I’ve been researching about flour.. though I haven’t posted a page about it yet. My friend brought to my attention that some people soak their flour before making bread. I never heard of this so I researched it and many do this. Here’s how it works..
In the bran of grain, there exists phytic acid. Phytic acid is a storage of phosphorus and not digestible by humans or animals. To breakdown this acid, one can cook it, sprout it or soak the grain/flour in water and some acid medium like cider vinegar, buttermilk, whey.. etc.
Phytic acid is an anti-nutrient and an antioxidant. Sorta confusing. So I guess you can go either way depending on what you want. The anti-nutrient part blocks absorption of minerals mostly zinc and iron and somewhat calcium and magnesium. The antioxidant effect provides protection against colon cancer and stabilizes insulin levels. Fast acting yeast breads don’t break down the phytic acid, however, long fermentation usually breaks down most of the acid (at least 8 hours). A couple of sites I found info on are blogs, wikipedia and books. There’s so much info and I’m no scientist, so if you’d like to research it more, please do!
So I milled a cup of my fresh flour and soaked it for 24 hours with 3⁄4 cup of water and a tablespoon of whey (acid). If you’re using white flour, you don’t need to do this because the bran has been taken out already.
My soaked flour smelled like that mushy cereal you find sitting on the counter the next day. This is what it looked like 24 hours later:
Well personally, my bread takes 8 hours to ferment anyways so I don’t think I’ll soak my flour. I also think I eat enough good food and not too much bread, to have enough minerals and calcium so I don’t think I really need to worry about the anti-nutrient. But feel free to soak your flour if you’re making fast bread. I would soak or sprout grain berries for sure if having some for cereal or adding to bread.