Soaking Grains – Sue Gregg’s Blender Baking Method

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On the advice of a friend, I recently purchased Sue Gregg’s 2007 cookbook, Introduction to Whole Grain Baking. I’m intrigued by the idea of using sprouting and/or soaking gluten-containing grains in baking, even for the gluten-intolerant people in my family.

Some people suggest that the soaking and/or sprouting can aid in the digestion of those grains. I can’t say that this will work for everyone. In fact, I’m not even sure it is going to work for us. We’re still trying it out. (We have two gluten-intolerant people in the family and one wheat-sensitive person.)

The method for soaking grains involves taking the whole grains and grinding them up in a blender container with a cultured milk product or a non-dairy acid milk (such as 1 cup of almond milk with 1 T of raw apple cider vinegar or lemon juice). A sweetener and an oil can be added, too. The whole mixture is left to soak for up to 24 hours, which aids in the breaking down of problematic nutrients. (The main one is phytic acid. As far as I can tell, research is all over the board as to whether phytic acid is good or bad. I’m going to leave that issue alone and sort it out later. My main consideration here is to see if soaking helps my family member’s tolerate gluten-containing grains.) After the 24 hour soak, one blends the batter more smoothly (it is pretty grainy after the first grinding) and adds the leavenings and eggs (or egg-alternative such as flax seed meal). Then one bakes the bread, muffins, waffles, pancakes, etc.

Last Thursday, I made some kamut-corn cornbread, following the Blender Cornbread recipe in Sue Gregg’s cookbook. Kamut has gluten, corn does not. I soaked the grains for 24 hours in almond milk with raw apple cider vinegar. The good news: A., my daughter who is gluten-intolerant, had no reaction to the bread! The bad news: the bread had a bitter aftertaste. Very subtle; tasted much like soap.

On Friday, I made Blender Waffles using the same method, but different grains (brown basmati rice and millet, which are both gluten-free). Again, the bitter/soapy after taste. Yet the texture and initial flavor was awesome.

On Saturday, I tried 100% corn (no kamut) Blender Cornbread, only this time, I used half the amount of apple cider vinegar. Still the same bitter/soapy after taste.

The common ingredients in both recipes were: almond milk, raw apple cider vinegar, gluten-free baking powder, baking soda, salt, agave, flax seed meal. I can safely rule out the grains from being the cause of the taste because no one grain was used in all three recipes. I believe I can also rule out the flax seed meal, agave, baking powder, almond milk and salt, because I use those all the time in baking and never have this result. That leaves the apple cider vinegar and baking soda. I do use baking soda sometimes, but so rarely that I am going to include it as a possible culprit. Halving the amount of vinegar didn’t help. So, I think maybe the baking soda and the vinegar are having a reaction. In my next attempt, I will leave out the baking soda. I’m hoping for a good result. The results so far have been so promising that I’d like to make this work.

One note I would make is that I had more success with this method when I used the Vita-Mix dry container, especially when grinding/blending whole corn. In fact, the whole corn being ground in the wet container caused even my Vita-Mix to shut off automatically due to the engine heating up.

If you have any thoughts or ideas to help me, I’d appreciate it! In my next post, I am going to write about the Sprouted Kamut Bread I baked which was semi-successful.

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Comments

  1. Cammie Grace says

    Dear Wardee,

    I am so happy you found the Sue Gregg book! Sorry to hear about your problems though. We have a couple gluten intolerant people in our home too – as well as my daughter being unable to have dairy and egg whites. What I do is soak the grains (for waffles – I like to use brown rice, quinoa, oats etc…mix ‘em up together) in lemon juice for the overnight soaking. In the morning I blend in the other ingredients and cook. I have never experienced the soapy after taste though. At times when I use quinoa I do encounter the bitter after taste but have found ways to counter that factor. Try the same ingredients with lemon juice and see if that helps.

    Many blessings to you and yours-

    Love,
    Cammie

  2. says

    Regarding your machine shutting down when using the wet container… did you try to grind more than 4 cups at a time?

    They recently re-designed the dry container to be smaller than the wet container because people were attempting to grind more than 4 cups at a time. Personally, I don’t grind more than two cups at a time.

    I’d like to hear how your cornbread came out after you leave out the baking soda!

    Regards,
    Lea Ann Savage
    http://www.VitaMixLady.com

  3. says

    LeaAnn,

    No, I never grind more than 2 cups at a time. I took that instruction in the manual very seriously when I got my Vita-Mix.

    When my machine shut off, I was using the wet container, following the above referenced recipe, to grind 2 cups of corn with about 1 cup of liquid. I didn’t see that happen when using the dry container.

    Did you read here? I tried the cornbread one more time after writing this post.

    I hope to try again soon! I’ve had a busy month and now have some time again to experiment. Thanks for writing! I am curious about your website and am going to check it out now. :D

  4. Joanna Huffman says

    When I first was introduced to Sue Gregg and soaking grains I had the same problem with having a ‘bitter’ aftertaste. My problem was old baking soda. You use the baking soda to neutralize the Cider Vinegar, but if it’s old it won’t really work. My suggestion is buy a small baking soda box and use that.

    • says

      Thank you, Joanna! Since writing this, I have been using Kombucha for my soaking acid and that cuts down on the bitterness, too. I think my baking soda is old though – should replace it!

  5. shannon Kohlman says

    I had the same bitter problem – it isn’t a baking soda issue and there is no quinoa – I don’t understand it – it happens with my soaked crepes too that I don’t add any baking soda into the recipe and it doesn’t seem to matter which grains I combine – they get a bitter taste. Anyone else know anything about this?

    • midori says

      When we used to adhere to a raw vegan diet we were using a lot of sprouted and soaked grains and beans. We soaked the beans and grains overnight (8 to 12 hours) followed by rinsing in fresh water in the morning to get rid of the anti-sprouting enzyme these foods have. That enzyme prevents being able to fully use all those foods’ nutrients in digestion. It may be that the anti-sprouting enzyme is giving the bitter flavor of which you speak. Pan toasting without oil will also remove the effects of the enzyme. We used to soak large quantities of these items then dry them at the lowest setting in the food dehydrator. They were then ready for use or storage. It’s an extra couple of steps, but I think you’ll find the taste problem will be resolved. If you cook a lot with these items, soaking/drying/storing large quantities in this way might be worth your while.

  6. Joan Johnson says

    Baking soda neutralizes the acid in the vinegar. You should replace Baking Soda and Baking Powder every 3 months. In fact you can eliminate the baking powder and increase your baking soda by 1/4 a teaspoon in these grain soaked recipes. Remember soda neutralizes acid.
    Joan

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