Whole Grains & Sourdough

My first day at the Kingston Public Market garnered a lot of questions about grains, gluten-free, and sourdough.  Many people were concerned with wheat and many have decided to go off grains completely.  I actually found it to be a little scary that grains are being so misunderstood.  Although, I do have to admit I didn’t see the whole picture very clearly until just recently myself.

I know I refer to Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon a lot, but truthfully it was such a huge “ah-ha” book for me.  Then I started to incorporate the suggestions/methods from the book and the “ah-ha” moments got even bigger.

After all of the questions, comments, and concerns I heard on Thursday I decided to blog about how I see grains now and why I feel so many people are having issues with whole grains.

Actually, I think Sally Fallon puts it quite well….

“The well-meaning advice of many nutritionists, to consume whole grains as our ancestors did and not refined flours and polished rice, is misleading and often harmful in its consequences; for while our ancestors ate whole grains, they did not consume them as presented in our modern cookbooks in the form of quick-rice breads, granola and other hastily prepared casseroles and concoctions. Our ancestors, and virtually all preindustrialized peoples, soaked or fermented their grains before making them into porridge, breads, cakes, and casseroles. 

Before the introduction of commercial brewers yeast, Europeans made slow-rise breads from fermented starters; in America the pioneers were famous for their sourdough breads, pancakes, and biscuits; and throughout Europe grains were soaked overnight, and for as long as several days, in water or soured milk before they were cooked and served as porridge or gruel. (Many of our senior citizens may remember that in earlier times the instructions on the oatmeal box called for overnight soaking.)”  pg 452

Many of you may be wondering, now what? Well, the answer for me was simple, get back to the basics.  By simply soaking grains before using them you are way ahead of the game.  If you add older varieties of flour/grains to the mix, such as spelt, red fife, and rye, even better!  (for those of you in the Eastern Ontario area, these flours are available locally too)

Here is a simple soaked grain recipe to get you started:

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Basic Brown Rice (soaked rice)

2 cups long-grain or short-grain brown rice

4 cups warm filtered water plus 4 tablespoons whey, yogurt, kefir or buttermilk

1 teaspoon sea salt

2-4 tablespoons butter

Place rice and warm water mixture in a flameproof casserole and leave ina warm place for at least 7 hours. (Note: Those with severe milk allergies can use lemon juice or vinegar in place of whey, yogurt, kefir, or buttermilk.)  Bring to a boil, skim, reduce heat, stir in salt and butter and cover tightly.  Without removing the lid, cook over lowest heat for about 45 minutes.

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The next step in the process to proper grain digestion, because really that’s what this “allergy craze” is all about, is to start eating traditional sourdough breads.  As this post is already getting quite lengthy, I will go into more detail about making sourdough yourself in a future post.  If you want to eliminate the modern-processed-commercially-leavened bread right now, there are many artisan sourdough bakers popping up.  Here in Kingston I would highly recommend Fred’s Bread.

If you can’t wait to start making your own bread send me an email and will be happy to get you going.  I will also be at the Kingston Public Market every Thursday & Saturday!

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