Soaking Grains for Beginners

The art of soaking grains has been lost to modern society, but it's a very important part of healthy living. The fact that most people do not soak grains anymore is why grains have earned such a bad reputation, because soaking neutralizes anti-nutrients while enhancing all the good things grains have to offer. Because of this, many people can add grains back into their diet if they are properly prepared (though this is not always true; some people just do better on a grain-free diet).

I wrote two articles on Natural News earlier this year about soaking grains. You can read part one here and read part two here. By far I received more questions regarding these articles than any others I have ever written there! I know it can be really overwhelming when you first delve into the idea of soaking grains--it certainly seemed that way to me, too. But now I soak most of my grains at home. If fact, here is a recent post about an easy version of homemade bread made with soaked flour.

In my opinion, the easiest way to begin soaking grains is to start with oatmeal. Extruded boxed cereals are really not healthy at all (even the whole-grain ones), so replacing them with soaked oatmeal in the morning makes for a super healthy breakfast. (Though, just to note, it took me a long time to get my family to stop eating boxed cereal! So don't feel bad if you can't give it up 100% just yet.) Here's how I make my oatmeal:

Easy Soaked Oatmeal (about 3-4 servings)

1 cup whole oats (organic if possible)
2 cups filtered water

Soak oats in one cup of water overnight. Add the second cup in the morning and cook as usual. After cooking, add plenty of real butter and sweeten with raw honey or real maple syrup. Add a dash or two of cinnamon for flavor, if you like. Serve with cream or top with fruit for a delicious, healthy breakfast everyone can enjoy!

What About Using an Acidic Medium for Soaking?

Now, you may have noticed I did not add an acidic medium to my recipe. Well, honestly, I don't make it that way because I could never get my family accustomed to that flavor (though I didn't mind it myself). But soaking is far more effective when you do use an acidic medium, so all you need to do for the recipe above is add two tablespoons of whey, apple cider vinegar, or lemon juice before soaking. That's it!

Rice is also an easy one for beginners. Like the recipe above, soak one cup of rice overnight in one cup of water (with acid medium if desired). Then add one more cup of water and cook as usual. Stephan Guyenet at Whole Health Source also offers a new way to soak brown rice. It's slightly more complicated, but is supposed to be far more effective.

About soaking time: you want to soak your grains for at least 7-12 hours to really start breaking down the phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors. Soaking for 24 hours really neutralizes these buggers, plus it gives you a far superior level of nutrients, too.

Please comment below if you have any questions about soaking grains, or to share how your soak grains in your home!

This post is part of Real Food Wednesday, hosted by Cheeseslave this week!

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  1. By "whole oats" do you mean oat groats? This is all fairly new to me, too. :o)

    I appreciate that you don't use the acidic medium. That has been one of the reasons I am having a difficult time getting started with soaking. Do you know if apple cider vinegar is as effective as whey? It would be much easier for me to us the vinegar if I was going to use anything at all.

    Enjoying your blog so much! Thanks!

  2. Whole oats and oat groats are basically the same thing (to my knowledge). I personally recommend whole oats over rolled oats (or "quick" oats) because they are in a slightly more natural state, plus the texture is so much better. Soaking quick oats kind of makes a soppy, gloppy mess.

    I believe apple cider vinegar is just as effective as whey, and is recommended for those with milk allergies as well. If you don't have milk allergies, yogurt can be used instead of whey, too.

  3. A few ideas for you to be able to use the acidic medium -
    *soak in 1/2 the water w/ only 1 Tbs whey, then add the other cup in the a.m.
    *rinse the oats in a colander before cooking

    I'm posting on soaking grains lately, too, and there sure are a lot of opinions on whether it does anything at all to soak them!


  4. Thanks for the ideas, Katie! I may have to sneak some whey in my next batch (with 1/2 the water) and see if they notice...

    I used to rinse the oats, then I heard some concerns about rinsing away the nutrients. But maybe this is offset by the benefits of including an acidic medium. Any thoughts?

  5. I rinse mine out in the morning to rid them of the acidic taste!

  6. I soaked some oat for 16 hours and they tasted really kind of funny. I threw them out because they were sour or something like that. Any idea s to why this is.

  7. Aaron: Now that the weather is warmer, I've noticed the sour flavor coming back into our oats. That's actually the fermenation flavor, so it's a good thing. Unfortunately we don't enjoy it much. Rinsing the oats after soaking and then cooking in fresh water seems to help a lot. You might should try that next time.