional prep methods don’t overlap, you can either:
    Sourdough, or
    soak the whole grain, dry it, and then use it, or
    sprout the grain, then dry it and grind it, or
    soak the flour.

    Soaking the flour is by far the easiest!

    Most importantly, have fun! After you make 3 batches, you will be very adept. That’s all it takes, 6 little loaves of bread will make you a soaked bread master. You will learn exactly how much liquid your particular type of flour requires simply by using it and looking at it and noticing how it reacts after the 24 hour soak. It really isn’t rocket science. It’s food science! (LOL) And everyone can learn it.

    By the way, Jovial’s 2lb. bag of 80% extraction einkorn flour makes 4.5 loaves, or 1.5 batches. That means 2 bags of their flour will turn you into an expert. Not nearly as expensive as taking a class at the local community college! If you can get bulk einkorn flour at your local market like whole Foods, it’s even cheaper. Learn and experiment on this before you invest in a grain mill – I did.
    Blessings to you all, I hope and pray this helps ~
    Molly

    I know recipes abound on the internet, but here is my two-and-a-half cents for what it’s worth: (I hope I am allowed space to do this.)

    Here’s how it’s done; you don’t need to fuss with sourdough starter, and you can make bread without yeast or kneading just fine. You can soak the flour rather than the grain, and last but not least you break up the steps so all it takes is about 5-10 minutes for 2 mornings in a row. I will tell you how to do it, and I will give you my recipes for bread and for muffins.

    I will write many small steps, but it’s really easy and only takes minutes to make. No kneading, just stirring! [This is my husband’s, my boys’ and my daughter’s favorite bread, by the way, so it’s really good. And easy. And did I mention simple?]

    By the way, everything you know about baking does not apply here, so keep calm and keep going, it’s all good and it’s actually hard to mess up.

    I don’t use modern wheat, I use einkorn, the oldest wheat on the planet. [Jovial at Amazon or Tropical Traditions online if you can’t find it to try.] This method works for all wheat’s, but modern wheat needs 20-25% more liquid so increase my recipes accordingly.

    The good ancient wheat’s are: einkorn, emmer, kamut. Other good grains to use in a flour mix are barley, rye, buckwheat (a seed that acts like a grain). I use organic everything. I don’t use spelt because it about killed me, and a friend of mine, so no thanks – the bran is too harsh.

    The best of all possible worlds is fresh ground flour no matter what grain you use. For fresh ground you can freeze the flour and use straight out of the freezer – no thawing. It’s also best to use immediately or freeze for later.

    1 – I measure out my flour into my mixing bowl and rub in the butter the night before, then I cover it with plastic wrap (that doesn’t touch the food) to keep it fresh. Ideally I should do this the day I mix in the liquid, but I keep forgetting the butter so this is my brain trick because I can’t seem to remember until after I mix! If you’re smarter than I am, do this and warm your liquid as you do it in order to do both steps at the same time. Don’t simmer milk, just warm; even a little above room temperature is fine. If you fresh grind your wheat, use it as soon as possible – maybe I’ll eventually remember…

    2 – The next morning, after I’ve had my tea, I warm the liquid (water or coconut milk or raw milk) up to hot tap water temperature and add the acid (fresh squeezed lemon juice or organic raw apple cider vinegar) and dump into the flour-butter mix. The milk will clabber so dump into the flour and stir fast! Stir to mix well. Don’t worry if it’s a sticky glutinous mass, it’s supposed to be that way.

    3 – Cover with plastic wrap and seal so it doesn’t dry out. Set it in the warmest place in your house for 24 hours, give or take 4 hours. I set mine upstairs on a shelf, and cover with a tea towel to prevent light from getting to it. Why? Because einkorn is full of carotenes, which will oxidize in light and heat. The towel also holds in the initial warmth from the warm liquid to get it started. This doughy batter will rise a bit in the 24 hour soaking period. This soak will also make it lighter in texture, more like a cross between a cake and a bread rather than just a dense bread.

    4 – This is the easiest part: ignore this now for around 24 hours. 20-28 hours is the best range. Why? Because the phytic acid is reduced in very warm acidic liquid in 2 hours, but longer activates other enzymes and increases the nutrient availability and makes the gluten more digestible. This is only true for wheat’s, rye, barley, and buckwheat. Other grains and seeds are not as generous. Their phytic acid can be reduced by about 25% in a 12-24 hour soak; including corn, oats, and millet.

    5 – About 24 hours later, Preheat your oven to the recipe temperature and grease and flour your pans. Einkorn will stick to anything not greased and floured, so leave no spot undone!

    6 – Now get your doughy batter (it’s a cross between the two for bread) and add your salt and leavening and any flavor ingredients such as raisins, spices, shredded coconut, rapadura sugar, etc. Add in 2-3 batches, mixing and folding well after each addition to fully incorporate. Again, don’t panic when it is a glutinous bubbly mass. You can’t easily over-mix – unlike ‘regular’ recipes. Here, more gluten = more structure. It will be tender, I promise. Even my undercooked flops were nice and tender!

    7 – Now divide up your dough-batter between your greased and floured pans: bread pans, muffin pans, cute round souffle pans… whatever you like to use. I tend to be traditional so I use loaf pans for bread and quick bread, muffin pans for muffins. I do sometimes use my individual souffles for a nice round ‘bun.’

    8 – Bake those babies! Set your timer for less time than you think you need, depending on the recipe, and check so you don’t overbake (read: burn) your hard work.

    Here are 2 recipes to get you started:

    Molly’s Soaked Irish Soda Bread
    Makes 2 loaves
    4 1/2 Cups organic einkorn flour (or emmer or kamut or a mix of these. Organic whole wheat is the next best.)
    3 Tablespoons pasture butter
    2 Cups raw milk plus 2T fresh organic lemon juice added just before adding to flour (organic raw apple cider vinegar works too, it just clabbers the milk really fast!) (add 20-25% more for regular whole wheat or a wheat mix, that would be 6.5-8T more of milk and 1-1.5t more of lemon juice.)

    ———————
    2 teaspoons baking soda
    1 teaspoon Celtic sea salt

    [If using Bob's Red Mill soda, use 3/4t salt as it is very salty tasting.]

    The night before, put the flour into a large bowl. Rub the butter into the flour with fingers until the biggest pieces of butter are the size of a pea. Seal with plastic wrap to finish in the morning. You can do this step in the morning if you like.

    Warm the milk slightly in a pan on the stove but do not simmer – that’s too warm. About the temperature of warm to hot tap water is fine. Less heat is fine, just above room temperature is fine too; more heat – not so much. The acid will sour the milk, but it will also clabber the milk proteins and the warmer the faster, so dump it into the warmed milk and mix quick! Then pour it into the flour-butter mixture and fold in fast. Make sure all the flour is incorporated and moist.

    This will be a cross between a dough and a batter if you use ancient grains or a mix of them, as long as all the flour is moistened it’s all good. Just cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a tea towel and let it sit in a warm place for 12-36 hours, 24 hours +/- 4hrs is ideal.

    Depending on the flour used, it may form an actual dough (regular whole wheat flour); knead carefully with your hands in the bowl until it just comes together to form a moist, slightly sticky dough Again, let sit in a warm place for 12-36 hours, 24 hours is ideal.

    Leave in a warm place overnight, covered with plastic wrap so it won’t dry out and a towel to prevent light from affecting it.
    About 24 hours later, when you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and put your oven rack on the rungs just below center. This is to keep from burning the top since it will be higher than center and uncovered. Mix together the baking soda and salt in a small separate bowl. Butter and flour 2 glass or ceramic loaf pans. I mix the salt and baking soda in a small dish when I rub in the butter – the night before – so all I have to do is mix it in.

    The doughy batter should be light and fluffy now. If it’s still a cross between a dough and a batter, sprinkle 1/3 of the soda-salt mixture on top and fold in thoroughly. I cut and fold, and occasionally stir vigorously. Sounds like heresy, but it’s not. Repeat two more times.
    You may add spices or dried fruit with the soda-salt mix for either dough. Additions should be added with the soda-salt and then worked in with it.
    Divide between the loaf pans and bake at 350?F for about 30 minutes. The tops will be dark golden brown and they will be solid but hollow sounding if tapped on top. They will also spring back slowly if pressed in a bit.
    Take them out of the oven and turn out onto a wire cooling rack, set pright and let cool a bit before cutting so they will hold together. I always wait about 30 minutes, but they are still a bit warm and so tasty! Like any bread, this is good spread with pasture butter, or better yet homemade butter! I make lemon curd, so that goes on, too.

    ***********
    If this is a genuine dough because you use regular wheat flour, take it out of the bowl and press into a thick circle on a breadboard (use flour to prevent sticking). Pour about half of the soda-salt mixture on the dough And then fold in half, Flatten out a bit again and fold and flatten again, and then pour the rest on it and fold again. You are now going to be gently folding and kneading the dough about 8 to 12 times. It may feel like it won’t come together and then all of a sudden it will. As easy as it is to overwork regular bread dough, this one can take more of a beating. Or kneading.

    You may add spices or dried fruit with the soda-salt mix for either dough. Additions should be added with the soda-salt and then worked in with it.

    If you have a dough, you can cut the dough in half, and gently form into 6 inch domed circle loaves, just like regular Irish soda bread. Now place on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper, and cut an X on the top of the loaf with a sharp knife. Use parchment, fresh soaked breads will oxidize an aluminum baking sheet, and who needs Al in their bread? If you prefer loaf pans, use them instead, I do, it’s all good.

    Shove the loaves in the middle of a 350?F oven for about 35-50 minutes, depending on the oven, until golden brown on top and bottom, and they sound hollow when tapped on top. Cool on cooling racks and enjoy with lots of pasture butter or clotted cream, and jam, honey, or lemon curd!
    Just so you know, we use this recipe for sandwiches, toast, and hamburgers. Really.

    Molly’s soaked Quick Bread/Muffins
    Makes 2 loaves of quick bread or 12-16 muffins or 24-32 mini muffins.
    Put oven rack on a lower level, not centered. Bake 350?F.

    Based off of my Irish Soda Bread, this is a very similar version but more like a batter. Usually quick breads and muffins have no liquid, so they are difficult to revise for soaked flour batters, however, since this is almost a batter anyway, it works just fine!

    4 1/2 Cups organic einkorn flour (or emmer or kamut or a mix of these. Organic whole wheat is the next best.)
    4 Tablespoons pasture butter
    1 ¾ C raw milk + ¼ C water – warm to room temp. or above.
    2T fresh organic lemon juice (or organic raw apple cider vinegar) added to warmed milk-water mixture just before adding to flour. Lemon juice clabbers milk slower so it works better.
    ———————
    2 teaspoons baking soda
    1 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
    ———————
    4t ground spices (cinnamon or a mixture, see below)
    4T organic rapadura or sucanat or raw evaporated cane juice (You can omit sugar altogether if you like.)

    If using Bob’s Red Mill soda, use 3/4t salt as it is very salty.

    The day or the night before, put the flour into a large bowl. Rub the butter into the flour with fingers until the biggest pieces of butter are the size of a pea. Let set until you are ready to do the next step, I do this the evening before to save this step and make it easier the next day.

    Warm the milk-water slightly in a pan on the stove but do not simmer – that’s too warm. About the temperature of hot tap water is fine, less is also good, too warm is not good. The lemon juice or vinegar will sour the milk, but it will also clabber the milk proteins, so dump it into the warmed milk and stir quick! Then pour it into the flour-butter mixture and stir in fast, and let sit to soak.

    This will be a thick batter or a cross between a dough and a batter if you use ancient grains or a mix of them. Just cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place for 12-36 hours, 24 hours +/- 4hrs is ideal.

    *** If you use regular whole wheat flour, it may form an actual dough; use 1/3 – 1/2 C more liquid to make your batter. If you use ½ C and find it is too runny, add more flour 1T at a time and stir in – it is very forgiving and it will be just fine – the soaking is the important part. Again, let sit in a warm place for 12-36 hours, 24 +/- 4hrs is ideal.

    Leave out on the counter top or in a warm place overnight, covered tightly with plastic wrap so it won’t dry out. I put my dough’s and batters upstairs – heat rises and our upstairs is the warmest place in the house. When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix together the baking soda and salt in a small separate bowl. You can also mix together the sugar and spices in another separate bowl. If you use molasses, drizzle it in separately as you mix in the dry ingredients. Butter and flour 2 glass or ceramic loaf pans, or whatever muffin pans you choose. The butter and flour must coat all the inside, corners and up the sides or it won’t remove properly; it’s a very sticky batter.

    After 24-ish hours, the batter should be light and fluffy. If it’s a cross between a dough and a batter, or more like a true batter, sprinkle ½ of the soda-salt mixture on top, then ½ of the spices and sugar and fold in several times. Repeat. Make sure it is all well mixed.

    You may add spices or dried fruit with the soda-salt mix. All additions must be added with the soda-salt and then stirred in.

    Use parchment to line aluminum pans, fresh soaked breads will oxidize aluminum bakeware, and who needs Al in their bread? Whether aluminum causes or results from Alzheimer’s, it is linked in some way so let’s outsmart the disease as much as we are able.

    Divide between the loaf pans and bake at 350?F for about 35 minutes, the tops will be dark golden brown and they will be solid but hollow sounding if tapped on top. For muffins reduce the time and check: regular muffins check after 20 min. and for mini-muffins check after 15 min.

    English Mixed Spice
    This is the spice used in hot cross buns for Easter – it’s wonderful!
    The range is variable so you can adjust to your own taste/smell. Make it the way you like it! This is from the ingredient list on Millstone Mixed Spice from England, in the same order as listed. These are the proportions I use, and I smell it until I am satisfied with the mix.

    1t Cinnamon
    ½ – 1t Coriander
    ½ t Caraway
    ¼ – ½ t Fennel
    ½-1t Allspice (or ¼ – ½ t Clove)
    ¼ – ½ t Ginger
    ¼ t Nutmeg
    1/8 – 1/4 t Turmeric

    [Reply]

  22. Molly Malone says

    My Little Story ~

    For those who question the issues of phytic acid, I am the proverbial ‘canary in the coal mine’ for the darn stuff. I cannot eat any nuts, seeds, grains or legumes without a reaction. My reaction is muscle twitching in my feet and legs, leading to muscle cramps which can be quite severe, and finally resulting in a migraine which can last for as little as 24 hours or as long as 3 weeks. This is due to severe magnesium deficiency, and perhaps other deficiencies as well. Anything that binds magnesium will affect me, and I can physically tell if something binds minerals or not by this effect. I can also often prevent a migraine and eliminate muscle cramps by taking magnesium capsules or liquid. It works most of the time, but not always, so I still suffer from the occasional migraine but at least they are not constant like they used to be.

    Because of this magnesium deficiency that I have, I do not eat anything that I know will bind minerals. I cannot safely eat soaked nuts, seeds, legumes or most grains, and due to the oxalic acid in leafy greens that also binds minerals, they are out as well. I miss them. What I can safely eat is soaked einkorn, soaked emmer, soaked kamut, soaked brown rice, soaked rye, soaked barley, soaked buckwheat, and to a lesser extent sprouted brown rice, soaked pistachios, and sprouted pumpkin seeds. The sprouting doesn’t seem to work as well as the soaking. No others. I have tried them all and paid dearly, these are safe for me.

    Just because you do not have my problem, it does not mean that unsoaked grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes are not affecting you. I did not have this problem for many years, and then it came on so slowly that I didn’t know what was happening. By the time I figured it out, I was in pretty bad shape. I don’t even know if it can be totally fixed, I just deal with it day to day. Do not allow yourself to become like me, it isn’t fun and it steals your entire life to live with chronic migraines, which are at epidemic levels in the USA now. Just ask anyone that has them how “fun” it is.

    The only other answer to the phytic acid issue that I am aware of is to actually add phytase to the soaking liquid for the foods that don’t have enough in them to reduce it to zero. It can be done, but I have never done it; I just do without.
    Eat well!
    Molly Malone

    [Reply]

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