Oats, soaking & drying
There is a hidden molecule that is floating in this bowl, do know what it is?
I don’t know why the Jaws theme song plays in my head when I look at the picture haha. Phytic acid is found within the hulls of nuts, seeds, and grains.
In-home food preparation techniques can reduce the phytic acid in all of these foods. Simply cooking the food will reduce the phytic acid to some degree.
More effective methods are soaking them in an acid medium, lactic acid fermentation, and sprouting. Apple cider vinegar works perfectly in this case. I encourage you to learn more about soaking oats; your digestive system will thank you! For more reading check out… Phytic Acid and Body Ecology.
Why is it important to soak oats?
Here’s an excerpt from Nourishing Traditions that explains why oats need to be soaked.
All grains contain phytic acid (an organic acid in which phosphorous is bound) in the outer layer or bran. Untreated phytic acid can combine with calcium, magnesium, copper, iron especially zinc in the intestinal track and block their absorption. This is why a diet high in unfermented whole grains may lead to serious mineral deficiencies and bone loss. The modern misguided practice of consuming large amounts of unprocessed bran often improves colon transit time at first but may lead to irritable bowel syndrome and, in the long-term, many other adverse effects. Soaking allows enzyme, lactobacilli and other helpful organisms to break down and neutralize phytic acid. As little as seven hours of soaking in warm acidulated water will neutralize a large portion of phytic acid in grains. The simple practice of soaking cracked or rolled cereal grains overnight will vastly improve their nutritional benefits.
- 1 cup raw, gluten-free oats (If you can’t find raw oats, look for raw oat groats. They look like rice grains.)
- 2 cups warm water
- 1 Tbsp acidic medium (coconut keifer, keifer, yogurt, buttermilk, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar)
- Soak the oats for 8-24 hours in enough water to cover them plus a few extra inches. They tend to swell a bit while they soak.
- Drain and rinse real well.
- Rinse until the milky water starts to turn clear. I like to agitate the oats with my fingers while the water is running through them.
- You can use soaked oats wet in recipes, or you can dry them as indicated below. My recipes will always indicate if I used them wet or dry.
- Tip: if you are experiencing a sour taste in the soaked oats here are a few things to try:
- Make sure that you are rinsing them well. People tend to skip this step, but from my personal experience, I find rinsing them well omits this. It also helps in washing away the sticky starch that can make oats gummy.
- Try using the lemon juice or the apple cider vinegar as the acidic medium instead of the kefir or yogurts. Again, rinse well.
- Experiment with different brands of oats. I have found that different brands taste different.
- Did you leave the oats soaking too long to where they started to ferment?
Dehydrating soaked oats:
- Make sure to drain and rinse the oats really well, squeezing out as much of the liquid as possible.
- Spread the oats out on the reflex sheet that comes with the dehydrator and dry at 145 degrees (F) for 1 hour, then reduce 115 degrees (F) for 4-8 hours or until dry.
- Do not use wax paper as it will stick. Parchment is good.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.
- Dried soaked oats will turn into clumps, just wanted to point that out for visual effects.
- Why do I start the dehydrator at 145 degrees (F)? Click (here) to learn the reason behind this.
- When working with fresh ingredients, it is important to taste test as you build a recipe. Learn why (here).
- Don’t own a dehydrator? Learn how to use your oven (here). I do however truly believe that it is a worthwhile investment. Click (here) to learn what I use.
- To make oat flour from soaked oats, click (here)
- Are oats gluten-free and where can I find them? Click (here)
- Are oats raw? Yes, they can be found. Click (here) to learn more.