The Value of Soaking your Whole Grains

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Using whole grains in your cooking/baking is the first and one the most significant step you can take towards improving your nutrition. Whole grains include: whole wheat, kamut, spelt, brown rice, oats, any many others. Unlike white flour, whole grains keep the bran & germ together and in tact, which supplies you with all the nutrients. It is important to note that making the switch to whole grains is easier than you think. In fact, many recipes can be switched white flour with whole wheat flour without any difficulty. But, just because you have or are in the process of switching to healthier grains does not mean you are getting all the nutritional value. Have you ever considered that whole wheat and other whole grains might be very difficult for your body to digest?

Grinding Your Own Flour

Fresh flour contains all the vitamins and minerals missing in commercial flours. It includes the bran which is vital for a healthy colon and weight control. It is economical. Within 24 hours up to 40% of the nutrients have oxidized. In three days up to 80% of nutrients have oxidized, so using freshly grained flours preserves all the wonderful nutrients. Read more benefits here.

I personally use a NutriMill grinder. You can read more about this particular grinder at Pleasant Hill Grain Company online ( It has worked splendidly for me! They have wonderful customer service as well. This is the one of the best investments you can make towards becoming more healthy and nutritious in your cooking. Check out this article to compare different mills. I store mine on my kitchen counter, because it is small and convenient for easy access. I have ground everything from beans, to grains, to corn in it.

Phytic Acid Prevents Digestion

Unfortunately, whole grains contain phytic acid in the bran of the grain which combines with key minerals, especially calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, and zinc and prevents their absorption in the intestinal tract. This makes it more difficult to digest properly. Soaking, fermenting, or sprouting the grain before cooking or baking will neutralize the phytic acid, releasing these nutrients for absorption.

This process allows enzymes, lactobacilli and other helpful organisms to not only neutralize the phytic acid, but also to break down complex starches, irritating tannins and difficult-to-digest proteins, including gluten. For many, this may lessen their sensitivity or allergic reactions to particular grains. Everyone will benefit, nevertheless, from the release of nutrients and greater ease of digestion.

How to Soak

1. The first stage of preparation is to soak the whole grain flour in an acid medium and liquid. The basic idea is to soak all the flour with the liquid ingredients and 1 Tbsp of an acid medium per cup of water called for in the recipe.

- If the substance is too dry to mix well (i.e. more flour than can mix evenly with the liquids), you can also add the liquid oil and sweetener (honey, maple syrup or agave) called for in the recipe to the mixture. This will help maintain a moist consistency that is easy to combine with the other ingredients after soaking.

- Acid mediums options include: cultured buttermilk, milk kefir, coconut kefir, water kefir, cultured yogurt, whey, lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. Dairy product acid mediums must be cultured!

- Make sure to use warm filtered water/liquids for soaking. Warm water is necessary for the soaking process to be effective. Warm the water/liquids until they are bath water temperature before adding to the grain/flour.

- Brown rice, buckwheat, and millet do not have as high of phytate content and thus need only be soaked for 7 hours (these are great last minute grains if you forget to soak, won’t be a big problem – also recommend purchasing brown rice pasta for this reason as well)

-All other grains (whole wheat, spelt, kamut, oats, etc) should be soaked from 12-24 hours, with oats have the highest level and best soaked for 24 hours.

2. Leave your grains soaking at room temperature on your counter. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, or with a plate to prevent it from drying out (especially in the case of a dough). After soaking, you add the remaining ingredients, if required, and proceed with recipe!

Sue Gregg shares two other benefits to soaking: “There are two other advantages of the two-stage process. Several hours of soaking serves to soften the grain, resulting in baked goods lighter in texture, closer to the texture of white flour. The longer the soaking, the less necessary is baking powder. Baking soda, alone, will give enough rise. Secondly, this is a great step in convenience, dividing the task into two shorter time periods, cutting the time needed to prepare the recipe right before cooking and baking when you feel
rushed to get food on the table.”

Another benefit I have found to soaking is that it absorbs the liquids and expands the grains, making a larger quantity in the end. This is very true especially with my soaking oatmeal. If I forget to soak, it results in a smaller batch, but if I soak it increases the quantity and is more satisfying and filling as well. Soaked baked goods and cereals are always lighter in texture as well, and not dense as their unsoaked wheat counterparts. Don’t quite know why this happens, but it extends the food budget further! Whole grains overall are much more satisfying and fill you up longer than white products…so once again, more value for your money!

Soaking Cereals

Simply soak your cereals in half the quantity of water called for in the recipe with the 1 Tbsp acid medium per cup of water for 12-24 hours. When you are ready to cook, boil the other half of the water before adding the soaked grain. It will be ready in 5 minutes!

For our regular twice a week breakfast of oatmeal, I soak 1 cup of rolled oats with 1 cup of water and 1-2 Tbls of kefir. I let it sit covered overnight. In the morning I put 1 cup of water to boil on the stove. When it is rolling, I add the soaked oats and let it simmer for 5 minutes or so. We then add ground flax seeds, dried cranberries, chopped apples and sometimes a little mashed bananas and there you have an excellent high fiber breakfast.

Soaking Quick Breads

For quick breads (waffles, pancakes, muffins, etc) add 1 Tbsp of an acid medium (best with cultured buttermilk or kefir) for every cup of water called for in the recipe, cover and soak as recommended above. If the recipe calls for buttermilk already, soak in the buttermilk or replace with kefir (which is my favorite!).

I replace buttermilk with kefir completely most of the time without problem. If desired, you can also add all the other liquid ingredients besides the egg, leavenings, and salt in the soaking mixture as well. This helps maintain a moist dough. After soaking, I simply add the egg, leavenings and salt called for in the recipe. Sue Gregg incorporates this idea in all her breakfast recipes. See recipe below. She has other sample recipes on her website.

Whole Grain Pancake/Waffle Recipe – includes instructions on soaking! This is simply delicious!

Soaking Beans

Beans should be rinsed then soaked with 1 Tbsp whey or lemon juice per cup of beans. After soaking, drain, rinse and start with fresh water. Follow the recommended quantities as you would normally.

Soaking Yeast Breads

Soak flour, and 1 Tbsp vinegar or kefir for every cup of water called for in the recipe (leave 1/2 cup of water for activating yeast later). I like to also add the oil and sweeteners to maintain moist dough, otherwise cover tightly with plastic wrap. After soaking, active the yeast in the remaining water with a tsp of honey. Proceed with the recipe.

My Homemade Bread Recipe – with soaking instructions!

Soaking Brown Rice

Combine your rice and all the water called for in the recipe with 1-2 Tbsp of acid medium and let soak for 7 hours. I combine these ingredients in the pot I will cook it in. When ready, simply turn it on and cook as usual. My recipe is to soak 1 cup brown rice to 2 1/4 cup water, with 2 Tbsp of kefir. Heat to boiling and then turn to low heat and simmer for 45 minutes.

For more recipes, view the recipe index. Most of my recipes include soaking instructions.

Soaking is actually quite simple. The key: thinking ahead! Write it in your schedule! Each morning after breakfast and making dinner preparations, I also ask myself if I need to soak anything for the next day. I quickly combine it and let it sit on my counter.

Further Reading

Urban Homemaker articles on Soaking here & here
How I use kefir and the wonderful benefits

Tammy’s Kefir Making Instructions
Two Stage Process - introduction to soaking by Sue Gregg – I drew much of the above information from this article
Sue Gregg’s Breakfast cookbook is my favorite intro to different whole grains and how to include them in your diet. This book shows you how to grind grains in your blender for many morning breakfasts. Works wonderfully!
Be Kind to Your Grains – article by Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions on why we should soak our grains

Two other good options that accomplish the same benefits as soaking, include using sprouted flour or sourdough methods.

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of four, homemaker, and writer. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

262 Responses to The Value of Soaking your Whole Grains

  1. Harlan December 8, 2013 at 4:00 am #

    Hello to all, it’s truly a good for me to pay a quick visit this site, it contains
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  2. Kris November 13, 2013 at 6:44 pm #

    Any concern over using dairy (whey, buttermilk, etc) since that limits the iron we can absorb? I was thinking it may be better to soak with lemon juice or vinegar.

    Also, after you soak to make bread, the grains will have to be dry before milling–from what I’ve heard. Couldn’t I just grind and then soak?


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  4. bill March 30, 2013 at 6:35 am #

    dear passionate homemaking- doing the soaking method with whole wheat flour, does one need to add vital wheat gluten and/or dough conditioner to the dough? thanks, bill

  5. Latoya March 6, 2013 at 7:42 am #

    Hello! I realize this is sort of off-topic but I needed to ask.
    Does building a well-established blog such as yours require a lot of work?
    I am brand new to running a blog however I do write
    in my diary every day. I’d like to start a blog so I can easily share my own experience and thoughts online. Please let me know if you have any suggestions or tips for new aspiring bloggers. Thankyou!

  6. Julie February 18, 2013 at 10:03 am #

    I just made millet bread and i used a half cup of raw millet and didn’t rinse it! Is the bread okay to eat without doing that?

  7. Farzana December 9, 2012 at 4:44 pm #

    Hi there ! Thanks for posting this, I find it very informative. I have a question and wonder if you (or someone else) might be able to help me. I have tried the soaking technique on a few occasions. When I add the rest of the ingredients to my soaked dough, why is the dough EXTREMELY wet and watery? Basically, it doesnt hold a shape at all! I use the exact same liquids/flour as I would if I didnt soak the flour. Any tips or ideas would be greatly appreciated. I have mild sensitivity to wheat and gluten but really wanted to try this out. Maybe . . . just maybe I might be okay with it if I soaked the flour first. Thanks !

  8. Jennifer October 19, 2012 at 1:08 pm #

    So, if I am not able to purchase a grinder right now, if I buy whole wheat flour from the store and soak it before making my own bread, isn’t that still a lot healthier and easier for my body to digest compared to store bought whole wheat bread?

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  10. Elen Scheliga August 20, 2012 at 12:22 pm #

    Hi Lindsay,
    I’ve been reading a lot about this matter, and I had some information that soaking in water with vineger or any other acid, would not only lower the phytic acid but also release many minerals from the grain/cereal in the water we throw away. Do you know something about this?
    Thank you for imput

  11. Charles August 16, 2012 at 9:15 pm #

    Whoops! My muffin recipe below – 1 tspn baking soda should be added to the sugar/salt solution.

  12. Charles August 15, 2012 at 6:45 pm #

    Thank you Lindsay for this useful article. For some time now I have been gathering knowledge about the soaking of seeds (seeds,grains,nuts,beans) to make the nutrients more readily absorbable. The following may be useful:
    1)I use a chilli-bin (Eski) placed at the bottom of a hot water cupboard in which a light bulb (sitting in a tin can) is placed (the cord passes through a groove cut in the edge of the bin). The power of the bulb is selected by trial and error to achieve the desired temperature. e.g. for me: 11W gives a temp. of 26C for my soaked muffins (and kwark – German cottage cheese).
    2)Muffins: 1 cup wheat/rye grains freshly ground + 1/4 cup rolled oats, to 1 cup buttermilk – mixed by hand with a spoon – stiff mixture – soaked for 24 hrs. Add spices (ginger,allspice,cinnamon), egg (1 or2) whisked with 20 ml olive oil – mix by hand. Dissolve 15 ml sugar + 1/2 tsp salt in a little boiled water and mix in with the above. Ladle into 6 muffin tins and bake 35 min at 180 C.
    It is not easy to obtain perfection, but the resultant healthy food makes it worthwhile.

  13. Bill Coyne July 20, 2012 at 10:46 am #

    Is it okay to grind whole beans into a flour, soak them overnight, drain the liquid, rinse, and then eat the grain raw mixed with ground grains? TIA.

  14. Lane July 10, 2012 at 6:03 pm #

    Because of a suppressed immune system from kidney transplantation I cannot use dairy products or risk any bacterial growth at all. Would substituting lemon juice or vinegar produce any bacteria that you know of, or simply begin the breakdown process?

  15. Gretchen Ruby May 25, 2012 at 12:34 pm #

    I use the Yeasted Buttermilk Bread recipe in the Nourishing Traditions cookbook. Recently, I’ve found out that my 5 mos. old has an allergy to raw milk! Eeeek! Is there a way I can alter this recipe so that I don’t use milk for soaking?

  16. Jude May 19, 2012 at 9:58 am #

    I appreciate this article, and I was just referencing back to it to share it with a friend. I noticed the link to Sally Fallon’s article at the bottom is broken. Here is the correct link in case anyone needs it or you want to update it:

  17. Hallucinogen April 1, 2012 at 12:42 pm #

    This article is written by big newbie who even confuses phytates with phytase,

    there is no amount of time of soaking oats or brown rice that will be effective in reducing Phytates(phytic acid) in them because they have no PHYTASE, etc .

    Thank you for trying !


    I’m a professional Bio-Chemist and Naturopath-Nutritionist,
    i did a LOT of experimenting myself,
    and i have read about using cultured products like Kefir as acidic medium, and i also know about calcium in it and it acting as a buffer,

    I am here to wave off your delusions about not wanting to use Kefir whey-base liquid as acidic medium,
    First of all, EVERYTHiNG, including Calcium in Kefir whey liquid is already stabilized, and it will ONLY get SOURER by producing MORE Lactic acid with time at room temperature (that’s how Kefir is ripened)
    and SECOND of all, Whatever Calcium is already present IN THE LiQUiD will have a Very Great affinity to bind with the freshly freed Phytic Acid from phytates in the grain, Thus NEUTRALiZING it,
    which means it WONT bind to other minerals in your digestive tract anymore, especially to calcium !

    There you have it kids, – the one and only thing left is figuring out the PERFECT TEMPERATURE for homemade Kefir + grains that contain phytase (or + freshly ground flour ),
    I believe ~22C would be optimal for 12-24hours in this,
    instead of 40C+, because 22C is the perfect temperature for Kefir Equilibrium,
    and you Do Not want to send it out of balance, because it might promote the growth of pathogenic bacteria !

    We have to resolve the Exact Location of Phytase in grains, and i think all the Phytase is mostly found in the BRAN and outer shell of the grain, together with most of phytic acid…
    i am reading this right now to help me answer this Question –

    Anyways, its most likely ALL in the outer shell which Does Not grind into powder in a normal Coffee Blender
    Sooo, what you do is you grind you fresh rye flour in coffee blender, for a relatively short time,
    then sift out all the bran (which will be a hooping 40-50% !)
    then you take filtered 40C water and soak All that bran in water for an hour, then you put it all in a super clean blender, blend it very well for 5+mins,
    then strain all the liquid from it and just use that liquid for soak + fresh Kefir whey liquid !

    The Probiotic bacteria blend in the soaking process is very important alongside presence of phytase, they make phytase much more active (:

    ENJOY ! – For Your Health .

    • tina March 6, 2013 at 8:58 am #

      dear hallucinogen, while i appreciate your knowledge, and was looking forward to some scientific facts, your comment served to confuse me more. can you boil that down a bit for us newbies?

  18. Susan March 27, 2012 at 12:53 pm #

    Gluten-Free Flatbread Recipe made from Soaked Whole Grains (yeast-free, vegan)
    Place the brown rice and millet into a bowl and cover with plenty of filtered water. Soak overnight or for at least 6 hours. For additional benefit, add 2 tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar to the soak water.

    Sounds like this recipe will work very well.

  19. Carly March 19, 2012 at 3:28 pm #

    Hi! Love your site!!! I had just read that too much calcium used in soaking grains can inhibit how much phytic acid is removed. You know anything about that? I’m just starting to soak all my grains & sometimes they just don’t sit well when soaked for some reason. After I read this article, I wondered if that may be why. Just wondering if you’ve heard anything like this & what your thoughts are on that matter. Thanks! :)

  20. Lisa March 14, 2012 at 5:04 am #

    Does it matter what type of bowl you use to soak? I would tend to use stainless steal, but is there a concern of some chemical reaction with the acid and metal??? Would glass or ceramic be better?

    • Lindsay March 14, 2012 at 3:42 pm #

      Yes, you want to avoid stainless steel and only use glass, plastic or wooden.

  21. Kari March 9, 2012 at 12:36 pm #

    What a wonderful and in-depth post on soaking grains! It’s probably the most informative info I’ve found so far – thank you! I am a Certified Health and Nutrition Consultant and I am in my 3rd week of discussing grains on my blog. I found your article very helpful and posted and excerpt and link to this article in my latest post about Preparing Grains Properly. It’s great to see so many bloggers sharing this important information about eating and preparing traditional foods! I love your blog and find myself tweeting your articles and sharing them on facebook! Keep up the awesome work!

  22. Sunshine February 17, 2012 at 7:13 am #

    For the record you DO need to soak the grains/oats with warm water. Cold water soaking does not work in neutralising the various enzymes/phytic acid.

    I quote your own words “- Make sure to use warm filtered water/liquids for soaking. Warm water is necessary for the soaking process to be effective. Warm the water/liquids until they are bath water…”


  23. Sarah February 16, 2012 at 12:42 pm #

    I just found your website and I have been loving it. My sisters just got into soaking our grains and I am happy to see that we are not the only crazy ones out there :)

  24. Sunshine February 15, 2012 at 8:17 am #

    ok Thx

  25. Sunshine February 14, 2012 at 6:11 am #

    I have been soaking oats in raw milk and raw milk kefir straight out the fridge. Once I have added the cool kefir&milk I leave it at room temperature for 24 hours. Now I find I have some mineral deficiencies and I was wondering if I am soaking the oats incorrectly? How important is the temperature of the soak? Should I be warming up the milk/kefir soak prior to adding it to the oats?

    • Lindsay February 15, 2012 at 7:59 am #

      Yes, ideally you should warm up the milk to warm temperature for soaking. I use warm water with the addition of the cold kefir from the fridge for best results. I do not know if this would make any difference for mineral deficiencies though.

    • sicl February 15, 2012 at 8:12 am #

      (slightly off topic) mineral deficiencies are often caused by malabsorption, Celiac Disease is one difficult to diagnosis cause. Be sure to talk to the HCP who diagnosed your mineral deficiencies about ways to correct it. I have found having a really good (as in smart, has experience and interest in the area of concern and you can talk to easily) Naturopathic Physician, Certified Nutritionist, or Registered Dietitian, is very important part of a health care team. Good luck!

  26. Trish February 11, 2012 at 11:47 am #

    Dear Lindsay,

    I have several muffin recipes that I like, and the only liquid in them is milk (i.e. 3/4 C milk to 1.5 C flour & 3/4 C oats). One recipe has only orange juice (vegan orange spelt muffins).

    I would like to soak them before baking, what would you do in these situations to convert them to a soaking recipe?

    Thanks for all you do!

  27. Heather February 9, 2012 at 10:33 am #

    I have a pumpkin whole wheat muffin recipe that I would like to try soaking…. should I wait to add the canned pumpkin or let it soak w/ the flour?

    • Lindsay February 9, 2012 at 12:28 pm #

      I would add the pumpkin after soaking.

  28. Meaghan February 9, 2012 at 9:08 am #

    I just soaked my first grains yesterday and it was amazingly simple. My husband loved how the brown rice turned out (he has not been too into my healthy changes so we are taking it slow). I also soaked some grains for cookies. My question is about cultured yogurt. What is the difference between cultured yogurt and regular yogurt from the store? How do I know?

  29. tina January 29, 2012 at 8:14 pm #

    lot’s of women i know, often health conscious home makers, have mild bone loss. we’re all scratching our heads over what could be the cause. i’m wondering if eating more whole grains (w/o sprouting or soaking) may be the culprit. possibly it could be the basis of the swell of gluten intolerance and celiac disease. perhaps soaking and sprouting could be the answer to these 2 big issues. i’ve recently begun sprouting my wheat, then drying and grinding it. does anyone else do the drying and grinding after sprouting?

    • tina January 29, 2012 at 8:42 pm #

      ok, i just read thru comments and saw that others do sprout, dry and grind.

  30. vincent January 29, 2012 at 3:30 pm #

    Hi Lindsay,

    I understand brown rice has to soak for 7 hours.
    Can this be reduced even by cooking the rice first for a few minutes, and than soak for maybe one hour?

    • Katie January 30, 2012 at 6:55 am #

      From what I’ve read, cooking the grain kills the enzymes that lower the phytic acid (which is what keeps you from digesting well). I’m not sure if this is counteracted by the acid medium, but to soak rice you just have to think ahead the morning of or night before.

  31. Sarah Houser January 14, 2012 at 2:43 am #

    My husband and I live overseas as missionaries. The country we live in (so far) we have been unable to find whole wheat easily or at a cost we can afford (it is hard to find and expensive if you do). I am used to making our own bread so if/when we can get whole wheat it comes to us from our parents shipping it to us. My question is: Is there ANY nutritional value to pre-ground store bought wheat? Or, if that is all we can get (and it has been shipped for several weeks) does it not matter? Any other ideas? Thank you!

    • Julie January 16, 2012 at 7:19 am #

      Sarah, I live in China and had a similar problem. I found wheat berries at my local market, my market also has a Chinese medicine booth that grinds anything (I mean anything! into powder), last week I bought some wheat berries, took them home and picked out the rocks and then took them to the Chinese medicine pulverizer and they ground it into flour for me. It was awesome!

      So far, I have made whole wheat pizza, tortillas and bagels with the flour. Thanks Lindsay for the great recipes and inspiration!!

      Off to get some whole wheat bread soaking. I love that your recipe calls for millet because it is readily available here and I’ve been wanting to experiment with it.

  32. Rebecca January 8, 2012 at 5:02 pm #

    Oh, my! I hope you see this question after so many…I’ve relied greatly on your site, but now my daughter is gluten/wheat intolerant, so I’m relying so much more on brown rice flour for baked goods. As I’m still accepting this idea, I’m relying on NAMASTE [brand] FOODS for their mixes for our biscuits, muffins, etc (DD also can’t have eggs, nor soy). SO, do I need to soak brown rice flour?? Well, let me rephrase…will it benefit in any way? And how would I do it with mixes that already contain the leavener?

    Thanks for any insight you can offer!! :)

    • Lindsay January 9, 2012 at 2:38 pm #

      Ideally, yes, but it isn’t possible with mixes that already have the leavenings. I personally wouldn’t stress over it because brown rice is lowest on the phytate chart.

  33. ctgardengirl November 30, 2011 at 5:17 am #

    I’m confused. Do you soak the flour, or the grain? You mention in your article as follows:
    “The first stage of preparation is to soak the whole grain flour’. How do you soak flour? How do you dry it? Shouldn’t you soak the kernals instead? Thanks!

  34. Vanessa October 16, 2011 at 8:23 pm #

    Hi, Just wondering if you would soak your grains/beans before of after milling. I grind all my own flours but I would like to start soaking them before incorporating into recipes.
    Thank you!
    Love your site, you encourage me every day!

  35. Asante September 23, 2011 at 5:39 am #

    What a wonderful article! Grains like wheat berries, quinoa, and brown rice can also be sprouted in water for 8 -12 hours to use in living food recipes like raw dehydrated bread and grain milks. Sprouting a grain releases the enzyme inhibitors the keep the grain dormant (this dormancy makes them easy to dry and store). Soaking essentially tells the grain that it’s time to grow and begins its sprouting process which increases its nutritional value many times over. I make a very simple brown rice milk by soaking 1 cup of brown rice in fresh water for 8-12 hours. Next, I blend the rice with 2 cups of water in a blender for 1 minute. Then I strain the rice milk (with a nutmilk bag or wire mesh strainer) until very smooth (this takes quite a bit of straining). Lastly, sweeten and serve. This raw rice milk keeps in the fridge for 2 days and is packed full of nutrition.
    Happy homemaking!
    Asante George

  36. Amy September 20, 2011 at 4:25 pm #

    Hi! I am sorry if this is a repeat question, but I scanned the other comments and didn’t notice this, but may have missed it. What are your thoughts on pasta? I use organic whole wheat pasta…do I soak this before actually cooking it too? I have been soaking my oats, wheat flour, etc., but this I wasn’t sure about! also, if so, how do I ?


  37. Kate September 14, 2011 at 2:31 pm #

    I’m making gluten free breads with bean flours and rice flour, how long should I soak it?

    • Lindsay September 15, 2011 at 1:27 pm #

      7 hours is recommended for rice, so that would be the same for rice flour.

  38. Jen September 6, 2011 at 8:22 am #

    I soaked garbanzo bean flour this weekend to make socca. Essentially I mixed up the batter and let it sit on the counter (covered in plastic wrap) maybe 18-20 hours. While I’ve never had problems with garbanzo beans before, this made me feel sick beyond compare. I’m guessing soaking bean flours is out and that the better way would be to soak/sprout the beans, then grind them into flour. Has anyone else had experience/issues with this?

  39. lindsey August 28, 2011 at 9:45 pm #

    Would I need to soak my flour if I am making a long fermented sourdough bread that has to sit for at least 6+ hours once it has been mixed and kneaded?

    • Lindsay August 29, 2011 at 6:01 am #

      Sourdough accomplishes the same effects as soaking. That is another great alternative.

  40. MaidMirawyn August 28, 2011 at 3:33 pm #

    Very interesting! I have never soaked my grains, but now I’m curious. However, I use steel cut oats for my oatmeal, and cook it overnight in a slow cooker with dairy (milk or half-and-half) and dried fruits. Now I wonder if the long overnight cooking has some of the same effects as soaking. (I use Alton Brown’s slow cooker oatmeal recipe, which is easy to find online, for anyone who is curious.)

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  42. Bryan@Turbotax April 21, 2011 at 10:26 pm #

    Ok, so i have made the switch over to whole grain brown rice and beans. But I made the mistake of not soaking them when I cooked them. I rinsed them good then I cooked them in the crockpot for 10 hours. Do you know if there is a danger in not soaking them as you instruct with lemon juice?

  43. Jennifer April 1, 2011 at 2:27 pm #

    Why when I make bread does it crack open on the top? A lot of little cracks. What am I doing wrong? Am I over kneading with my mixer? I soak it and use a sponge. I am at a high elevation??????

  44. laura February 15, 2011 at 8:43 pm #

    I have been soaking my oatmeal and flour for pancakes for a few weeks now. My children have been complaining off and on about stomach aches. Have any of you who soak your grains experience digestive problems when you first started. I’m hoping this is just an adjustment period. I’m loving the results I’m getting and convinced that soaking yields a more nourishing food. I haven’t heard anyone discuss this and wonder if I’m alone.

  45. Claudia February 9, 2011 at 6:52 am #

    Hi Lindsay – I recently ran into some information that oatmeal needs to be soaked along with (not only an acidic medium) but also with some spelt, buckwheat or wheat flour.

    The information I’ve researched claims that an ingredient containing phytase, such as the flours just mentioned, needs to be added to the oatmeal soaking process in order to actually have the phytic acid broken down.

    Have you ever run into this or know anything about it?

    One link I ran into that gave such a recommendation was this:

    I have a health blog as well, if you’re interested, my blog address is: ( I’ve posted some of your fabulous recipes on my blog in the past ~ thanks for providing so much good information.

    ~ Claudia

    • Susan February 9, 2011 at 7:39 am #

      This can’t happen for me. Wheat, spelt and oats contain a gluten protein I must eliminate, due to Celiac Disease..

    • Tania Vera February 10, 2011 at 8:59 pm #

      Most oats sold are heat treated, which destroys phytase, the enzyme needed to break down phytic acid. By adding some freshly ground (I think the freshly ground is important) flour from grains high in phytase (rye, wheat, buckwheat) to oats soaking water, it helps break down the phytic acid (phytase works best in an acid solution, which is why people add an acidic medium).

      Avena Sativa are the oats usually sold and are the heat treated ones (I think to hull and to have them last longer in storage).

      You can also get Avena Nuda Oats, which are usually not heat treated. These are often sold as raw, sproutable oats and probably have more phytase in them than the heat-treated versions (this is speculation on my part).

    • hannah October 10, 2011 at 12:18 pm #

      It really does help to add a handful of buckwheat or rye berries to your oatmeal while it’s soaking. Oats are so low in phytase that they essentially need to “borrow” it from other grains. I definitely have noticed a difference in how I feel after eating oatmeal that’s been soaked with phytase rich grain, as opposed to oats that haven’t been.

  46. Kathy December 13, 2010 at 4:14 pm #

    Your article “The Value of Soaking your Whole Grains” is a life saver. I’ve been grinding for years and gradually became very sensitive to wheat & possible other grains. Soaking has made a HUGE difference!!! I understand how to soak the grains for recipes that use liquids, but I want to bake a cake. How can I soak the wheat first? Here is the list of the other ingredients (besides eggs, spices & leavening) – butter, sucanat, & pumpkin. If I melt the butter first, (instead of just soft), would that with one can pumpkin be enough to soak the flour? What could I use for the acid? I’ve learned that for me, I need to soak wheat the full 24 hours for best toleration.

    Thanks for your help

  47. Sara December 7, 2010 at 7:00 pm #

    I feel like i have found a long lost friend by finding your site! i also live in the NW and do herbs and real food and grinding my own flour and am starting homeschooling…haven’t found anyone who shares my love for these things and also good reading! (LOVE your book reading lists!! i have added a few of your recommendations to my library que!) anyways. i have been wrestling with the whole phytic acid thing ever since reading an article by sue becker on the topic. i have included the link and i am hoping you have time to read it and give me your opinion. i am not a scientist but i would like to find some answers to this for the health of my family. anyways…thank you for managing this site.

  48. -C December 5, 2010 at 7:18 pm #

    I had a question about soaking for this curried rice and lentil casserole:

    Basically, how should I go about it? Should I soak the 1 1/2 cups french lentils and 1 cup long grain brown rice together with the 5 cups of water and add 5 Tbsp of an acidic medium overnight? And then just combine that with the sauteed onion-spice mixture, carrots, and coconut milk…and check after baking for 2 hours instead of 2.5 hours? What would you do? Thank you.

    • Lindsay December 6, 2010 at 8:15 am #

      Honestly, I probably wouldn’t worry about trying to soak it. Lentils and brown rice are so low in phytate acid, its not a big deal. But if you really want to try, I would just soak the lentils and rice together in enough water to cover with some vinegar or acid medium. I would then soak for 12-24 hours and then rinse and drain the liquids. I would then follow the instructions but cut back on the liquids -say 3.5-4 cups instead of the original 5, because some of the liquids will have absorbed into the lentils/rice. You will have to experiment as to the amount of water for baking to get the right texture.

  49. Tiffany December 4, 2010 at 8:11 am #

    Thanks for the great info! I had a quick question, what is the consistency of your dough while soaking? Is it crumbly and dry or wet like dough? Thanks!!


  50. Hiram November 27, 2010 at 4:48 am #

    Paul Pitchford in “Healing with Whole Foods” advises discarding the water used to soak grains of all kinds rather than cooking with it, whereas Sally Fallon in “Nourishing Traditions” doesn’t seem to think that it necessary except for legumes.

    Does anybody have an opinion on that or any relevant references?

    Thanks for the help

  51. nancy November 10, 2010 at 3:24 pm #

    does wheat germ have to be soaked?

    • Lindsay November 11, 2010 at 10:26 am #

      Yes, ideally. But I don’t recommend using wheat germ because it is processed out of the wheat grain, making it far less nutritious than eating the whole grain in its entirety.

  52. James October 28, 2010 at 3:55 pm #

    Hi Lindsay, I eat a bowl of white rice only in the morning. Does white rice need to be soaked as well?

  53. Tina October 20, 2010 at 5:07 pm #

    Hi Lindsay,

    Question – when you say you soak the flour with the “liquid ingredients”, do you mean all the liquid ingredients in the recipe or are you talking about water?

    Totally new to this soaking thing :)


    • Lindsay October 21, 2010 at 9:39 am #

      I mean the water/milk ingredients in the recipes. You can add the oils and honey liquids if you need more to keep it moist.

  54. NicklePickle September 12, 2010 at 5:30 pm #

    Hey lindsay! i have been LOVING your website! i have a couple questions about soaking. i want to start soaking our flours for bread baking and breakfast foods like waffles and pancakes….when the recipe calls for milk can i let the dry ingredients and milk soak on the counter over night? we use raw milk and i just have discovered using Kefir…please help me sort out what can be soaked and if the recipe calls for milk what do i do for soaking then? thank you sooo much!

    • Lindsay September 12, 2010 at 8:39 pm #

      I would recommend replacing the milk with cultured buttermilk, kefir, or yogurt rather than using plain milk, as it is necessary for it to be cultured in order to effectively break down the phytates. Milk called for in a recipe can easily be substituted with these soaking agents. Blessings on your efforts!

      • Laura December 16, 2010 at 2:59 pm #

        My cook book says for an emergency substitution for buttermilk that you can take 1T of Lemon juice and add enough milk to make 1 cup (stir and let stand 5 min.) Could she do that with her raw milk and yield the same break down effect?

  55. Becky September 9, 2010 at 4:16 am #

    Have you ever worked with white while wheat flour before? Does that count as whole grains?

  56. Debbie Young July 4, 2010 at 5:44 pm #

    Hi Lindsay,
    I was just reading all your wonderful recipes. They sound delicious, I hope to try them soon.
    I bake bread often but I haven’t been soaking and I want to try the kefir. I was wondering if you could tell me exactly how to use apple cider vinegar instead. I thought I might use that until I can get the kefir grains. Thanks again for sharing.

  57. Lori Ann June 27, 2010 at 5:29 am #

    Hi! I’ve been referring to this post for months as I slowly enter the world of grain soaking. Mostly, I have soaked oats each night for A.M. oatmeal.

    I just got my hands on some buckwheat and want to soak it, but also read about how good it is toasted, and wondered about it, oats for granola, etc…. do you soak, then toast, or toast then soak, or do one but not the other?

    Thanks for any help!

    • Lindsay June 28, 2010 at 6:03 am #

      I have never tried toasted buckwheat, but I would imagine you would want to soak then toast otherwise you would void any toasting benefits.

  58. Shannon May 25, 2010 at 5:48 am #

    I have found this very fascinating! But I have a question or thought…I’ve been slowly transitioning our family to more natural cooking…avoiding processed foods and such. I know we can’t go 100% organic (mainly due to our location) but we’re chipping away at it. My thought about going natural was this…(bare with me…there’s a point to all of this) there are Mom’s who are “germ-o-phobes” and go overboard in making everything so ridiculously sanitized that when their children come into contact with germs, their bodies react worse and their symptoms are worse because their bodies haven’t had “practice” in fighting off the smaller germs. So I’m thinking if we went 100% natural or organic, would this eventually have an adverse affect on my children’s internal organs? If they ate processed foods or even pasta or bread made from commercial flours, would it make them sick? If I went through this process of soaking for all my grain needs, and my children one day go out and eat the fluffy white commercial products, will their intestinal tracks be in wreckage over it? I’m just throwing out my thoughts here and wondering if anyone has any thoughts of their own regarding this.

    • Lauren June 20, 2010 at 4:17 am #

      @ Shannon: organic means that no chemicals were involved in producing the food – pesticides, herbicides, and so forth. Perhaps once you and your kids get used to that you might notice when you eat non-organic stuff, but I doubt it.
      Soaked flour is a separate topic. Yes it should be easier to digest, and many people with digestive trouble (like celiac disease) can only eat soaked/sprouted bread for that reason, but – as with the organics – a healthy person won’t blow up like a balloon and roll on the flor in pain from a cafeteria sandwich now and again :) Plus, if your kids are getting the extra nutrition from soaked/sprouted products at home, their bodies will be better able to tolerate the nutrient-leaching effects of commerical flours when they do eat them.
      Your best bet is to give good stuff as much as possible and feel good about the nutritional head start you’re giving your family.

      • hannah October 10, 2011 at 12:24 pm #

        As someone who has radically changed my diet in the last few years to cut out virtually all processed foods, i can say that you probably will notice eventually. It takes a while to clean your body out, but once you get it used to eating good, whole foods, it will get upset when you introduce something like a commercial slice of pizza. I’ve had symptoms ranging from congestion and headaches to rehabilitating menstural cramps in reaction to trying to feed my body commercially processed foods. All you can do it try tombe careful and not stress your body too terribly much.

  59. Shelley May 22, 2010 at 3:54 pm #

    Is it necessary to cook the oatmeal after soaking it? Or anything for that matter. Soaking it softens it into an oatmeal texture if one adds all the liquid (where you suggest adding 1/2 to soak it). Cooking anything kills enzymes (I’m talking eating as raw as possible) so is it unsafe or necessary to cook the already-softened, soaked oatmeal?

    • Angela July 26, 2010 at 6:55 am #

      We soak our oatmeal overnight on Fridays for a meal on Sabbath. What I do to prepare it “hot” is I put in some oatmeal, water and yogurt or sometimes I use raw milk instead of water. I mix it all together and put it in the oven with the light on. In the morning we have a good hot meal- well it’s not really hot as it would be if you cooked it but still- not cold is what I mean.

    • evy October 12, 2010 at 3:16 pm #

      ..not, not unsafe to not cook it. Raw is healthier. Another way to do it is to boil the water for the second half of the liquid part separately, combine the boiled water with the soaked grains, put the lid on the pot and let it sit for 10-15 minutes.

      I was born in Switzerland and one of the very common Swiss dishes is like the “cold cereal” recipe I saw in the Beeyoutiful magazine I got with a recent order. (Though I didn’t grow up “soaking” the oatmeal, it technically qualifies as this after it sits overnight so it turned into a similar “soaked” dish anyway :) Raw oats, grated apples, yogurt (kefir, milk of any kind incl. rice/almond/etc. or juice or water if you can’t have the dairy), a couple dashes of lemon juice and whatever other fruit you want to add (blueberries or strawberries are YUM!), and nuts (soaked overnight sunflower seeds are great!)…there you have a “fresh” and soaked dish for breakfast, as a fruit salad or whatever. I add raw honey or stevia to mine too-it’s versatile and one can be creative with it!



  60. Brooke April 1, 2010 at 5:51 pm #

    Sorry for the silly question but when you say “cultured yogurt” do you just mean any yogurt you can get at the store that says “live and active cultures” on it?

  61. Christina March 30, 2010 at 9:30 am #

    I’m still learning to soak grains/legumes. As for the warm water, what temperature should it be and does it need to stay warm during the entire soaking process? Usually, the water cools off and then some websites say that you should refrigerate the soaking beans or else they may spoil.

    Please help!

    • Lindsay March 30, 2010 at 10:49 am #

      Water should be lukewarm and ideally soaked in a warm place, such as in a dehydrator, with pilot light in oven or in the warmest place in your house for most effective soaking.

      • ~M March 30, 2010 at 10:52 am #

        So in the oven with the light on is better than on the counter? Good to know, since I thought it needed fresh air to work. I don’t have a dehydrator.

        • Lindsay March 30, 2010 at 10:54 am #

          It can be done both ways but keeping it warm is ideal.

          • Christina March 30, 2010 at 3:27 pm #

            I really don’t have a warm place to put this, other than a countertop. Will the beans spoil if I do this? I have a yoghurt maker, which the bowl will fit on top of but I’m not sure if it will be too hot. Or I suppose I could put it on top of a heating pad. Does anyone know what temperature the water should be? The heating pad is less hot than the yogurt maker, which is about 100 degrees.

          • Lindsay April 1, 2010 at 1:22 pm #

            Your beans will not spoil. Lukewarm is about right. Heating pad on low is not a bad idea!

  62. Natural Housewife in Training March 28, 2010 at 2:02 pm #

    Thanks so much for posting this. I’m still getting the hang of this soaking thing. I’m grateful to ladies like you who I can turn to with culinary questions.

  63. Susan March 17, 2010 at 2:47 pm #

    Thanks! I wondered if this would work. It also brings up a question:
    Is cup measurement the same for ground grains (flour) as for the whole grain? Or, will I need to somehow change to measuring by weight instead of volume?

  64. Mary March 13, 2010 at 10:54 am #

    hi! so, i’m wondering a few things about soaking my grains…how come this isn’t common knowledge? i mean, nobody i’ve talked to has ever heard of soaking their grains…and if whole grains are hard for the body to digest if they aren’t soaked first, then should we even eat whole grains at all that haven’t been soaked? for example, i always buy 100% whole grain bread but I’m sure it hasn’t been soaked. Is that bad for my children to be eating b/c it isn’t being digested in their bodies properly? I’m assuming it is still better than bread made with enriched flour…this is stressing me out. :)

    • Lindsay March 16, 2010 at 8:49 am #

      It is a growing movement of people led by Weston A Price foundation and Sally Fallon to research and understand these workings of whole grains. Apparantly these practices were upheld by our ancestors and it has only been in the last hundred years with the industrial revolution that we have lost the art of properly preparing our grains. I would encourage you to read more at: Whole grains are definitely still preferred even if you cannot soak them, but your body will just not be able to digest the whole benefits of them.

      • Mary March 16, 2010 at 9:32 am #

        will do. thanks so much for your help!

      • darlyne March 16, 2010 at 10:09 am #


        I read that if you had to choose between store bought whole grain bread (which they don’t soak ahead of time) or enriched white bread, you should choose white bread. I know that is hard to swallow. Whole grain bread is usually moldy if not stored properly or consumed fresh (ideally freshly grounded)… whole grains tend to oxidize and go rancid quite quickly. It affects the immune system over time if one consumes moldy grains/nuts etc. It is quite a complicated and meticulous process.

        • Mary March 16, 2010 at 4:20 pm #

          Ahhhhhh! Thank you darlyne. This is why I’m so stressed out. I’m trying my best to feed my family the right things but it’s SO confusing… So it seems that my only safe bet is to buy a grain mill and make my own bread, no? Those things are so expensive! I guess I should start saving. :) In the meantime store-bought whole grain bread or the white stuff????????? Once again, I’ll say it: AHHHHH!

          • Lindsay March 17, 2010 at 8:44 am #

            Do you have access to a local health food store? You can find sprouted whole grain bread. That is the best alternative to homemade soaked bread.

          • Mary C March 17, 2010 at 1:19 pm #

            Mary – I do not have a grain mill.
            I’ve used two methods without a grain mill:
            1) Use a coffee grinder to grind my grains – tedious for large amounts but it works!
            2) I soak my grains first and then grind them in a blender with all the liquid in the recipe. I learned this blender method from a woman online that Lindsay referred to. I do not remember her name or the link. Lindsay? It was the blender recipes for soaked cornbread and waffles, etc.

          • Lindsay March 17, 2010 at 2:43 pm #

            Sue Gregg is the woman.

  65. Danny March 13, 2010 at 12:30 am #

    Is it ok to soak oats in raw milk, along with lemon or some milk kefir.

    • Lindsay March 13, 2010 at 10:11 am #


  66. Danny March 4, 2010 at 9:44 am #

    Legend! Thanks:-)

  67. Danny March 4, 2010 at 3:56 am #

    Thanks. Does that mean that the phytates are changed into something good for our bodies by the process of soaking? ….Whats the word? nulified, no…..neutralised?

    Cool site, thx for the help.

    • Lindsay March 4, 2010 at 9:36 am #

      I guess you can think of it in that way. The phytates are neutralized. They are the barrier of sorts and soaking breaks them down giving our bodies the ability to absorb more of the vitamins and minerals in our grains.

  68. Danny March 3, 2010 at 1:01 pm #

    When you soak oats in water, do you discard the water prior to eating. If not, why not?
    Thx, Danny

    • Lindsay March 3, 2010 at 1:51 pm #

      No, there is no need to discard any liquids. In fact, they get fully absorbed into the oats so that it is a thick paste of sorts. The acid medium simply helps breaking down the phytates.

  69. Anne Elliott February 23, 2010 at 5:19 pm #

    I hope you don’t mind, but I just posted a bread recipe on my blog, and I’ve made it in a bread machine. I’d just check it during the kneading cycle, since it tends to be a wet dough and might need a little tweaking.


  70. Debbie February 21, 2010 at 1:42 pm #

    Do you have any bread machine recipes using soaked grains?

    :) Debbie

    • Lindsay February 23, 2010 at 2:06 pm #

      No, but many readers have tried my homemade soaked bread recipe in their bread machine with good success. They just cut the recipe by 1/4 to make one loaf in the machine. Check out the comments on my recipe here.

  71. Ingrid February 20, 2010 at 6:13 pm #

    You soak the wheat grains, dehydrate and then grind/mill..Then use as a normal flour for bread/cake making. _ the soaking has already been done…

    If using pre ground regular flour, then soak flour for over 12 hours before forming into bread etc..
    regards Ingrid

  72. darlyne February 20, 2010 at 5:41 pm #

    The soaking process allows the body to absorb more of the nutrients, but once it is dried and milled it oxidizes and goes rancid easily so it is always best to consume freshly milled grains as opposed to buying already milled grains at the store.

  73. stephanie February 19, 2010 at 10:27 am #

    Please forgive my ignorance but I new to this. I recently purchased a wondermill and have been milling my own wheat and making bread. The idea of soaking my grains is totally new. My question is – if wheat is 40% oxidized after 24 hours and you mill it, then soak it (for your bread recipe), are you not loosing a lot of nutrients in the soaking process? Is is still healthy to just mill and then bake?

    • Lindsay February 20, 2010 at 3:51 pm #

      You do not loose nutrients through the soaking process, it in fact makes the nutrients more accessible to your body. After soaking your flour, all the nutrients are able to be digested because the prohibitors (phytates) are removed.

  74. Susan February 14, 2010 at 8:48 am #

    Please tell me how to manage a recipe which already includes some vinegar?
    Do I count that tablespoon as the first cup of flour, then add one tablespoon for each additional cup in the recipe?

    Also, I am thinking of substituting the yeast with equal parts lemon juice and baking soda to equal the total amount of yeast in the recipe. I think you see where I am going…do I count this acid in the acid to add?

    Thanks so much for providing this forum.

    • Lindsay February 15, 2010 at 3:00 pm #

      If your recipe already includes vinegar, than you can definitely apply that as the acid medium, and add 1 Tbsp more per cup of liquids. The same goes for your desire to use lemon juice.

  75. Sunny February 12, 2010 at 5:45 pm #

    I’d never really given much thought to the flour I have to add to my bread recipe until today’s question came up. My bread always turns out great (even won a blue ribbon at the fair) but now I’m wondering if I should experiment with sprouted wheat as you suggest.

  76. nancy February 12, 2010 at 1:04 pm #

    WOW, thank you for this VERY CLEAR explanation and guidance. This soaking is complete new news to me, after baking for 27+years. Actually I was frustrated A LOT, earlier today, when trying to figure out how to soak, after reading all the reasons why I should soak, and now feeling like I have been poisoning my family for all these years. Where has this information been and why has it not been taught? My ?, so if soaked flour overnight for bread baking, then go to knead and need more flour, should that additional flour be soaked too? I do not want to cancel out all my new soaking efforts, by using unsoaked flour. I am anxious to give it a try. My reason for stumbling on this 2 step method, is because I inquired into why bread has strong yeasty taste, and it was suggested to try soaking. Never too old to learn, for sure. I await help. THANK YOU AGAIN.

    • Lindsay February 12, 2010 at 2:59 pm #

      On those ocassions when you need additional flour, it is recommended to use sprouted flour. You can sprout your own or purchase it through To Your Health Sprouted Flour Company online.

      • nancy February 13, 2010 at 9:28 am #

        OK, where can I get information on sprouting my own flour? How would you store this, so to have it ready when needed? This is opening to me a whole new avenue of baking I had no idea existed. Again, thank you for your time and response.

        • Lindsay February 14, 2010 at 8:19 am #

          If you search google there are a wealth of sites that have given tutorials for sprouting your own flour.

  77. Erin February 7, 2010 at 12:46 pm #

    If I have a recipe (pancakes) that calls for milk as the only liquid, do I combine the flour in the recipe with the milk and some yogurt (I don’t have kefir) and soak at room temperature? I have this weird fear of leaving anything dairy out at room temp. for a long time (probably just because I’ve never really been exposed to soaking…). Also, would anything change if using raw milk? Thanks so much! I am loving your site and all the wonderful and SO helpful information you provide! I am just getting into soaking grains, and your site has been so helpful! And do you think I would still need to add in all the baking powder the recipe calls for? Thanks!

    • Lindsay February 8, 2010 at 9:34 am #

      I would simply replace the milk with watered down yogurt in equal quantity and soak the flour in that. It is totally safe! You can definitely cut back on the baking powder a bit.

  78. Leah F January 21, 2010 at 3:07 pm #

    I just wanted to know, do I need to soak my cream of wheat before cooking?

    • Lindsay January 21, 2010 at 3:30 pm #

      I would recommend it!

  79. darlyne January 21, 2010 at 1:26 am #

    Does anyone know how I should go about making chinese steamed buns? I want the flour to ferment naturally instead of using yeast. Will it work and how? Any ideas would be great! Thanks in advance!

  80. vicky January 17, 2010 at 6:58 pm #

    Maybe someone already saw this but if you want your beans to cook properly you should only soak them in water. Soaking or boiling beans in anything acidic will prevent them from cooking properly.

    • Lindsay January 18, 2010 at 9:59 am #

      Yes, a few others have mentioned that…but it has never been the case in my experience. Plus the benefits of soaking the beans far outway any possible side affects.

  81. EllenF January 6, 2010 at 6:22 pm #

    I just read a recipe for natural granola where you soak the oats in yogurt for 2 days at room temperature. Wouldn’t the yogurt spoil during that time and likely lead to food poisoning? I’ve scoured the web looking for some expert to say that yogurt left at room temp is safe, but they all say to pitch yogurt if it has been left at room temp for more than two HOURS.

    • Lindsay January 14, 2010 at 11:42 am #

      I am sorry…I do not know the answer to your question. All my experience using yogurt for soaking and such have been totally fine. It may be the difference of cultured yogurt to regular yogurt. In order to culture yogurt, it has to be a room temperature for extended periods. I would imagine people warn against the consumption of it to cover their backs. Raw milk yogurt sours naturally and is safe for consumption, but the average web source would not confirm that. I would submit your question to They have a more thorough database of information. Let us know what you discover.

      • EllenF January 14, 2010 at 3:17 pm #

        Thanks for your reply! I’ll see what I can find out.

    • Suren February 1, 2010 at 9:00 pm #

      It is a common practice in India to soak flour, in thinned yogurt to make pancakes, for 2 to 3 days at room temperature till you get the sourness desired. If you use yogurt with active cultures it is fine.

    • Ani June 18, 2010 at 6:12 am #


      I use Lindsay’s Granola recipe: http:/2008/07/homemade-granola.html
      (So yummy – I make 2 batches a week!) and I soak it in yogurt at room temp for 24 hours. It always smells sweet and I have never had any problems with it.

    • Heather January 6, 2011 at 3:29 pm #

      If you use raw milk yougurt than the yougurt will not go bad. Raw milk never goes bad. It can smell bad but you can always drink it if you like the tast of butter milk. Homemade yogurt is supper easy to make and that is what I would use. I make my yogurt with raw milk and do not cook it to the 180 degrees that they tell you to heat it to. I just heat it to 108 degrees and stir in my culture and set it in the yougurt maker.

  82. Mary November 9, 2009 at 9:53 am #

    How do you know if your yogurt is cultured?

    • Lindsay November 9, 2009 at 3:17 pm #

      It should say on the container if it has “active cultures”.

  83. tina October 29, 2009 at 7:10 pm #

    I had a question on soaking the brown rice: I usually mix brown rice with white rice…Do I just soak the brown rice by it self overnight and then add to the white rice when i cook it? Also I notice you cook it on the stove, boiling, then simmering it; can I use a rice cooker or will it affect it? Thanks so much for all the great info, I just told my hubby we are going to slowly switch our diets and eat more whole foods!

    • Lindsay October 30, 2009 at 3:58 am #

      Brown rice needs more cooking time then white, so I am not sure how well it would be to mix them. You might try preparing them separately and then mixing them together before serving. Yes, you can use a rice cooker. I used one previously. Just soak it overnight and then cook it as usual with fresh water in your rice cooker.

      • ~M October 30, 2009 at 4:38 am #

        When I soak and cook my brown rice in a rice cooker, I soak 1 cup rice and 2 cups water with 1-2 Tbsp lemon juice in a glass bowl on the counter. After soaking for 7+ hours, I just pour the mixture into the rice cooker, not adding any additional liquid. Works great!

  84. mona October 21, 2009 at 8:23 am #

    Hi Lindsay,
    I make my own kefir with kefir grains, and I have been experimenting with bread recipes that I make by soaking equal parts kefir with whole wheat (which I grind). My kefir is so active, that just an overnight soaking produces bubbles in my mixture, so I am trying half the yeast that a recipe calls for. I also through my years of baking bread have discovered that my breads always taste better if I leave them the dough in the fridge after the first rising overnight. (or even a couple of days for that matter)…I form the loaves and let them do the second rise in the fridge.
    My question is,…I have added half the flour that hasn’t been soaked to the flour that I have soaked in 50% kefir to 50% whole wheat, and I was wondering if the refrigerated time for the final dough will break down the remaining phytic acid in the flour I did not soak?? (if that makes sense!) I’m not sure if the proper method of soaking has to be more hydrated, and if my process qualifies as proper Phytic acid breakdown. Oh, my recipe is for a 1 lb loaf , so the percentages of soaked to non soaked flour is about 50/50, …if that makes any difference. I may be way off my rocker but it’s fun experimenting! Thanks…love your site!!

    • Lindsay October 23, 2009 at 6:22 am #

      I cannot say for sure. I would suggest emailing this question to Weston A Price Foundation. They will help you out and are more thoroughly educated in this area than myself.

      • Susan October 23, 2009 at 6:41 am #

        Your bread sounds like a delicious “sourdough”!

        I have been mulling this over and it seems logical, at the point where you add unsoaked grain to a soaked grain mixture, if the total amount of acid added (counted from the beginning of soaking the first batch of grain) is an amount equal to one Tablespoon per Cup of grain, you would want to then soak for the combined grains for the appropriate amount of time. Otherwise, you would want to add additional acid medium to the liquid to equal that 1T to 1C ratio, then soak.

        There is also the question if the temperature is an issue, i.e. whether refrigerated or room temperature makes a difference in length of time needed to break down the phytic acid.

        I would guess it would take longer at cooler temperatures, (and not at all if frozen!), primarily due to the basic need for the acid liquid to reach inside the grain. I vaguely remember something from science class about osmosis…

        • mona October 30, 2009 at 7:34 am #

          Thanks Susan. What you say makes sense! I will see what Weston Price says….
          I’m new at this soaking thing, and a bit confused as to which recipes actually qualify for the proposed health benefits of soaking, such as this recipe for pizza dough that I made the other day: I’m wondering if the 8 hour final rise of the dough in that recipe would be enough time handle the phytic acid in the wheat. I made the dough exactly as stated, and put my own toppings on in the end. (fabulous- one of the best, easiest pizzas I have made) The other question I have is that if wheat is already ground, wouldn’t it take less time to soak then if it were whole grain. Geez,..I always complicate things! :)

          • Susan October 30, 2009 at 3:59 pm #

            That is what I find, the science of food is complicated!
            I am making the assumption that the actual grinding of the grain doesn’t neutralize the p-acid. THerefore, it must still be there, in the same amount.
            Please share what you learn, I am very interested to learn.
            Best to you and your adventures.

  85. Rachel Loth October 10, 2009 at 9:26 am #

    most of what I make needs to be dairy-free. does using lemon juice or vinegar work as well as using kefir or yogurt? would raw apple cider vinegar be the best non-dairy choice?

    • Lindsay October 11, 2009 at 11:43 am #

      You can use lemon juice, vinegar, or apple cider vinegar. They all work well in breaking down the phytates for the dairy intolerant.

  86. DarcyLee September 22, 2009 at 4:05 pm #

    This is so informative! I hope you don’t mind if I put a link to your blog from my blog. I have just adopted some of the NT ways of eating and am doing some posts on it.

    • Susan Clark September 23, 2009 at 10:25 am #

      Please tell me, what is “NT ways of eating”? Thank you.

      • DarcyLee September 24, 2009 at 11:59 am #

        Nourishing Traditions, a book by Sally Fallon

  87. Ashley September 9, 2009 at 6:58 am #

    Hi Lindsay! Great website! I have a question about soaking soaking grain flours. I’ve been told it is good to grind your own flour, put it into a wide-mouth thermos, add hot water, and let it sit in the thermos and “cook” overnight. Is this a good thing to do? Also, I am confused on how to cook quinoa (or any grain for that matter)–after soaking, doesn’t the grain need to be rinsed with clean water? Also, is it OK to soak grain flours? Don’t they go bad quickly?


    • Lindsay September 9, 2009 at 12:19 pm #

      NO, I wouldn’t recommend cooking the flour in hot water overnight because you are not allowing it to sit with an acid medium necessary to break down the phytates. If you want to do it that way, I would recommend soaking first and then adding fresh hot water (probably half as much as the recipe calls for) and then cook it overnight. Yes, quinoa needs to be rinsed with fresh clean water after soaking because of the bitter lining on the grain…but this is the only grain that has that, so you don’t have to do it with other grains. Ideally, it is best to soak flours that have been freshly ground. Soaking preserves the nutrients. Flour only goes rancid on its own, but when it is soaked the deterioration process is stopped. Hope that helps!

      • Ashley September 10, 2009 at 6:45 pm #

        Thanks Lindsay. You are so helpful :) . I cannot eat solid food right now so I am trying to learn how to soak and prepare grain porridges. Is the ratio 1:4? (ex. 1/4 cup grain to 1 cup water)? To prepare, would I then first grind the grain into a powder, soak overnight in 1/2 cup water with an acid medium (how much?), and then, in the morning, bring an additional 1/2 cup water to a boil and add the soaked grain? My other questions is, does the water that the grain was soaked in need to be poured out?

        Thanks so much :)

        • Lindsay September 11, 2009 at 2:44 pm #

          If you are making a porridge, check out the super baby food porridge recipe where I describe soaking and preparing rice cereal. Same idea! Basically, I soak 1/2 cup ground rice in 2 cups water and 1-2 Tbsp acid medium. Then in the morning, I simply place all the contents into a pan and cook. You don’t have to drain any water or anything. I just bring the contents to a boil and then simmer till it is thickened. Hope that helps!

  88. Emily September 3, 2009 at 10:35 pm #

    Your blog is so helpful, and inspiring! Today I tried soaking my brown rice during the day…it was the BEST rice I’ve ever cooked. Usually it ends up too hard or too soggy, but this time it was perfect. Not to mention easy. Thank you so much!

  89. Tania August 31, 2009 at 8:31 am #

    I just tried your soaked bread recipe, and it came out pretty good. I thought I’d modify my old bread recipe for soaking using your guideline of 1 tablespoon of acidic medium per cup of water in the recipe. It dawned on me that in your soaked bread recipe, you add much more acidic medium. Is there a reason? Should I add more to my bread recipe?

    • Lindsay August 31, 2009 at 12:26 pm #

      I only added more kefir because I love all the health benefits it provides. It also seems to provide a more moist final product. You can experiment with however much you desire. 1 Tbsp is the minimum requirement.

      • Tania August 31, 2009 at 2:39 pm #

        Thanks for the response!

  90. Lorraine August 22, 2009 at 5:55 pm #

    Soaking beans…. in the past I have soaked beans before cooking, as the bag suggests, but after soaking and cooking them (I’ve tried soaking up to 24hrs+ and cooking 12hrs) the bean still has never been perfectly soft- still almost gritty-like. Is this because there is I haven’t added an acid medium, like whey or lemon juice as you suggest? If I added this, would I actually have a soft bean? When I’ve asked others how the cook there dry beans, they all said they just cook it for a long amount of time 8-10 hrs without soaking, just cooking. I haven’t tried it yet because I just got frustrated with trying to cook dry beans. What are your thoughts?

    • Lindsay August 22, 2009 at 8:04 pm #

      I would imagine this is due to using old beans. I have heard others having this problem and this is usually the case. The acid medium does not really affect the texture only makes it more digestible and eliminates the gases in the beans.

      • Susan Clark August 22, 2009 at 8:41 pm #

        To avoid tough old beans, it is good to date your beans at time of purchase and get no more than you will use in 6 months. Big batches of cooked beans can be measured and frozen with very good results and convenience.

        Also, just before cooking, add a 3″ piece of Kombu seaweed (helps break down the gas producing aspect of the beans). When I started using Kombu, my husband no longer produces bad gas from beans!

  91. Meggan August 9, 2009 at 2:41 pm #

    What if a recipe doesn’t call for any water? How do you soak??


    • Lindsay August 11, 2009 at 2:26 am #

      That is the problem that I have not solved yet. Does the recipe have any liquids at all? ;) If so, you can convert those into a soaking agent, but if it does not have liquids it is a little impossible to soak.

      • Susan Clar August 11, 2009 at 6:15 am #

        I must admit, I made the assumption “water=any liquid” at the beginning, (including applesauce, etc). Plus, I take the total volume and ADD the appropriate TBLS of acid liquid to the total. There is only one time, when I wasn’t accurate in my measuring, that the end result was a little soggy.
        Also, all my baking is gluten, soy, dairy and egg free.

  92. April August 3, 2009 at 10:29 am #

    I have been grinding and making my own bread for the past months. Three months ago I can across you web sight and thats were I learned to soak wheat I never herd of it before. So I gave it a try WOW what a difference, before my bread was dense and very crumble now light and fluffy and not crumbly at all. both good but defiantly like it light a fluffy and so dose my family. I use apple cider vinegar with milk. I put 3 TBS with 1/2 cup of mike then add anther 1/2 cup of filtered water then I let it sit for about 5min and then add my wheat. So for a day then I precede on with the rest of the recipe and my bread turns out great.

  93. Evelyn July 20, 2009 at 3:17 am #

    Hi! I really like your site :) Can I ask though – is yogurt the same as kefir?

    • Lindsay July 21, 2009 at 12:41 pm #

      No, definitely not. They are both very valuable soaking agents but completely different. You can find out more about kefir here.

  94. Kate June 13, 2009 at 7:04 am #

    This might be in the wrong section, feel free to move!

    Hi Lindsay, I was in the grocery store yesterday in the organic aisle. As I walked down the aisle, I found organic spices. Then I laughed! Why you ask? All the ingredients said organic this or that (parsley, etc). Are spices “regulated” so that the ingredients are truly organic?

    Another thing, at the end of the aisle, I assumed they had organic candy, ok, only because it was in those plastic bulk bins like candy in other aisle. I found quinoa and other grains, I tried looking thru you site to see exactly what that is, and I couldn’t. I know you have used it in recipes etc, but I still wonder what it is, now that I’ve seen it! They also had flax seeds, there were others that i recognized, but those are the two that stuck out.

    Now I found these in the organic aisle, does it make it as good as buying it from a whole foods whole seller?

    Another question, what is a reasonable price to pay? From what I saw all were around $3 (some a little more, and some a little less) I’m assuming a pound?

    • Lindsay June 14, 2009 at 8:32 am #

      I love buying things in the bulk section of a natural foods store. Fred Meyers has a great nutrition center and bulk section. I like to buy my spices in this section because I can purchase small quantities at a time, saving money and preserving freshness. Quinoa is one of the most nutritious of whole grains. It has the highest protein content. Unfortunately, it is also the most expensive. It has a rather nutty flavor and you have to rinse it thoroughly before use to remove the bitter coating. Buying bulk like this is a good option if you don’t have access to a food co-op, such as Azure Standard. I can often get better prices from Azure, but this is a good alternative and would be better prices than a store like Whole Foods, I believe. I think I pay around $2 per pound for quinoa. I hope that answers your questions.

      • Kate June 14, 2009 at 12:47 pm #

        Thanks Lindsay, you did answer some questions, much appreciated!

        I’m on the Northeast coast (central PA), and we don’t have a Fred Meyers, or a Whole Foods near (that I’m aware of lol). Even living in a state’s capitol doesn’t afford the luxury of some of the big name grocery stores. The organic spices in our grocery store, looked limited, but did have the small containers.

        I’ll have to try the quinoa the next time I go to the store. I’m going to start small. Old habits are hard to break. I’ll be 34 in Aug and a lifetime of eating white flour/sugar etc will be a change to whole grains. I was excited, since I did see a lot of the flours Lindsay talks about in the organic aisle. Now it’s already ground and all, but I do have access to it.

        • Kate June 25, 2009 at 1:19 pm #

          Ok I went back to the grocery store to get some quinoa. and I bought some of that and flax seeds. I only got 2 scoops of the quinoa, and a scoop of the flax seeds. I paid 66 cents for the quinoa and 24 cents for the flax seeds.

          Oh, the quinoa is 1.89/lb! I noticed it had a “woody”/grassy smell to it? Is it suppose to have a “different” smell to it?

          I was looking at all the grains and stuff in the organic aisle. And I saw steel oats, and all those grains that you speak of. I even saw Stevia. I never realized how expensive it was. Almost $10 for a jar of it. And there was a concentrated Stevia there.

          Any chance you’ll be taking emails soon? I have so many questions!

          • Lindsay July 1, 2009 at 6:37 am #

            That is a good price for quinoa. I don’t really know what it smells like though. As to the email thing, I can’t really take emails right now because I don’t have a computer. I can only use my hubby’s computer on ocassion, so it is making it difficult to reply and write posts at the same time. ;) Sorry!

  95. Meggan May 19, 2009 at 3:24 pm #

    I have some bread mixes my mother gave me from a stand at her county fair. The yeast is separate. Do you think soaking the mix would have any benefit? I know mixes aren’t ideal, but since I already have them I might as well use them…


    • Lindsay May 20, 2009 at 6:39 am #

      Yes, I would definitely try soaking your mix. Any bit of soaking, whether the flour is freshly ground or not, is valuable.

  96. Brad May 18, 2009 at 8:34 am #

    Lindsay, thank you so much for your blog. It has been very helpful to me. I am not a homemaker, but a 27 year old single guy who loves to keep healthy. I own Nourishing Traditions and The Maker’s Diet and try to stick to their philosophy on food. I have a sort of theoretical question for you. Correct me if I’m wrong on any of this because I’ve never made bread before and I’m relatively new to the subject. The way I understand bread making, there is a “rising” stage wherein the yeast is added to the dough and allowed to rise. In this stage the dough is actually fermenting correct? If that is the case, why doesn’t that help to neutralize phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors? Is it simply because the rise stage isn’t long enough? It seems this stage is usually an hour. Where as soaking is usually 12-24 hours. If it is an issue of time, then can traditional bread recipes say for sourdough or ciabatta, which I understand have a much longer rising phase, actually neutralize anti-nutrients in whole grains without any pre-soaking? Just curious……I’m interested in making my own bread but I’m trying to gain a fuller understanding of the different stages. Thank you again and God bless!

    • Lindsay May 18, 2009 at 11:33 am #

      Brad, thanks for visiting! I appreciate your kind regards. I am no expert in the world of bread making…I actually have only a limited understanding of all the science behind it. I believe that when the yeast is added to the dough it is no longer fermenting but only rising. The soaking process (also could be called fermenting) must be done apart from the yeast. The yeast will get in the way of allowing the acid medium to break down the phytates. I do believe as you described that the length of time is a big factor. Sourdough breads do not need to be soaked because that is accomplished in the fermenting process (the long periods of time that it sits out), along with the sourdough starter which is the acid medium. A better understanding of the bread making process is detailed thoroughly in Peter Reinhert’s Whole Grain Breads.

  97. Lori Turner May 11, 2009 at 7:38 am #

    WOW! This is just what I needed! Not only this, but your whole blog site- I am so encouraged to find you. I recently discovered Weston Price Foundation website, and then googled “how to soak grains”. Your blog entry was the first on the list. I am so blessed to find a health conscious Christian, and and you just happen to be at the same stage of life as me! Keep up the good work.
    The Lord bless you and keep you! …Lori

  98. Debbie April 26, 2009 at 2:01 pm #

    I am just starting to learn about soaking my grains and found your site VERY helpful! Thank you so much!

  99. Melody Joy April 11, 2009 at 4:49 am #

    Little help please…after reading all your posts on soaking I’m wanting to give it a try, but I have a question: You say for quick breads to use a Tbsp of kefir for every cup of flour. I’m wanting to make doughnuts (out of freshly ground soft white (summer) wheat. My whole grain doughnut recipe calls for milk, not water. My thought was that to leave all the milk out with the kefir in it for only 12 hours (I’m thinking the soft white would not need the full 24…I might be wrong though) would turn all the milk in the recipe sour, but not sour enough to be kefir. Do you have any suggestions?

    • Melody Joy April 11, 2009 at 5:23 am #

      strike that…meant to say 1 T of kefir for every cup of water.

      • Melody Joy April 12, 2009 at 4:40 am #

        Just thought I’d let you know..I did just do it with the milk, and they turned out great!

    • Lindsay April 14, 2009 at 7:39 pm #

      I would recommend replacing the quantity of milk called for in the recipe with an equal portion of your acid medium, such as kefir, whey, yogurt, etc. and allow to soak. I have also heard that you can soak with just milk as it will culture somewhat while it soaks. Not sure exactly about that though.

      • Melody Joy April 15, 2009 at 12:15 pm #

        Thanks, that’s very helpful.

        Do you make cookies often, and do you soak the flour for those? If so, how do you do it? No hurry on this one, it’s just a “for future reference” question.

  100. ingrid March 17, 2009 at 11:32 pm #

    the rice will be fine….put in fridge and cook tomorrow….
    regards ingrid

  101. April March 17, 2009 at 1:21 pm #

    Hi! I have a question — can you soak the rice “too long”? I’m asking because I set some rice on to soak yesterday morning intending to have it for dinner – but got home too late to have the dinner I had planned on. I’d like to have the rice for dinner tonight – but that will be about 36 hours total soak time in water and apple cider vinegar. What do you think? And I don’t mean taste – I mean safety, lol.

    • Lindsay March 17, 2009 at 8:35 pm #

      I am not familiar with any health risks for soaking it too long. I have done that very same thing myself! It definitely makes it taste more sour though. If I don’t have it for dinner, I try to cook it anyway and stick it in the fridge or freezer for later use. This will help avoid the sour taste. Blessings!

  102. Jennifer March 1, 2009 at 10:47 pm #

    I have been wondering about soaking my grains for some time. Just found your website and looking forward to trying out what I am learning! I do have a few questions.

    I am curious why it is necessary to boil the water before adding it to soaked whole grains. I have been using my counter top steamer to cook my teff, quinoa, amaranth, millet, etc. My family enjoys them better this way than when cooked on the stove top. I just add the grain and water in the rice bowl and steam for the stated time. (A common breakfast dish in our home.)

    I’m wondering if I could just soak a grain in my rice bowl in the total amount of cooking liquid the night before (which would be quite handy as I have a 12-hr timer on my steamer)… or do I still need to boil water and add before steaming. Also, would I steam for the same amount of time or would the soaking reduce cooking time? Blessings!

    • Lindsay March 2, 2009 at 1:14 pm #

      I only boil the water in preparation for my oatmeal. It just speeds up the process on the stove top. If you have a different method of preparing your breakfast cereals, go for it! I have never used a counter top steamer, but if you are simply combining the ingredients in there without any advance boiling, then I am sure you could just combine the same ingredients the night before with the acid medium and allow it to soak. You will just have to experiment with the cooking time. It is usually less after soaking because the grains absorb some of the liquids and thus become softer. Hope that helps!

    • Mary April 14, 2009 at 8:41 pm #

      I soak my rice, millet and quinoa in my rice bowl with water and kephir or lemon juice and it turns out fabulous!

  103. sarah February 15, 2009 at 8:37 am #

    i am wondering how to soak whole wheat flour? is it before it’s ground or after? if it is after it is ground then doesn’t it make a paste or stickiness? sorry i’m so clueless!

    • Lindsay February 15, 2009 at 10:57 am #

      You soak the flour after it is ground. It will definitely be a moist/wet dough, but you simply have to cover it and allow it to sit overnight. It dries out a bit and then after you add any remaining ingredients it will be fine.

  104. Jackie February 13, 2009 at 7:38 pm #

    I tried soaking flour and it was a disaster. When they say “soak”, does it mean to add the liquid to the flour and mix it up? That is what I did, but most recipes have less liquid than flour and I simply could NOT incorporate all the flour into the liquid. The result was half lumps and half dry flour. The next day, I still tried to make the muffins, but it was a lumpy mess. What am I doing wrong??

    • Julie February 16, 2009 at 10:25 am #

      I have the same problem! Lindsay, if you have a minute I’d love to hear any advice you have. It was difficult to incorporate the flour into the liquid. My dough wasn’t very wet after soaking – more the consistency of playdough that’s been sitting out a little too long. The resulting loaf was okay, but my heavy duty kitchen aid mixer struggled this morning to mix up the dough! I didn’t make a large batch, just one loaf – I couldn’t imagine what it would’ve done with 11 cups of flour! Thanks for any help you can give – I’d love to continue soaking my grains.

      • Lindsay February 16, 2009 at 11:45 am #

        I really recommend starting with a recipe that already includes the soaking steps, as you can find in my recipe section. This helps get into the grove of what the texture is supposed to be like before adapting your own recipes. But don’t give up! It is a learning process! I have gone through many odd textures and disasters before figuring it out. Yes, all recipes will have less liquid than flour, so sometimes you have to add a bit more additional liquids to maintain a moist dough. You do not want dry flour, you want to mix it all together until it is well incorporated and have a moist/but not completely wet dough. It will dry out more as it sits to soak.

        It is good to first make a recipe in the regular methods so you can observe the texture that it must be at to bake properly. Once you learn this, you can start soaking and adjust the liquids/flour till it resembles that same texture.

        Julie, as to the bread recipe. Did you try soaking my bread recipe? If so, you should be able to just divide the soaking ingredients by 4 in order to make one loaf. If your mixer doesn’t do it well, try incorporating it by hand.

        Above all, make sure you cover your ingredients while soaking, so it doesn’t dry out too much.

        Again, learning to soak your own recipes is an art! Don’t give up too quickly. You learn as you go and that is all part of the fun!

        Hope that helps you both!

    • ingrid March 17, 2009 at 11:41 pm #

      you add enough liquid so that your flour is all moistened..
      start with recommended amount of liquid, add slowly till you find you either had too much liquid or, if needed you add more..
      regards ingrid

  105. Emily February 6, 2009 at 2:44 pm #

    Just came across your site. I have learned about soaking techniques in breadmaking from Peter Reinhart’s Whole Grain breads. It has great recipes – all pre-soaked, for everything from pita bread, gram crackers, to a whole variety of breads. I got it for Christmas and it has been an excellent resource.

    • Lindsay February 6, 2009 at 4:20 pm #

      Wow! That sounds like an excellent resource that I will have to check out. Thank you for the recommendation!

  106. narissa February 6, 2009 at 11:13 am #

    lindsay i have been seeing “soaked grains” in a lot of articles on internet but i didnt really understand what they were talking about until i saw your website. Thanks for taking the time to explain things so clearly.I have been making my own bread for years now and this was the first time i soaked my flour….i used whole wheat flour, whole grain spelt flour and then lemon juice as an acid medium ( i live in the caribbean and i have never seen real milk much less kefir).It turned out well….the bread loaves were much lighter and fluffier!
    So thank you very much.My husband was delighted with the results.I have started soaking oatmeal too….so thanks again…stay blessed.

  107. Sue January 22, 2009 at 2:15 pm #
    I think you might find this interesting…
    Thanks for the tips.

  108. Kara January 6, 2009 at 12:26 pm #

    Hello, I have been trying to find an answer to whether soaking will alter the structure of the nutrition the way sprouting does? I know sprouting makes flours more protein than carbohydrate and I was wondering if soaking does the same? My 3 year old has a metabolic disorder that causes liver dysfunction and she needs to restrict her intake of protein. I use whole grains and would like to soak them to make it easier on her body to digest them but I worry about the increased protein. Thanks for any information. Kara

    • Lindsay February 16, 2009 at 11:48 am #

      Kara, soaking and sprouting both complete the same function of breaking down the phytates, releasing the nutrients, and thus allowing your body to be able to digest them properly. You can read more about the comparison of the two practices here.

  109. ingrid December 7, 2008 at 2:48 am #

    hello….soaking flour is to break down the gluten in the enzymes the body needs doe digestion….
    Adding gluten AFTER soaking flour will defeat the purpose….
    regards ingrid

  110. Anne December 5, 2008 at 11:00 am #

    I’m so glad I found your website. Very encouraging! Good job!!!

  111. Steffanie December 4, 2008 at 12:22 pm #

    So have you ever tried soaking the actual wheat grains/berries like suggested and then putting them in the blender? I cannot find my wheat grinder and cannot afford to buy another one.

    • Lindsay December 4, 2008 at 2:16 pm #

      I use my blender all the time for grinding grains for pancakes and waffles and the like. I grind in the blender and then soak. You can see my recipes in the recipe index.

      • Steffanie December 4, 2008 at 7:21 pm #

        Thank you for replying–I guess I need to clarify my question, though. I mean, have you tried soaking the wheat without grinding it, and then putting it in the blender? My blender is not very strong.

        • Lindsay December 4, 2008 at 9:20 pm #

          No, I have not tried that…but it would be worth a shot.

        • mrssmif December 5, 2008 at 11:38 am #

          Steffanie, I did try this before I got my Nutrimill, and I blew the motor out on my blender. So, if yours isn’t very strong, I wouldn’t recommend it. I blew my blender and coffee grinder before finally convincing dh to get the mill. Luckily I had bought the coffee grinder just for this purpose (from walmart) and was able to exchange it no problem for a new one when I did finally get the grinder.

        • Steffanie December 6, 2008 at 9:21 am #

          Well, I tried soaking it for 1/2 the time, first (12 hrs) before I noticed mrssmif replied. Then I soaked it some more. It turned out somewhat like cracked wheat, and wasn’t too bad. I used it for a smoothie. I didn’t try blending it a second time, after 24 hours, but think I would be fantasizing to expect it to be perfectly blended.

          • Soccy July 30, 2009 at 2:50 pm #

            You should be able to blend them down really well if you include the liquid you’ll be using in the recipe. That will make it easier on your blender. This is what I do. You could also add all the liquid, the grain and kefir, then blend it up and let it sit, as in the blender pancake recipe.

        • Mary December 6, 2008 at 6:43 pm #

          I have been successful soaking my grains first and then blending. Lately, I’ve even been using my hand blender and that’s working fine. I do soak them for 24 hours though. Perhaps I do not overload the motor because I blend the soaked grains with all the liquid items in the recipe. This seems to make it easier on the blender. Hope this helps.

  112. Pat Glover November 12, 2008 at 3:17 pm #

    I tried your recipe today. Soaked whole wheat flour in 1 cup of vinegar water and oatmeal in 1/2 C. vinegar water. My bread tastes wonderful, but it is not light as I expected. I baked it to 180 degrees. It was too damp for me. What do you suggest I do next time.


    • Lindsay November 12, 2008 at 9:20 pm #

      I am not sure which recipe you are referring to Pat. If it is the bread recipe, you will want to bake it at 325 or 350 and not 180 degrees. Whole wheat will not be as light as white bread, but you can add a little unbleached white flour if you desire a lighter texture or a Tablespoon or two of dough enhancer. This has been working for me!

  113. Lynnette November 12, 2008 at 3:06 pm #

    Love your site, read it many times & learned so much even though I’m a grandma!
    I’m confused again (and maybe over thinking) but under soaking you say this :
    ” I like to also add the oil and sweeteners to maintain moist dough, ”

    Under your homemade wheat bread tab it doesn’t list adding oil & sweeteners when soaking.

    so I’m not sure which is correct. I was also wondering if I should add the salt & gluten before soaking if we are supposed to add the sweetener and oil. My favorite recipe is a little different than yours and I use a bread machine. It has some white flour in it and I’m soaking that too. Thank you so much for sharing all of your information.

    • Lindsay November 12, 2008 at 9:21 pm #

      Lynnette, either way works fine. I have done it both ways, sometimes including the oil and sweetener, sometimes not. It is an optional thing. You definitely do not want to add the salt, leavenings or gluten until after it has soaked. They will hinder the soaking process and will not rise effectively.

  114. ingrid October 26, 2008 at 4:50 am #

    I am following nourishing traditions and weston pricce site…
    You say, as sally does, to soak the flour with a fermented product. This in just one instace breaks down the gluten into digestible enzymes needed by the digestive system. Fermenting bread for minimum 15hrs or cake dough for 24 hrs, makes a product that most so-called people with gluten allergies, able to eat…..Soaking also reduces pytates…
    By adding more flour after the soaking process, you are defeating the purpose of why you soak grains…
    Regards Ingrid

    • Lindsay October 26, 2008 at 7:26 pm #

      That’s why it is best to use a sprouted flour if you need to add additional flour, but all in all it will not harm it very much to just add a cup or two as needed as long as the majority is soaked. I read recently that Sue Gregg even recommends using unbleached white flour if you need to add some more flour as she also thinks that would be better than more whole wheat. Interesting…

  115. Lizzie October 5, 2008 at 11:33 am #

    I’m interested. Can you soak flour you want to use in cakes, or are these considered too unhealthy? I really want to try cutting out white flour completely from my diet, and would like to try a chocolate brownie recipe, replacing the white flour with wholemeal/ground almonds. Can I soak the flour first, or is this just not possible?

    • Lindsay October 16, 2008 at 1:14 pm #

      I rarely make cakes at my house, and if I do it is for a special occasion, so I would use unbleached white flour in this case or half and half with whole wheat, but I don’t worry about soaking. I don’t know of any recipes for soaking cakes personally, but I do have a healthy brownie recipe using whole wheat flour. It is delicious!

      • Melody Joy April 11, 2009 at 4:55 am #

        If you can get a hold of soft white wheat (or summer wheat) it is great for cakes, quick breads, and such. Nutritionally it is almost exactly the same as the more commonly used hard red or hard white (winter wheats), the only real difference being a very small degree less protein than that hard wheat varieties. If I’m making baked goods for an event where I know a lot of people are not used to the freshly ground wheat, I usually go half and half hard red and soft white. Soft white is not good for yeast breads, though. It does, however, make a terrific cake.

        • ~M August 14, 2009 at 11:43 am #

          This a great grainless brownie recipe (that’s also dairy-free):

          I tried it once, as written, and everyone LOVED them. I do, however, want to experiment substituting honey for the agave. These are EXTREMELY filling/hearty due to the eggs and almond butter, but the texture is really good (ie, normal).

  116. Samantha September 25, 2008 at 4:34 am #

    Firstly thank you so much for the time you take to share your knowledge, it’s a wonderful thing. My question if you have time is, I have some whole grain bread mix in the cupboard and was wondering if I could soak this and get the same results AND continue to do this until I purchase a grinder? Are there any do’s and don’t for successful bread making this way? I understand it will have lost a lot of it’s nutrition but do you think it would be a healthy alternative until fresh grinding can be achieved? Thanks again! Samantha

    • Lindsay October 16, 2008 at 1:12 pm #

      Sure. Go ahead and use what you have. You might have to make some slight adjustments, but combine the flour, sweetener, oil, water/liquids and acid medium and let it soak. I have not experimented using a mix personally, so I don’t have specific tips.

  117. Laura September 19, 2008 at 10:17 am #

    I have a question. When using buttermilk as your acid for soaking, can you use buttermilk powder made up instead of fresh buttermilk? Or will that not work?

    • Lindsay September 19, 2008 at 12:59 pm #

      Unfortunately powdered buttermilk is not cultured and thus will not break down the phytates as the fresh cultured product. I had to go through this same thing myself…it was a bummer as powdered buttermilk is so easy to have on hand.

    • Lynnette November 18, 2008 at 12:32 pm #

      I found some powdered buttermilk that says it is Cultured. Do you think it can therefore be used for soaking? My breads, muffins and quick breads seem lighter and tastier with soaking. I had never heard of soaking until I was blessed to find your site. Thank you so much.

      • Lindsay November 18, 2008 at 3:07 pm #

        I do not know for sure, but I would imagine the key is also the buttermilk being fresh. The drying process can definitely affect the nutrient contents and such and could have potentially destroyed its ability to break down phytates. If you desire to use this powdered buttermilk, I would play it on the safe side by adding a bit of a different acid medium (lemon juice, whey, kefir, etc) to the mix.

  118. SarahMichelle September 9, 2008 at 7:10 pm #

    Hi Lindsay – I have been referring to your blog a lot lately as I am trying to incorporate soaked grains into our diet. I really appreciate all the time and energy that you put into your posts, I have learned so much! I do have a couple of questions about soaking though –
    1.) Is it unhealthy to eat grains that haven’t been soaked or just not as good as eating soaked grains? I noticed that a number of times you have mentioned adding additional flour to the soaked grains just before baking. I was wondering if this has a negative effect on the nutritional benefit of soaking the grains in the first place?
    2.) How to you prepare pasta? Do you soak it as well?
    Thanks in advance for you help :)

    • Lindsay September 9, 2008 at 7:27 pm #

      I am glad to hear that I can be of service.
      To answer your questions:

      1. It is not necessarily unhealthy to eat unsoaked grains, it is just very difficult to digest and absorb all the nutrients.

      As Sally Fallon says: Eating whole grains is important because they provide vitamin E, B vitamins, many important minerals and fiber. But the phytic acid in the grain combines with the iron, calcium, magnesium, copper and zinc in the intestinal tract, blocking their absorption. They also contain enzyme inhibitors that can interfere with digestion.

      Adding additional flour is just out of necessity when it comes to some baked goods. It would be best to use a sprouted flour for these times, but I don’t believe a little bit of additional flour will cause more difficulty in digesting since the majority is already soaked.

      2. I understand it to be impossible to soak pasta, thus I mentioned above that I purchase brown rice pastas for my use. These contain the least amount of phytates and thus are the best choice when it comes to pasta. A low amount of pasta content in the diet is best due to this. I cook as the package instructs.

  119. stacia September 9, 2008 at 9:43 am #

    I’m trying to get my head around the science behind all this. I’m confused why you don’t need to get rid of the soaking agent (by rinsing or straining) before cooking. Doesn’t it contain all the stuff you were just trying to get rid of?

    • Lindsay September 9, 2008 at 7:20 pm #

      No, there is nothing harmful in the soaking liquids. They help us digest the grains and break down the phytates. It’s not like the grains give off a bad substance, the soaking just enables us to digest them more effectively. In many things that you soak, you will find that much of the liquid is absorbed into the grain, and thus you don’t have very much remaining liquid anyway. The only things I rinse and replace the water is with beans, lentils and quinoa, as that is standard in most recipes (we are just adding the acid medium).

      • Mary December 6, 2008 at 6:36 pm #

        Why do you rinse and replace the quinoa? I thought it was a grain and not a legume.

        • Soccy July 30, 2009 at 2:44 pm #

          Quinoa has some bitter soapy type substance on it. I wash mine REALLY well, about 4 times, before I even soak. Then toss the liquid again. This takes away that bitter taste.

      • ~M January 31, 2010 at 9:55 am #

        How long do you soak the lentils for? I know that most beans need to be soaked (even according to “conventional” guidelines), whereas lentils and split peas are typically not soaked. Thanks!

        • Lindsay February 1, 2010 at 1:52 pm #

          I just soak them overnight same as everything else.

  120. Shellie September 8, 2008 at 2:56 pm #

    Hi! I just clicked through to your blog through several others. I love to click around others’ blogrolls and see who’s out there. I LOVE your blog. I had heard of soaking grains before, but never saw such an inclusive instruction on it. I may give it a try the next time we have rice or oatmeal to see how it works. One quick question, do you do this with all grains, such as cornmeal (is that a grain?) or barley? I am such a novice at this, we have been white grain eaters for, well, since I am born! I am trying to cook healthier (and cheaper :-) for my family and want to give this a try. THANKS!!!

    • Lindsay September 8, 2008 at 3:04 pm #

      Yes, I usually soak all my grains, including corn/cornmeal (which although is not really a grain, as far as I understand, it still has phytates that need to be removed through soaking), and barley. I don’t use those on their own, but normally in combination with other grains to make cornbread, or homemade bread.

  121. Natalie August 14, 2008 at 2:30 pm #

    First of all, I love your blog and I just found it!
    Second, I have a quick question:
    When soaking the rice do you let it sit out on the counter? And do you drain it?
    Thanks in advance!

    • Lindsay August 14, 2008 at 2:56 pm #

      Yes, I allow everything to soak covered on the countertop or in a cupboard. After soaking, I normally just cook the rice in the water, because some of the water has soaked into the rice, so the remaining amount works perfectly to cook it. With rice you are soaking in the amount that you would normally cook in (1 cup brown rice to 2 1/4 cups water), just soaking in advance.

      • ~M August 14, 2009 at 11:34 am #

        Hi Lindsay,

        Am I correct that the soaked rice uses a lower concentration of acidic medium than other whole grains? Also, does the brown rice not taste weird/acidic after using the soaking water for cooking? I plan to use a rice cooker, if that matters.

        The first – and only – grain I’ve ever soaked was quinoa. I rinsed the quinoa, soaked in water and ACV (unfortunately in the fridge), and then rinsed and cooked in fresh water…but this turned out great with your help and expert posts. So now I want to try it for other grains.

        Also, do you soak your nuts? I do for certain recipes (the ones that call for it, ha), but would like a tutorial on soaking nuts in general. I don’t think you use an acidic medium for nuts, just water. My favorite soaked nut recipe is Elana’s grain-free granola from Elana’s Pantry!

        Thanks so much!

        • Lindsay August 14, 2009 at 3:02 pm #

          Rice doesn’t need to be soaked as long because it doesn’t have as high a level of phytates as the other grains. 7 hours is the recommended time. Yes, I try to soak my nuts when time allows, but I don’t have a dyhrdator so I am not sure if it really helps. My oven does not go below 170 degrees for drying when the recommendation is 150. I think too high of a heat will kill some of the nutrients. I soak nuts for my candied pecans. It is basically the same idea with all your nuts.

  122. kiki August 3, 2008 at 1:00 pm #

    Your blog is so informative, I’ve been searching for info on soaking grains, and am having a hard time. I’ve had sucess with Sue Gregg’s coffeecake recipe (w/some tweaking), and that’s about it. I’m having trouble figuring how to incorporate this method into my family’s favorite recipes. One big question I have is, what do you do when the recipe does not have a liquid for you to add the acid to, or soak the grains w/? Here’s an example of one of our favorite muffins ingredients:

    1 1/4 cups halved strawberries
    3 tablespoons butter or stick margarine, melted
    2 teaspoons grated orange rind
    2 large eggs
    1 1/2 cups flour
    1 cup sugar
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt

    Thanks for such a great website, I’m going to try your whole wheat bread recipe and see how it works out for me.

    • Lindsay September 9, 2008 at 7:32 pm #

      In this case, I normally don’t worry about soaking. You could try just soaking the flour in a small amount of liquids (maybe 1/2 cup) and 1 Tbsp acid medium. The flour will absorb the liquid. You want a moist dough. When you get ready to bake, you could add a small amount of additional flour to get the texture you need.

  123. Sunny June 13, 2008 at 7:41 pm #

    Lindsay, I DO love your site and have been trying to change years of ‘traditional cooking’ with the Nourishing Traditions way. However, I noticed you said to soak grains, flour in CULTURED buttermilk NOT what you get from making butter. I have access to raw milk and have used the ‘regular’ buttermilk I’ve made and thought it was great. Can you tell me the reason to use the cultured?


    • Lindsay June 14, 2008 at 9:52 pm #

      Sunny, I understand your confusion, as I was in the same boat a little while back wanting to use the buttermilk in the butter making process. The reason, to the best of my understanding, is that the buttermilk has not been cultured (gleaned the healthy bacteria in the air from sitting out), and thus will not be able to break down the phytates, as it must be a cultured source. Buttermilk that comes fr making butter is just a run off from the cream.
      You can culture your cream before making it into butter and thus solve that problem. Simply let the cream sit for 8 hours before whipping into butter. It does change the flavor though, so you will have to just give it a try.

      Hope that helps!

  124. Mary C May 19, 2008 at 2:25 pm #

    You women truly inspired me to attempt healthy breads again. Yesterday I ground amaranth and quinoa and then soaked them in the liquid with the kefir. When I got up this morning to make my bread, the soaking flour was already beginning to mold! Has anyone else had this problem??? Do I soak them in the refrigerator? I’m used to soaking and sprouting legumes, nuts and seeds; but am unfamiliar with soaking flour, so I appreciate your helpful hints!

    Also, has anyone tried to sprout their grains first and then make bread out of them? Just curious as this is supposed to be even healthier?

  125. Stephanie May 5, 2008 at 4:43 am #

    I linked to this post on my blog today! Thanks for the inspiration!

  126. Andrea April 9, 2008 at 1:15 pm #

    This is exciting. Thanks for maping out grain soaking step-by-step. I have just recently received news on a trusted local raw milk source (we live in Alaska, so this is a miracle) and am excited about making kefir and such. Actually, I have a whole slew of questions about how you “schedule” turning your raw milk into kefir, yogurt, sour cream, cream cheese, butter, and cheese over a month’s time. But anyway, back to the subject of grains.

    1. If I don’t have raw milk yet, can I use another acid agent on the flour for bread baking?

    2. In reference to your bread recipe what do you make your one cup of gluten flour out of if you never buy flour and the rest is whole wheat?

    3. Do you ever have any kefir left over, or does it all soak into the flour?

    Thank you. I am humbled by how much good healthy home keeping information you have. Thank you for sharing it.

    • Lindsay April 9, 2008 at 4:29 pm #

      Glad you found a raw milk source!
      In answer to your questions:
      1. You can use lemon juice or white vinegar as mentioned above.
      2. I do purchase gluten flour (its more of a dough enhancer, than an actual flour) from Azure Standard. I am sure you can get it from other sources as well.
      3. Whatever I use to soak with remains in the flour/dough. It definitely soaks in.

      Hope that answers your questions fully.


  127. Noah April 8, 2008 at 10:30 pm #

    Great tips! I’ve been grinding my own flour since I got my nutrimill for Christmas, but haven’t tried soaking yet, largely due to the “how”. I will give your methods a try!

  128. Kathleen April 8, 2008 at 5:39 pm #

    Do you find that soaked quick breads take longer to bake? I tried doing muffins once but they were a terrible flop! They turned out like nutmeggy cakes of gluey grain! I did use ground grains for part of the recipe (they were “seven-grain muffins”), but they still turned out horribly!

    • Lindsay April 9, 2008 at 9:10 am #

      Kathleen, that is something I forgot to mention. I have discovered that with baked goods you usually have to add more flour than the recipe calls for, but you follow the standard baking time. I usually add maybe 1-2 more cups of flour after soaking. My tip is to try your recipe normally, learn what texture it should be, then experiment with soaking and adding more flour to get that same texture.

  129. Tia April 8, 2008 at 4:41 pm #

    Lindsay are you saying if you soak brown rice it won’t be as chewy? I eat brown rice, but it’s more or less choking it down lol because of the chewiness of the rice. And I got away from white rice, sugar, flour, and white potatoes a few years back.

    • Lindsay April 8, 2008 at 4:56 pm #

      Hmm…I am not sure I would quite say that it makes it less chewy. I think brown rice is naturally more chewy than white, but I love it that way. It all depends on how much water you use as well. If you use more water, the rice will be more wet and I assume less chewy, if you prefer that way. Of course, we very rarely just eat rice by itself. I always serve it under Parmesan chicken or thrown in a stir fry or something.

    • Tia April 9, 2008 at 4:28 pm #

      Yeah we eat it w/something too. I’m the big rice eater. My dh is more of a bread person. I can take or leave bread.

      I usually serve it w/chicken or fish, stir fry definitely. And w/tofu!

      Gee maybe I’ve been cooking it wrong all this time! I’ll add more water to it next time. I like my pasta al dente, but I like my rice soft! (not mushy)

  130. Candace April 8, 2008 at 3:55 pm #

    That was a great post.
    I have soaked flour and cracked grains before.
    My question is- how can I easily modify my favorite recipes to include soaking?

    • Lindsay April 8, 2008 at 4:32 pm #

      Candace, as described above, take the flour called for in the recipe and the liquids, and add 1 Tbsp of an acid medium per cup of the liquids (unless recipe calls for buttermilk, then that is the acid medium, and you don’t need to add anything else). Cover and soak as described. After soaking, add the remaining ingredients. I have done this on all my favorite recipes with great success. Does that make sense? It might be easiest to start with a few of the recipes I have completed and you will get the hang of it, and be able to incorporate it in your favorite recipes.

      Also, you are free to send me one of your favorite recipes and I will map it out for you.

  131. Lynn April 8, 2008 at 8:33 am #

    Does soaking the brown rice change the taste? I really like brown rice. I prefer it to white, but my husband really dislikes the taste of brown rice. He says it is too strong and prefers the rice to taste plain so that you are tasting what goes on the rice. If soaking the brown rice makes it less mild maybe I should try it.

    • Lindsay April 8, 2008 at 11:18 am #

      I have not noticed any change in the taste due to soaking. If anything, soaking usually makes a more moist and lighter overall texture, including brown rice. I would recommend you try it and see.

    • Barb September 11, 2009 at 3:47 pm #

      Try soaking and/or cooking your brown rice with coconut milk or stock of some kind. It makes the rice far more flavorful.