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How to Cook Breakfast Grains

Grains and hot cereals can be prepared in different ways to create different textures -- fluffy and light, like a rice pilaf; or creamy and comforting, like a porridge, as shown here. 

To make the perfect breakfast cereal, experiment with both cooking methods and see which you like best.

Cooking Methods

For a Fluffier Texture
Covering the pot and not stirring creates a firmer, fluffier texture and keeps larger grains (such as barley) intact. Bring water and salt to a boil. Whisk in grains. Return to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered, for the time indicated below. Let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork before serving.

For a Creamier Texture
This method requires more water and more stirring. Small grains (or those that have been cut down, such as steel-cut oats) tend to work best. Bring water and salt to a boil. Whisk in grains. Return to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Simmer, stirring often, for the time indicated below. Serve immediately.

The Grains

Barley
bobsredmill.com
All barley is high in fiber, but for the most nutrients, pick hulled (the husk is removed but the bran is left intact) over pearled.
Fluffier: 2 1/2 cups water + 1/4 teaspoon salt + 1 cup barley. 1 hour. Serves 4.
Creamier: Not recommended.

Cornmeal
bobsredmill.com

This grain, the stuff of polenta, comes in many grinds and styles. The whole-grain variety is tops for fiber and nutrients.
Fluffier: Not recommended.
Creamier: 5 1/2 cups water + 1/4 teaspoon salt + 1 cup medium-grind whole-grain yellow cornmeal (not instant). 30 to 35 minutes. Serves 6.

Farro
dipaloselects.com
Fiber-rich farro, a grain popular in Italy, comes from a type of wheat called emmer. It is often confused with spelt.
Fluffier: 3 cups water + 1/4 teaspoon salt + 1 cup farro. 45 minutes. Serves 4.
Creamier: 5 cups water + 1/4 teaspoon salt + 1 cup farro. 35 to 40 minutes. Serves 4.

Millet
arrowheadmills.com
Millet has a notable array of vitamins and minerals -- including folate, manganese, and zinc -- and is rich in protein.
Fluffier: 6 cups water + 1/4 teaspoon salt + 1 cup millet. 30 to 35 minutes. Serves 4.
Creamier: Not recommended.

Quinoa
kalustyans.com
Quinoa is packed with protein and has some iron. In addition to the white variety, there are black and red quinoa grains.
Fluffier: 2 cups water + 1/4 teaspoon salt + 1 cup quinoa. 15 minutes (white quinoa) or 15 to 17 minutes (red or black quinoa). Serves 6.
Creamier: 4 cups water + 1/4 teaspoon salt + 1 cup quinoa. 22 to 25 minutes. Serves 6 (not recommended for red or black quinoa).

Steel-Cut Oats
bobsredmill.com
Steel-cut oats are sliced differently from familiar rolled oats. But all oats are high in cholesterol-lowering fiber.
Fluffier: 3 cups water + 1/4 teaspoon salt + 1 cup oats. 30 minutes. Serves 4.
Creamier:4 1/2 cups water + 1/4 teaspoon salt + 1 cup oats. 35 to 40 minutes. Serves 4.

Wheat Berries
kalustyans.com
These nutty-tasting wheat grains are not milled or otherwise processed. They have good quantities of protein, fiber, and iron.
Fluffier: 2 1/2 cups water + 1/4 teaspoon salt + 1 cup wheat berries. 1 hour. Serves 4.
Creamier: Not recommended.

5 Breakfast Grain Recipes

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