Working soaked grains into your diet seems to be one of the last skills people take on when they move to traditional foods. Why? It gives all appearance of being both time consuming and intimidating. But it doesn’t have to be. There are a few ways you can easily simplify your soaking routine so it can be fitted into your day instead of being a monster time suck.
Whole grains such as quinoa or rice are far more forgiving than a baked good using flour. It’s really best to start there. Once you’re comfortable soaking whole grains, then you can move on flour-containing recipes. I found quinoa very easy to soak because it can be soaked for 24-48 hours and turn out just fine. Brown rice gets mushier the longer you soak it, so I recommend sticking to no more than 12 hours.
Guidelines Not Absolutes
Look at the soaking times as guidelines and not absolutes. You can soak for shorter or longer amounts of time without trouble except for whole rice. For example, if you need to go ahead to bed and breakfast is in 12 hours and you’re doing a recipe that calls for soaking flour for 8 hours, it’s fine to go ahead and start it soaking. Look at the times as guidelines and not absolutes. If it’s more convenient to soak it for longer or shorter time periods, do so.
Tried and True
Once you tackle soaked flour recipes, start with tried and true recipes from friends or bloggers. Find recipes that you think you’d like and work from those instead of following those in cookbooks such as Nourishing Traditions or trying to convert your own family recipes. A number of the recipes in Nourishing Traditions get poor reviews and you need a better idea of the look and feel of soaked flour goods before you can successfully convert your own recipes.
Picked soaked flour recipes that don’t rise via yeast, such as muffins, clafoutis, flatbread and such. Save the sourdough-risen breads until you’ve got a handle on their flat cousins.
Keep it Cold
Once you do move to soaked, wild yeast-risen bread such as sourdough, keep your starter in the fridge. This reduces the time and attention it needs so you don’t have to bake as often or feed it daily. It also gives the starter a milder, more pleasant flavor. When you want to do daily baking you can pop it onto the counter and feed it daily then stash it back in the fridge until you’re ready to do daily baking again.
Don’t be afraid to give soaked grains a try. They really are easier than they sound, especially if you ease yourself into it and start with whole grains. Don’t start with a 100% soaked sourdough bread or you’ll get frustrated and give up. Just as you had to learn how to cook and bake, there is a learning curve to soaked grains. Be easy with yourself while you work through that curve.