Oatmeal

For background on my ideas about food, see this post.

I keep hearing more about gluten and grains and carbs in general; I’m not convinced that these things are as damaging as the primal / paleo and other groups claim. But their arguments are just one more thing starting to motivate me to rethink how I prepare grains.

In the Weston Price camp, grains are soaked or fermented or sprouted — this deals with the difficult-to-digest phytates and enzyme inhibitors and makes nutrients more readily available to the body.

I’ve been meaning to try sprouting for two years or so and just haven’t yet done it. Maybe today will be the day. I need to choose a recipe first so I prepare the right amount of sprouts. And even though the wheat berries have been in the freezer all this time, I wonder if some or all of them will be too old to sprout. We’ll see.

I tried sourdough — a ferment using natural yeast — for several years and never had a really super good bread from it — nothing suitable for sandwiches. I don’t really like the taste of sourdough for normal everyday bread — just occasionally for particular soups and the like. Sourdough english muffins are good; you can add baking soda to eliminate some of the sour taste. (I wonder what that does to the nutritional values.) And while I didn’t like fully sourdough pancakes, half a recipe of sourdough pancake batter mixed with half a recipe of regular pancake batter is decent. My sourdough starter is gone, and I really don’t miss it. In the last recipe I made I forgot to save some. I can always grow more if I want to try again.

I’ve tried soaked oatmeal at least twice — the recipe says you can soak in diluted whey, yogurt, kefir, or buttermilk. I can’t remember whether I used whey once and yogurt once, or just one or the other. It was too strange a taste for me.

I’ve been loving buttermilk for a while now — it’s essential in the texas sheet cake I’ve always made for Amy’s birthdays, and using the extra in biscuits and pancakes makes them so awesome I’ve started having buttermilk on hand all the time.

So last night I finally tried soaking oatmeal with buttermilk.

This recipe has you soak a cup of oats in a cup of warm water with two tablespoons of whatever fermented dairy you choose, and then the next morning you add another cup of water and a pinch of salt and cook it.

I added cinnamon, walnuts, a drop of vanilla, and a lot of butter. It smelled just a bit like buttermilk pancakes. It tasted bland, still; because of all the water, I suppose. (Usually I cook oatmeal in skim milk — creamier and more flavorful than cooking it in water.)

After a few bites I realized I hadn’t sweetened it — I added some maple syrup and more butter, and then it tasted just fine. Slightly tangy, but not really sour at all, and not so bland.

I wonder if it would be okay to use milk instead of water, if not for the soaking liquid, then at least for the additional cooking liquid. And a cube of peach puree from the freezer might make a nice addition as well.

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2 thoughts on “Oatmeal

  1. As you probably know or could guess, at least one member of our family has soaked oatmeal almost every day–except, basically, the days we have pancakes made from whole wheat flour soaked in buttermilk.

    There’s a reason we just spent $120 on 3 gal of maple syrup.

    You might try soaking the oatmeal in a cup of buttermilk. But that could also be awful.

  2. Yup, we’ve talked about that; soaked pancakes are next on my list of things to try. What do you think of the texture? Sourdough pancakes were smooth, rubbery, chewy — not the right texture at all. I worry that soaked pancakes would be similar?

    I love maple syrup. I didn’t used to — growing up on Aunt Jemima fake syrup and the like, maple was too sweet and thin when we occasionally had it. Now I can’t stand the imitation stuff.

    Oh, and one jar of wheat and another jar of sunflower seeds are on the counter for sprouting. First recipe I think will just be to add these to my regular bread recipe in place of a small amount of the flour.

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