The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Reducing phytic acid in wheat bran

alcophile's picture
alcophile

Reducing phytic acid in wheat bran

For years (decades, really) I have been sprinkling wheat bran on my morning cereal without a thought to the risks associated with its rawness. After I recently started baking bread again, I read all the warnings on flour and other products advising against eating them uncooked. I also have some concern now with the high level of the anti-nutrient phytic acid in the bran.

I am looking for a method to reduce the phytic acid and render the bran safe to eat. I have been soaking the bran overnight at 30 °C with a small amount of IDY and a pinch of sugar and then heating it in a microwave before using it. I have thought about using a smidge of rye sour culture instead of the IDY. I could just toast the raw bran but that would not reduce the phytic acid.

Any thoughts? Thanks!

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

From what I understand, the only real proven health benefit of sourdough is efficient reduction of phytic acid. So I would try fermenting it with a starter, but I expect it'll become very sour...

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

Actually, key is low pH, not sourdough! So incubate at pH around 5.5 for an hour (or more), and the endogenous phytase of the wheat will break down the phytic acid.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15631515/

full text: https://drive.google.com/file/d/13AONPL3pg0zmKRvjtnyyb8hKId_foGIB/view?usp=sharing

Abe's picture
Abe

That's what makes sourdough sourdough dough. The low pH. There's also other proven health benefits of being easier to digest and more available nutrients. 

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

With sourdough it's easy to go below 5.5 pH, and then it might be way too sour for breakfast cereal! So maybe soaking in some other slightly acidic solution would produce a tastier product for this application... Diluted yogurt maybe? Idk.

Abe's picture
Abe

Just commenting on your comment and didn't take into consideration the original question. 

That might work but even if treated with something acidic it would require some sort if soaking overnight (as you have said). How about mixing it into yoghurt the night before and keeping it in the fridge till breakfast?

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

Yogurt is actually too sour, but yes, that's the sort of thing I was thinking about! Although in the paper they just do the soaking for 1 hr, but longer wouldn't hurt.

Abe's picture
Abe

Or the cereal has some sweetness then might not be an issue. That's down to taste. But I also agree with Gary. If ones diet is on the whole healthy and varied then that bit of bran with phytic acid won't be an issue. 

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

I agree, considering how many products contain unfermented (or non-sour fermented) wheat flour and people aren't poisoned by it, the danger is probably very small :)

rondayvous's picture
rondayvous

The issue is the prevention of absorbed nutrients among people that don't have the gut biome to digest.

Try soaking overnight in whey. I always seem to have a jar in my fridge from making Greek yogurt. As a bonus to getting really cheap yogurt that you've made yourself the acidity of the whey is also great for baking rye bread. The acid in the whey does a great job of protecting the rye gel that makes it rise. I just made one of my best deli rye's with whey this weekend. Overnight ferment with whey and some premade sour. Shape, rise, bake, yum!

 

alcophile's picture
alcophile

Thanks, Ilya for the reference. That's one article I had not found in my Google search. Did you find that with Google or a search engine like SciFinder? I believe I can get a few free SciFinder searches and articles with my ACS membership. I'll have to think about using SciFinder for some of these technical searches.

I'm going to try soaking with a little lactic acid and then try another one with a little yogurt or kefir. I don't mind a little sour.

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

I think I just googled for "sourdough phytic acid" or something like that, because I knew I had seen this paper before, but didn't remember the details...

alcophile's picture
alcophile

Ah, your search terms were better than mine. I had found some of the other papers referenced in the article with my search.

GaryBishop's picture
GaryBishop

Fermenting then drying could be an interesting experiment. I personally doubt the phytic acid is a problem if you diet is reasonably nutritious but the addition of interesting flavors to the bran could be nice.

I found a few articles that look interesting.

 Fermented Wheat Bran as a Functional Ingredient in Baking

Fermentation of Wheat Bran and Whey Permeate by Mono-Cultures of Lacticaseibacillus rhamnosus Strains and Co-culture With Yeast Enhances Bioactive Properties

Borş fermented wheat bran gives soup a boost

Fermentation is really fascinating. 

alcophile's picture
alcophile

Yes, I'm probably overthinking this, but I would like to get most of the benefits of the bran and milk without the phytates getting in the whey, I mean way.

Indeed, fermentation is fascinating!

Debra Wink's picture
Debra Wink

If you've never searched on the health benefits of phytic acid, you might be pleasantly surprised at what you'll find. And it's a good thing too, because phytates are a normal part of many healthy things including nuts, beans, and all manner of seeds as well as grains. So, they can't be all bad. I think there's a bigger picture here, and whether or not phytates are good or bad for you depends on your overall diet and personal health factors.

Enjoy your bran :)

alcophile's picture
alcophile

Thanks, Debra. I had seen some articles with information on the benefits of phytates. I guess I was looking to partially reduce the phytate content so as to retain some benefits but minimize the chelation impact of the phytates.

What is your opinion on eating raw bran? After doing it for so long, I'm wondering if eating it raw is really that all that bad. But I also don't want any to contract any illness from it, either.

Debra Wink's picture
Debra Wink

Hard to say how much risk there is in raw bran, and everyone has to decide for themselves based on their own constitution. I myself would feel comfortable eating it raw, and since you've been doing so for a long time, whatever microbes are in it are either adding to your bank of beneficial gut flora, or neutral (at least not pathogenic for you).

I would consider whether I've heard of any cases of people in my area getting food poisoning or infection from a particular food (I'm sure you're not the only one sprinkling raw bran on your food), or if there are active recalls on the brand/product in question. If not, I don't sweat the theoretical as that may be blowing the dangers out of proportion where there is little evidence to support it at the moment.

On the other hand, toasting would likely kill the microbes if that is what you wish. The question is, does it enhance the flavor, or bring out bitterness? What is your experience? I ask, because I have some wheat bran and need to find things to do with it :)  Years ago Pepperidge Farm used to make a whole grain bread they called Honey Bran Bread. It made the best grilled cheddar cheese sandwiches. Hmm. Maybe I'll work on that ...

Abe's picture
Abe

I don't think wheat bran can be classed as a probiotic but as a fibre it is a prebiotic. Interesting point about it being raw. We know that flour shouldn't be eaten raw but thus should be true for bran as well. I wouldn't want there to be any bacteria on the bran as I'm sure they wouldn't be pro-... 

Ming's picture
Ming

Why bother with instant yeast, why not create yeastwort with wheat bran that has concentrated LAB? 

Here is mine:

alcophile's picture
alcophile

Thanks for the suggestion, but I'm not looking to create a liquid-y bran. I want the bran to remain just moist. I'm currently soaking at ≈3:1 water/bran hydration.