fresh strawberries

I don’t remember the first time I ate a strawberry. Do you?

I wonder if I liked it right away or if it took some time. I wonder if it was like tomatoes, where at first I hated the texture, and then I had some sliced on pizza and didn’t hate them, and soon started to want them (on pizza, on sandwiches, growing more plants every year). I kind of feel like I always liked strawberries, but who knows? I mean, some things take time to warm up to.

soaked spelt berry muffins

For example, I do remember the first time I soaked flour, and it was no strawberry. Remember that bittersweet soaked whole grain bread experience, the one where I was never quite sure if I’d done it right and the yeast plus my inexperience added up to ho-hum? I could have given up right then. I could have said no more soaking! It’s not easy to like! But then again, where would that attitude get me? I’ll tell you where: to a world without tomatoes, cherries, cheese, kefir, eggs, exercise and, heck, even some of my favorite people.

So I persevered. And go figure! I think I’m finally getting it.

soaked spelt berry muffins

Now let’s talking about soaking flour. If you’re new to the term, soaking simply refers to a do-ahead step of mixing the flour for a recipe with warm water/liquids and an acid (kefir, yogurt, apple cider vinegar, buttermilk), then letting that mixture soak, usually overnight (or for 12 to 24 hours) on the counter. The process breaks down the phytates and makes the grain easier for your body to digest: this is good for your health as well as good for the texture of your grain, as it tends to get softer while soaking.

So jumping back into the ring, I made muffins. Berry muffins. Berry muffins with a soaked spelt base, a few simple add-ins, and bunches of blueberries and chopped strawberries. Because I like to hedge my bets though, I also added a crumble topping—not just any crumble topping, the crumble topping, the one from that coffee cake I couldn’t stop raving about last summer. To be fair, there’s some flour in the topping and that flour I didn’t soak but otherwise: this recipe was a big win for soaking grains. And how!

soaked spelt berry muffins

These muffins are golden on the outsides and incredibly moist on the inside. The berries add a nice tartness and extra texture, and the crumble topping puts the whole thing over the top. Originally I made these around July 4 (red, white and blue!), but I made them again a few days later, just because they were that good and, like so many things, at least I like this method now.



For more on adapting recipes for soaking flours, check out this post at Passionate Homemaker.

Soaked Spelt Berry Muffins
Adapted from Life Fitness Academy, Nashville

The second time I made these, it was in mini-muffin tins, and that proved to be a little problematic in terms of muffin + berries + topping. It was too much. If you want to make minis, by all means do, but see if you can adjust proportions accordingly. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups soaked spelt flour
3/4 cup warm water mixed with 1 tablespoon of yogurt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup extra virgin coconut oil
1/3 cup raw honey
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup chopped strawberries, fresh or frozen

For the crumble topping:
1/3 cup raw sugar or Sucanat
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick or 2 ounces) butter, chopped into little pieces
3/4 cup spelt flour

Directions:
Mix flour with water and yogurt, and let stand overnight. After it’s soaked for 12 to 24 hours, mix together the crumble topping in a bowl and set aside. Add all the remaining ingredients to the flour mixture, except berries. Pour into well–buttered muffin tin about half to three quarters full. Place a couple blueberries and strawberry pieces on each muffin, add about a teaspoon of crumble topping. Berries will fall partway into the muffins.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Bake for 15–20 minutes.

Note: The original recipe says kamut or whole wheat flour could be used in place of spelt. Also, 1 cup buckwheat flour or cornmeal may be used in place of 1 cup of whichever other flour you use.

Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 19 Comments

  1. Maddie

    We’ve got a home video of me at two years old, eating vanilla ice cream. My dad asks “What’s on your ice cream, Maddie?” and I say with my mouth full: “Strawberries!” Wish you had video proof of your early berry experiences too. :)

    Love the idea of soaking flour. I let whole-grain batters rest before baking, to better absorb the liquid, but overnight soaking is new to me. Smart idea!

  2. Jacqui

    mmm…muffins. i might make some muffins this weekend with the bananas i threw in my freezer last week. no soaking grains, though. i’m still just warming up to the whole art of baking!

  3. Shannalee

    Maddie, My childhood definitely was lacking in the home-video department, and I’m so jealous! Eating strawberries as a two-year-old: so classic. I love it!

    Aw, Kim, you are so sweet. I feel like I’VE been learning so much lately – it’s an adventure for sure.

    Lan, I look at it this way: using spelt is better than all-purpose, soaked or not. So it’s a great, positive step! Soaking ups it another notch, that’s all. One step at a time, friend. PS – buckwheat is a great grain to use if you don’t feel like soaking. Even when really soaked, it only takes 7 hours.

    Jacqui, Ha! First step: like baking. Second step: keep liking baking. : ) You are on your way, my friend!

    Blue-Eyed Bakers, I know, I feel the same away about it – it’s like a whole new world. Try it!

    TJ, Yum! Sounds refreshing!

  4. Alicia

    I am totally trying this. I have yet to soak flour and I just feel like I should really make that a new routine. I just explained it to my dad because he was looking over my shoulder to see what I was reading, and he was dumbfounded. Never heard of it. I love stuff like this! P.S. The blueberry farm is closed until next weekend due to lack of ripening berries in this hot hot HOT weather, soooo… fresh blueberries will have to wait another week.

  5. Shannalee

    Dana, Thanks and I hope you do!

    JessieV, Blueberries are SO good for you, too!

    Alicia, We’ll have to talk about all these food things when we get together, blueberry-picking or kombucha-baby-giving or whatever. Try this soaking! Can’t wait to hear what you think!

    Shaheen, Excellent! Hope you enjoy it!

  6. Heidi

    Hi, just wanted to add that I have done a bread recipe for years from James Beard’s Beard on Bread cookbook and it requires you to soak the oatmeal and whole wheat flour but specifies that only if the flour is home-ground whole-wheat flour. So perhaps there’s something in the soaking that is better for the freshly ground grains. Oh, the recipe is William Melville Child’s Health Bread. It is good and one I serve my kids-a moist, whole wheat bread. Congrats, by the way on stepping out on your own. You’re sure to be successful!!

  7. Shannalee

    Heidi, I’d love to make my own flour at some point and I’d definitely soak it then, but I think I need a mill, right? Wishlist! : ) As far as the soaking – I think it’s especially key in helping the flavors/texture when dealing with home-ground, but it’s nutritionally beneficial with store-bought whole grains, too. I love hearing about bread recipes people have used for years. Thanks for mentioning it!

    Tim, Ha! Good thing you have a good excuse! I am happy I soaked it, too. It’s like a whole new world!

  8. Rebecca

    Oh, I have almost completely switched over to soaking because it is so much better for digestibilityand absorption of nutrients. It also seems to make baked goods with whole wheat flour more tender, like white flour. Thanks for another recipe to add to the repertoire!

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