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Sat Feb 25, 2017, 10:29 AM

An easier way to cook rolled flake cereal - even not cook it at all!

Even with a warmer winter, I like having cooked oatmeal for breakfast. Recently at our local food co-op I saw rolled barley flakes and decided to try that instead or in combination with my oatmeal. I love the flavor but barley just doesn't cook the same way that rolled oats do. Even the organic rolled oats from the food co-op don't cook the same as the barley does.

My usual way to cook one serving of old fashioned oatmeal from the grocery (Quaker or the store brand) is to put 1/2 cup of oatmeal, 1/2 cup of milk, some cinnamon, and a shake of salt into a bowl. I microwave it for 1 minute, stir, then microwave at 30 second intervals stirring at each break until the oatmeal is thick and done. Then I add a teaspoon of butter, stir that in and add anything else I might want - fruit, honey, whatever. It works just as good for the organic rolled oat flakes from the food co-op.

The barley flakes just don't do well this way. The barley is much slower to absorb the liquid which means I have to watch the cereal cook so that it doesn't boil over. I have to break up the cooking times, let the cereal sit to let the barley absorb the milk, and pay way closer attention than I want to first thing in the morning.

Yesterday my husband was throwing out my last container of Quaker oatmeal. He mentioned that the box had a recipe for making cold oatmeal. I looked it up (at http://www.quakerovernightoats.com). Their recipe is to put equal amounts of old fashioned oatmeal and a dairy product: "Use a one-to-one ratio of raw oats and your choice of milk, yogurt, or any other dairy substitutes." Add fruit or whatever additions and let it soak in the refrigerator overnight - they recommend at least eight hours. If you like it cold, just pull it out and eat.



While I don't want cold oatmeal, I decided to adapt the recipe - I put my mix of barley and oat flakes in a bowl, added the milk (equal parts cereal and milk), covered it and let it soak overnight. This morning most of the milk was absorbed into the cereal, so much so that I added a little bit more milk, then microwaved as usual. It worked perfectly! No boiling over, perfectly cooked barley and oat meal for breakfast without a mess! And while even with closely watched barley flakes before there was more chewiness, with soaking overnight the texture was much better in my opinion - still some chewiness, but not as "raw" seeming.

Later today I will go buy some more rolled oat and barley flakes and maybe some rolled rye and wheat flakes to change out my breakfast choices.

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Response to csziggy (Original post)

Sat Feb 25, 2017, 02:28 PM

1. This is my all time favorite cold soaked breakfast cereal

35g(1/4 cup) Bob's Red Mill Muesli
200g (1 container) Fage 2% plain Greek yogurt + a little milk to thin it down
1 banana

Mix everything but the banana and soak overnight, then cut up the banana and add in the morning.

The muesli has dried fruit and the sugars from that will leach out overnight and sweeten the entire mix along with the banana so there's no need to add refined sugars. I like to keep all my meals at pretty close to 400 calories which is about what this has. It's very filling and has a perfect mix of protein, carbs, and fat.

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #1)

Sat Feb 25, 2017, 04:26 PM

2. I can't handle fruit sugars in the morning so I don't have fruit with breakfast

Generally with my oatmeal I have some demeara sugar - that has great big crystals so I use less of it than I would of regular brown sugar.

I went to the food co-op but they didn't have any rye flakes. I got more barley, some thick oat flakes and a package of Old Wessex 5 grain cereal - it has oats, rye, triticale, and golden flax, all as flakes. I'll try the 5 grain by itself tomorrow and decide if I want to switch among the different grains or just mix them up and be boring.

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Response to csziggy (Reply #2)

Sat Feb 25, 2017, 05:14 PM

4. If you can't find demarara sugar, try turbinado sugar

from the health food store. It's a pale brown sugar taken before the final refining process and has fairly large crystals. It has a faint flavor, unlike the pure sweetness of white sugar, and people are amazed when I put it into tea. They become tea converts instantly.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #4)

Sat Feb 25, 2017, 05:18 PM

5. I almost got some turbinado sugar today

The food co-op has it in the bulk bins right next to the demeara sugar. But the demeara looked darker and richer with larger crystals so I got that again. One of our volunteers during the campaign last fall brought some turbinado sugar for her tea - I tried some and it was OK.

The other sugar the food co-op has in bulk is pure cane sugar but it is pretty white compared to the other two and the crystals looks pretty much like any other white sugar. I like the molasses bite that brown sugar and demeara sugar has so I think I will stick with the demeara sugar for now.

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Response to csziggy (Reply #5)

Sat Feb 25, 2017, 05:28 PM

7. The only things I use white sugar for

are syrups for the hummingbird feeders and occasionally in baking. Everything else, including cinnamon sugar for toast, is turbinado. Having that little bit of flavor really does make a huge difference. I think it must harken back to the days when sugar arrived in a loaf and you had to grate it off the loaf to use it.

I've used both and don't find that much of a difference, honestly, and since I can't get demarara here in the high desert, turbinado it is, although I do like to grate some piloncillo into my atole hot chocolates. That stuff is pretty hard core, not for delicate palates.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #7)

Sat Feb 25, 2017, 06:34 PM

8. I'll have to look for the piloncillo - but I'd bet it is not common here in the Southeast

I use white sugar the same as you do and not for a lot else.

If I got desperate I could clean up the cane grinder that was here on the farm and train my horses to turn it - buy or grow some sugar cane and make my own. I even have the syrup vat to cook it down in! Making it into something like piloncillo would be a lot easier than grinding it up for traditional sugar.

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Response to csziggy (Reply #8)

Sat Feb 25, 2017, 06:43 PM

9. Right, it's basically cane syrup boiled down

until it can be poured into a mold and solidify when cool. The molds are about 3 1/2 inches tall and roughly cylindrical, flat on both ends. It's about the least refined sugar you can get and has a very strong flavor. You could use a silicone ice cube tray as a makeshift mold, I think.

Growing a small garden of sugar cane might be a nice experiment. It's horrible stuff to harvest, which is why they originally had to enslave people to do it.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #9)

Sat Feb 25, 2017, 06:49 PM

10. People used to grow it around here - you'd see little plots of it on the small farms

Most had their mules that they used to work their plots of cotton and other small crops. The sugar cane and produce were for their own use - cotton was to sell.

That's why there was a cane grinder and syrup vat here. Mostly this farm was used to raise corn and hogs. They fed the corn to the hogs, and sold the hogs to the country store down the road that is famous for its smoked sausage.

By the time we had purchased the farm, the couple that owned it had been dead for over six years and all their kids had grown up and gotten out on their own. Any evidence of cane and produce growing was gone. What we saw the first time we visited were a few pigs and some corn that had been left in the fields from years before.

I wonder how they processed their cane syrup - if they left it as syrup or cooked it down to make something similar to the sugar cones you mentioned? I may ask at the local history museum. They grow cane and use mules to grind it - they'd know what was done in this area in the past.

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Response to csziggy (Original post)

Sat Feb 25, 2017, 05:11 PM

3. Heat just hurries the absorption process, so this makes sense

"Cold oatmeal" meant muesli back in the 70s. Once microwaves came in, it was an easy process to soak the stuff overnight, then give it a quick zap in the morning, and you'd get the heartiness of thick oats without waiting around for them to cook while you anticipated rush hour traffic.

You can cook a lot of cold cereals, too, if it's porridge you're looking for on a snowy day. I think kiddie stuff like Cocoa Puffs and Lucky Charms might be a little weird but I know cooking works well with things like Cheerios, bran cereals, Chex, and even some of the more austere kid stuff.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #3)

Sat Feb 25, 2017, 05:24 PM

6. I may look at more of the muesli cereals

A lot of them seem to have combinations of grains you don't get ordinarily. But the muesli I looked at today all had fruit and other additives rather than being straight grains.

If I eat cold cereal I want it crunchy. Most of the summer I rotate among Cheerios, Life Cinnamon, and Honey Bunches of Oats with Pecans - but I don't put milk on those. I just eat them straight.

As I said above, I found some 5 grain cereal that is meant to be cooked. It's flaked like oatmeal and has a nice combination of grains. I'm going to try that tomorrow with the overnight soak method and will let y'all know how it turns out.

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Response to csziggy (Original post)

Sat Feb 25, 2017, 11:20 PM

11. The granola I made last week works much better as a cereal

I wanted it a little on the soft side so I wouldn't have to put my dentures in before I could enjoy it.

End result... it didn't clump at all and was much easier to eat with a spoon.

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