For more information check out A Beginner's Guide to Baking Bread by Marilyn Moll
The Two Stage Process
A Preparation Method Maximizing the Nutritional Value of Whole Grains
by Sue Gregg reprinted by permission
Just because you've switched from white flour to whole grains does not
mean that you are getting all the nutritional value. In fact you may
experience new problems with digestion. That is because whole grains contain
phytic acid in the bran of the grain. Phytic acid combines with key
minerals, especially calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, and zinc and prevents
their absorption in the intestinal tract.
Soaking, fermenting, or sprouting the grain before cooking or baking
will neutralize the phytic acid, releasing 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.
The first stage of preparation in making whole grain porridges or baked
recipes, is to soak the whole grain flour in an acid medium such as
buttermilk, yogurt, or other cultured milk, or in water with whey, lemon
juice or vinegar added. As little as 7 hours soaking will neutralize a large
portion of the phytic acid in grains. Twelve to 24 hours is even better with
24 hours yielding the best results.
Brown rice, buckwheat and millet are more easily digested because they
contain lower amounts of phytates than other grains, so they may be soaked
for the shorter times. Other grains, particularly oats, the highest in
phytates of the whole grains, is best soaked up to 24 hours.
There are two other advantages of the two-stage process. Several hours
of soaking serves to soften the grain, resulting in baked goods lighter in
texture, closer to the texture of white flour. The longer the soaking, the
less necessary is the baking powder. Baking soda, alone, will give enough
rise. Secondly, this is a great step in convenience, dividing the task into
two shorter time periods, cutting the time needed to prepare the recipe
right before cooking and baking when you feel rushed to get food on the
Our blender batter baking recipes include the soaking process as a
recommended option. Our preferred acid medium is buttermilk, but you can
substitute an equal amount of water with whey, lemon juice or vinegar--2
tbsps. per cup--as an alternative.
We encourage you to use the two-stage option, because we suspect that
many problems with whole grains would be minimized. Nutritional value and
appetite appeal are enhanced. As Sally Fallon and Mary Enig, PhD point out
in Nourishing Traditions, "...virtually all preindustrialized peoples,
soaked or fermented their grains before making them into porridge, breads,
cakes and casseroles." p. 452.
You may read more information about Sue Gregg's six volume cookbook set at this link.
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