Fermented Brown Rice

Cooked germinated brown rice

A bowl of cooked germinated brown rice

I’ve written before about germinated brown rice (GBR) and the health benefits.  I have also posted the recipe.  Lately, I’ve been exploring the “cure tooth decay” diet that I mentioned in my tooth decay post.  Fermented brown rice is a component of this diet that is designed to prevent and reverse tooth decay.  It is not too far off from GBR and I gave it a go this morning.

One of the most fundamental aspects of the diet is getting enough fat soluble vitamins, such as vitamin D, and adequate minerals, like calcium and magnesium.  In addition to focusing on foods that supply these, one must ensure proper absorption.

Ramiel Nagel, the author of: Cure Tooth Decay: Heal and Prevent Cavities with Nutrition. claims that the phytic acid (inositol hexakisphosphate or IP6) in foods is the greatest threat to teeth because it blocks absorption of minerals.  This compound is a major storage form of phosphate in plants, but the compound is not digestible by humans, making the phosphorus (an important nutrient) not available.  In addition, this compound binds minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc.

Ramiel would have us avoid all grains, nuts, seeds, and beans, but he does offer some suggestions on how to eat these items and maintain good teeth. The idea is to prepare them using traditional fermentation methods.  Fermentation appears to effectively reduce or remove the phytic acid.  The phytate in brown rice is a little more persistent than others, but it can be done.

The basic recipe he gives involves soaking rice in water for 24 hours then saving 10% of the water in the fridge as a starter for the next batch and cooking the rice as usual.  The next batch of rice is soaked in a similar manner with the starter added.  He says after four cycles the starter is potent enough to remove 96% of the phytic acid.

Now, this doesn’t seem too different from the GBR recipe.  The big difference is that with the GBR I recommended frequent rinsing to avoid bacterial growth and here the idea is to get bacteria to grow.

Actually, after numerous batches of GBR, I was beginning to wonder if the rice was really germinating, since longer germination times never led to an actual “sprout” appearing.  Indeed, over the summer I planted a tub of brown rice in order to grow my own and was disappointed that they never sprouted.  So perhaps I have been really “fermenting” the brown rice anyway.

For my attempt at fermentation I used a starter I had prepared last week with a small batch of rice.  I added the starter to 4 cups of rice and used more water than I usually do for GBR – about 10-12 cups water this time.  I also added about 2 tablespoons of whole rye.  Rice doesn’t naturally contain an enzyme for breaking down phytate, but rye does.  I figured it couldn’t hurt to spike the mixture.  I let this sit for 24 hours at room temperature (about 70 degrees right now) then rinsed.  I then added fresh water and use a heating pad to keep the rice warm for another 24 hours.  I think it was at about 80 degrees for the finishing fermentation.

The interesting thing about the process is that while the water did develop a film on top, it didn’t seem as funky as when I rinse every eight hours for making GBR.  Is this a difference entirely from intention?  It may be.  Or it could be a difference arising from the additional water I used.  With GBR I use just enough liquid to cover.  In addition, with the GBR I use a covered glass bowl, but to encourage fermentation I left the bowl open to allow inoculation with wild bacteria and yeast.  I was surprised with the result after 24 hours.  I expected it to be more putrid.  That is why I decide to up the temperature.  Still fine at 48 hours.  The rice actually smelt more yeasty, like a nice sourdough starter and not some rotting pot of rice when I was done.

I cooked the rice just like GBR:  I rinsed the fermented rice thoroughly.  For the 4 cups of rice I started with I added four cups of water to cook.  Rice turned out great.  Not a chewy as the GBR which is what the fermented recipe said I should expect.  It was just like if it had not been fermented. I like it.  It is simple and ensures I am getting optimal nutrition.  Ramiel says to choose white rice if you are not able to do this preparation.  The processing of white rice removes the germ and bran and that removes most of the phytic acid.  Bon appetit!