Introduction to our Fermented (or Soaked) Grain Week

It’s another theme week! (Boy, I am missing posting recipes!).This week I wanted to give updated research on soaking (fermenting) grains. When this blog first started, I wrote a very simple explanation of soaked grains here and here. I did so to explain why my recipes had a soaking period in them as that was confusing to many. However, I have long felt that my simple explanation was inadequate and have spent quite a bit of time researching the topic for myself. That research has been very enlightening and interesting!

Why a week on this topic?

I feel like my first explanation needs to be updated. I have also felt like there have been some ideas surfacing on the web lately regarding soaking grains that ( from my research) I wouldn’t agree with. I felt like it was important to share with you, my readers, some of the new information I found. Hopefully this helps you make a more informed decision on whether or not you would like to soak your grains.

Why a whole week?

This topic, while so simple in some ways, is complex in others. I truthfully am not going to be able to go through all of the material and information in one week (perhaps I will have to do a second week or follow up posts sometimes in the future). Doing a theme week gives me a little bit more time to go over everything.

Don’t get overloaded with info

However, I would like to say before I get into the details of the matter, that I don’t want to overwhelm anyone with information. When I first started soaking grains, I took someone’s word that it was helpful, tried it out, found it a good thing in several different ways, and that’s really all of the information I needed! Because I personally feel the benefits and notice the difference when we eat soaked grains, I wouldn’t have felt very motivated to research this topic just for myself. You may feel the same way and that’s okay. However, if you would like to know more about the topic or have any questions regarding how helpful soaking/fermenting grains really is, then this week may be helpful to you.

My conclusion from research

If you want to know ahead of time what my conclusion is, here it is. I feel that soaking or fermenting grains is a well documented traditional practice which science has proven to have benefits.  If that’s all you need to know, then there you go. If you want to see why I came to that conclusion, follow along as I share my research!

A disclaimer

However, I do want to make clear that this is a very broad topic. While I feel like I have found a lot through my research, I don’t feel like I am an expert on this topic (and be suspicious of those who think they are, as there is a lot of information out there on the topic and it would take a long time to acquaint yourself with all of it!).  When I share information from studies I am also going off of the conclusion or synopsis of the study. As a layman, this is very helpful. However, the best practice would be to read the entire study, contact those who conducted it with any questions, etc. So while I am excited to share what I have uncovered so far, I don’t feel like I have explored everything in regard to the topic and I also know that there are certain limitations to my research. Keep that in mind. I feel this is an ongoing research topic.

What I want you to get out of it

I want you to leave this week better informed with hopefully some of your questions answered regarding this topic. I hope that you find, like I did, the following information interesting and helpful. And I will try to continue to share my research as time goes on.

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I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!

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  1. Sarah says

    Can’t wait to dig in! Thanks for sharing the results of your research. It’s always helpful to have a website reference handy for sharing with others, too.

  2. says

    Thanks for this lesson. I am completely intimidated by soaking – don’t know why, but I am. But when I’ve soaked overnight, it’s not a big to-do. So I feel I’m not doing something correctly.

    Therefore, I’m eagerly awaiting our lessons. YAY – thanks.

    By the way, I fermented veggies this weekend and that didn’t feel complicated at all. So I’m feeling much better about fermentation. Thanks

    • Dani says

      Laura, don’t feel intimidated! It actually IS very simple to soak your grains; the hardest part is knowing what you want to soak and then really having the time to prepare it after the soaking period! Well, it is for me–I work full-time, and frequently have teenagers that “change my plans” for me when I have to jaunt off with them somewhere instead of making bread tonight… Anyway, it’s NOT a big to-do, so don’t think you’re doing anything wrong; just keep doing it, and your body will let you know that you’re doing it right!

  3. Kristy says

    Thank you – I am looking forward to reading all this as we are just starting to explore this area.

    Our 5 year old had heart surgery this past year, and while she is the picture of health it is important that she eat a “heart healthy” diet, but we don’t think that means better eating through science necessarily. I stumbled upon your site just recently, and it has been a big help in encouraging us along making small healthy changes. I figure if I keep making small ones it will be an easier adjustment, and enough small changes will eventually lead us in a whole new direction.

    Any way, I just wanted to encourage you in this, and thank you.

  4. Jessie says

    Looking forward to the topic!

    One item which hopefully you will address is soaking w/non-raw dairy. It doesn’t seem safe to me – but I’d be curious what you think.

    I have a great cream scone recipe. For now I make it w/sprouted flour. But I have toyed w/the idea of soaking a whole grain flour in the cream first. However, it’s pretty hard to get raw cream – I do get it from a farmer who does raw milk – but our state requires that cream is pastuerized.

    Again – looking forward to it!

  5. says

    Oh goodie! I was just thinking to myself the other day how many questions I have about grain soaking, and was kind of dreading all the research I was going to need to do to figure it out. I’m glad I can ride your coat tails on the subject. Thanks for doing this!

  6. Vicky says

    Yay! Looking forward to reading more. 🙂

    I, like you, got advice from someone and just went with it. I have started to incorporate more soaked recipes into our diet and I just *feel* better after eating them! I feel good about feeding them to my kids, too.

    Thanks for your hard work, Kimi!

  7. Dani says

    YAY! I have been soaking my stuff for almost a year now, and I love your approach to this: “if this is all you need to know, then good: GO, and soak your grains. But, if you want/need to know more, then stay tuned.” I’m sold already, but I’m curious to compare my notes to yours and see what we found in common!

  8. Michelle says

    I’m so glad you’re touching on this topic! I can definitely tell the difference when I don’t soak oatmeal, but I’ve never been able to tell any difference digestively with soaking/fermenting/sprouting wheat. And I don’t know why, but I’ve just never had a soaked bread or biscuit turn out quite right (and I’ve used recipes from all my favorite bloggers). So for now, I’m soaking my oatmeal, beans, lentils, and often muffins and pancake batters, but I’m skipping breads and biscuits. (I just decided it was time to take a break from sourdough this week.) I buy sprouted bread if I buy it at the store, otherwise it’s homemade whole wheat bread. I’m hoping this series will either give me the kickstart I need to keep on trying or bring me to a happy place as I accept where we are 🙂

  9. Sally says

    I am very excited about this topic, as I feel I’ve had some successes and failures with this. Can’t wait to read more!

  10. Paula says

    Thank you for putting in the time and effort to address this topic. I started soaking grains last fall, when I came across your site and several others. Some months later, I began finding other sites claiming research shows that neither soaking nor sprouting significantly reduce phytic acid, and that the only proven method is sourdough fermentation. I hope you will be able to shed light on this subject, as I want to have confidence that the extra effort is actually going to benefit my family.

  11. Heidi says

    Please include instructions how to soak not only nuts and grains, but also specially gluten-free grains and seeds such as quinoa, amaranth, etc and also all varieties of beans and lentils with the estimated length of time, etc. Do any of these gluten-free grains and beans/lentils require soaking and dehydrating? And how to store properly for every single grains, nuts, seeds, beans, etc. Looking forward to your week worth of information! THANK YOU! 🙂

  12. says

    I can’t wait to hear what you have to say! We soak, and we feel we have better digestion when we do soak our grains. We really like sprouted flour right now too- so easy! Well, making the flour takes a little time, but once it’s made, it’s so easy to just whip up some bread or muffins or something 🙂

  13. says

    I’m so glad you will be covering this in depth. I have been soaking all my grains, but have not had the time to research the topic in depth, so I look forward to learning the new information you have uncovered.

  14. Jacquie Olsen says

    Wow. Just reading this article is exciting but a bit intimidating too. I am new to your blog and have always wanted to learn about soaking. I know nothing about it – zero, zilch. So I will visit you each day and try to “soak” up as much knowledge as possible. Will your approach be from the very beginning for people who know nothing? I really am committed to learning this. I know it is healthy for you but I don’t even know all the benefits yet. Fun! I love learning. Thank you!!!

  15. says

    Look forward to reading what you have to write. I’ve gone back and forth for quite a while on whether or not it’s worth the extra step to soak my grains before using them. For some things I always do it, like oats for oatmeal, etc., but in baking I find it much more difficult to find the time to soak my grains and dry them before grinding them (I do grind my own flours).

    Thank you for taking the time to do the research!

  16. says

    we have been gf for over one year (to help with some behavioral stuff with the kids) and I have been wanting to add grains back in. So this summer we started fresh grinding our grains (mostly spelt and a mix of white hard wheat berries) and soaking them as well as our oats. So far so good. I am loving this topic..take the 2 weeks! =0)

  17. says

    I too, am new to the real food way and especially to the “soaking” methods. I tried to make a starter for sour dough bread using the recipe from nourishing traditions. Not sure if I did something wrong–if my house stays too cool–or what, but all I got from that was a stinky mess.

    I want to produce healthy foods for my family. I’m willing to give the extra time and effort required, but I struggle with the fermenting. I gratefully accept your knowledge and help.

  18. Lori says

    Yeah, I’m all for the two weeks too. My research has laways seemed to raise as many questions as answers, so need as much of the confusion put to rest as possible. Thank you, thank you!


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