Saturday, January 28, 2012

Soaked Granola

Soaked granola - isn't that what everyone eats when they pour milk over their granola in the morning?

If you are familiar with Nourishing Traditions, you know that "soaking" is an important facet of their diet recommendations. They suggest that all grains and seeds should be soaked in an acid medium (such as yogurt or lemon juice) before being prepared for eating. According to their research, grains are hard to digest and can actually bind up important minerals.

I always rolled my eyes and considered those who cook according to Nourishing Traditions the worse food snobs ever.

We loved my peanut butter granola. I always considered it far better than typical breakfast cereal since it contained "real" food, oatmeal, nuts, coconut, peanut butter, and honey. But I must have been slightly convinced of their claim that dry roasting oatmeal makes it completely indigestible. Changing a toddler's diapers demonstrated that very little digestion was happening for some of the family. (I know. TMI. Sorry.)

A few months ago, I decided to attempt making a soaked granola. I was sure the extra steps would not be worthwhile and it would taste awful.

I was wrong. Very wrong. Yes, it was a few more steps, but nothing difficult. But the taste...we were instantly smitten. Ed immediately claimed it was the very best granola ever. The yogurt gives it just a slight tang, though not sour. It is super crunchy, almost like the nut clusters in Honey Bunches of Oats which is Ed's all time favorite box cereal.

I found several online recipes and combined them to come up with my version. I start by mixing the dry ingredients with water and yogurt and allow to sit for 8 or so hours.

The oatmeal absorbs the moisture and becomes a thick glob. I stir in the rest of the ingredients.


This may be the hardest part of the whole project. I give up on a spoon and just dig in with my hands. Licking my fingers may be the best part! Yummy!

I use my dehydrator to dry the granola but you can also dry in the oven. A dehydrator is easy since it doesn't need turned. Plus we get to enjoy the wonderful aroma for hours. I make a double batch in my eight tray dehydrator.

Want to try it?

Soaked Granola

6 cups rolled oats
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup chopped nuts (peanuts, almonds, or walnuts)
1 cup plain yogurt or kefir
2 cup water
1 cup coconut
1 cup butter or coconut oil
1 cup honey
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup raisins, craisins, or dried apples

Stir together oats, flour, sunflower seeds, and nuts. Add yogurt and water. Stir well. Allow to sit at room temperature for at least 8 hours.

Add coconut, butter, honey, salt, and cinnamon. Stir well, breaking up clumps with hands if needed.

Spread in dehydrator and dry at 145 degrees until completely dry and crispy. I often start at 145 for a couple hours, turn the granola then lower the temperature to about 125 and allow to dry all night.

If using the oven, spread in baking sheets. Parchment paper will help keep it from sticking. Bake at 250 degrees for an hour or until completely dried. Stir every 15 minutes.

When dry, store in an airtight container.


  1. Gina, I have been trying to soak grains using the NT book for a long time. When it comes to breakfast cereal, I do fine; when it comes to soaking for bread making, not so much. I always get a hard crust on the soaked grains and the loaves are not as good as when I don't soak the grains. In this recipe for granola, do you cover your soaking grains with plastic wrap or do you notice any crust on top that does not mix well? I have decided to just revert to your bread recipe and forget the soaking if I can't master this. Sally has wonderful information regarding the "gut" and good nutrition. You two are my favorite sources for nutrition by the way. You can email me if this is too long for a comment.

  2. I am so trying this! Sounds so good!

  3. Gwynn-
    I too have struggled with soaked wheat bread. I finally gave up and went to sourdough which works better for me.

    I do cover the granola with a lid and don't have problems with a crust forming.

    Hope you have good success with the recipe!

  4. I found a recipe a while back {that I tweaked - left out the flour, so it's wheat-free} ~ It's been great for me, but my family prefers my 'traditional' granola. So I get my OWN batch all to myself! ;D

    The first time I made it, I must not have had enough plain yogurt available, so I used some Brown Cow blueberry... oh yum!

  5. Thanks so much for this recipe. I have never thought of using the dehydrator. I'm not sure why but I haven't. My one and only attempt to make granola came out of the oven tasting burnt even though I followed the directions. I ended up feeding it to the chickens. They loved it. I will definitely give this a try. Thanks so much. Enjoy your day and God bless.

  6. What a great idea! I tried soaking flour for bread and ended up with something that was inedible, but this sounds more like crispy muesli, which I could definitely get into!

  7. I'll have to try this. We love my granola (just like you said about your family!), but I'm intrigued by the texture you described. The only NT thing I do is make sourdough bread and sometimes soak oats overnight to make pancakes. It's the recipe in Simply in Season and the pancakes are lovely - light and tasty.

  8. THIS SOUNDS DELISH!!! I'm so going to make this today.

    I've been thinking the same about soaking grains.. is it really necessary!? As I've looked more into sourdough and fermentation etc.. it just makes so much sense.

    I didn't know that you had to use an acid though! I thought it was just a general soaking with water rule.. I need to get that book I think!

    ... maybe it was soaking in water to fermentation stage... oh whatever! I'm trying your granola anyway :o)

  9. Oh Gina! I never ever manage to get a soft fluffy sourdough bread.. Mine are always hard as rock!

    Any tips?

  10. Being in the US I'm assuming your temps are Fahrenheit right?

  11. I want to try this too....the concept fascinates me. :)

  12. Suzi-
    Yes, the temperatures are Fahrenheit.

    My first sourdough bread attempts were rocks too. All I can say is get a good starter, and practice, practice, practice. Have you tried my sourdough bread recipe?

  13. I haven't ever used the soaked method but would like to try it sometime. Sounds like a great idea and it's always nice to know someone tried it and it worked:)

  14. I'm really frustrated with this recipe. I've been cooking real food for my family for the past 8 months or so, so I'm still new. I love NT, by the way. I have not had any success with soaking. I think stuff tastes disgusting. So I've had your granola recipe in my oven at 225 for the past 5 hours (not 1 hr. like you suggested). And it's still fairly soft and a little rubbery. I like crunchy granola. I'm starting to think that it's not possible to make soaked granola crunchy unless you have a dehydrator. Did you try it in the oven? Junita

  15. Junita -
    I am so sorry with your frustration with this recipe. I have never tried drying it in the oven. Thanks so much for alerting me that this may take longer than I ever expected.

    If I were you, I would increase the oven temperature. Try putting it at 350 degrees, checking every 15 minutes and see if it gets crispy.

    Please let me know the result!

  16. I also tried the oven method and it worked well. I set the oven at 170 degrees and stirred the granola at least two times an hour for most of the day - 6 - 7 hours. I think opening the oven regularly helped release the moisture. My 4 year old asked to taste it when I was stirring it and kept telling me that he thought it was just right!

    Thanks for sharing this great idea.

  17. Wow! Well I did mine in the oven too but only took about 2 hours. I have a fan forced electric element oven. I sort of mixed mine about every 20 mins or so. After the 2 hours I just gave up and took out the trays, then they crisped up AFTER that.

    YU-U-UM! I like them just with milk and my husband likes to put them with his regular muesli to add variety ( not really the point to having soaked it .. but better that than a sugar cereal)

    I would make them tastier next time. I think I'd add vanilla and a heck load more cinnamon.

    Thanks for the fantastic recipe!! Granola cluster type cereal/muesli is so expensive and this is so cheap!

    p.s. I will try your bread recipe.

  18. Oh, and my oven was betwee 120 and 150C.. I kept doodling with it.


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