Steel-Cut Oats

Published July 1, 2009. From Cook's Illustrated.

Judging from the brands and styles cramming supermarket shelves, there's an oat for almost every taste. Are any better for breakfast or for baking?

Overview:

Interest has swung back lately toward slower-cooking traditional oats, with stores offering Irish-style steel-cut options. In the test kitchen, we prefer steel-cut oats for breakfast. This style of oatmeal—steel-cut oats are sliced by steel blades; to make old-fashioned or rolled oats, the oats are steamed and rolled flat—offers firm, chewy texture and exceptionally full oat flavor. Surprisingly, the most familiar name in oatmeal, which is also the most expensive brand, came in last, while our winner offered outstanding buttery, nutty oat flavor and "creamy yet toothsome" texture.

Interest has swung back lately toward slower-cooking traditional oats, with stores offering Irish-style steel-cut options. In the test kitchen, we prefer steel-cut oats for breakfast. This style of oatmeal—steel-cut oats are sliced by steel blades; to make old-fashioned or rolled oats, the oats are steamed and rolled flat—offers firm, chewy texture and exceptionally full oat flavor. Surprisingly, the most familiar name in oatmeal, which is also the most expensive brand, came in last, while our winner offered outstanding buttery, nutty oat flavor and "creamy yet toothsome" texture.

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