Soaking Grains - Vitamin Absorption

     I have heard about soaking grains before you cook them for a few years now, but always found it difficult to remember to do until I developed a habit of it.  The idea is well explained in Sally Fallon's cookbook, Nourishing Traditions.  Apparently people used to soak and ferment their grains all over the world.  It actually makes sense to do this given what scientists know about mineral absorption.  Grains have phytic acid which joins with calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc in the intestines and blocks absorption.  Sally Fallon suggests soaking grains in warm acidulated water for at least seven hours to neutralize a large portion of this acid.  She also describes how soaking in warm water increases the amount of many vitamins.  Soaking and fermenting also makes proteins easier to digest.  She explains the chemical processes that go on and it is fascinating.
     It was easy enough to soak my morning oatmeal overnight, but how was I going to soak my bread machine bread?  I finally figured it out.  I took the recipe I always use for my bread and subtracted two tablespoons of liquid, replacing it with plain goat yogurt.  You can use cow yogurt if you prefer.  Anyway, to make this work, I knew I could not make the bread right away or let it sit unmixed on a delay setting.  I actually started the mixing process for five minutes, then stopped the machine, took out the bread case, and lightly oiled the top of the dough with a little olive oil.  Then I covered the case in plastic wrap, and put it in the refrigerator overnight to "soak" so to speak and slow the rise.  It actually rose very little, and the next day I took it out of the refrigerator and put the machine on the whole wheat setting.  My dough had some whole wheat and this setting had a warming period before mixing. Perfect!  The bread rose beautifully and the texture is even better than ever.  This method may provide some benefit to the mineral absorption of the grains in my bread.


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