Video: Proper Preparation of Grains and Legumes

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist September 21, 2011

Delving into Traditional Eating for the first time inevitably uncovers the fact that modern methods for preparing grains and legumes can be extremely damaging to health over the long term particularly if numerous servings of these foods are consumed on a daily basis as recommended by conventional dieticians and nutritionists.

Even if you take the time and care to make your own bread at home with freshly ground grain, if you do not follow the centuries old traditions for eliminating anti-nutrients and maximizing the nutrition in the grain prior to baking, you could in fact be doing yourself and your family more harm than good.

In the video below which I filmed as part of a Beginner Video Series for the Weston A. Price Foundation, I show you the basics for traditional preparation of grains and legumes so that you can enjoy these wonderful foods in your home and experience health benefits from doing so rather than health depletion.

For a complete transcript of this video which is translatable into any language, click here.

Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist.com

*This post is linked to Real Food Wednesday at Kelly the Kitchen Kop!

 

Comments (76)

  1. Great video. I made oatmeal yesterday and had leftovers today with my daughter for breakfast, and it’s so much more filling when the oats are soaked. I find that the oatmeal keeps me full longer than it does when it’s unsoaked. Plus, I don’t feel tired and stuffed like I do with regular unsoaked oatmeal. I don’t have any apple cider vinegar, but I wouldn’t use that in my oatmeal anyway because I’d be worried that it would taste funny with vinegar in it. I read online that dry beans can be soaked with a a couple of tsps of salt, but it had nothing to do with reducing phytic acid. It just stated how it would help the beans to get soft without being mushy.

    Reply
      • Andrea, I have always soaked my beans with salt. In fact I aggressively salt the water my beans soak in – to the point where the water tastes like seawater. I also soak my beans for 2 days and change the water twice. I have yet to experience tough beans. however, when I cook them, I cook them in UNSALTED water and cook them at the simmer for 2 to 3 hours to ensure a nice buttery texture without them tasting overcooked. The advantage to soaking them in salted water is that come out perfectly seasoned without salting the cooking water.

        Reply
  2. Sarah,
    Can you please tell us what bread that was..I tried making true sourdough again yesterday and it was so hard, I dont think my chickens can eat it.LOL

    Reply
    • I had a bad experience making sourdough bread too, then I discovered to use only one cup of the dough!And found recipes on the web too.

      Reply
  3. Oh another question Sarah,
    Since we are on the subject of grains, what do you think of William Davis’s Book ” Wheat Belly”? He was on Kelly kitchen Kop site and He says all the wheat (even spelt” “now” is bad and different from traditional wheat. According to him, we should never eat wheat. After looking at his book the other day at the bookstore, I decided not to buy it. In my opinion, he says all carbs should be strictly eliminated for weight loss and health reasons (diabetes). i would love to know your opinion on this subject because I truly trust you. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      I understand where William Davis is coming from, but all 5 of my family eat wheat and spelt – properly prepared and in moderation and suffer no ill effects from it. I think many folks are having trouble with modern hybridized wheat because their gut is so messed up from all the other junk they are eating. You will have to determine what works for you by observing how you react to it even when properly prepared. If you have no trouble from it, then eat it and enjoy in moderation. I don’t believe being militant is a good approach to anything as rarely is any issue black or white.
      Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist\’s last post: Video: Proper Preparation of Grains and Legumes

      Reply
      • So true. I learn’t this the hard way. There is not one ‘food rule’ for everyone. A diet might look good on paper – but it’s the way it affects our individual physiology that’s the key.

        Reply
  4. Hello Sarah,

    Thank you for your posts, I read them every week. Most everytime I see a posting about oats, it typically refers to the rolled variety; could you elaborate if rolled or whole( “steel cut”) are more preferable for health? I also wanted to know if you can soak whole/cut oats the same way as you mention for rolled oats, to gain better digestibility?

    Thanks
    Dan

    Reply
  5. Hi Sarah,
    Great video. I was wondering about your use of brown rice. In the past, I think you had said that you served basmatti for the protien content and digestability and didn’t bother with brown because even with soaking it was too difficult to digest. Have you found information otherwise? Also, for smaller legumes like mung beans and lentils, do you think it’s possible for them to require a shorter minimum soak time?
    Thank you so much for all you do here!
    Kelly
    Kelly\’s last post: black & white & tired all over

    Reply
      • Hello. Thamk you for your blog! It is wonderful to have so much info I’ve read about for many years all in one place. In my macrobiotic reading, it instructed that pan-toasting the brown rice right before cooking helps to reduce phytic acid also. Surely the soaking method reduce the phytic acid more, but what about soaking, drying, then pan-toasting?

        Thanks again,

        Reply
  6. A few months ago there was someone who had something on Monday Madness about not using dairy products to soak grains because it actually can block the phytic acids from being released (I know I probably botched how she stated it, but I think that was the overall idea). I don’t entirely understand all of this yet, but I am wondering about your thoughts on this. It kinda slowed me from pursuing any of this. I would love to know what you’ve heard about this. Thanks for all you do Sarah, you are a blessing! ~Jen

    Reply
  7. Hi Dan,

    I soak my steel cut oats. I soak them in a 1:1:2x ratio (1 part steel cut oats : 1 part water : add my part amounts to arrive at the number of Tablespoons of acid needed). For my family of 5, I’ll soak 3 cups of oats in 3 cups water and 6 T of lemon juice or cider vinegar (plenty for leftovers, which I just keep in the fridge). I do that in the morning and leave it until the next morning and rinse the oats until the water runs clear. Then I cook them in a 1:1 soaked oats to water mixture. Boil the water first, add the oats, and as soon as the oats are boiling, back it off to simmer and leave it there for about 3-5 minutes.

    I’ll also make a huge batch of the steel cut oats to use for cold cereal. I do the same 24 hour soak as above, except that I dry them instead of cooking. After rinsing, I spread them all out on a jelly roll pan (or 2) and put them in the oven at about 200*F for several hours until they’re all dried out. Stir once or twice when drying. When that’s done, I put them in a pyrex dish and store it in the pantry. We really miss cold cereal, so this is a good comfort food for us.

    I have no idea if I’m doing this the right way or not, but I can’t believe how much better my belly feels doing it this way. No pain or bloating, which is a nice change for me.

    Sarah, thank you for addressing gluten intolerance in this video. I think that’s an issue for me, and I was thrilled to hear about how I can still prepare grains in a way that my body will tolerate.

    Reply
  8. A really nicely done video, Sarah!

    I have a question: Whatever happened to the argument raised by Rami Nagl that it’s not really possible to reduce phytic acid very much and that people are much better off avoiding foods that have it? Am I misstating his contention? Do studies show that the soaking techniques you showed make a big difference in phytic acid?

    Reply
  9. Hi Sarah,

    I’m a bit confused about acid mediums for soaking. According to several sources, too much calcium will prevent phytic acid from being broken down, so that would mean buttermilk and yogurt would not work. On the other hand, my understanding is that some societies traditionally used soured milk products for soaking grains, and I like to err on the side of what we know has worked in the past to maintain good health. Can you shed any light on this? Is there any evidence that soaking with yogurt and buttermilk will actually reduce phytic acid?

    Reply
  10. Hi Sarah,

    I too have similar questions to others based on what Ramiel Nagel has stated. Is there any validity to his statements as he seems to think it is almost impossible to reduce the phytic acid in oatmeal and that other grains must be soaked much longer than 7 hours as well as sifted. I grind and then sift my spelt but sometimes am not sure if I am actually sifting out the chaff or just small parts of the flour I just ground? Does sprouting grains (including corn) reduce the phytic acid enough so you don’t have to soak? One last question, you mentioned rolled oats. If I buy my oats already rolled won’t they be rancid since they aren’t in the whole form anymore? Sorry to bombard you with so many questions. It’s just that I was following NT to prepare our grains and then I went to a talk with Ramiel Nagle and read his book and felt really discouraged. He still seemed unsure on alot of things, mainly how to prepare oats and I was unclear as to where he got his facts. I love your site and am so grateful for how much work you’ve put into it and I trust and admire your opinion grealty. Any advice would be greatlyl apprcietaed!

    Reply
  11. Does the vinegar make the final product taste different? I have used buttermilk to soak pancakes, but I am afraid to try the vinegar. What do you think?

    Reply
  12. Hi Sarah

    Can I ask why when you soak oatmeal you dont recommend whey as one of the options to soak it in but do for wheat/spelt flour

    Reply
  13. Thanks for this video. I really want to get better with soaking my grains, however I have found it intimidating. Can you tell me is there a general ratio as far as how much water to use along with an acidic medium for whatever it is that you are soaking? It seemed like you did 1 cup water for 1 cup rolled oats and 2 tablespoons acidic medium. But them for the pancakes you used 2 cups water and still 2 tablespoons of vinegar for the 2 cups flour. Is there a rule of thumb that helps you gage how much water and how much acidic medium to use depending on the amount that is being soaked? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hi Caitlin, don’t mean to reply in place of Sarah but I know the Weston Price foundation sells a shopping guide with that type of info in it:-). I also know you can grind your own grain with a flour mill.

      Reply
  14. If I make my pancake batter ahead of time and let it sit for a day before using it, does this have the same effect as soaking the flour by itself prior to adding the other ingredients??

    Reply
  15. I have tried many recipes for sprouted wheat flour bread and have yet to come across one that is not as dense as a brick. I know I have read that you buy your bread, but do you by chance have a recipe I could try?

    Reply
  16. Great video. I am a WAP member too trying to learn how to do this. Thanks.

    Question:
    How does the ratio go when you increase the serving size. For example, I use 10 cups of oatmeal. Do I use 2 tablespoons or 20 tablespoons of vinegar/lemon juice/etc.? Also, when I add the additional water before cooking, I am guessing that is only 1 cup versus 10 cups?

    Keep up the awesome videos. They are VERY helpful.

    Robert

    Reply
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  18. Hi,

    I tried the recipe for soaked oats from your video on the Weston Price website last night. I soaked the oats with equal parts water and 2 TBS Bragg apple cider vinegar. The video instructions said to just add one cup of water in the morning and cook with a bit of sea salt. These oats aren’t bad (added maple syrup and butter) but do taste a little tangy from the vinegar. Would it be wrong to drain off any water from the night before and add a bit of extra fresh water in the morning to reduce the acidic taste? I guess I can also try buttermilk or yogurt but think that might also contribute a sour note to the oats which I’m not a big fan of. Thanks!

    Reply
  19. Hi Sarah,
    I just read this info on another blog and am a bit confused:
    “Taking the lead from another phytic acid study, I have recommended in the now-defunct e-course to add a bit of fresh ground wheat, spelt, rye, or buckwheat to the oatmeal and then soaking it. The phytase in these other grains will work to reduce the phytic acid in the oats”.
    (http://www.rebuild-from-depression.com/blog/2010/02/oatmeal_phytic_acid.html)

    Is this necessary??
    Thank you!

    Reply
  20. Thanks SO MUCH for sharing these video’s!!!!!!!! The music at the end is a little freaky lol, but i really appreciate the free video’s you put out and your desire to help people!

    Reply
  21. Hi Sarah,

    I make my own whole-wheat flour tortillas (whole wheat flour, baking powder, salt, water, olive oil) and I was wondering, after watching this video,

    a. should I soak the 3 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour prior to making tortillas,

    b. the method I should use (water? vinegar?) and for how long.

    What about making biscuits from scratch? Would any of this apply?

    Thanks!

    Reply
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  23. Hi Sarah,
    I’m a little confused about the reasons for soaking grains and flour. If I soak freshly ground flour in a recipe, do I still need to soak/sprout and dry the grains before I grind them? I started grinding the grains for your delicious cereal recipe and realized I hadn’t sprouted the grains first. But then I soaked the flour in buttermilk for 24 hours.

    I had a hard time keeping the “coffee cake” hid from family members while it cooled. :-) My daughter and I had the cereal for breakfast this morning and she likes it! My kids (now 23,18,13) grew up on fast food so the switch now to healthier eating feels like a losing battle most days. So glad I found your website with all the great info! Thank you

    Reply
  24. Hi Sarah
    The subject of grains is so confusing to me now. I enjoyed your video on grain preparation and grinding your own grain for healthier breads, etc. and I can relate with all of it.

    I am also seeing so much information, articles and books out there about the benefits of going grain-free. So, what are we supposed to do? Should we go about making our own healthy grain breads, etc. or should we eliminate it?

    Reply
  25. So, once properly soaked, whole grain trumps white flour? And then, what is it exactly that is bad about hybridization? Hasn’t that been occurring since, I don’t know, a long time ago? It’s not genetic modification or anything. Plants are often naturally hybridized in nature.

    Reply
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  27. I found a recipe on America’s Test Kitchen for whole wheat bread. It calls for making a biga with white bread flour and then soaking the whole wheat flour with milk for up to twenty four hours. Their reasoning for soaking the whole wheat flour was to soften the particles. I did this, but used buttermilk instead in order to have an acidic medium. The flavor was wonderful, but the dough was much stickier than the video showed, so I am working on adjustments to that. It makes great toast. Check it out at America’s Test Kitchen. From Season 12: Soup and Bread from Scratch

    Reply
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  31. Do you cook the grains or legumes in the soaking water? Is it possible to strain the soaking water in order to use stock for the cooking process? Would you recommend using stock in this way? Thanks for all of your help.

    Reply
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