The Value of Making Nuts, Seeds & Grains More Digestable
The fermenting of vegetables and grains, and the sprouting and soaking of seeds has been carried out for thousands of years. Enzymes are essential for the digestion and proper absorption of nutrients from our food. Our bodies manufacture enzymes, but if we rely too heavily only on the ones we make, rather than supplying a good proportion as part of our diet, this puts a huge strain on our bodies. Cooking and pasteurization destroys enzymes, but by ensuring that we include fresh and fermented foods as part of our diet, we will have a whole range of enzymes to help us digest and get the greatest benefit from the food we eat.
Many foods, such as nuts and seeds, contain phytic acid and enzyme-inhibitors as a protection against pests, making them less digestible. Sprouting, fermenting and soaking seeds and nuts neutralizes these enzyme-inhibitors making the food more digestible and their nutrients more available. With dried beans, this involves soaking, then very slightly sprouting, before cooking. With seeds and nuts, this involves soaking for at least 7 hours or over night in warm saline solution, then eating fresh, or drying or roasting for storage.
All grains contain phytic acid in the outer layers or bran, which combines with calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and especially zinc in the intestinal tract, blocking their absorption. Untreated whole grains can have a detrimental effect on health. Traditionally, our ancestors soaked or fermented their whole grains before making them into porridge, breads, cakes and casseroles. In India rice and lentils are fermented for at least 2 days before being prepared as idli or dosas. In Europe sourdough was common and grains were soaked over night or longer in water or soured milk before being cooked. Soaking allows enzymes, lactobacilli and other helpful organisms to break down and neutralize phytic acid and encourages the production of many beneficial enzymes, which in turn increases many vitamins including vitamin B.
In Mexico, maize grains were traditionally treated with limewater, made with wood ash, before grinding. Vitamin B is locked up in maize, which is released by this simple soaking method – see MAIZE.
SOAKED NUTS & SEEDS
• 4 cups of shelled nuts (pumpkin or sunflower seeds)
• 2 tablespoons sea salt
• Warmed filtered water to cover
1. In a bowl mix nuts with sea salt and enough warmed filtered water to cover the nuts
2. Leave in a warm place for 7 hours, or overnight
3. Drain in a colander
4. Spread the nuts out on a stainless steel baking pan and place in a warm oven, no more than 650C (1490F) for up to 12 hours, turning occasionally, until dried
5. Store in an airtight container
SOAKING & SPROUTING
Soak the almonds in a jar with filtered water overnight, covered with material mesh. Next day drain and rinse and drain again, then tip the jar sideways and leave a few days until the almonds start to sprout. Use organically grown almonds if you have not grown them yourself.
TREATED GRAINS & FLOUR
Wholegrain Sourdough Bread
Making the sourdough starter:
1. Combine ¾ cup wholemeal flour and ½ cup warm water in a glass or plastic container. ...
2. Stir vigorously to incorporate air; cover with a breathable lid.
3. Leave in a warm place, 20-30°C (70-85°F), for 12-24 hours. ...
4. At the 12 or 24 hour mark you may begin to see some bubbles, indicating that organisms are present.
Making sourdough bread:
• 80 grams (2¾oz) whole wheat starter
• 580g whole wheat or spelt flour
• 230ml (1cup) water
• 200ml (6½floz) milk
• 11 g salt
1. Measure the sourdough starter into a large bowl and return any remaining starter to the refrigerator.
2. Add 80g (2¾oz) of the flour and 80ml (2¾floz)of the water.
3. Stir and cover with plastic wrap, and leave on the counter for around 8 hours.
1. Add the remaining ingredients and knead well for 10 minutes.
2. Cover the bowl with a kitchen cloth and leave in the warm for 4 hours.
3. Generously flour a 1 kg, oval proofing basket.
4. Remove the dough from the bowl and place it on a floury work surface.
5. Gently stretch it out into a flat rectangle that is just a little narrower than your basket.
6. With the help of a scraper, fold the top edge the the middle and gently press along the seam. Fold the bottom edge to meet it and gently press along the seam.
7. Still using the scraper, fold the dough in half, long wise and, with the heel of your hand, seal the long edge. Sit the dough on sealed bottom seam and, using the sides of your hands, seal up both side edges.
8. Sprinkle flour over the dough and pick it up (it’s more robust than it seems) and put it seam side UP in the basket. Cover it with a shower hat and let it rest for 2-3 hours or until it passes the probe test.
9. Preheat the oven to 230 degrees celsius and put in the dough. Bake for 10 minutes and then reduce the heat to 200 degrees celsius and bake for a further 30 minutes.
10. Remove from the tin and let cool completely on a wire rack
Yeasted Buttermilk Bread
This is a good compromise between sour dough and yeast bread, that can be sliced and used for sandwiches.
• 4 cups freshly ground spelt, kamut or hard winter wheat flour
• 1-1½ cups cultured buttermilk
• ½ cup melted butter
• ¼ cup warm water
• 4 teaspoons dried yeast
• 2 tablespoons honey
• 1 teaspoon sea salt
• ½ teaspoon baking soda
• 1 cup unbleached white flour
1. Combine the whole-wheat flour, 1 cup cultured buttermilk and ½ cup melted butter in a food processor until a ball forms. If too thick, add more buttermilk
2. Place in a bowl covered with a towel and place in a warm place for 12-24 hours
3. Mix honey and yeast in warm water and let stand for 10 minutes
4. Add salt and baking soda and mix well
5. Place half the flour mix + half the yeast mix and half the unbleached white flour in the food processor and process until smooth ball is formed
6. Repeat with other half of dough, yeast mix and white flour
7. Knead two balls together briefly and place in a buttered bowl
8. Cover with a towel and place in warm place to rise for 2 hours until double in bulk
9. Punch down and knead briefly
10. Form into loaves and place into buttered loaf tins
11. Cover with a towel and leave to rise for 1-2 hours, until doubled
12. Bake for 30 minutes at 1800C (3560F)
13. Cool on racks
Yeasted Buttermilk Four Grain Gluten-Free Bread
• 2 cups millet flour
• 2 cups buckwheat (or sorghum) flour
• ½ cup ground maize
• 4 tablespoons (¼ cup) LSA
• 3 teaspoons sea salt
• 2-2½ cups cultured buttermilk (or enough to make a stiff dough)
• 4 teaspoons gluten-free yeast
• 6 teaspoons honey (dissolved in 1 cup warm filtered water)
• 6 teaspoons guar gum
• 2 large eggs + 2 large egg whites
• ½ cup of melted ghee or butter, or oil
• 1½ cups quinoa flour
1. Mix ground millet, buckwheat (or sorghum), maize flour, LSA and salt, and thoroughly mix in buttermilk to make a stiff dough
2. Knead for a few minutes and place in covered bowl in warm place for 12-24 hours
3. Mix honey and yeast in warm water and let stand for 10 minutes
4. Using a balloon-whisk, gradually whisk in guar gum to yeast mix, then eggs and whites, then melted ghee or butter or oil – then add to dough and thoroughly mix in
5. Thoroughly mix quinoa flour into the dough
6. Stir dough again. The dough should resemble a very firm batter
7. ⅔ fill buttered loaf tins, smoothing the dough with a spatula dipped in milk, then cover with a towel and rise in a warm place for 1 hour
8. Bake at 200C (392F) for 25 minutes
1. First make posole. Posole is basically any kind of dried corn that has been soaked for 24 hours with wood ash (1 heaped tablespoon of clean wood ash per cup of dried corn and filtered water to cover) and then slowly cooked until the corn is burst right open and fluffy like pop corn, at which point it can be rinsed and used in soup etc, or wet-ground to make tortillas or polenta etc.
2. Alternately, dry the soaked grain in a warm oven – no more than 65C (149F) for up to 12 hours, turning occasionally, until dried. Then grind as required.