How to Soak Flour for Maximum Digestibility

by Sarah Traditional Preparation of Grains, VideosComments: 64

Today’s “how to” video features one of the traditional methods of grain preparation:  how to soak flour.

For those with milk allergies, please substitute 1 cup of filtered water per cup of flour plus 2 TBL of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar and soak as usual for at least 8 hours or overnight.

For those with more extreme wheat sensitivities, the soaking time can be increased up to 24 hours to further breakdown gluten and other anti-nutrients.

The principle of soaking grains can be applied to other grains as well, including your morning oatmeal.  Folks routinely used to soak oats overnight before cooking back before WWII.

It seems with the modern preference for speed in food preparation, this essential step to soak flour has been lost and hardly anyone under the age of 70 even knows about it anymore.

Try soaking your oatmeal the night before and see how much more filling it is after you cook and eat it the next morning.   Instead of being hungry again at 10am, you will likely be full right through until lunch!    To soak oatmeal, use 1 cup of warm filtered water per cup of oats plus 2 TBL whey, yogurt, kefir, or buttermilk.   Stir together in the pot you will cook them in, cover with the lid and leave overnight.

Cook as usual the next morning.

How to Properly Soak Flour

Comments (64)

  • Monique

    Good day

    I have made some soaked pancake and they are sooo sour ! Almost not edible. I have follow the nourishing tradition recipe ! Do you know how to remove that strong sour taste

    thank you so much for your response

    May 24th, 2015 8:13 am Reply
    • Dawn

      I know this is an old question, but I follow the recipe in the NT kids cookbook and have never had sour trading pancakes. 1 cup kefir, whey, or buttermilk, 1-1/2 cups whole grain flour 1/2 tsp sea salt, 2 eggs, 1/2 tsp baking soda and I use lots of cultured butter on my cast iron griddle and then top with more butter as they come off. I make a huge batch every week and freeze leftovers with wax paper between layers and reheat in the oven as needed (I always have pancakes in my freezer)

      July 19th, 2016 9:47 pm Reply
  • PPuri

    Hi Sarah,

    I am from India and the temperatures in the summer go as high as 48 deg cel. I wanted to know that when you are soaking the flour to make a tortilla dough or for any other purpose, doew the temperature of the room have an effect on it? and if yes what is the correct time and temperature?

    April 18th, 2015 3:06 am Reply
  • Michelle

    Hey I loved the video! I’ve been soaking my flours for awhile now and I have a question. I was told that all purpose flour doesn’t need to be soaked because it contains no phytic acid. Is this true? I don’t use all purpose flour but I would still like to know. Thanks =)

    August 25th, 2014 10:54 am Reply
    • PPuri

      Hi. Another question I had was that when you say soak it in apple cider vinegar, will any apple cider vinegar do or does it have to be the one which has the mother in it?

      Thank you.

      April 23rd, 2015 2:40 am Reply
  • Julie

    I am just learning about soaking flour. Thanks for this video, it is so helpful! My daughter and I soaked some flour overnight and then used it to make biscuits (cookies). It failed terribly! As the flour was wet and gooey, the biscuits just spread out very thin and didn’t cook well. Can you help me? Can soaked flour not be used for things like this? If not, what can I use instead and what things can you make with soaked flour?
    Thanks for your help!

    January 8th, 2014 1:48 am Reply
  • Ruth

    Hi Sarah:

    Loved your instructions on soaking flour. I have several questions. I do not use wheat flour, but use grains such as millet, amaranth, buckwheat, etc. Regarding the grains that I have to grind, could I just soak these overnight, pour out the liquid that is left, and dehydrate them so I can use them when I need them? I would of course, have to grind them at that time, and use whatever recipe I have. Some non gluten breads call for garbanzo beans and I wanted to soak and dehydrate them prior to using them for flour.

    What’s your opinion?


    October 22nd, 2013 8:42 pm Reply
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  • Vivi

    I left about a quart of raw milk in plastic gal. out on counter 3 days! Some solidified but, most stayed very liquid. When I poured out onto cloth the white liquid flooded the bowl. I scooped out the little bit of solids and used the liquid to soak my wheat flour for pancakes. Was this OK?

    I would appreciate some suggestions on why milk didn’t klabber.

    March 30th, 2013 8:26 pm Reply
    • Molly Malone

      You may already know this, but milk needs an acid to clabber the proteins.

      I pour raw milk into a huge measuring cup and add fresh lemon juice, vinegar works too. I do this after it sits for a day or two to make it nice and sour, then add the juice and sit for another day or two. Now strain and you have cottage cheese and whey.

      If you want milder cheese, add the lemon (or vinegar) in the beginning and let it sit for 1-3 days, then strain. It’s all good!

      February 20th, 2014 2:03 pm Reply
  • Paul

    Should I soak flour when making a 5 minute artesan bread? Will it still work? Do I stll add the water according to the recipe after soaking? Can I use whey and water for the soaking? Thanks for the help.

    March 25th, 2013 11:51 am Reply
  • Guisella

    Is it necessary to soak sprouted flour? I’m just curious if it furthers digestibility in any way.

    January 30th, 2013 11:30 am Reply
  • Ruth

    If I am using apple cider vinegar, how much vinegar to water do I use to soak flour? Is it the same as soaking oats?


    November 4th, 2012 10:31 pm Reply
  • Lynn


    I’ve made the recipe three times now, with the soaking beforehand and have used 1/2 a pint of milk rather than one pint. I have also given up expecting it to be a dough. Instead, I pour it into a pie dish and cook it as a batter.

    It has actually ended up turning out nicer than the original recipe and it stays softer longer. It now tastes like what I imagine sourdough does.

    I’ve just recently bought Nourishing Traditions and hope it also details more explicitly how to adjust recipes that have been soaked.

    August 6th, 2012 6:26 pm Reply
    • Rebecca Canzoneri

      Can you use low pasteurized milk to make sour milk safely?

      September 22nd, 2013 11:59 am Reply
  • Lynn

    I just soaked my flour for the first time today. I covered it with apple cider vinegar and water, as recommended and when I took it out after eight hours, it was indeed very glue like. However, I then went to make the rest of the recipe as usual (it calls for a pint of milk) and even adding only 1/2 a pint of milk has turned it into a batter. Normally it goes into the oven as a dry round dough. Soaking has totally changed this. Please help! I thought I was supposed to use the same recipe as normal.

    July 26th, 2012 4:33 pm Reply
    • Missina

      Lynn, the same thing is happening to me, and I came here to inquire about it, as it’s no different than just adding extra cups of water to whatever I’m making which of course is going to throw off the ratios. I am soaking sprouted gluten free flour, so I’m not even getting the glue like texture from the gluten in wheat. My baking is not turning out well! It’s all runny and double the liquid content it should be. I had to add 3 more cups of just sprouted flour to my pancake mixture because it was pure liquid, and my oatmeal was a watery soup instead of creamy milky oats.

      I am soaking flour right now for muffins tomorrow morning, and I am going to try straining the liquid through a cheesecloth first. I will let you know how it goes, as I’m hoping it’ll be able to separate enough out to “dry” the flour a bit before adding it to my recipe. And for pancakes and oatmeal, I think I will try soaking the grains in the milk that is already called for in the recipe + the lemon juice or ACV and not adding more liquid, just the baking soda and all that. It will turn the milk into “buttermilk” which is what I do anyway for pancakes. Anyway, I will let you know! Hopefully straining the water out with cheesecloth can be an easy solution.

      July 31st, 2012 3:28 am Reply
    • Missina

      Lynn, I’m just reporting back. Apparently my cloth was too loose, as I woke up to the cloth being soaked after absorbing a lot of the liquid because it had fallen into the soaking flour a bit. I tried to strain what was left through a cheesecloth, but it was no use. Too runny to use in a recipe but too thick to actually strain and separate the water. I made my muffins anyway and added an additional two cups of flour because they didn’t cook at all with that much liquid and am giving up. I’ll just keep on sprouting but no soaking. A shame, but better than nothing. I don’t understand how to make it work unless maybe using a tiny bit of water to soak instead of the one to one ratio.

      July 31st, 2012 7:34 pm Reply
  • Althea

    Thanks for all the great videos, they really make it seem less difficult to attempt the traditional way of preparing food. I’ve tried the crispy nuts and they turned out really well.

    My family are gluten free, would you recommend soaking gluten free grains and flours too. I generally use Brown Rice Flour, Sorghum Flour, Tapioca Flour, Glutinous (Sweet) Rice Flour, Besan (Chickpea) Flour, Amaranth Flour and Coconut Flour.
    Thanks again

    July 13th, 2012 7:49 am Reply
  • Kamila

    Sarah, not sure if anyone asked this already but what do you use to mill your flour? I just tried my first home made flour using the VitaMix. It’s not completely “fine” but I don’t really care.


    July 10th, 2012 11:20 pm Reply
  • Diane

    Hi Sarah,
    I am planning to bake a cake and want to soak my flour. You said not to use pasturized milk, but can I use pasturized cultured buttermilk to soak the flour overnight. Thanks, Diane

    March 30th, 2012 9:00 am Reply
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  • Sonia

    Hi Sarah
    At the moment I am still trying to source a good supply of spelt grain, in my area to sprout, dehydrate then grind. In the interim what do you think of soaking the flour I have, dehydrating, grinding up and then using to cook like flour. I have soaked flour before but my dilema is that soaked flour does not always cook up as well in some of my favourite recipes. From a taste and texture point of view I can compromise but my children are 11 & 7 and not always so keen to compromise. Thanks

    February 22nd, 2012 12:05 am Reply
  • Brianne

    I’m a little confused about spouting and soaking. Is the flour that you are soaking for the pancakes from wheat that was sprouted, and then grinded and then soaked, of wheat that was just grinded and soaked? Thanks.

    December 14th, 2011 5:52 pm Reply
  • Kristi

    THANKS so much for all you do. I have a group called Crunchy Momma’s on FB that me and a friend head up. We are constantly posting your videos. We have so many momma’s adding kefir and kombucha to their diets already!!! So exciting! I just got my mill in the mail. I am so excited.

    November 15th, 2011 6:47 pm Reply
  • Tanya Drescher

    So a friend told me about an article she saw that soaking with whey causes the calcium to break down the phytic acid? Any info on this?

    November 8th, 2011 2:07 pm Reply
  • Anonymous

    Can skimmed raw milk and regular raw milk be used to soask? Thanks for the great video!!

    August 14th, 2011 10:36 am Reply
  • Natalie

    I would also love to have the recipe for making pancakes! Thank You!

    July 10th, 2011 10:25 am Reply
  • Nicole

    HI Sarah,

    Have you seen new information about not soaking rains with dairy?

    Just wondering your thoughts

    June 13th, 2011 7:20 pm Reply
  • Heidi

    Thank you for this wonderful video! My mom made sour milk every time we brought home too much milk from our uncle’s cows. It tasted really good (we ate it with a spoon) and I now make sour milk when I have milk left over from my yoghurt making. We drink whatever liquid doesn’t ‘solidify’ during the sour milk making ‘process’.

    June 9th, 2011 11:17 am Reply
  • Sharla

    After I make butter the buttermilk doesn’t seem to last long. Can I use soured buttermilk to soak the wheat for pancakes?

    May 23rd, 2011 10:20 pm Reply
  • Luisa Lowe

    Hi Sarah,
    I have been enjoying your videos and blogs. I am thankful for your wealth of information. I saw your soaking flour video, but I can’t find the rest of the recipe for the pancakes. Could you send it to me or tell me where it is?
    Thanks! Luisa

    March 23rd, 2011 6:26 am Reply
  • Jennifer Eloff

    Thanks so much! I’m working with a delicate Gluten-Free Low-Carb Bake Mix, so this will be an interesting experiment.

    March 17th, 2011 12:10 am Reply
  • Jennifer Eloff

    Quick question: With that much liquid – 1 cup liquid per 1 cup flour for soaking, surely that will make a difference to the recipe and how much liquid is required after that. Say, the recipe required only 1 cup of liquid/wet ingredients – does it still require exactly the same amount? It almost defies my understanding to say, yes, as the flour mixture will be quite wet and would have absorbed a cup of liquid already. I’m confused. Thanks for any enlightenment you can give me. I will be posting on this subject soon and would like to give the right information. I will link to you in my post. Thanks again.

    March 16th, 2011 2:40 pm Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      Hi Jennifer, after the soaking is complete, if you have any residual liquid you can pour it off and then add the remaining ingredients. Sometimes I have residual liquid and sometimes I don’t. It is the inherent unpredictability of cooking from scratch I suppose! I have never reduced any liquids in the main recipe to compensate for the soaking liquid and everything always seems to turn out fine! :)

      March 16th, 2011 2:47 pm Reply
  • Danielle

    Thanks for the video! It answered most of my soaking questions. One more though – we are going camping next week and we typically eat pancakes at least one morning. In an effort to reduce my “to do” list while we’re camping I like to prepare things ahead of time. Can soaked grain be stored for any length of time (in the refrigerator or cooler in this case) ?


    March 11th, 2011 8:05 am Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      Hi Danielle, yes you can store soaked grain for a day or two in a tightly sealed container that is kept cold.

      March 11th, 2011 8:14 am Reply
  • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

    Hi Lauren, yes buckwheat would need to be soaked as well. It is best to buy regular rolled oats and not quick oats. Quick oats need to also be soaked though. Glad you are enjoying the blog! Good luck with the kefir soda!

    March 3rd, 2011 2:08 pm Reply
  • Lauren

    Hi Sarah,
    I am just a little confused on how to use the soaked flour/oats. When preparing the final product (oatmeal, pancakes, etc.) do add the regular amount of water/milk that the recipe calls for? Also, for the flour you grind, how long would you think it keeps in the freezer? I would like to start doing this, but I don’t use a whole lot of flour, and I want to make sure it wouldn’t go bad.


    February 25th, 2011 7:17 pm Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      Hi Lauren, the flour freezes beautifully for several months. I’ve never had it get freezer burn or be not good before I’ve used it all up. Yes, add the regular amount of milk/water that the recipe calls for once you’ve soaked the flour.

      February 25th, 2011 8:06 pm Reply
      • Lauren

        One more question!! Well, two, haha. First, do you recommend soaking buckwheat before using? I know it’s not a “grain” but because it’s so gain-like I didn’t know if that was a good idea. Also, for oatmeal in the morning, I usually use McCann’s Quick and Easy Oats (the ones that take 5 minutes). Should I be soaking these as well? I just wasn’t sure since they’re instant-ish.
        Thanks so much!
        P.S. I am LOVING your site.. Just got kefir grains, and getting ready to make my first batch of soda tonight 😀 sooo excited!

        March 3rd, 2011 12:02 pm Reply
  • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

    Hi Christy, if it doesn’t have any mold on it, then you can probably take off the hard crust that has probably formed on top and go ahead and make pancakes anyway. They might be kind of sour though. Not sure as I haven’t ever left soaking flour for that long before.

    December 18th, 2010 1:26 pm Reply
  • Christy

    Can you over soak wheat? I started soaking some wheat about 3 days ago in the water and whey and was unable to make anything with it until now. Is it still okay to use it to make pancakes?

    December 18th, 2010 12:47 pm Reply
  • Christy

    Thank you, my first soaked pancakes were a success!

    August 24th, 2010 12:47 pm Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Hi Christy, if its too soupy, add some more flour to get the right consistency and keep soaking for the rest of the 24 hour period.

    August 22nd, 2010 3:57 pm Reply
  • Christy

    I grinded my on organic soft white wheat and then soaked it using the water and apple cider vinegar. It soaked for about 15 hours and was still really runny. Is this still good to use? Or did something go wrong?

    August 22nd, 2010 12:58 pm Reply
  • Anonymous

    Actually I just found a site that informs us that only unhulled oats can be sprouted, that hulled oats will not sprout. It sure would be nice to be able to do it myself, but not sure how to get the groats hulled after dehydration. Anyone?


    May 25th, 2010 12:46 am Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    I've only ever soaked rolled oats like for traditional oatmeal. Not sure about steel cut oats. They might be best for grinding into oat flour and then soaking.

    May 14th, 2010 10:37 pm Reply
  • David

    I tried soaking steel cut oats, and even after a couple days the oats were still hard, and cooking didn't soften them either. Is there a different way to preparing them properly?


    May 14th, 2010 10:27 pm Reply
  • Anonymous

    Sorry, I meant also to ask you, have you ever sprouted oat groats and dried and rolled them for cooking/baking? Do you have any info about that?


    May 13th, 2010 8:29 pm Reply
  • Anonymous

    I have been sprouting my own wheat for about a month now, dehydrating it, and grinding into flour to make bread in my bread machine. I want to tell you, it is fabulous! For those of you who want a good sandwich bread that is soft and squishy, yet is sturdy enough to make a sandwich that is filling and satisfying, I have a recipe that works, and I use my sprouted wheat flour in this recipe. It is called Marilyn's Famous Whole Wheat Bread, and she gives versions for making it in a mixer and baking in your oven and also for making in a bread machine. I don't use a Zojirushi bread machine like she does, just a standard one with a whole grain setting. You can find the recipe at her website, UrbanHomemaker dot com/index.php?article=83. Where she calls for dough enhancer, I use diastatic malt that I made myself by sprouting wheat until it had 1/4" sprouts, dehydrating, and grinding into powder/flour. You only need a very small amount per loaf, and it makes an amazing difference in the texture of the loaf. The recipe also calls for vital wheat gluten, which I use.

    Which brings me to my question: Is vital wheat gluten something we should be using or not? I don't see any references to it in NT book. I'd appreciate any information you can provide.


    May 13th, 2010 8:26 pm Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Here's a good recipe for a soaked loaf bread:

    I actually buy my loaf bread from the store: Berlin Bakery's Sourdough Spelt. I use soaking flour method in my kitchen more for specialty breads like banana bread, pancakes, waffles, that sort of thing.

    Am planning to do the Video Thursday this week on sprouting wheat so stay tuned!

    April 27th, 2010 12:03 am Reply
    • anna

      Hi Sarah your website is wounderful i wish i discovered it mush sooner. I have an autistic son and determent to do evrething i can for him……anyway i am a bit confused on the amount of ingridients i need to use if i am soking the flower?also this link/recepie has yeast in it, how do i go to do it with out yeast? if you can help i would really appresiate it. thank you, anna

      May 17th, 2012 10:17 pm Reply
  • Delta7

    Hi Sarah! I too am new to your blog and am mildly addicted! I have been feeling for a while that I have a grain intolerance, so I am absolutely going to try this method out. I also grind my flour/make bread but with a mixer/loaf pans vs. bread machine. Do you soak your flour before making traditional loaf bread?

    Oh, one more thing…..where can I find the info you mentioned about sprouting grains?

    Sorry so many questions and thanks again for your time!

    April 26th, 2010 11:52 pm Reply
  • Anonymous

    Thank you so much for your posts. These videos are so extremely helpful. I can't wait to see the others on traditional methods of preparing grains. I'd love to have a segment on grinding your wheat. (Maybe you've already done that and I missed it?)
    Teresa Zeller

    April 24th, 2010 3:44 am Reply
  • aprilbcollins

    I am new to all of this. I guess "instant gratification" is my new nemesis. I love that I do not have to "re-pioneer" all of this information. Thanks so much Sarah for being there presenting this information to those of us who want the best for ourselves and our families.

    April 23rd, 2010 11:12 pm Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Breadmaking machines are really designed to make bread the modern way using yeast .. not for traditionally prepared breads which is why they do not work particularly well for a soaked bread. Better to use a glass loafpan for a soaked bread. The liquid used for soaking the oatmeal overnight is all absorbed by the time you are ready to cook, so no need to pour anything off, just add additional liquid as necessary and cook.

    April 22nd, 2010 8:26 pm Reply
  • Patricia

    Can you make bread in a breadmaker with soaked flour? What would the measurements be? Would I just skip the soaking liquid and continue with the recipe? Very new to this, and also wonder what I do with the liquid if I soaked oatmeal for breakfast the night before, do I drain it or cook the oatmeal in the liquid? Sorry for so many questions but this is so new to me.

    April 22nd, 2010 8:13 pm Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Hi Dorsey, I wrote an article a few years back for Wise Traditions magazine on uses for raw milk that has soured and is no longer drinkable but still highly usable. Here a link to the article:

    April 22nd, 2010 5:59 pm Reply
  • Dorsey

    Duh Dorsey! I have been soaking my flour but my knowledge is very limited. Thanks so much for showing various ways to accomplish this. I had always done the kefir and water soak but loved the idea of using my soured milk.I never even thought of that. I have always been a bit stressed when my milk goes sour as I don't know the many ways it can be used. Now I see I can just start some flour soaking! Thanks big time.
    Also…..maybe some video Thursday you can show us newbies some of the other ways to use raw milk that is past its prime. I would love to see that.

    April 22nd, 2010 1:21 pm Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Fantastic, Rebecca. We really need to reach these young Moms the most. Please send it out to whomever you feel you benefit from the information.

    April 22nd, 2010 1:11 pm Reply
  • Rebecca Pitre

    Hey Sarah,
    Great video this morning. I sent it out to all of my nieces as they are all young, stay at home mom's with a desire to feed their families well. I have been thinking recently about getting this type of info to 4-H and youth groups. This would be a good little video to shoot their way!

    April 22nd, 2010 12:59 pm Reply

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