When it’s January and I’m spending my evenings reading up on everything sourdough-related, I can’t help but get a nice carb-craving going. But carbs have such a bad rep these days: The gluten! The FODMAPs! Or perhaps you’re going Paleo or Keto for the new year? Carbs have few friends these days, it seems. Fortunately you can take steps to ensure that the grains you do eat are easy to digest, and as nutritious as possible.
Traditional diets have always included grains in a somewhat-fermented form. There are three methods used to achieve this: sprouting, soaking and souring. I found soaking my grains to be the easiest introduction to this type of fermentation. When you soak a grain (whole or milled into flour) you allow the dormant bacteria present on that grain to spring into action. Add a little acidic and active starter (such as yogurt, whey, buttermilk or kefir) and a type of pre-digestion ensues, so that gluten and sugars are broken down. Despite this action, I don’t notice that the taste of the grains is much changed. For example, I’d say that if anything, soaked oats just taste creamier than regular oats.
Most mornings, my family eats oatmeal for breakfast. We started doing this a few years ago when we came across a soaked porridge recipe that included shredded coconut, a variety of rolled grains, nuts and seeds. We have since pared it down to just oats and cinnamon…but one day we will get back there. In the meantime we are still soaking our porridge oats, and enjoying the effect of this mini-ferment on our breakfast. If winter is starting to wear you down, it may be time for a warm bowl of oatmeal (we add a little cream and maple syrup on especially snowy mornings).
Simple Soaked Oats
2 Cups of Rolled Oats
2 Cups of Non-chlorinated Water
2 Tbsp Plain Yogurt
Combine all ingredients in a non-reactive bowl, and smooth down so no oats poke out over the water. Cover them with a cloth and allow to sit at room temperature for 8-24 hours. When you’re ready to eat, boil 2 Cups of Water and add your soaked grains. Stir, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Some people like to add raisins, cinnamon, nutmeg, or even salt and pepper to their oatmeal at this point. When you have cooked it to the consistency you like, enjoy as you would any oatmeal.
Want to learn more about preparing grains? Join the sourdough workshop on Jan 21st!