Over the last 18 months or so, I’ve been adapting and improving our family’s baked goods recipes, particularly soaking/fermenting our whole grains in order to improve their ease of digestion. (See the end of this post for why I’m doing this.) My sister was just asking me for the recipe for our soaked granola so that has prompted me to finally write down the process. It’s basically the same recipe for granola that I posted on this blog a couple years ago, but with soaked oats (and a few other changes). It’s delicious and better for you!
Presoaking the oats does add a level of fiddliness to the recipe that it certainly didn’t have before. It’s not difficult by any means but does take almost a whole day to make (although almost none of that time is active work). So just make sure you make it on a day when you are going to be home most of the time.
Also, this recipe does not result in granola with clumps. Longtime readers of my blog may remember that for awhile, large granola clusters was an obsession of mine. I’ve moved on. Because of soaking the oats, clusters are not possible if you also want the granola to be crunchy. So just don’t be disappointed if you end up with no clusters with this recipe. It still tastes great!
Finally, see the notes at the end for making this dairy- and gluten-free.
Laura’s Mom’s Now Even More Delicious and Good For You Soaked Granola
recipe long ago originating with my mother, majorly adapted by me
soaking oats instructions adapted from Kitchen Stewardship
1 and 2/3 C (406 g) warm water
1 T plus 2 tsp (32 g) yogurt*
Pour into a large bowl and stir to combine.
5 C (582 g) rolled oats**
Add to bowl and mix well to combine.
1/2 C plus 2 T (93 g) whole wheat flour**
Sprinkle over the oats a little bit at a time and stir in until all the flour is evenly incorporated throughout the oats. Cover and allow to sit at room temperature overnight, or up to 24 hours. Longer is better so it’s fine to err on the longer side.
Break up the oat mixture into small pieces, as small as you can get them. You’ll find that it will feel gummy in places from the flour but shouldn’t feel really wet – just damp. Your hands will get messy from this process. (Ellie likes to help me with this!) Spread the crumbled up oats over two half-sheet pans (i.e. big cookie sheets with sides). Put into a very low oven (my oven’s lowest setting is 200 so that’s what I use). Leave in the oven for an hour or two, stirring occasionally (every 30 minutes or so) until the oats are starting to feel dry but aren’t crispy yet. I look for dry edges on the clumps. This pre-drying stage is key to not burning the granola in the baking stage.
Once the oats are starting to look a bit dried out, pour them into a very large bowl. Break the clumps up even further at this point. Now that they’re dried out a bit, it will be easier to get them into smaller pieces. The smaller, the better the granola will taste so it pays to spend a couple minutes doing this.
1 C coconut
1 C raw sunflower seeds
3 C chopped nuts (I use pecans, walnuts, and almonds)***
(or generally speaking 5 C of add-ins, combination to your liking)
(ETA, 11/26/15 – Lately, I’ve been using 4 cups of nuts (2 C each of walnuts and pecans) plus 1 C of coconut. We decided we like the taste best without the sunflower seeds.)
Add these to the bowl with the oats and mix well.
3/4 C (170 g) coconut oil
3/4 C (240 g) liquid sweetener (such as honey or maple syrup)
1 T ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground cardamon (or another spice such as nutmeg or cloves) (optional)
1 T vanilla
1 and 1/2 tsp salt
Add to a small saucepan. Stirring frequently, bring to a boil and then immediately turn off the heat. Pour over the oats/nuts mixture in the large bowl. Stir well until fully combined. Spread the mixture back onto the two baking sheets.
Bake in a low oven (again, I use my lowest setting which is 200 degrees). You’ll want to stir occasionally, about every 20-30 minutes. This is the part I haven’t perfected (i.e. I never remember to time how long it takes) so you’ll just have to watch the granola to make sure it’s not getting too brown. Turning the oven off is useful also to help the drying process. Usually I leave the oven on for about an hour or so and then turn it off and let it sit, forget about it, come back an hour or two later, stir, turn the oven on again, and repeat the process until it seems crunchy enough. It won’t seem crunchy enough when it comes out of the oven but will get crunchier as it cools. If it’s not crunchy enough after it cools, you can always put it back into the oven for a bit longer. (You don’t want it to get much more brown than in the picture at the top of the recipe.)
The soaked granola is VERY easy to over-brown/burn and Nik will attest that too-brown granola is not that good, although, much to his credit, he never complained about eating my earlier attempts at this! So just watch it carefully.
2 C raisins or other chopped dried fruit (optional)
You can add this to the granola after it cools. Alternately, you can add some raisins or other dried fruit to your bowl of granola just before you eat it. This makes storage easier and we prefer doing it this way.
We keep ours in the freezer and it easily lasts a long time. It’s fine to be eaten straight out of the freezer.
Enjoy! It’s delicious with milk or plain whole milk yogurt.
Some items of note:
*If you’d like this recipe to be dairy-free, you can replace the yogurt with lemon juice or apple cider vinegar (raw is best).
**If you’d like this recipe to be gluten-free, then you’ll need to do two things (that I know of). First, buy certified gluten-free oats. Second, replace the whole wheat flour with buckwheat flour. You have to add one or the other to the oats in order for the soaking process to work. (If there are other gluten trouble spots in this recipe that I haven’t caught, please comment and I’ll update the recipe to reflect it.)
***If I was really worried about phytic acid, I’d also be soaking my nuts, dehydrating them, and adding them at the end rather than roasting them in the oven. So far, this hasn’t seemed necessary for our family but feel free to do that if you want to.