Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Turkeys, Stuffing, and Immersion

We drove down Lincoln Drive on the way to Taekwondo. What met our eyes brought disappointment to me, and excitement to the kids. Lighted wreaths and candles illuminated the drab drive, while darkening my brows.

Was Thanksgiving to be ignored once again? Were we to travel at light speed from fabulous fall to Christmas with nary a turkey to gobble in between?

My daughter rescued me when she pointed out the blown-up turkey in a yard up ahead. He was large, round, colorful, and cartoonish, but O, how my eyes lingered there! As his brown body smiled and swayed in chubby contentment, I was infected, and my peevish concerns evaporated. At least for that moment.

On Monday I made the decision. Store-bought stuffing was not an option for me this year. (Nourishing decisions have become easier to make over the years.) So I began the familiar process of making bread, with one inconvenient addition: I mixed 15 cups of the flour into five cups of warmed buttermilk, and left it to soak for twelve hours. Yesterday morning, the final three cups of flour were combined with the yeast, honey, water, oil & salt and then carefully mixed in with the soaking dough. Really, it was just a matter of retraining; the soaking of the flour is only slightly more time-consuming than my prior routine.

But why? Why go to all the trouble of soaking the flour? Well, according to my research, there is something called phytic acid which is found in the hulls of nuts, seeds, and grains. Phytic acid is the principle form of storage for phosphorous. There are two problems with phytic acid. The first is that important minerals, like calcium and magnesium, adhere to phytic acid, and when they do so, they become insoluble and unable to be absorbed in the intestines. The second problem is that phytic acid is itself unable to be absorbed due to our lack of an enzyme called phytase.

This is where the soak comes in. When nuts, seeds and grains are soaked, the phytic acid is broken down, and the minerals are once more bioavailable. When they are soaked in an acidic medium, such as buttermilk, kefir or yogurt, the breakdown is much more effective. To rephrase: soaking removes the binding power of phytic acid (aka the anti-nutrient), which would suck away life-giving minerals necessary for all body-functions.

My need hit me then, square between the eyes. I needed a good soak. And certainly not in buttermilk. Songs began to flit through my mind...

"It's beginning to ra-ai-ain, hear the voice of the Father..." and

"Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, like the fra-grance after the ra-ai-ain...".

Just as the minerals needed for all body functions were bound in the phytic acid, the peace, needed to guard my mind in Christ Jesus, was bound in the peevish acid of unthankfulness. And surely there is only one solution.

Suddenly Elise's Heavy Laden tree took on new meaning for me. There is a poem stirring here....the applause is almost deafening!

But first, the soak.


  1. I need to thank you a lot for the job you have made in writing this blog post. I am hoping the same perfect work from you down the road too.

  2. How interesting! I wonder...would the bread machine recipes be adaptable to this technique? Seems like it would alter the dry to liquid ratio. But this makes sense, one reason we are always told to stay away from those carbs, perhaps!

    I join you in grieving over the premature jump into Christmas, though. Advent is about waiting. Just a wee bit, anyway.

  3. I feel the same way about the rush into Christmas. But this year, the Lord's joy helped me focus on giving thanks and drinking in the pleasures of fall. Working at a school again also rekindled the appreciation of that first Thanksgiving that carried me into celebrating this blessed holiday.

    Your dedication to nutritional excellence amazes me! My definition of homemade means not using store-bought end products such as the already baked pies, shortcuts to casseroles, etc. Two days of cooking and prepping in my kitchen was all the homegrown goodness I could muster. And I love to cook.

    Your family will be blessed by your dedication.

    Thank you for visiting,

  4. Couldnt agree more with that, very attractive article

  5. Hi Laura! I don't believe bread machines would work with this; it was somewhat of a manual process, mixing the doughs together. However, if you make sourdough bread, you don't have to mess with mixing the doughs, because the sourdough is natural leavening, which takes a lot longer to rise. I am kind of a nut with this stuff, or so it seems, but it has taken so many baby steps to get here. If you are interested in sourdough bread, let me know and I can shoot you a recipe.

  6. Thanks for an idea, you sparked at thought from a angle I hadn’t given thoguht to yet. Now lets see if I can do something with it.