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.
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)!