13 November 2010

What to eat for breakfast

A few years ago, I found a recipe for the creamiest, tastiest, best-tasting porridge ever. You start it the night before and cook it in the morning, which seems like it might be a lot of work, but all you do in the morning is turn on the stove and stir for a couple of minutes. It's easier than pouring cereal out of a box.

This recipe uses whole oat groats, which I buy in 10kg bags from the natural food store. They last indefinitely if stored in a cool dry place. I transfer mine from the bag into a food-grade plastic bucket to keep critters out. I transfer a few cups at a time into a glass jar to keep in the kitchen. The advantage to using the oat groats, rather than rolled oats, is that the germ has not oxidized in processing, so the full nutritive value is preserved. The digestibility of all whole grains is improved when they are soaked, especially with a souring agent such as yogourt, whey or sourdough starter. The soaking starts the fermentation process by developing lactic acid from airborne yeasts and the souring agent adds more live microorganisms that makes the cereal more nutritious. Crushing the groats gives the resulting porridge a combination of chewy and smooth textures which I love. I crush the oats by running them through the grain grinding attachment for my stand mixer at a coarse setting, but you can also use a mortar and pestle or give them a very quick spin in a blender or food processor. Crushing or grinding does give a nicer result than blending or processing. Dealing with the whole oats seems like a lot of trouble if you aren't used to it, but once you have them in your house and figure out how you'll crush them, you'll never go back to rolled oatmeal again.

So here is the recipe which I've modified slightly from the original I found in The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen by Peter Berley.

1 cup fresh, coarsely crushed whole oat berries
3 cups filtered or well water
2 tablespoons plain yogourt, whey or sourdough starter
1/4 teaspoon salt
  1. Combine the oats, water, yogourt and salt in a saucepan and cover. Let sit over night.
  2. In the morning, bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook gently for 10 minutes.
  3. Serve with your favourite toppings. I like it with plain yogourt and molasses.

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