They look more like rice kernels than puffy flakes, but oat groats are as versatile as old-fashioned or instant oats. Groats are the least processed of all forms of the grain, making them the highest in fiber and nutrients. But they require more patience. Plan to soak oat groats at least overnight before they are edible. For raw food recipes, soaked oat groats can be transformed into crisp cereal, cookies and bread using a dehydrator.
To soak the oat groats, and 3 to 4 cups of water to a large bowl for every cup of raw groats. The length of time you soak your groats determines the texture of the oatmeal dish you create. Overnight soaking is enough to condition the oats for dehydrating. Keep in mind, however, that the longer you soak the groats, the more tender they become. Soaking oat groats for 8 hours results in chewier food than if you soaked them for 2 to 3 days. Long-soaking oats sprout slightly, resulting in an easier-to-chew food.
Use nonstick dehydrator sheets or specially cut wax paper in your dehydrator, because the small size and runny nature of the soaked oats cause the groats to fall through the holes of the basic trays. The higher the heat and the longer the drying time, the more moisture is removed from the final product. The driest oats are the crispiest.
Soaking oat groats in water overnight, or even longer, softens them enough to make for a crunchy breakfast cereal, especially if combined with other soaked whole grains, such as barley and buckwheat. To make the cereal crispier, dehydrate the mixture for 2 hours on a solid rack in a dehydrator set around 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Eat the cereal with milk and fresh or dried fruit.
Granola Bars and Cereal
Using a dehydrator instead of the oven to make granola allows you to cut down on the amount of oil normally used to toast the grains and nuts. The soaking, pureeing and drying method also gives you the choice of either making granola bars or breaking the solid mass into small cereal pieces. Use about 1 part soaked oats to 4 parts nuts and seeds and 4 parts fruit, as well as sweetener and spices to taste. Spread the blended mixture onto solid dehydrator trays and dry at 110 F for 16 hours, flipping the granola mixture about halfway through the process.
To make cookies using oat groats, soak the grain for 4 hours, and then blend the groats with small amounts of sweetener, spices and oil. If you desire, fold in raisins, walnuts or chocolate chips after taking the mixture out of the blender. Rolling the cookies into balls and pressing them flat before putting them into the dehydrator gives them the traditional oatmeal cookie shape. Dry the cookies on solid trays for at least 12 hours at 108 to 110 F and then on the slotted trays for an additional 1 to 2 hours.
Instead of making individual cookies, spread a soaked oat groat mixture onto solid trays to create sweet flatbreads. A dough can be made from equal parts soaked oats, soaked barley, soaked buckwheat and dates. When you put the mixture into the blender, add enough water until it becomes doughlike and spreadable. After spreading the dough onto solid dehydrator trays, dry the flatbread for at least 8 hours on each side at 110 F.