From Butter Belle: "Are you new to eating traditional? Wonder why I am soaking the batter for these muffins? Whole grains need to be fermented by the way of sour soaking, sourdough, or sprouting in order to improve digestion, and increase nutrient absorption. All grains contain anti-nutrients, and something called phytic acid. Phytic acid (or phytates) act as mineral blockers. Traditional people all over the world knew the importance of properly preparing their grains prior to ingesting them."
In Nourishing Traditions, Sally Fallon states:
All grains contain phytic acid (an organic acid in which phosphorus is bound) in the outer layer or bran. Untreated phytic acid can combine with calcium, magnesium, coper, iron and especially zinc in the intestinal tract and block their absorption. This is why a diet high in unfermented whole grains may lead to serious mineral deficiencies and bone loss… Soaking allows enzymes, lactobacilli and other helpful organisms to break down and neutralize phytic acid… Soaking in warm water also neutralizes enzyme inhibitors, present in all seeds, and encourages the production of numerous beneficial enzymes. The action of these enzymes also increases the amounts of many vitamins, especially B vitamins… During the process of soaking and fermenting, gluten and other difficult-to-digest proteins are partially broken down into simpler components that are more readily available for absorption.
Remember, you will need to plan ahead when making these soaked, and nutritious muffins. If you want to enjoy them for breakfast, start the batter soaking the day or night before.
Soaked Pumpkin Muffins:
- 2 cups of whole grain flour, preferably freshly ground (I used whole wheat)
- 3/4 cup sour dairy, such as buttermilk, yogurt, kefir, or clabber (could also use water + 2 TBS lemon juice, whey, or apple cider vinegar). I used kefir.
- 1/2 cup melted butter or coconut oil
- 1 cup pureed pumpkin, squash, sweet potato, carrot, mashed banana or applesauce
- 2/3 cup sucanat or granulated palm sugar
- 2 eggs, pastured or free-range organic
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp cloves (optional)
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- Optional add-ins: ground flax seeds, 1/2 cup raisons, dried cranberries, chopped dates, chocolate chips or crispy nuts (we used cranberries and walnuts and thought it was delicious!)
1. In a glass bowl, combine the flour, dairy, and melted butter together. Cover with a clean dish towel or plate and allow this mixture to soak at least 8 hours, or even better, 24. The longer it soaks, the greater the reduction of phytic acid. It is also important that you place this mixture somewhere warm. A good place is your oven with just the light on, or a dehydrator set on low. A cold counter top in the winter is not going to reduce any phytates. You need warmth.
2. Once the batter has had a good soak, add in the rest of the ingredients. You will have to give it all a very good stir. Forget what you have learned about making muffins in the past. It’s not going to work here… but it doesn’t matter, they’re still going to turn out fine! I used my Kitchen Aid mixer to get everything incorporated really well! Fold in your add-ins at the end, if using.
3. Pour into greased muffin tins (preferably not aluminum or non-stick — stoneware is good). Bake in a 325 degree oven for about 30-35 minutes. When they are done, a toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean and your house should smell wonderful. This recipe makes me about 16 regular sized muffins. We doubled the recipe and it worked beautifully.