Several readers have emailed me recently inquiring about how to best go about making homemade granola.
One person carefully soaked oats for 24 hours in water with an acidic medium and then dehydrated before mixing with the other ingredients and toasting in the oven.
Another used sprouted, organic rolled oats and baked in a 200F oven with various other ingredients to make her favorite version of homemade granola.
While both of these approaches to making granola are certainly a huge improvement over any of the granolas to be had at the store, the fact is that even organic granola made with rolled oats that have been sprouted or soaked is not an easily digestible food.
The proteins in grains are extremely difficult to digest. They have the potential to cause health problems over the long term, which is why traditional societies took such great pains to soak, sprout, or sour leaven them before consuming.
Not only did traditional peoples soak, sprout, or sour leaven their grains, they also thoroughly cooked them as the final preparation step before eating.
Why Granola is SO Difficult to Digest
The dry heat of an oven at the proper toasting temperature is simply not hot enough to complete the breakdown of anti-nutrients in oats or other grains. Thus, even homemade granola is extremely difficult to digest. Eaten often, it can damage the gut over time.
Perhaps if a person has an iron gut, then homemade granola that is soaked or sprouted might work on occasion. The reality is that most people have sensitive guts anymore due to several generations of children raised on antibiotics and processed foods. Most people have some sort of digestive sensitivity to grains even if there are no grain allergy symptoms present.
I know for me, I bloat terribly if I eat homemade granola that has been soaked or sprouted and then toasted. I have no grain allergies and my digestion is in pretty decent shape. Interestingly, thoroughly cooked unsoaked oatmeal digests far better. The lesson at least to me is that the final cooking step is very important!
I have only made granola for my family once or twice. However, I stopped after observing the undigestibility of consuming this non-traditional food even when seemingly prepared in a traditional fashion.
Do your digestion a favor and opt out of any grain based granola entirely. Even homemade, organic, and soaked and/or sprouted versions aren’t good for your long term gut health.
Healthy Alternatives to Granola
Don’t hesitate to use soaked or sprouted grains that are fully cooked for all your other dishes and baked goods! This article plus video tutorial for a healthy cold breakfast cereal recipe is a very digestible alternative to granola.
Another alternative is to make grain free Paleo granola using the linked recipe.
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
Sources and More Information
Nourishing Traditions, p. 454
Soaked Oatmeal Benefits Without the Soaking?
How long did you steam it for? Is that necessarily since you also baked at 350 for an hour?
Thank you for sharing
I want to use sprouted buckwheats as well (but they’re sprouted for 2 full days). Now I was wondering, there are bread recipes with sprouted seeds as well. How come, they’re not harder to digest – or are they?
So I’m order to be able to make it fully digestible, I should cook the buckwheat sprouts and then dry them into granola? Am I Right in saying, that all the Great benefits from sprouting it first, will be null and void then?! So is there an alternative? 🙂
Sarah Pope MGA
Yes, you cook the sprouted buckwheat groats and then dry into granola. You will lose some of the nutritional value from the sprouting, but the benefits of more digestibility will more than compensate.
I’m wondering about buckwheat. Is this the same case for that where it is hard to digest? I often use buckwheat in granola, but only toast it with the other ingredients; no soaking or sprouting before hand.
Sarah Pope MGA
Buckwheat is a pseudo grain and not as high in anti-nutrients as oats. However, it does at least require a thorough cook. Toasting alone won’t do it. Here’s more on buckwheat preparation. https://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/buckwheat/
I found a recipe on Iron Skillet Oatmeal, the texture is similar to chewy granola. Iron skillets get extremely hot so would this be a way to eat granola thats easy to digest?
If the oatmeal is soaked and thoroughly cooked, then it is fine.
After reading your article I experimented 4 different s to soak, sprout and cook my granola and I think by far this is my favorite method it really results in a very delicious and easy to digest granola, the only cons is that maybe its a long process.
I did this wiht oats and rolled oats so far I rather the rolled oats since I don’t have to sprout them. I hope maybe someone else ill like to ry this:
1- rinse rolled oats
2- soak rolled oats ( coconut milk, water, coconut vinegar) for 3 days.
3- rinse them until water runs clear.
4 – steam on stove, witouth adding water to oats just steam so they don’t become porridge.
5- put on a oven tray , add seasonings and melted oil and butter.
6- bake at 350 for 60 minutes and then lower temperature to 200 for 3 hours or less depending in you oven and the amount, I certainly take this long because I make a 10 cups batch.
7- let it cool when its done and mis in nut, seeds, fruit or whatever you like as I said is a lot of time but is really good and it doesn’t feel heavy on the digestion.