A few weeks ago I wrote about fermentation and the benefits of adding fermented foods to your diet to promote healthy gut bacteria. Well this really got me thinking about how I consume my grains!
I grew up eating my mom’s hearty + homemade Sunflower Bread (which I love!) but I also decided years ago to eliminate glutenous grains from my diet, based primarily on the fact that gluten is a common allergen and cause of inflammation in the body.
If you’re dealing with an autoimmune disease or inflammatory condition of any kind, the gluten’s gotta go.
That being said, even “regular” people may find they feel increased energy, clarity and less digestive complaints when they cut out the gluten. But I digress….
What I really want to explore in this week’s post is what to do with the grains you do eat, and how to maximize their digestibility and your body’s assimilation of their nutrients. Most of us know by no that we should be eating whole grains versus refined grains, since the whole grain retains the vitamins, minerals, and fiber that are vital to our well being. The problem is that when you’re cooking with and consuming grains, you’re also going to be dealing with a bunch of anti-nutrients that can interfere with digestion and block you from absorbing all of those great minerals and vitamins. What to do?
It’s pretty simple really, soaking, fermenting or sprouting! Here’s the deal:
Fermenting, soaking and sprouting grains has been done by our ancestors for ages, as it not only helps make the grains more digestible, but also reduces anti-nutrients for better nutritional value.
These anti nutrients are present in the form of enzyme inhibitors, phytic acid (which blocks mineral absorption), tannins and lectins. Luckily, when you soak grains overnight in warm water with a squirt of lemon juice or a dash of raw apple cider vinegar, these anti-nutrients get deactivated, neutralized and broken down leaving the grain lighter in texture and softer on the stomach.
Important: The acid medium is what will break down phytic acid — so don’t forget to add a tablespoon or two of lemon juice or Bragg’s Raw Apple Cider Vinegar to your soaking liquid.
Just rinse the next day and cook as you normally would. Sounds weird? Ask your grandma, and most likely she’ll remember a time when this was a daily thing. Another quick tip: Soaking generally reduces the cooking time by about half, and you’ll probably also need only half as much water as you normally would.
My challenge for the week?
Soaked Gluten Free Sunflower Bread
Here’s how it’s done (at least until I find a better way)
1 Bag of Pamela’s Organic Gluten Free Bread Mix or your own blend of GF flour
1 1/4 cup of warm water
juice of 1/2 lemon
2/3 cup of GF Rolled Oats
2 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1 cup raw sunflower seeds
- Combine these in a mixer or by hand until you have a nice, gooey dough. Cover with a damp cloth and allow to sit at room temperature for 12 hours or overnight.
- After the soaking period is complete, combine 1/4 cup warm water and 2 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast in a small bowl. Allow the yeast to “proof”. Ie: Get all fluffy and bubbly. Usually, this takes about 5-10 minutes.
- After the yeast has proofed, add it to the soaked flour mixture. Mix, mix, mix! Then, add 1 1/2 tablespoons sea salt, and the sunflower seeds
If the dough is too goopy, add just enough flour that the dough begins to pull of the sides of your mixer. Don’t add too much!
- Knead, baby, knead! Use your muscles….or your Kitchen Aid (!) For about 10 minutes. If you need to sprinkle in a wee more flour to make the dough manageable, feel free to do so.
- After kneading the dough, place it in a greased bowl, cover, and let sit until doubled (usually about an hour or so). Punch the dough, turn it over, and allow it to rise again until doubled (thirty minutes or so).
- After the dough has doubled, punch it down again, and using a floured rolling pin and a floured surface, roll it into a rectangle. Then, flip the rectangle over and roll it up. Tuck the ends under and place the seam of the roll on the bottom. Place into a greased bread pan.
- Allow the loafs to rise in the bread pans until doubled. Then, put in a preheated 420 degree oven for 45 minutes – or until nice and golden. Remove from the pans and allow to cool on a wire rack.
**Note: For my first attempt I used Pamela’s Organic Gluten Free Bread Mix which consists of Sorghum Flour, Tapioca Flour, Sweet Rice Flour, Brown Rice Flour, Organic Natural Evaporated Cane Sugar, Chicory Root, White Rice Flour, Millet Flour, Honey and Molasses; Rice Bran, Sea Salt and Xanthan Gum. I don’t love quite how sweet it is, and plan on making my own GF Flour Blend for batch #2**
T’was quite delicious, thank you. Give it a shot and let me know how yours turned out.