I have been making granola for my kids' breakfast. To have optimal nutrition and digestibility, I have been taking the long road of soaking, baking and then drying it. While it seems like overkill and does alter the texture to some degree, it has not really been too bad and we find that it makes a great breakfast and snack and is incredibly portable making it a good option for my husband to take to work. The nice thing about this granola is the first day, half of it is used as a coffee cake meaning it does double duty making the time intense preparation pay off in a bigger way.
To start with, why even bother properly processing grains? Careful preparation of grains allows you to reduce the amount of phytic acid and lectins as well as other anti-nutrients in them. These anti-nutrients bond with important minerals like phosphorus, magnesium, calcium and iron and prevent their absorption. This means that in a diet high in the minerals, you can still be grossly deficient in them. While it does take more planning, the time is not the real factor as it is hands off preparation. You let acids or acidic probiotic media to do the work while you do other things. You can read more about phytic acid on the Weston A. Price website HERE. You can also watch a video of Sarah Pope demonstrating proper preparation and read the transcript HERE.
This granola starts out as a coffee cake. There are lots of other baked oatmeal or coffee cake recipes out there, but I was looking for one which would be easy and not require rinsing as well as one which did not taste sour despite being properly prepared. Having combined some techniques and ratios for other coffee cakes, I have finally tweaked the recipe to meet our needs. It is soaked and then baked, which according to Nourishing Traditions, is the only proper way to prepare grains. A lot of soaked oats recipes are either minimally cooked (perhaps dehydrated) or not cooked at all (like muesli) which can strain the digestive system. This takes care of that problem. I make a large quantity of which half is eaten as a coffee cake the first day and the remainder is dehydrated and eaten as granola after that. I am actually making double the amount below but I realize that is likely way too much for most families.
You will need either a single half sheet pan or two 9x13 pans for the baking. If you have parchment or silicon baking sheets it will be easier to turn out the cake but either way, grease well with coconut oil not forgetting the sides. Using the baking soda will "sweeten" the taste because it will neutralize the acid which tastes sour meaning this needs no rinsing to have a sweet tasting coffee cake.
Coffee Cake and Granola Recipe
Combine in a large bowl and cover; allow to soak for 12-24 hours:
6C rolled oats
1/2C sourdough starter (to provide the phytase for the best reduction of phytic acid)
2C raw milk, fresh or soured (or fresh yogurt)
After soaking, to the bowl add:
1/3C grade B maple syrup
1C shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2C coconut oil, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon of baking soda dissolved in 1 TB of hot water
Stir quickly and pour into prepared pan. Bake in 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. You can serve half with whipped cream and fresh fruit. Remove the other half and crumble bake into the same pan(s) or onto food dehydrator trays. Dry on the lowest setting of the oven or the highest setting on the dehydrator until fully dry and hardened. After the granola is dry you can finish assembling it.
To the dried granola add:
1C crispy nuts, chopped (remember crispy walnuts are not shelf stable and must be refrigerated)
1C dried fruit, chopped
Serve as a trail mix or with fresh milk as a breakfast cereal.
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