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. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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!

  4. 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

  5. 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 ?


  6. 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.

  7. 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?

  8. 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.

  9. 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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  11. [email protected] 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?

  12. 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??????

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. -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.

  18. 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!!


  19. 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

  20. 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.

  21. 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?

  22. 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.

  23. 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?

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

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

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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!



  29. 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?

  30. 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!

  31. 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.

  32. 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?

  33. 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.

  34. 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 #


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

    Legend! Thanks:-)

  36. 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.

  37. 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.

  38. 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.


  39. 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.

  40. 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

  41. 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.

  42. 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.

  43. 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.

  44. 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.

  45. 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.

  46. 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.

  47. 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!

  48. 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!

  49. 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.

  50. 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.