Two years ago, I sent this grainy (ha!) photo to my mom Mom, with the caption: “Look what I baked!” She does not eat bread, but was still very enthusiastic. Mothers are wonderful creatures.
For the uninitiated: the term “soak,” in this context, refers to the process of soaking a grain in an acidic medium for 12+ hours in order to neutralize the anti-nutrients found within that grain. Essentially, this extra prep step reduces the burden on your gut and makes the final product much easier to digest. If you’ve been hanging around the natural health community for long enough then you are probably already familiar with the “hows and whys.” If not, this article by Kitchen Stewardship is an excellent place to start: Soaking Whole Grains.
So, when we say soaked bread, we’re not saying that bread itself is saturated in some form of a liquid. Rather, the flour that it was made of has been soaked early on in the process, before being turned into bread. Soaked bread tastes and feels like regular bread. It’s just easier to digest.
Sound good? Good.
Anyways, a couple years ago, when I was just starting my natural health journey, I was looking for a bread recipe that wasn’t fussy. I had already been baking regular bread for several months, and I wanted to try soaking my flour. But, all of the recipes that I had found out there had soooo many steps (at least from my easily intimidated perspective). First you soak the flour (which takes several hours), then you mix in extra flour (with another waiting period) or yeast (ditto with the waiting), or both (more waiting!) – or one and then the other (wait x 2!). I was SUPER intimidated. And then, I found it:
The holy grail of bread recipes!
See, Mark Bittman had come out with a “No Knead” bread recipe that was making its rounds on foodie food blogs. Basically, you mix your flour with water, salt and and little bit of yeast – let it sit overnight and then throw it in the oven the next day. It has a 12 – 18 hour raising time, which means it’s perfect for soaking:
Just swap out 2 tablespoons of the water for 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice.
This will not affect the flavor, nor will it have much of an impact on the texture (both of which are wonderful, by the way). I have made it with whole wheat, whole spelt, bread flour…etc. It is wide open for experimentation.. You could add honey to it – you can add herbs to it – the world is your oyster! Or…bread, in this case. 0.0
But, I would start with the basic recipe, and go from there.
So, since I did not write this recipe, or modify it significantly, I’m not going to just copy and paste it onto my blog. But, I will give you the link: Mark Bittman’s No Knead Bread
Or, you can Google it, if you don’t trust strange links. 0.o
And remember, to “soak” the bread, just swap in 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice, per cup of water, and let it sit as per the recipe’s instructions. It’s so simple, and it’s one step.
So, what about you? Do you bake? Soak? Sourdough? Let me know in the comments!