Published March 1, 2000.
After making 50 batches of oatmeal, we make porridge worth eating again by using steel-cut oats and a simple toasting method that greatly enhances flavor.
The oatmeal that graces the bowls of most American breakfast tables-rolled-is generally scorned by those masters of oatmeal making, the Scottish and the Irish. Saying that rolled oats make a "sloppy bowl of porridge," they turn to the steel-cut variety when making their breakfast. But steel-cut oats can be hard and chewy, and they take ages to cook.
We set out to see which variety of oats, cooked in what particular way, would make the best bowl of oatmeal by our standards, the most flavorful and the creamiest without being mushy.
Toast the steel-cut oats with a small amount of butter in a skillet to accent the nutty flavor. Cook the oats in a blend of three parts water to one cup milk at a steady uncovered simmer on medium-low heat. Skip the constant stirring and just stir during the last several minutes, and also add flavorings like salt or raisins at this time. Allow the oatmeal to rest 7 to 10 minutes off heat before serving to allow it to thicken.list of recipes