The main thing I’ve learned about this way of preparing grains is that it makes them more nutritious by breaking down an anti-nutrient called Phytic Acid. This particular anti nutrient is found in nearly any nut or grain, and is not digestible by humans. The problem is, in modern day processing we do very little to get rid of it, and without getting rid of it it can make us sick. Things like gluten intolerance, celiac’s disease, tooth decay, etc are all highly effected by this anti-nutrient, and we eat a LOT of it. So, we’re cutting back on our grains, and trying to make sure the ones we get are as nutritious as possible.
The first step is knowing your grains. Most products in the grocery now parade themselves as ‘full of whole grains’. Well, I’m just now understanding that whole grains can be even worse because they are more indigestible. The idea that we need bran for fiber is because bran makes us poop. It makes us poop because our body doesn’t digest it, so is it really beneficial? Are there not other ways that don’t stress out our systems to make us go?
Our thought process on all of it has been under evaluation, and I’m going to tell you right now–there are moments of extreme frustration trying to understand what is ‘good’ food. If you want to be as frustrated and boggled as us, read Cure Tooth Decay by Ramiel Nagel. It’s a doozy.
One simple thing we did to make our grains more nutritious (because you don’t have to do every step, even just doing 1 makes the grains way more nutritious): we bought the grain mill attachment for our Kitchenaid. It was the least expensive milling option, and why not add another function to our favorite kitchen equipment? It works great, and, using the second simple thing we’ve learned (soaking flour), we soaked that fresh flour with buttermilk to make the biscuits from the Nourishing Traditions. They were great warm with butter and honey, but they cooled into a hockey puck like consistency–far from the biscuit of southern tradition. We’re going to have to work a little harder to make those something we look forward to…(to point out there’s hope, the pancakes we made in a similar way with regular unbleached all purpose/spelt flour were AMAZING!)
Right now I’m sprouting my first round of Hard Red Wheat Berries. The process of sprouting grains breaks down that phytic acid. Once they’re sprouted, I’ll use our oven to dehydrate and then we’ll mill them into flour. It sounds really complicated, but really the only difficulty is it is planning intensive. The berries have to soak until you see small sprouts, 1-3 days (not sure yet). Then, you dehydrate, which takes at least overnight. Then mill. Then soak again if you desire.
All this means we have to know ahead of time–like a week–if we want fresh bread with our soup. Of course, there are shortcuts–mainly, once you’ve sprouted, dried and milled your grain you can then freeze that flour and just have it on hand. This is a GREAT modern convenience! Just another reason for us to love our extra freezer.
So, that’s a lot for one blog post, and I’m going to stop semi-abruptly there. Later I’ll share how the sprouting goes, how I made a sourdough starter from 1.25cups of flour and a cup of filtered water and whether it works well to actually make bread, and how all this fits into homeschooling–which it does, nearly effortlessly. We’re all fascinated by the science experiments going on all around the kitchen right now…