The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

soaking whole grain flours

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KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

soaking whole grain flours

I know that it's a good idea, nutrition-wise, to presoak whole wheat flours.  Does this also apply to other whole grain flours?  How long a soak is necessary?

Ramona's picture
Ramona

All grains and legumes contain phytic acid (myoinositl-hexa) in the outer layer or bran portion.  Virtually all pre-industrialized people soaked or fermented their grains before making them into porridge, breads, cakes, and casseroles. Everything from the rise and lentils of India that made up the dosas, to the fermented sour porridge from corm or millet in African ogi, to the fermented oat porridge of the Welsh, the use of fermentation and soaking was done to maximize the body's ability to digest these foods, without causing harm to our bodies.  There are people in Asia that are called centurians and they have a diet high in fermented food.  Wheat, oats, and soy have the highest concentration of phytates.  Soaking overnight for grains is sufficient from all I have learned.  It definitely takes some patience to learn to do this for all things, like cakes, cookies, etc. but it is worth it.   Just a side note, just because a person is overweight, doesn't mean they are getting nutrition.  There are alot of overweight people in this country that are nutritionally deficient.  Just like drugs having side effects, so do all the additives and preservatives that are put into the mainstay of foods being consumed in this country.  Weight-gain is a big one. 

Susan's picture
Susan

After a Google search for "Virtually all pre-industrialized people soaked or fermented their grains before making them into porridge, breads, cakes, and casserole," I found, among others, the three sites below which also quote Sally Fallon, "Nourishing Traditions," Revised Second Edition, New Trends Publishing, 2001, p 452-454. Conclusions are not always the same, though.

http://cerberus6.webgroupmedia.com/10082/support-center/index.php?x=&mod_id=2&id=28

http://home.earthlink.net/~schooloflife1/oats/index.htm

http://articles.urbanhomemaker.com/index.php?page=index_v2&id=639&c=root

Susan from San Diego

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

Wow, and I thought the answer would be simple. 8~)

After reading the three websites Susan provided, I tend to agree with this conclusion from the Urban Homemaker

To conclude, I suggest that occasional consumption of whole grains that are not processed by one of the three two-stage methods (soaking, fermenting, sprouting) is not likely detrimental to health(2) and may contribute a plus, while those that are properly processed as the main dietary choice will be greatly beneficial to health.

 

(2)However, to many gluten-sensitive and grain-allergic persons, the two-stage process may be beneficial on a basically consistent basis.

 

The benefit to occasional consumption of "straight" whole grain flour is that phytate is also a powerful antioxidant. But it's an interesting subject, worth reading up on for someone who's concerned with the nutritive qualities of whole grain, or the digestive difficulties some people experience with wheat. Thanks, Susan & Ramona!
ron45's picture
ron45

Often, when I see confused and confusing infromation on a no brainer issue, I ask myself who stands to benifit from casting aspersions on whole grains?

Ron

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

Most of these people advocate eating whole grain breads.  They just believe the bread is more nutritious if the flour is soaked before baking, either in a soaker or as part of a sourdough process.

ron45's picture
ron45

I understand that Kippercat. I wonder how they grind wheat that's been soaking for 24 hours? This whole idea is a little off for me. For some of the reasons mentioned in one of the three links in this thread and just common sense. But the idea of using a desem or a sourdough starter should provide a nice middle ground on the nutrition question. And sprouting grains is mentioned prominently in the essene gospel. It somehow got edited out of the current version of the bible.....along with many other things.

Peace, love, ....dough
Ron
ps Is anyone else using this signatrure. Seems a natural for a bread fourm.

goetter's picture
goetter

Dry the grain first.  Or run it, still damp, though a flaker.  Or just chop the damp stuff in a blender or food processor. 

I'm currently sprouting some wheat as an experiment in using some unmillable berries.  (Measured a batch of wheat into a bowl that had already contained oil, but fortunately caught myself before dropping the oil-soiled grain into my mill.  What a mess that would have been.)  They'll be good to go by tonight or Sat morning... not entirely sure what I'll do with them then.  My Edible Science Experiment.

Susan's picture
Susan

Isn't malted grain powder simply sprouted grain that has been dried and ground?

Looking forward to the results of your experiment, Goetter.

Susan from San Diego

goetter's picture
goetter

The grain had chitted, but was quite underconverted when my schedule forced a premature kilning. 6 hours in a 150F convection oven (hot enough to deactivate the diastase, hopefully) dried 99g of damp, chitted grain to 64g of noticably sweet malt.

I'll mill this into my next wheat bread when next I get to bake.  Should be barely enough for a flavor charge in a 750g loaf.  For now, though, it's freeze and run.

Susan's picture
Susan

and for the new word:

Chitting, I find, is the process of exposing seed potatoes to light and warmth so that they put out shoots from their eyes and begin to grow. That is definitely a word I will use, and thanks for passing it along in the context of sprouting grain.

I've never used diastatic malt powder (barley?), but King Arthur recommends 1/2 to 1 teaspoon per 3 cups of flour. I assume malted wheat powder would be about the same amount. Perhaps someone with first-hand knowledge could chime in here. Think I'll throw some www berries in the sprouter and give it a try.

Susan from San Diego

charbono's picture
charbono

One can get malted grain for $1.50/lb at a homebrew shop.       Get the pale barley or wheat, which were not dried at a very high temperature and are diastatic.  For no extra charge, one can usually have the grain coarsely ground.  Finish grinding at home with a coffee grinder or, for small amounts, certain mortar and pestles.

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

There is definitely a difference, in that malt is a flavoring agent/sweetener, while diastatic malt affects the leavening action of the bread.  But that's all I remember.  PR's WHole Grain Breads book explains it.

ron45's picture
ron45

I believe that is about it Susan. I was thinking there is something more but I was confusing mashing and malting. Mashing furthers the sugar conversion process. This process involves time and a controled temperature. It's part of how beer and whiskey and some breads are made. When the mashing has gone properly the remaining grain no longer tatses sweet. Nearly all the sugars are in the liquid extraction.

Ron

bshuval's picture
bshuval

Incidentally, just this week I decided it was high time I made some diastatic malt myself (after not having found it in natural foods stores around here; the poor guys at Whole Foods didn't even know what it was).

So, for the past four days or so, I've been sprouting wheat. I let it sprout until the shoot was about as long as the grain itself (do not confuse the shoot with the little hairs that come out first). Then, I let them dry for 12 hours in room temperature over a towel. Just last night I put them in a 140 degree F oven (anything between 120-160 F is good. I turned my oven to the lowest setting and monitored its temperature. Whenever the temperature was above 150F, I opened the oven door to vent it.) I left them for 3 hours to dry completely (they take a brownish shade). 

Today I am going to grind them to a powder. Then, I'll try my hand at using this for making bread. I've been thinking of trying to make Barm bread a la Monica Spiller (has anyone tried making her breads? Do you have pointers/tips/tricks? And, speaking of Monica Spiller, does anyone know if she is going to publish a book about her barm explorations?)

 Boaz 

charbono's picture
charbono

has recently posted new barm bread info at sustainablegrains.org.

cb

Ramona's picture
Ramona

You grind the grains first and then put them into a soaker or sponge overnight.  As for sprouts, you run them through a food processor and make them as smooth as possible.  Then knead by hand or put into a kitchen machine with a dough hook until the gluten develops. 

ron45's picture
ron45

Thanks Ramona. Along those lines, I too have been wondering about doing the whole batch of flour as a sponge. I'm not sure if it would be effective without all the liquid. Then, that would be something to deal with if you are after something less than 100% hydration.

Soaking the grains, then malting or drying and or both seems like a prohibitive amount of work over a little phytic acid. It would be faster in the long run maybe, to read more about phytates and how much of the minerals in a given amount of flour they are capable of binding up before that capacity is exausted. All chemical reactions are finite. It seems there are a lot more minerals that phytates. From poking around on the net it seems that some nutritionists don't see phytates as evil. After all, mother nature/natural selection or whoever, put them there.... Maybe it was just a test.

/:^)
Ron

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

Ron, I think it works best to use some of the flour in a sponge and some in a soaker.  The enzyme activites are different with the yeast than with just water.

"just a test" LOL!  I think it depends partly on how much of one's diet is made up of whole wheat bread.  For some people it's a sizable part of the daily diet.  For others it's an occasional treat.  I would be more concerned with the former than the latter. 

goetter's picture
goetter

Heh.  If all the flour went into the preferment, then it'd no longer be a preferment, would it?  But just think of the time we'd save!

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

right?