FERMENT: Experimenting with grains

What happens when you ferment grains?  What can you do with them after?

All grains are of course different, and some grains aren’t even grains at all…  We tried with a few different products.

Spelt, Bulgur, Freekah and Quinoa (not a grain)

I started with an equilibrium brine, weighing the grain and the water, and adding 2% of the total weight in salt.  Of course the grains will drink a lot of the water so you really do need to add a lot more than just covering with water.  A lot like chickpeas, beans, and other dried legumes.   I put them in large containers covered with muslin cloth and swirled them each day.  Our fermentation area is almost a constant 30 degrees underground.

Spelt: This was the greatest success, after 7 days it was pleasantly sour, and the structure had softened a little like it was almost cooked in water, a little chalky in the middle.  Suitable to then boil in a little water, very tasty, then dried and puffed in very hot oil.  This was awesome.

Bulgur:  Not good.  To me it smelt horrible but a couple of other cooks thought it was ok.  Like smelly cheese?  The structure was lost, and I made a puree from it.  However…  Not really a success.

Freekah:  This was nice!  The freekah was broken or cracked as they say, and pretty much ready to eat!  It was very high on flavour so I just blanched this a few seconds, shocked in ice water and it was ready to go!

Quinoa: Minimal affect actually after 7 days.  Nutritionally I can imagine it has improved, but that is beyond my means to discover!  Cooked it as normal.  Tasty!

It should be mentioned that in all cases the cooking needed after fermentation was greatly reduced.  And as we all know fermentation makes nutrients more available.

I tried puffing all the grains in the end too.  Very tasty and very pretty.  The quinoa burnt a little for some reason and was a little bitter.  Mixed through some puffed wild rice.  Nice crunchy garnish…