Soaking Grains with Kefir

May 10, 2017

How to Properly Soak Grains

I hate to be wrong and even worse is admitting it…But when I began doing the research for this article I was enjoying the use of kefir (water or milk kefir) to soak my oats. I won’t go into the details that most readers of this article are already familiar with, but the summary is that phytic acid content is very high in foods like grains, beans, legumes, and nuts, and this phytic acid robs our bodies of important minerals like calcium. So we soak our grains.

But, then I discovered that soaking in water overnight doesn’t work well for all grains, not at all for my beloved oatmeal. Darn it. Fortunately, I read in the same article that soaking in a slightly acidic medium does help and that using a ferment starter helps as well. Since kefir contains a lot of lactic acid and is also a good fermentation starter, then it seems like a perfect fit. And what a great way to get probiotics in your oats, right?

Sadly, my research took a disappointing turn when I came across this study:

"When milk was included in the dough formulation, phytate degradation was inhibited almost completely, but fermented milk had no effect. Lactic acid, whether in the presence or absence of calcium chloride, inhibited phytate degradation, although when phytase was added phytate hydrolysis was complete."

Yikes!!! Anything with milk or lactic acid inhibited the degradation of phytates. :(

What works?

Slightly acidic mediums that do remove the phytic acid include lemon juice and apple cider vinegar. Fortunately, both of these can be inexpensively purchased at your local grocery store. Here are the steps I take:

  1. Heat up eough water to soak your oats. We don't need to be precise, but I would recommend 90-120F.
  2. Squeeze some lemon juice in the bowl and stir it around
  3. Pour the hot water solution over the oats, which should be in a glass or ceramic bowl.
  4. Allow it to soak overnight
  5. Eat the next day, or optionally drain and soak again in kefir for probiotic benefits


  • Phytic acid is an anti-nutrient found in grains, beans, and nuts
  • Soaking overnight in water mixed with warm lemon juice or vinegar will remove a significant amount of phytic acid
  • The phytic acid will not be completely removed, so don’t overdo it with grains, nuts, and beans

Works Cited

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