If you want to make granola bars or oatmeal cookies using the soaking process to reduce phytates, you have to soak and dehydrate oats. It feels almost silly to go to such trouble and still end up with oats, an ingredient. You can’t even eat it yet! However – if you believe that soaking makes a difference in digestion or mineral absorption, then it’s worth it.
Related: How to Cook Steel Cut Oats in the Instant Pot
How to Make “Soaked and Ready” Oats
- Start by soaking the oats overnight in water at the ratio of 3 cups of oats to 1 cup of water with 1 Tbs whey in the cup. I’ve only used rolled oats; really not sure how steel cut or whole oat groats would go with this process. Be sure to add 1/3 c. whole wheat or spelt or buckwheat flour in order to have some phytase available to break down the phytic acid. Without it, this process is worthless. See how the oats aren’t drowning, just moist? They’re just difficult to deal with when you use more water, in my opinion.
- Drain any excess liquid off (there will be little if any).
- Spread as thinly as possible on cookie sheets, or better yet, a silicone baking mat.
- Toast in a 250 degree oven for as long as it take to completely dry out, usually about 2-4 hours. You want the oats to be very crunchy. You can of course also accomplish this in a dehydrator at any temperature. Use parchment paper or a fruit roll tray to keep the oats from falling through.
- Allow to cool slightly, then break apart and whiz briefly in a food processor until it looks like the top photo.
- Store in a tightly closed container at room temperature, or if you have excess freezer space, cold storage probably isn’t a bad idea. I just use a marked oatmeal canister.
- Added Bonus: If you forget to soak oatmeal for the morning, you can cook these up as hot cereal, just as if they were “quick oats!”
Timesaver: Schedule this process to finish up on a day that you’re going to use the food processor for something else, like chickpea wraps or power bars (coming in the Healthy Snacks To Go eBook). You can just tap the oat dust out of it after this and reuse without washing in between.
Here is the soaked granola bar recipe for you, a free download as a preview of the Healthy Snacks To Go eBook.
NOTE: Recipe updates and a nicely formatted printable version of this and 30 other “Healthy Snacks to Go” recipes now available as an eBook!
My First Attempt at Soaking and Dehydrating Oats
The first few times I tried this, I just poured water over all the oats, drained them, and dehydrated. I ended up with this:
While trying to drain the water, I felt like I lost half the oats through the strainer, and it was tough to dry them out evenly for a nice consistency. Switching to a 1:3 water to oats ratio seemed to yield much better results. I’d love to hear how others have soaked and dehydrated oats with success (or failures, too, really)!
118 thoughts on “How to Soak and Dehydrate Oats”
FYI – I made this with steel-cut Irish style oatmeal, and I actually thought it was better. I always have some trouble with my food processor breaking apart the clumps of regular oats (especially if I forget about them and they get too dry,) but the little steel cut oats broke right apart into perfect-sized bits for the bars.
I’m confused, Katie…sorry…
but if the purpose in the soaking is to get OUT the phytic acid…and when we soak nuts/seeds/rice we ALWAYS throw OUT the murky water with the phytic acid in it… why would it be ok to do a 3/1 ratio and just have soggy oats…with all the phytic acid still THERE and not rinsed away??? I’m all-for easier, faster…but not if the phytic acid remains.
NOT a criticism… just doesn’t seem like a right concept to me. Thoughts?
Sorry I missed your question for a while! The phytic acid doesn’t come “out” into the water, is my understanding, it’s just “neutralized” by the soaking process, so it doesn’t bind to minerals. There is some debate on whether it can just bind right back once in the gut, so there’s no perfect system. No one wants to pay for research on this stuff, you know.
Have you ever soaked oatmeal? It’s nearly impossible to drain; most of the oats end up going through the strainer if you rinse them. Anytime I soak oatmeal, the water stays in there, just like when you soak flour for a bread recipes. There’s just no way around it…
Sorry I don’t have an easy answer!
Well, thank you for responding with all your responsibilities, Katie.
I had a TERRIBLE first attempt…and probably won’t do it again. I used the oven on half the batch and the dehydrator on the other, and both resulted in oat rocks. I still tried to make the granola out of them…but it’s horrid and hard and the flavor is ruined. My husband LOVES my granola…but after trying to “make it easier to digest” for him… it’s just plain AWFUL. He’s a champ to still eat it so as not to waste the whole batch!!
@ Katie I do make sprouted black bean flour. I soak overnight then sprout for about 3 days ( same method as you would for wheat berries) then I grind them up. I have a kitchen aid grinder that I love. I love making my wheat flour from wheat berries but the black bean flour is much lighter and is great for muffins and cakes.
Chapin Smith – do you make the sprouted black bean flour? I’m intrigued – never seen recipes for this. What kind of mill? Tell me more! 🙂 Katie
Chapin Smith – do you make the sprouted black bean flour? I’m intrigued – never seen recipes for this. What kind of mill? Tell me more! 🙂 Katie
Megan Williams – I have never done oat groats, sorry!
Megan Williams – I have never done oat groats, sorry!
I’ve been using your method for a while and been very successful. I use lemon juice or vinegar instead of whey cause we’re dairy free. And often make it straight into granola.
I soak all my grains. Lately I have been making sprouted black bean flour for muffins, pancakes, breads.
I’ve making your granola recipe: AWESOME!!
Yes! I’ve also done it with steel cut oats.
Soaking is usually recommended only for whole grains isn’t it? A lot of phytic acid is contained in the hull of a grain. Rolled oats, while technically a “whole grain” are steamed, rolled, and steamed again so I imagine that the majority of their phytic acid content has been removed with the bran in the process.
I am trying oats. I soaked it a cup of water. When I came to it this morning it was a big mass. I broke it up so we will see how it works. I was wondering if I could use kombucha instead of whey?
Kombucha should be a fine soaking medium…
Tried this for the first time. For some reason, I had my recipe down with salt – like a lot of it! My oats were so darn salty, I had to throw them out. Wondering about adding the flour to this – why doesn’t it have to be added when soaking oats overnight for oatmeal?
Also, the oats were sticky & although I tried to spread them as best as possible, there were little nuggets of rock solid oats after drying. I used the food processor, but it seems to grind them down to a powder more than keeping flakes or little pieces. Any suggestions?
This process is a delicate dance, for sure. I had trouble with hard bits at first, too, but I made sure to use as little water as possible on the next time. Wheat flour has phytase which nixes the phytates…and you should add it to overnight soaked oatmeal, too, although ideas on that are changing all. the. time.
Try a little less water, no salt. Good luck! 🙂 Katie
Another great post that I somehow missed. I love having porridge for breakfast & eat it far too often if I’m honest. I have to make it with milk though. I really don’t like oats made with water. I do want to soak it but wasn’t sure how to achieve this & still make the porridge with milk. I will definately be giving this a try. Hopefully it will be a good compromise & the kids will still eat it.
You could soak with raw milk for sure, and I’ve used pasteurized milk in soaking recipes, too. OR try soaking in water and then adding the same amount of milk the next day. Hope it works for you! 🙂 Katie
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Katie, can you give more info on soaking in bulk? I think I added too much flour. How much do you do at once and how much acid medium and flour do you add?
Jen, You can do any amount, just keep the ratio to 3 cups oats to 1 c. water with 1 Tbs whey in the water, plus 10% flour – for 3 cups, 10% is about 1/3 cup, perhaps a little less. 6 c. oats, 2/3 c. flour, 2 c. water + 2 Tbs whey and so on. 🙂 Katie
Thanks Katie! It seemed like they were so hard by the time I put them in the food processor it was almost powder. Then when I processed them less there were very hard bits….sort of like pebbles. Is this normal? Will it make much difference when I use the oats in a recipe?
Sorry I’m so late in responding! I let your comment get a bit buried…
They are definitely crunchy, so I think you’re okay. I haven’t done these in a long time, so I don’t remember, but I believe I had the same Qs as you. Maybe next time I’ll try to pull them out of the dehydrator a bit sooner. How have your recipes been turning out?
Do you know if you can soak buckwheat the same way? Is it as necessary for buckwheat as it is for oats. I found out recently I can’t eat oats, so I thought I’d try buckwheat, but I’m wondering if they should be soaked too.
Stacy, Yes, buckwheat should be soaked, and it’s great because buckwheat already is high in phytase – in fact, that’s what I add to my oats when we’re gluten free. 🙂 Katie
Do you rinse the oats after they’ve soaked? it seems that if you don’t use a ton of water and it is just absorbed, is the phytic acid actually going anywhere or just sticking around in a different form? Wouldn’t you have to rinse it off or does it just magically evaporate?
Nope, no rinsing for oats. The phytic acid is problematic because it binds other minerals to itself so your body can’t have them. The soaking process is supposed to release one from the other, so no magical disappearance, just a nullifying of its power! 😉 Katie
Is there any magical ratio of oats to soaking liquid though?
Yes, for granola, use 3:1 oats to water.
I’ve been reading about and pondering the soaked grain thing… and I can’t really find any info on *why* there is the quantity of liquid I keep seeing in the recipes. How helpful do you think it would be to wet the oats with the flour/water/whey mixture, just enough? Like, not sloshy wet, maybe just enough to coat? I really don’t care for the texture my granola has been with the typical ratio! I just made a batch of the “just enough to coat” mixture, and it is so good – like old times! Before the days of soaking! Haha. Just not sure it’s enough liquid to benefit the acid breakdown in any way… Thoughts?
Okay, now here’s something interesting I found when I was looking for recipes using miso and thought it would be good to share it here. Katie got me jazzed thinking about using sourdough starter to soak oats and this is on a very similar vein. It’s a recipe from South River Miso Company for soaked, fermented oat porridge using miso. They cook the oats (1 c.) in water (2 c.) and a handful of dried fruit (no added salt) till done, then wait until it cools to body temp and add a couple of teaspoons of light, sweet miso. They allow it to ferment overnight where the miso actually liquifies the porridge somewhat and unlocks essential nutrients and it makes it sweet. Then you just reheat it gently – do not boil (heating over 160 degrees destroys the enzymes and probiotic effects of the miso) – and eat.
This sounds great!!! It’s like the best of all worlds really. They also had a recipe to make an Oat Milk where you cook the oats with 3 c. water instead of 2 and in the morning you add a little ginger and liquify in a blender. That sounds good too. Definitely trying these!
I found this here under recipes: http://www.southrivermiso.com/
Brilliant idea of using a bit of sourdough starter when soaking oats! Thank you. I have always used whey and find it less sour tasting than lemon juice or vinegar. I actually enjoy the mild tang of soaked oatmeal but I’m not a kid 🙂 I eat it with a little cream (sometimes clabbered) and maple syrup. I also like baked oatmeal casserole, and that might be a good way to get kids to eat oatmeal if they don’t like soaked oat porridge, I don’t know.
I found this a the PERFECT time. I made a version of soaked oatmeal granola bars and they turned out badly because it called for way to much water in the soaking process. Staring the process tonight! I will be using a dehydrator to dry them out. Do you dry them until they are completely dry-like crunchy or do you leave some softness? Thanks so much!
Clearly I’m too late seeing this to be of any help, but with anything I want to store at room temp, I make sure all the moisture is GONE. Spread them thinly and dry until crunchy, using the food processor to crunch them up if the pieces seem too big. Good luck! 🙂 Katie
You know, I did it just as you described and it worked perfectly. I used it to make the granola bars and ended up dehydrating them to get a little bit firmer texture to them and it worked perfectly. Very good and not quite as sweet tasting (I did the baked version). My family has been eating it up all week. Thanks for sharing!
i am trying this right now… i have a great “raw” granola recipe but have never tried soaking the oats first and then dehydrating. i am looking forward to seeing how it turns out.
we eat a lot of rolled oats around here because they are so cheap, but i can’t seem to get my kids on board with eating soaked oatmeal. they instantly know the difference and refuse, even when i put maple syrup in them. any advice?
Do they think it’s to sour? Depends on your acid, but if you use whey it’s much, much more mild. Pretty much unoticeable, although there is still that porridge texture.
Good luck! 🙂 katie
Thanks. I will try whey – I didn’t know I could drain some off of whole milk yogurt so that will help. I think it was the taste that turned them off. Thanks for your reply.
I too have the issue of the sour taste, but I don’t think we have any other options as my oldest son has a life threatening allergy to dairy. Unless, of course, I want to make 2 batches of soaked everything :(. Katie, if you have any other thoughts on other options, the only thing I can come up with is reducing the amount of the acid, but I assume too much reduction leads to less results, right?
That’s a tough one – You could always soak for fewer hours, I imagine, OR try sourdough, just a smidge. That makes a sour taste, too, but it might be a little better. Katie
I know this is an older thread, but you could also try rinsing before cooking. That has worked for us. 🙂
My kids won’t eat the oats if I use vinegar for soaking. They will eat it if I use lemon juice. I haven’t tried water kiefer yet though. That might also be mild.
definitely try rinsing. the acid has done it’s work, so you don’t need it anymore! i soak our oats with sourdough starter, which smells more sour and pungent than when using yogurt or vinegar… if i rinse, i don’t taste any sourness at all! 🙂
How long can I keep dehydrated oats in the fridge?? My big baking plans have been put on the back burner for a bit! 🙂
I kept them for a good long time! You should be fine, especially keeping them cold. (I stored at room temp)
Hi there! I’ve just stumbled onto your website, I’m enjoying the science and healthy ideas! I’m preparing to try your soaked granola bars (I just finished the not soaked recipe so I’m going to compare!) When your recipe calls for 4.5 cups of oats is that how much of the dry oats I should start the soak with or end up with after I soak and dry them? Apologies if this is a novice question, I’m just a tinkerer in the kitchen! All the best 🙂
A very valid question! Measure the oats after you’ve soaked and dehydrated them – that way you can make a bit batch and store for lots of recipes, if you choose. Have fun! 🙂 Katie
I have been soaking (not diligently all the time, but…)grains for awhile, but never heard of the phytase connection. Do you have a good resource for the info on what grains/foods have it? I checked out the internet and so far haven’t found anything.
We are almost completely gluten free but we do use buckwheat so that would help for us, but I’d love to see the info that you got this all from. I had never heard of it before! I am very excited to try the granola bars! I have a nice recipe for oat bran muffins on wholenewmom.com if you’d like to see it! Now I guess I need to try soaking w/ some buckwheat flour if I want to do it right! 🙂
Also, I’m assuming you are saying to add 1/3 cup whole grain flour per 3 cups of oats, correct? Are you aware of any other grains that do not have phytase in them?
Here is a post explaining more about phytase, with references: http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2010/03/11/food-for-thought-what-is-the-role-of-phytase-in-soaking-grains/
Phytase is a bit low in brown rice, for example, but this method covers for that without adding wheat: http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2010/04/01/phytic-acid-in-rice-reduced-96-with-accelerated-fermentation/
I think I might have a phytase chart somewhere, surprising I didn’t include it in that phytase post…I’ll make a note to try to post it in the next month or so!
You add 10% whole wheat flour to the oats, so I always just figure a Tbs or two per cup of oats. 1/3 c. per 3 cups would work out!
Can you use quick cooking oats? Just subscribed and I’m looking forward to it!!!
Quick cooking oats are more highly processed, so I’m not sure if it’s worth going to the trouble to make them more nutritious, when they start out less so. Make sense? Rolled oats/old-fashioned oats are better. Enjoy! 🙂 Katie
has anyone tried making oatmeal cookies with soaked and ready oats? i’d love to try it, but i’m afraid they’d turn out too crunchy.
My first attempt was a pretty big failure, but I think I did the oats wrong. I know Cheeseslave has a soaked oatmeal cookie recipe on her site though. 🙂 Katie
I just soaked my oats in water and yogurt over night. Then the next day, I spread the mixture out on a cookie sheet and used the dehydrate setting on my oven (I think it’s 140 degrees) overnight. This morning, the oats broke up nicely. I plan to make granola with it.
I’ve never used whey. I always use yogurt or kefur. I may have used buttermilk before. My soaking recipe comes from Nourishing Tradition: 1 C. oats, 1 C. filtered water, and 2 T. yogurt or kefur.
I too had oats that were hard as a rock. The granola bars taste awesome but the oats are so crunchy that they are very hard to eat. I did the unbaked version and they did not stay together even after letting the honey mixture boil for about 10 minutes. I think I’ll try making granola or the bars using cooked oats next time. I’ve made granola before using leftover cooked oatmeal and the flavor of your recipe is better but the texture was better when the oatmeal was cooked and then dehydrated.
I’ve never tried going all the way to oatmeal and then dehydrating – that’s a great idea. Do you just spread it very thinly to dry out and then crumble or food process? The honey mixture has to be “just so” – too much boiling is not necessarily better. I’ve salvaged crumbly bars in two ways – refrigerate for firmness or smash the crumbs into balls, which for some reason stayed together. 😉 Katie
When I dehydrated my oats they turned out hard as a rock and the food processor barely cut through them…I am guessing this is not normal hehe and I did something wrong? I mean, the dehydrated oats do come out soft enough to chew them without cracking a tooth, right? Although, like you said you wouldn’t want to chew them quite yet… Thanks for your time! -Michelle
Perhaps they need to be spread more thinly when you dehydrate them. They’re crunchy to be sure, but not tooth-breakingly so. I made them once and they were super gross – did you use the oven or the dehydrator, by the way? It was the oven and being a bit too thick that killed mine that time. Good luck! 🙂 Katie
I went to all the trouble to soak my oats yesterday to make your granola bars today, but I didn’t think it all the way through. I followed your directions for 3 cups of oats, but your granola bars start with 4 1/2 cups! I guess these will be mostly soaked granola bars 🙂
Oh, dear! I never thought of that, either. I always make soaked oats IN BULK because it’s so much work. I’ve done “mostly soaked” when I run out, too – better than nothing! Hope they were at least tasty… 🙂 Katie
Yes, tasty! I did half baked and half unbaked. The baked ones stayed together very well. I only baked them for 8 minutes because I was stressed out about over-baking them, so they are still a little chewy. The unbaked ones mostly fell apart, but my kids thought they had died and gone to heaven when they found chocolate almond granola in the fridge this morning!
Hi Katie — you’ve referenced Kelly’s baked oatmeal — but who’s Kelly? Or can you point me to her recipe please?
Kristin – Here it is!
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So I tried this. I just noticed that you said to toast at 250 so maybe that was my problem. I set my oven to 200 and it to ALL day to dehydrate the oats. They also don’t really look like your top picture. I put them throught the food processor but they were so hard they wouldn’t crumble, so I have so big chunks. I tried to make “quick oats” like you said cause I forgot to soak my oat the day before, however the results were pretty nasty haha. Maybe I did that wrong too. How much water should I use? How long does it take to cook? I did cook it for quite a while and kept adding more water because they weren’t softening up like I wanted them too. I still havent’ make the granola bars with the dehydated oats but I plan on trying this week. Hopefully I don’t mess those up too 🙂
It does take quite some time to dry out all the oats, and spreading them as thinly as possible is the trick both to texture after food processing and drying out more quickly.
I only did the “quick oats” once, and I don’t know that I remember what proportions I used. Probably just 2:1 water to oats, but I’m so sorry I didn’t write it down. Whoops!
I hope the bars turn out alright- but it sounds like maybe your oats were a little thick on the pan in the oven if the chunks are that large.
Have you tried this with oat groats (soaking, etc.)?
Yes! My husband really doesn’t like oat groats, so it’s not our standard, but when I did it I was following the basic recipe in Nourishing Traditions for Irish oats or something, toasting the groats to bring out the flavor, whizzing them in a little food processor to cut them (it is best to have the grains broken, not totally whole), and then soaking as described here. Worked fine!
Non-wheat option for soaking? I’ve been using whey to soak with no flour. I hate to hear that it is worthless since it is so much extra work. 🙂 I am happy to throw in some flour. What kind as I am wheat free?
First, I do think to whey soak does something, kind of like lacto-fermentation, so don’t despair! Buckwheat is your best choice – plenty of phytase there. 🙂 Katie
We too have been soaking our morning oatmeal with just whey or yogurt. Even so my husband still feels bloated after. Would adding wheat flour help? And in what proportion?
It’s worth a try with wheat flour for the phytase; 10% of the volume of the oats, so about 1/4 c. flour to 2 1/2 cups oats. Some are saying now not to soak in dairy, but just warm water. Who knows? I’d try both these options a few times in a row if I were you, and if hubby still feels off after oatmeal, cut the oatmeal. 🙂 Katie
This is great!! I was looking for more ideas to make morning breakfast faster and more convenient. You can do so much and it saves so much time when grains are already soaked and dehydrated. I think these are fantastic for real foods backpackers and campers too.
Thanks for these instructions — but I’m a bit confused… I’m going to try the granola bars, which call for 4 1/2 c soaked and dried oats. According to my interpretation of these instructions above, I’ve mixed the oats, along with the water, whey and spelt flour – but after letting them sit for a night, they’re very thick and clumpy — nothing like the photo you posted. Should I have not have mixed in the spelt four? Thanks in advance for your help! Kristin
Yes, they are thick and clumpy while still wet. After you bake them at a very low temp until they’re completely dried out – no moisture left – they’ll be crispy, and then you whiz them in a food processor to chop up into bits. Make sense?
Could I soak w/ buttermilk (I have no whey) or lemon juice/water? Thanks! (Just purchased your eBook today & my daughter and I look forward to making some snacks!
.-= Heather´s last blog ..Simple Women’s Daybook: May 5, 2010 =-.
Woo hoo! Thanks for your purchase! You could absolutely use a Tbs of buttermilk or lemon juice. I wouldn’t use all bmilk because I think it would get too sour. ? If you have plain yogurt, you can get a Tbs of whey just by putting a coffee filter over a jar and putting a scoop of plain yogurt on top. In half an hour, you’ll have whey in the jar. 😉
WOW, I’ve had a busy day. I made yogurt cheese last night and soaked oats, which I then used to make baked oatmeal this morning. (Posted about it here). I thought I could get away with using the soaked but not dehydrated oats in my recipe…they tasted “raw” or something. So I’m looking forward to trying it again with the dehydrated ones.
I also made two double batches and one single batch of power bars :>) (hey, I am going to visit a cousin with a new baby tomorrow and wanted to take her some!) since I had the food processor out already, and I’m now watching Goose suck creamy garlic veggie dip off carrots. Guess we need to work on the dip and EAT part…
PS – I’m compiling an e-mail of more comments on the ebook as I figure them out – I don’t want to forget them, but I don’t want to overwhelm your inbox, either!
.-= Lenetta @ Nettacow´s last blog ..Spring Cleaning Carnival – Get the Food Additives OUT! =-.
Just as a follow up, I thought the baked oatmeal tasted better with the dehydrated oats, though I’ll admit the regular version still tastes better to me. Our digestion was much improved, though – both mine and the 3 year old’s.
.-= Lenetta @ Nettacow´s last blog ..Link Roundup – I Thought It Was Spring Edition =-.
It seems like so much work to soak, then dehydrate, then incorporate into a recipe that has liquid, too. Hmm. I wonder whey they tasted “raw” the first time? Kelly has an amazing soaked baked oatmeal recipe – maybe check hers out for help in adjusting the quantities when soaking. I’m amazed that you noticed digestive differences with just one recipe – awesome!
Thanks for checking back in – Katie
Dehydrating the oats made a huge difference in the flavor (versus using them after soaking but before drying) and actually I discovered when making my second batch of oats that I didn’t dry the first batch for long enough anyway. I’m looking forward to trying them out in my dehydrator!
And thanks so much for sending me over to Kelly’s for that recipe – I got a TON of breakfast ideas and need to get cooking! :>)
.-= Lenetta @ Nettacow´s last blog ..Spring Cleaning – Get the Debt Out! =-.
I’ll be linking once I get a weekly roundup done (this weekend got away from me!) but I’ve been wondering if these will store well, and if so, how? I’d be more willing to make an enormous batch and freeze to use in things later, but I’m not sure what that would do to the nutrition and whatnot.
I definitely would like to try this, though! I made baked oatmeal this week which the 3 year old ESPECIALLY enjoyed, but I definitely noticed more rumbly tumblies. (Including Goose’s few major toots during quiet moments of yesterday’s Bible study, sigh…)
.-= Lenetta @ Nettacow´s last blog ..Yeast Elimination Diet =-.
Gasp! You’re behind on your weekly roundup? What do you do, have a life outside blogging? 😉 Just kidding, of course.
I was thinking that I might have forgotten storage notes in this post. I actually had it on my list to check; will update now. I store them in the pantry just like regular oats, since they’re totally dehydrated. I suppose if you had freezer space, that probably wouldn’t hurt since they’re whole grains after all. Hmmm…now I’m thinking about that. I bet I should use them faster!
Katie, I’m wondering if this is worth all the work if the rolled oats are already steamed. They certainly look different than any other raw grain. Seems more than likely to me that all this soaking isn’t really getting any phytic acid out (if the oats are already “cooked”).
And I’m still awaiting you research on soaking’s effectiveness in reducing phytic acid with baited breath! 🙂
So much anecdotal evidence says that this soaking does something good, so I’m sticking with it for a while (I’m a sucker for experiments!). I was hoping to get another installment of soaking grains 101 in this week, but it didn’t make the cut. Soon!
Phytic acid is essentially a salt, which means it is a collection of minerals rather than a storage unit for energy (salt of the NaCl variety vs. carbohydrates, for example). So far as I understand it, pure minerals are very difficult to damage via heat; the ash that is left over from completely torching food is the mineral content.
Ash, according to Wikipedia
I think I shall try this, maybe using a bit of wheat sourdough starter, as my access to fresh flour is currently non-existent.
The sourdough starter should fit the requirements perfectly! I bet the sour taste would disappear once these oats are dehydrated and incorporated into recipes, anyway. I’m trying to wrap my brain around your first paragraph…are you saying that this method probably doesn’t do anything to phytic acid or that the parts will never disappear if you manage to get them apart? Or something else entirely? It’s been a while since I’ve gotten academic about phytic acid… 🙂 Katie
(Actually, I go by Katie as well, but I figured that just wouldn’t be nice…)
My thought is that the acid would go to work on rolled oats just like a grain which is raw. Since phytic acid is simply a collection of minerals, it should survive the steaming process intact. Theoretically, it survives the cooking process, which is why we’re concerned about it in the first place; minerals are incredibly resilient and should become available for human consumption, since my understanding is that is one of the goals of the soaking process. Or at least that’s my thought on it, need to continue trying to find information.
I think I’d like the oats with sourdough starter even if the tart taste didn’t disappear entirely, but I love sour things.
A better way would have been “should become available for human consumption after the soaking process, despite the steaming before hand”. That was a rather confusing sentence the first time around.
Ah, ok, the “minerals are tough” explanation was to prove that steamed, rolled oats should still react the same way as fresh grains. Got it! Thanks!! 🙂 Katie
I love your granola and granola bar recipe’s! I have been making them (semi) weekly….Granola with dried fruit and yogurt is my absolute favorite, and I like giving my kids a healthy snack with the granola bars…So we eat a good deal of oats! No one is allergic, but I have notices myself feeling bloated..I am interested to see if this helps. Thanks for more great info. and recipes!
I would LOVE to hear if you notice a difference; sometimes anecdotal evidence is the best we have on what works for our digestive systems. Please comment or email if you notice any difference. Thanks!! 🙂 Katie
JoLynee: That’s why it’s easier just to go grain-free 🙂 My rule is that I don’t feed my family anything I wouldn’t be willing to eat myself!
Yeah, I’d love to, but my family would revolt. As it is, I don’t eat nearly the grain that I used to. But I do love my granola in the mornings. My family eats sandwiches every day for lunch, and I try to soak the flour for my homemade bread as often as I can, but sometimes I forget and have to go ahead and make it without soaking.
As for snacks like granola bars and such, I hardly make them anymore so I suppose if I skip the soaking, it’s no big deal, really.
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I’ve gotta say, as much as I want to prepare my foods so that they are better digested, this is SO much work for a pan of granola bars, or a batch of granola. Do you ever just get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work we are doing to feed our families?
I reached that point last night and this morning, and I’m really trying to gear up and get my energy back. Right now I’m feeling kinda burnt out. Any advice?
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Overwhelmed by amount of work? Yes!
I am not sure I’ll do this kind of oats for bars all the time, as it is such an added step. For the granola, which I know you love, I don’t think it’s much extra work at all since you don’t have to dehydrate them before just baking it. And actually, since I don’t stir the soaked version, it can be less attentive work. ???
My recommendation and one I’m trying to do lately b/c I find myself not wanting to do one. more. thing. at night for food prep, is to make a list of things that don’t take as much prep: hard-boiled eggs on salad for lunch, baked potatoes (w/fun toppings can almost be a meal), chili is easy for me, soups, an occasional pasta meal, etc. I’ve been so thankful for some frozen meals lately, too – I just love to make a big batch of soup, for example, and freeze half. My family is smaller than yours, though, so I hope I can keep that up as we grow!
A glass of wine and some chocolate covered Oreos will probably make you feel better, too. 😉 Just kidding (sort of)!
I definitely make enough soup for 2 meals and freeze half when I make it. Now with summer coming, I doubt I’ll be doing as much soup. I don’t mind taking time to make dinner. I’ve always done it. But the granola and the bread and the granola bars and… the list gets longer by the day. GAH.
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Wow, good to hear that someone else feels like me! Homeschooling, housework, excercise, time with hubby… Trying to make everything homemade (and soaking) can get overwhelming for me. I ended up buying granola bars recently. I have tried soaking and dehydrating oats a couple of times and just wasn’t crazy about the texture. I made granola bars and they were ok to me but my kids didn’t like them. I have noticed a difference when I make baked oatmeal now with soaked oats. I do not add any flour, just soak them overnight in kefir, add the rest of the ingredients in the morning then bake.
I may be wrong, but I believe you need the flour to help break down the phytic acid.
My kids don’t care for soaked oatmeal so I make the old fashioned kind. They like the granola bars hot out of the oven but notsomuch after that. 🙁
We are also gluten and wheat allergic and dairy (and corn and eggs!). If I use corn-free lemon juice for the acid, does this help? Also, since we can’t use spelt or whole wheat or buckwheat (yes, this should be safe, but we seem to react to it, could be a corn cross-contamination), is there something else we can use?
Technically, the research says you need some phytase to get the phytic acid out of there, and oats don’t have enough to help. That said, my mom notices a change in her digestion when she soaks oatmeal with whey, even before she started adding wheat flour (no change with lemon juice). I suspect there’s a bit of lacto-fermentation going on that much do something helpful. Since you’re allergic to dairy too, I wonder if something like this rice water soak would help. Perhaps you could even use the water from the rice, since oats can be harder to drain.
There’s just not a lot of research on all these variations, so it’s kind of a guess as to what might work. Many people do soak oats with lemon juice and without the wheat flour, and since the granola bars in particular actually taste better with the soaked oats, it might be worth it! I’d pay attention to your family’s digestion to see if you notice any difference with soaked vs. unsoaked oats – for some families, it’s as different as night and day and obviously the only way to go!
Good luck – I hope one of these ideas works for you!
When I’m making soaked granola, I just mix the nuts, oats, whey, and or water together and soak. I might be wrong, but I’ve always assumed the nuts contain phytase and could help break down the phytic acid in the oats. Also saves me the step of making crispy nuts separately. We have no digestion problems with granola made this way, and we eat a ton of it! I’d be interested to hear what the science says too though.
I can’t remember for certain, but I don’t think nuts actually have very much phytase. I would add 10% wheat flour to your granola just to be for sure. I do need to start experimenting with mixing it all together! I don’t know that it would work for granola BARS, though, because it would be so moist. Hmmmm…thinking on that one! Thanks!
My children also need a dairy-free version. Would water-kefir work, in your opinion, in place of the yogurt?
The bacteria and yeasts present in water kefir will produce phytase, the enzyme to break down phytic acid.
what about using goat’s milk yogurt? It would be the same as using regular yogurt. Or what about coconut Kefir. I just bought some at Sprout’s where I live..not good on its own! but for soaking or in smoothies I think it would work.
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ops, meant this for KristinaD’s comment above
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That sounds interesting … thanks for the suggestion! I will investigate.
My daughter is highly allergic to wheat (gluten). Do you think that soaking with the whey is still a good thing to do? I do like the taste of oatmeal better this way, but it is another step if it’s “worthless” without the wheat flour. Any suggestions?
Oh, and I’m buying the ebook just for the Lara bar redo. Those things are good!
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If she can handle buckwheat (gluten free), that’s a high phytase choice for complementary soaking. If not, see the next comment – hope this helps!
Why not just use the soaked oats to make the granola bar. Why dehydrate them?
I’ve been thinking about trying this, but I haven’t yet – it would change the consistency and take some serious tweaking, I think, because you’d have to figure out how long to cook it to dry them out all the way to the center. Someday maybe!
I tried this, long story but I tried it 🙂 Personally I didn’t like the consistency of the bars much. I did the unbaked option. They were okay, but I now need to do them with the dehydrating and see if I like it better!
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