Numerous studies have confirmed the health benefits of eating whole grain foods. A whole grain is a grain that has not had the bran, the fibrous outer layer, removed. Whole grain versions of products that once used only white flour are easy to find in the grocery store, but consumption of whole grain is still lower than some health experts would like. Some find whole grain foods less appealing than those made with white flour. Whole grain bread, for instance, can be denser and heavier than white bread. Some also worry about phytic acid, a chemical that can prevent the digestion of some minerals and that is naturally present in bran. Soaking whole grains and whole grain flours, however, can both soften whole grains and reduce phytic acid. Most whole grain recipes can be easily adjusted to include soaked flour or whole grains.
Things You'll Need
- Whole grain flour
- Warm water (about the temperature of bath water)
- An acidic liquid (optional)
- A bowl
- Plastic wrap or a plate
In a bowl, combine all of the flour and wet ingredients from your recipe. If you are worried about phytic acid, add a tablespoon of an acidic liquid, such as lemon juice, vinegar, plain yogurt or whey for each cup of water.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a plate to keep the mixture from drying out. Allow the mixture to rest in a warm place. The oven, with the light on, is a good place. Seven hours will yield good results. Overnight is ideal.
Uncover the mixture and continue with your recipe as usual.
Tips & Warnings
- If you are using soaked flour to make yeast bread, reserve about a half-cup of the water from your recipe. When the soaked flour is ready, use the reserved water to activate the yeast. Then work it into the soaked flour.
- Reserving some of the water will result in a drier mixture of flour for the soak. For a wetter mixture, be sure to add all of the liquid ingredients to the flour. This includes fats like butter and oil. You can also replace sugar with liquid sweeteners like honey or molasses.
- Science Daily; Health Benefits of Whole Grains Confirmed; May 2007
- Passionate Homemaking; The Value of Soaking Your Whole Grains; Lindsay; Apr 2008
- Nourished Kitchen; A Recipe: Whole Grain Buttermilk Biscuits; Jenny; March 2010
- The Kitchn; Baking Tip: Soak Whole Grain Flours Overnight; Emma Christensen; 2010
- UrbanHomemaker.com; Understanding the Two-Stage Process; Sue Gregg; March 2007
- Savoring Today; Cornbread [WW Soaked Method]; December 2010
- Photo Credit John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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