Thursday, June 24, 2010

Beyond Taste: Why Soaking Wheat Matters

The first time I was offered a crepe that used soaked wheat, I nearly refused. I try to stay clear of wheat -- especially when combined with sweets. However, instead of turning up my nose, something told me to try it (perhaps the fact that it was a pricey cooking class) and I'll always remember my amazement at the taste: lighter than air, decidely different from other crepes – it seemingly melted in my mouth. I was sold.

There are many reasons beyond taste that make soaking wheat overnight well worth the trouble.

Basically, there is phytic acid in the bran or outer covering of all seeds,
nuts and grains. When phytic acid combines with magnesium, calcium, copper, iron
and especially zinc in the intestinal tract, it blocks absorption. That means
reduced nutritional uptake. Overconsumption of refined grains can also lead
to mineral deficiencies and possible bone loss.

In contrast, soaking grains improves protein and starch digestibility
and boosts the bioavailability of minerals. For those who are gluten sensitive, this preparation also often reduces allergic reactions and sensitivities. Everyone, however, can benefit from the additional nutritional absorption and mitigated digestion difficulties.

To prepare soaked flour, simply soak it overnight, preferably in one of the below acid mediums along with the water called for in the recipe.(Cover with a wet towel.) Some also add the oil...but never add the salt or other dry
ingredients. Sally Fallon of Nourishing Traditions recommends putting 2
tablespoons of an acid medium for each 1 cup of grain, along with the water to
soak the grains. Others use 1 tablespoon of the acid medium to 1 cup of water.
You may need to experiment to find the measurement example that works for you and seems best in your recipe.
You can also choose an e acid medium that will be combined with the water according
to your palate and the flavors you wish to bring out in the recipe.

Bellow are some options to choose from for your acid medium.

•Cultured milk
•Lemon juice

While simply using just water also yields a big improvement in nutrition,
adding an acid solution significantly further improves the nutrition and
bioavailability of your recipe. Plus the added benefit of preventing
unfriendly bacteria in the incubating mixture by adding an acid medium.

It's time to bring back this lost culinary art; but if you can't soak – use one of the wonderful sprouted flour preparations available in your organic specialty store.

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