Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A Good Long Soak: Soaked & Fermented Oatmeal

The whole reason I created a sourdough starter was to use it to ferment my oatmeal rather than using a dairy product like yogurt since I've found that I really don't care for milk/dairy.  Some say soaking grains increases nutrient content and makes whole grains more digestible.  I figured I would give it a shot to see if I noticed a difference. And the sourdough starter has been a fun experiment and a reason to make some new things like sourdough crackers and pizza dough. 

It took a while for my sourdough starter to actually be a full-grown starter and then it took me even longer to actually feel comfortable enough to try it out on my oatmeal.  I'm not sure what I was afraid of, but I was generally hesitant.

The Process

I typically cook up a 5-serving batch of my oatmeal overnight in my small slow cooker so I can have oatmeal for a few days.  The day before I want to cook my oatmeal, I measure out the amount of rolled oats and steel-cut oats and put them in the in the slow cooker with the right amount of water.  My current recipe is 1 cup rolled oats, 1/2 cup steel-cut oats, and 3 cups of water.  Then I pull Billy Jean (sourdough starter) out of the fridge to add a spoonful and let the batch sit out on the counter until I'm ready to cook it.

It doesn't really look much different than a normal batch, you wouldn't be able to tell it was different other than a milky look to the water from the flour. There's a slight smell from the fermented sourness, but it's pretty similar to the smell of fresh bread dough.  Kinda yeasty and warm.
Adding a spoonful of gloppy sourdough starter.

Spoonful of oats. 
Let it soak for the desired amount of time. And this is where things can get different.  The first time I tried it, I soaked it for about two days, mainly because I wasn't paying attention and I didn't think it would be a big deal. Well, it totally was a big deal, the resulting oatmeal was so sour! It was as if I had made it with a huge dose of tangy buttermilk. Not enjoyable. I still ate it, but I made a note to never soak it that long again. Bleh.

The next time I soaked it for about 24 hours.  That was fine, a tiny bit sour but barely noticeable after I add fruit and cinnamon and whatever else to my bowl of oatmeal. 

I think I've finally got it adjusted down to where I like it.  I soak it for about 12 hours before cooking, so the morning that I finish up my last serving of oatmeal from the fridge, I set up a batch to soak and then cook it that night. 


Is it worth it?  I don't know.  I don't think I feel any different after eating it.  I'll keep soaking/fermenting my oatmeal for a while and then if I feel lazy I'll skip the soaking for a batch to see if I feel a difference.

Wanna Chat?

I turned off the 'leave a comment' feature, so if you want to share what you're thinking about this or anything else, drop me an email at jhk1013 (at) gmail.com. It's so much more cozy than a comment, plus we can have a real conversation!