Friday, December 28, 2012

Soaked Homemade Granola in the Dehydrator

Ever since I went to my church's women's retreat last September, I have been craving granola.  The retreat center makes a truly amazing homemade granola that was served on top of (sadly) Yoplait yogurt for breakfast the last day.  I have never been much of a yogurt person until I got into real foods, and now I've developed quite a taste for it.  I knew I had to take this concept home and do it real food style.  It wasn't until I've had time off from work for the holidays that I got up the nerve to try making my own granola, and boy, am I glad I did.  This is a great addition to our morning yogurt bowls.

First, let me give credit where credit is due.  I used this recipe from Kelly at The Nourishing Home as a base.  Kelly based her recipe off this recipe from Shannon at Cooking God's Way.  I broke a lot of rules and therefore my recipe deviated quite a bit from what these two ladies have done.  I thought it warranted its own blog post since several people in the comments over at The Nourishing Home seemed to be wondering if this could be done in a dehydrator.  I am happy to report that it turned out wonderful.  See my technique below.  If you would like to make this granola with an oven or just get a couple alternative perspectives on it, I highly recommend you check out what these two ladies have done.

Thoughts on soaking grains:

I recommend soaking grains where practical on this blog.  You can read more about it on the Weston A. Price Foundation website.  A lot of people debate the effectiveness of soaking versus sprouting versus fermenting (sourdough).  There is some question as to how effective soaking really is at removing phytic acid and anti-nutrients in grains.  Because of this, I am not religious about soaking grains.  However, I will say that I typically notice an improvement in my ability to digest grains when I soak them first.  It also often times improves the taste and texture as whole grains can be very tough, chewy, and nutty (not always in a good way).  A good long soak will usually soften them up a lot.  Another reason I like to soak my grains is because it allows me to split the preparation time up into manageable chunks.  Sure, it may take more total time than if you skipped the soaking step, but my life consists of small pockets of time here or there, so if I can get something started soaking and finish the prep up later, I am often far more likely to have time to do it at all.  I am happy to say that while plain oatmeal will often give me horrible heartburn, this granola causes me no issues at all whatsoever.

Step One: Soaking

  • 6 cups organic rolled oats and/or steel cut oats (I used 4 cups rolled oats, 2 cups steel-cut oats since I ran out of rolled oats - whoops!)
  • 2 cups hulled buckwheat (groats)
  • 1/2 cup butter (ideally from grass-fed cows)
  • 1/2 cup organic virgin coconut oil
  • 2 cups homemade kefir (buttermilk or yogurt would also probably work)
  • 2 cups filtered water
  1.  Melt butter and coconut oil in a double boiler or a small glass dish in your toaster oven on low heat.  Make sure you do not get it too hot, just slightly warmed and melted.  Pour into a large mixing bowl and add kefir and water.  Whisk to combine.
  2. Add oats and buckwheat; thoroughly combine using a large wooden spoon or rubber spatula
  3. Cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap and place it in a warm area of your kitchen for 24-48 hours.
  4. Once oat mixture is finished soaking, you're ready for Step Two: Dehydrating.
Step Two: Dehydrating

  • 3/4 cup raw honey
  • 3/4 cup pure maple syrup (not the fake stuff! you could use all honey and skip the maple syrup if you like)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 ½ tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
Yield: About 10-12 cups

  1. After soaking time is completed, place honey, maple syrup, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla in a glass measuring cup. Place measuring cup in a small pot of warm water on the stove. Bring water to a gentle simmer, stirring honey mixture until melted and all ingredients are thoroughly combined. Do not get it too hot.  Turn off heat and remove cup from pan carefully, using an oven mit. Pour honey mixture over oat mixture.
  2. Using a large rubber spatula, combine the honey and oat mixtures, folding everything in together until well combined.
  3. Spread the mixture out on dehydrator trays.  I have the Excalibur 9-tray dehydrator, and I used 4 of the trays. 
  4. Dehydrate on the highest setting (155 degrees on the Excalibur) for about 8 hours until dry and crispy.  Then, pop the granola loose, breaking it up, and pour into air-tight jars (I used two half-gallon jars.  The picture at the top of this post was after we had eaten about 1 or 2 cups of granola - they were almost completely full initially).
  5. Depending on how quickly you eat it, you may want to store half in a jar in the pantry and half in a freezer bag in the freezer to preserve freshness.
Tip: Next time I will try spreading the mixture onto a piece of parchment paper on the counter, then transferring to my Excalibur trays.  The first time I made this, I spread the mixture directly onto the mesh tray liners and had a difficult time breaking all of the granola free when it was done because it got smooshed through the mesh and then dried in.  I will update the recipe once I have a better method.  You could try lining each tray with parchment paper or using ParaFlexx sheets (I don't have them yet).  If you go this route, you'll probably want to flip your granola halfway through and dehydrate a little longer than 8 hours since the granola will get less air circulation.


  1. So glad this worked out for you. Appreciate the shout-out and you letting me know in advance. You are awesome! Many blessings, Kelly :)

    1. Kelly, it's a pleasure having you stop by my humble little blog. Thanks again for your recipe which gave me an excellent starting point!

  2. I am going to try this recipe with kefir as you suggest. I am sensitive to coconut oil and milk. What oil would you suggest as a substitute for coconut oil?

    1. Hi Lora! Welcome to my blog - thank you for your question. Are you also sensitive to palm oil? That would be my first alternate recommendation. I have also seen butter and lard used as healthy substitutes for coconut oil in baking. You might try it and see if it works in this recipe. Let us know how it goes!