Thursday, July 28, 2011

Whole Grains: How to Love Them, Part Trois

Welcome to lesson three in my little series, Whole Grains: How to Love them!

To recap...

1.  There was an introductory post, about phytic acid.

2.  The next post gave you a snapshot of what phytic acid does in plants and whole grains.

3.  The latest post told you a little about what phytic acid does once it enters our digestive tract.

And today, I'm closing in on the finish with a few ideas on how to limit our consumption of phytic acid.

This is all stuff that was pretty common practice before the industrialization of baking and food.  I think there are pros and cons to large scale food production...but if you wanna talk about that, we can have coffee sometime.  For now, let's just remember that phytic acid is a naturally occuring enzyme inhibitor in whole grains, nuts, legumes and some veggies - a substance that is beneficial in small amounts but harmful in mass quantities.

When you buy a regular loaf of whole grain bread - unless it's real sourdough - you are buying it with its full phytic content intact.  Modern and commercial baking just takes the wheat berry, grinds it to flour and bakes it. 

Not moi.

I add another step.

I take that ground up goodness (aka flour) and soak it in some kind of acid medium for about 8-12 hours.  The acid and natually occuring lactobactria go to work on all those hard to process phytates and break them down.  So at the end of the process, I will have bread that is much more easily digested and has nutrition my body can access and use.

This is pretty much the way sourdough bread is made.  It just takes a lot longer.  You get the starter going for a few days, let it soak up the wild yeast and GOOD bacteria floating around in the air, and all that will break down phytates in whole grains very effectively.  And it tastes awesome. 

Did I mention I make great sourdough? 

So, that's the soaking method.  It's effective and, in my opinion, way easier than sprouting...which is another top notch way to neutralize phytic acid.

When you sprout a wheat berry, you are beginning the germination process.  That is nature's way of eliminating much of the harmful phytates for our sensitive tummies.  Sprouted flour is SUPER not something you can keep in a jar on your counter.  Ew.  It has to be in the fridge or the freezer...and frankly after my little ServSafe exam the other day, sprouts represent a foodborne illness risk I'm not willing to take on.  Others can try hatching those puppies on the kitchen counter, but until I've got a fool proof, non-hazardous method for that operation, I'll leave it to them.

You can buy sprouted bread commercially, by the way.  Ever see Eziekiel Bread? 

Sprouted Whole Grain Bread by Food for Life
It's in the freezer section for a reason - very perishable.  But it's handy to keep on hand if you're off your baking routine or I can't deliver one week:).  I think it's a little dry and crumbly...but I digress.   

So, if you're up for doing it right, sprouting a great way to get rid of phytates. 

But I'm a soaker. 

I love the final product, and I am building a base of customers who feel the same way. 

Stay tuned for the final installment in the series.  I'll give you a few of the many, many benefits of the soaking process.

No comments:

Post a Comment