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Recipes with Whole Wheat Pasta

How to use 7 ancient flours for chocolate chip cookies

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Way before the sun is up and most of Los Angeles has opened its eyes, Roxanna Jullapat flips on the lights and turns on the ovens of Friends & Family, the restaurant and bakery she owns with her husband in East Hollywood. By the time the doors open at 8 a.m., the pastry case is glowing with baked goods featuring vibrant colors and textures of whole grains. 

A longtime advocate of the modern grain movement, Jullapat compiled recipes, some of which you’ll recognize behind that glass, into a long-awaited cookbook  called “Mother Grains.” Jullapat spoke with KCRW about creating the cookbook and the pilgrimages she made to discover barley, buckwheat, corn, oats, rice, rye, sorghum, and wheat.  

KCRW: You were an early advocate of the local grain movement. Did you have an “Aha!” moment that really plugged you into it?

Roxanna Jullapat: “I feel like probably the most clear revelation for me was gaining an understanding that grains are also seasonal. …My husband and I, and the school of cooks from which I stemmed, are firm believers in seasonality. We’re in California, we cannot escape it, it’s all around us. So it was just a matter of connecting that missing dot.”

You took some time to travel and visit farms. And you went up to the Washington State University Breadlab, which is a famed place of pilgrimage for bakers who want to use grains from their local food sheds. Can you share what those experiences were like for you, to push you in this direction?

“It’s interesting, the approach to grains that we have here in America, versus the approach to grains that other cultures and other countries have to grain. Here, it’s kind of like something we discovered or rediscovered. Like it just occurred to us that maybe we should reconsider this whole commodity flour model and study all these ancient grains and varieties, and bring them to modern times and help them acclimate to new microclimates and an ever-changing world and how to best utilize them in a modern context. 

But then, the most interesting travel I did was right before we opened Friends & Family. I had the opportunity to go back home to Costa Rica, where I had grown up. And then also I spent some time in Turkey. I went to Bhutan. Eventually, I ended up in Scandinavia. But what was really enriching to me was to not look at grains as something to be rescued, or something that was necessarily new, but something that is already part of us and the fabric of who we are. And we just have to reconnect with it. 

Growing up as a Latin American kid, I was thoroughly exposed to corn. And I always had access to vocabulary that explained to me that there were more grains than just this wheat that we use for everything that is highly refined and grown at a very industrial scale. So it was really, really cool for me to see the ease with which other people, cultures, countries, cooks and bakers just treated grain without sort of like having to write a treaty about it.”

In your book, “Mother Grains,” you concentrate on eight grains: barley, buckwheat, corn, oats, rye, rice, sorghum, and wheat. Why these particular grains?

“First, they are all what we call ancient grains. We know this because we can trace them genetically and trace how old they actually are. But we also know that they have played a vital role in domestic agriculture. They’re of tremendous historical importance for their contributions as economical, cultural, and even political catalysts in different regions of the country, and also through different time periods in the country.”

In your recipes in the book, do you use any white flour or what we would think of as “all-purpose flour?”

“Indeed I do. And let me just start by saying that I dream of a day when we can all bake with 100% whole grain flours. However, I think of refined flours as a tool and use them as such. But for flavor and texture, the whole grain flour has to be central. So the only reason why white flour, and minimal amounts, is in the book is to fill in wherever the whole grain flour might come short. Depending on the grain, it can be things like lack of gluten, a grated texture, sometimes you can have a bitter flavor or a starchy aftertaste. So that’s the role of the refined all-purpose flour, or even refined bread flour. It just comes in as a building block. While the whole grain flour is there to be the assertive and identifying note of the baked good.”

Your buckwheat pancake — every time I’ve eaten it, or your variation made with corn, I always thought it was genius. Truly a cake made in a pan.

That’s exactly right. That was the intention. I have a very warm spot in my heart for buckwheat. Buckwheat always makes me want to create things that are super comfort foody. So what is more comfort food than a pancake, right? What I like about doing just a big, badass pancake is that you can actually just make one, as opposed to a huge stack. 

And the secret to make this pancake work is that you start in a cast iron pan, and you pour the batter on the stove. So you start by making this nice, crispy edge, and then you finish it in a hot oven. And that just allows the pancake to actually become cake, so to speak. So it’s going to have that oven spring that we aspire to when we’re making a cake. So you get the best of both worlds. That crispy edge and then cakey dreaminess inside.”

Seven of the eight mother grains can be used in your chocolate chip cookie recipe. Can you riff on the properties that each of the flours impart to the cookie? And then what your preference is?

“As I was writing the cookbook, I knew I was going to have to tell people. Because people were going to ask me, and they still do, ‘How can you substitute one flour for another? And how do you know which flour is appropriate for which use?’ And I always have this saying that you can use whichever flour you want, wherever you want, as long as you know what the flour is capable of. Because if you know that, for example, buckwheat has no wheat, you’ll know that you’ll have to match it up with a flour that is glutinous. 

But that is really easy for me to say and understand because I bake every day. So I knew I was going to have to do a recipe in which you could use a great variety of flours, and that they were going to yield results that were very similar, or that you would have a delicious result no matter what the flour was, even if the resulting cookies were each unique and special in their own way. So don’t ask me to choose a favorite one, because it’s like choosing a favorite child. And it’s interesting. This is the effect across the board. When we were testing these recipes, each one of the bakers has a favorite one. And no two bakers pick the same one. 

So let’s start with barley. Barley is a very special flour. It’s very, very low in gluten. And to me, categorically, it represents fall flavors — spice, warm notes, 100%. So the cookie that it produces is quite a bit butterscotch, very, very brown sugary. It also has a really nice texture, because that’s what barley flour is. It’s a very tender flour. 

I really, really liked the buckwheat chocolate chip cookie. There’s definitely an incredible affinity between the darker grains, such as rye and buckwheat, and chocolate. So I find this cookie to be a little bit sober, a little bit more adult, and absolutely delicious. It’s also terrific with just a black cup of coffee. 

The oatmeal chocolate chip cookie is super playful. It will taste a little bit lighter, but it also has that chew that oats will impart in a recipe. It makes a terrific ice cream sandwich. 

The rice chocolate chip cookies are very interesting, because rice is very neutral. So the way it reacts when we put it in a recipe is that it adds a little bit of sweetness, but it’s not sugar. It’s a sweetness with a little bit more depth, but it also adds tremendous crunch to a recipe. So I like to bake them just until they’re crispy on the outside, but it’s still a little bit softer in the center. And that crispy edge with rice flour is like buttery magic, crunchy deliciousness in your mouth. 

The rye chocolate chip cookie, like I said, there’s a great affinity between rye and chocolate. It is the one version that we make here at the bakery. And it is all of those things, like very elegant, and also the rye flour tends to have a little tartness to it, so it balances the sweetness of the chocolate. And it’s terrific with just a few flakes of sea salt on top. 

Then the Sonora wheat chocolate chip cookie is really great. Sonora is a really awesome flour that we produce tons of here in California and the West Coast. It’s very sustainable and super climate friendly. So this is a winner cookie, like nobody will object to this cookie. … And it’s also very kid friendly. So for those of us who bake for children, often this is an excellent way to introduce them to whole grains and talk about flour and flour that grows close to them. 

And, of course, spelt chocolate chip cookies work great. Spelt is a great flour because it’s pretty user-friendly. You could almost utilize it as an all purpose flour one to one.”

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 16 cookies

Ingredients 

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick/115 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
  • ½ cup packed (112 g) dark brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup (100 g) sorghum flour
  • ¾ cup (105 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (175 g) bittersweet chocolate chips
  • Coarse sea salt such as Maldon or fleur de sel (optional)

Whenever someone new to ancient grains asks where to start, I recommend making a familiar staple, like chocolate chip cookies. I’ve made these using every grain in the book, including all heirloom wheat varieties I came across while developing these recipes. I know these cookies so well, I use them as my measuring stick.

Each flour may behave a bit differently, but I can confidently say that, with the exception of corn, the cookies work beautifully with all mother grains. Every version taught me something new and distinctive about its featured flour: what the flour tastes like, how it responds to fat, if it browns quickly or slowly, and if it creates a chewy or crispy texture. It was pretty hard to decide which chapter these cookies belong in, but I finally settled on placing them here, in the sorghum chapter, to underline how an unusual flour can be used in traditional recipes. I’ve also included on page 253 a list of seven variations showing how to make them with other grains.

Because it’s gluten-free and therefore less structured, I blend sorghum flour with all-purpose flour in a one-to-one ratio. The same ratio applies if trying the recipe with other gluten-free grains, such as buckwheat or rice. These cookies are sublime with rye, and their texture is remarkable with spelt. But when made with sorghum flour, this recipe yields beautiful golden rounds, with crispy edges and tender centers. Sorghum’s complex, sweet notes will have you making this cookie time and time again.

Instructions 

-In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars on medium- high speed for 2 to 3 minutes.
-Add the baking soda and kosher salt and mix for another minute.
-Add the egg and vanilla and mix to combine.
-Add the flours and mix on low speed until a uniform dough forms.
-Add the chocolate chips and mix until well distributed in the dough. The dough will be very soft at this point.
-Transfer the dough to a sheet of parchment paper or plastic wrap.
-Flatten it into a disk, wrap tightly, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (and up to 2 days)—chilled dough will be much easier to work with.
-Place two oven racks in the middle positions and preheat the oven to 350ºF.
-Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
-Divide the chilled dough into sixteen equal portions, about 1½ ounces (45 g) each.
-Working quickly so that the dough doesn’t warm up, round each portion with your hands. You can freeze the cookie dough balls for up to 2 weeks in a freezer bag to be baked from frozen at a later time. Keep in mind that frozen cookies may take longer baking time.
-Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets, at least 3 inches apart to prevent the cookies from touching as they spread when they bake. If desired, top each cookie with a few flakes of coarse sea salt. Exercise restraint—it’s still salt.
-Bake for 8 minutes. Then rotate the sheets, switch their positions in the oven, and bake for another 8 minutes, until the cookie edges are brown but the centers are still a little gooey. Rotating and switching the sheets halfway through the baking process will ensure that the cookies bake evenly.
-Let the cookies cool completely on the baking sheets or enjoy while still warm. The cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Variations

Barley Chocolate Chip Cookies
Soft-textured cookies that look very appealing. Hints of vanilla come through. Very kid friendly.
Replace the sorghum and all-purpose flours with:
-½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (80 g) barley flour
-½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (90 g) all-purpose flour

Buckwheat Chocolate Chip Cookies
Sober version of this cookie. Really highlights the affinity between chocolate and buckwheat. The earthy flavor of buckwheat comes through. For the more adventurous baker.
Replace the sorghum and all-purpose flours with:
-½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (95 g) buckwheat flour
-½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (90 g) all-purpose flour

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Lacy texture with a toasted-grain flavor. Tastes great with milk and makes delicious ice cream sandwiches. Replace the sorghum and all-purpose flours with:
-½ cup (105 g) old-fashioned rolled oats
-½ cup (70 g) oat flour
-½ cup (70 g) all-purpose flour

Rice Chocolate Chip Cookies
Slightly sweeter than other versions with a nice, almost snappy crunch. Texture-rich with a pleasant grit from the finely ground rice.
Replace the sorghum and all-purpose flours with:
-½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (90 g) brown rice flour
-½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (90 g) all-purpose flour

Rye Chocolate Chip Cookies
Elegant, more adult version of this cookie with a slightly sour-bitter flavor from the rye. This is the version we offer at Friends & Family.
Replace the sorghum and all-purpose flours with:
-1¼ cups (160 g) dark rye flour

Sonora Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies
Pretty and tasty cookie with crispy edges and chewy center. Very close to the classic version of this American staple with a hint of toasted wheat bran flavor.
Replace the sorghum and all-purpose flours with:
-1¼ cups (160 g) Sonora wheat flour

Spelt Chocolate Chip Cookies
A great cookie for grain novices to make and eat. Uniform in flavor and texture with a delicious
crunch.
Replace the sorghum and all-purpose flours with:
-1¼ cups (165 g) spelt flour

Bittersweet Chocolate
Use your preferred brand of bittersweet chocolate chips in this recipe; just make sure the label indicates it contains 60 to 70 percent of cacao solids. A great grocery store brand is Guittard. Specialty stores offer a vast variety of high-​quality chocolate brands too, top among them Valrhona, El Rey, and Callebaut, but they don’t always offer chips. If that’s the case, you can chop larger bars into smaller pieces with a chef’s knife. To further highlight the chocolate flavor, garnish the cookies with a few flakes of crunchy salt such as Maldon salt or fleur de sel (see page 32).

Los Angeles baker Roxana Jullapat explores eight ancient grains in her long-awaited cookbook. Photo courtesy of Norton.

Recipes with Whole Wheat Pasta

Types of Chocolate, Explained:

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You’ve seen these numbers on fancy candy bar packaging, but what do chocolate percentages mean and which one should you choose? We’ll break it down so you can make the best chocolate choice possible.

When it comes to chocolate, I used to be part of the high cocoa cult. My favorite was 70 percent, with an 82.5 percent shot every now and then. However, the more I learned about chocolate, the more I realized that the percentage had nothing to do with quality: I had greasy 85 percent bars and fantastic 40 percent bars.

That’s because the cocoa percentage is the percentage of the bar that comes straight from cocoa beans. Take my beloved 70 percent bar as an example: 70 percent of this bar is made from refined cocoa beans, and 30 percent is made from all the other ingredients like sugar, vanilla, sea salt, pop rocks, whatever.

Just because you’ve tried a 70 percent bar doesn’t mean you’ve tried them all. Everyone has a unique mouthfeel and taste. (A genius came up with the fancy sounding “mouthfeel” to describe how things feel in the mouth. In practical terms, this means whether the chocolate is grainy or smooth, melts quickly or slowly, etc.) One reason is that one chocolate bar contains significantly more cocoa butter than another. Both cocoa solids and cocoa butter are included in this 70 percent.

As I write in my book, “Bean-to-Bar Chocolate: America’s Craft Chocolate Revolution ”,“ A 70 percent bar could contain 50 percent cocoa mass and 20 percent cocoa butter; another could have 30 percent cocoa mass and 40 percent cocoa butter (that would make a very smooth, buttery bar!). To make it even more complicated, different types of beans naturally contain different amounts of cocoa butter. Some are leaner, others fatter. The natural “butteriness” of a bean changes the consistency of the resulting chocolate. “

Milk chocolate generally has a fairly low percentage, usually around 40 percent or less (Hershey’s is 11 percent). I’m in love with Zotter’s 40 percent bar diluted with “Bio Tiroler Bergmilch” and Frans smoked salt.

Dark chocolate has no legal definition in the United States (it comes under the umbrella term semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate). It’s usually at least 55 percent, but most dark chocolate lovers enjoy 70 percent or more. I’m obsessed with a new variety called dark milk chocolate, a high-proof milk chocolate that combines the best of both worlds: you get the intense flavors of dark chocolate with the creaminess of milk chocolate. My favorite right now? Chocolate Naive’s 62 percent dark milk with porcini mushrooms. (Yes, you read that right: mushrooms!)

Then there are some dark candy bars that stamp in at 100 percent. That said, they only contain ground and refined cocoa beans, and the trick for the chocolate makers is to bring out the natural flavors of these beans to make them not only edible but also enjoyable. The best – like those from Fruition and Pralus – are far from making chocolate. I urge you to try a 100 percent bar for Valentine’s Day: you might find your true love.

But don’t forget the white chocolate either.

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Recipes with Whole Wheat Pasta

Best Food Podcasts 2021

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Thanks to the development of some very good culinary podcasts, today’s food freaks are asking, “What are you listening to?” as much as they are “What shows do you watch?” and “What books do you cook from?”

Right now we may be on a temporary break from commuting to work or exercising at the gym, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up listening to podcasts. (I mean, there is only so much TV that you can watch in a day, right?). There’s a diverse buffet of quality, audible food content, with programs covering everything from the latest industry news and the impact of food on identity and culture to the whimsical stories behind the most mundane foods. Below is a list of some of our favorites in case you need entertainment (not to mention a sense of social interaction and community) during these isolating times.

This podcast by Samin Nosrat and Hrishikesh Hirway came at exactly the right time and is the perfect listening pleasure during quarantine – it covers cooking with simple ingredients from the pantry (the first episode is all about beans), but also goes against anxiety, that we’re all feeling right now. You are encouraged to submit your own questions, stories, and experiences, but even if you just tune in, you’ll feel reassured. The original four-part run was so popular that it was expanded to include the latest episode (which only released July 22nd) featuring Nadiya Hussein from “The Great British Baking Show” and Netflix’s “Nadiya’s Time to Eat”.

Listen to home cooking.

At this age of “If you didn’t post every item of your meal on Instagram, did you even eat there?” this podcast for anyone curious about the interface between food, art and design is particularly interesting and relevant. This program, hosted by award-winning photographer and cookbook author Michael Harlan Turkell, takes the standard interview with chef / food personalities and presents it through a new lens where the conversations are likely to be immersed in the artistry of a culinary technique (e.g. cutting fish for sushi or whole animal butchering) or the development of the materials chefs use for work today. And best of all, with over 400 episodes, you have tons of listening material to help you tackle all of the thorough projects that you promised yourself to be.

Listen to the food seen.

Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I have a hard time imagining the effectiveness of a cooking class without the visual element. That was until I discovered this podcast and was forced to gobble up my words. Most of the episodes follow moderator Roger as he guides the audience step by step in real time through a recipe. It might not be something you just want to hear out of context, but if you want to feel like you’re in a real cooking class with someone to guide you along the way, it’s a great tool. He has a knack for breaking things down in a practical, easy-to-understand home-style way, and these are the kind of basic building block recipes you will come back to again and again. (And yes, don’t worry, he has an accompanying blog with pictures of the key steps in case you’re looking for a point of reference.)

Listen to The Kitchen Counter.

In this young podcast, veteran cooking authority America’s Test Kitchen deviates from their usual tried and true recipe test format. Admittedly, the episode themes don’t have a lot of street appeal: In the 30-minute debut episode, you’ll learn everything about celery; another focuses on ketchup. But rather than conveying best cooking practices or running brand reviews side by side, the show addresses the infinitely more interesting backstories (the “it” vegetable status of celery in the Victorian era) and big questions (does ketchup go with a burger?). Not at all straight forward and clinical at all, the tone of the show is rather light-hearted fun mixed with real nerd curiosity (especially the LOL-inducing episode about taste; I won’t spoil it, but there are dirty sock-flavored jelly bellys in it). .

Listen to evidence.

If you are looking for a food podcast that meets all of the criteria, “The Splendid Table” is for you. Hosted by esteemed and easily relatable food writer / personality Francis Lam, this diverse program almost feels like listening to the audio version of the best newspaper food section. There are interviews with experts, short stories, history lessons, opinion pieces, recipes and cooking tips, audience Q & As, whatever. The episodes last about an hour and thematically range from “Eating in the Age of Social Media” and “The History of Sauces” to “The Art of the Sandwich” and the “Power of Scent”.

Listen to The Splendid Table.

Food is so much more than just what happens on your plate. It’s a powerful insight and formative force on everything from history, science, culture, politics and, as this podcast explores, people. The James Beard Award-winning program, hosted by Dan Pashman, has been described as a show that is “not for foodies, but for eaters.”

Listen to Sporkful.

In the podcast world, comedy has been successfully applied to all sorts of topics (e.g. real crime, American history) so why not food? If you need something to break up the serious, cerebral food conversations in your library, this long-running show from writers / comedians Molly Wizenberg and Matthew Amster-Burton should be on the rotation. Each week, the two fun friends take about half an hour to discuss whatever comes to their mind over an all-over-the-map assortment of food topics (from hot pockets and movie candies to beets, mayonnaise and “Sick food” from childhood). . It’s a simple, satisfying palate cleanser for non-food lovers that is guaranteed to make you smile.

Hear spilled milk.

The history and culture of southern food is rich. And not just because of the kitchen’s well-documented relationship with butter and anything fried. In this intelligently produced series from the Southern Foodways Alliance, the culinary landscape of the American South is explored through stories that go beyond the obvious and expected. Such as Montgomery, Alabama’s burgeoning Korean food scene; or the fact that chili powder, a staple of southern cuisine, was invented by a German immigrant; or how a Texas winemaker helped save French vineyards in the late 19th century.

Hear about sauce.

If you’re craving high quality culinary audio, the Brooklyn-based Heritage Radio Network has a veritable food court of options. For story seekers there is “Evolutionaries”, a documentary series in which industry giants share their experiences that have shaped them and their careers. In another corner, you’ve got scientific (and infectiously animated) chef Dave Arnold answering your nerdy, bizarre culinary problems in Cooking Issues. And let’s not forget “Radio Cherry Bomb” – even more relevant in this era of the #metoo movement – with interviews with the women who shape today’s food world. But if you’re looking for a snack rather than a full meal, do yourself a favor and subscribe to Meat + Three. Each episode, over 20 minutes long, uses the traditional southern “meat and three sides” model to discuss the week’s most important food news: one topic is treated as a protein star, while three short stories round out the audible plate. Where so many great food podcasts need a longer, in-depth look at the food for thought format, it’s nice to add something quick and easy to digest to the mix.

Hear Meat + Three.

“Eating through the Lens of Science and History” may sound more like heady food studies classroom feed than an entertaining podcast, but hosts Cynthia Graber and Nicola Twilly do a great job keeping the investigation on the accessible and friendly side of geeky curiosity . I imagine this show will appeal to people who love to see shows like Food Network’s Unwrapped and anything hosted by Alton Brown.

Listen to gastropod.

If you’re thirsty for great content on this oh-so-important food-wine-topic, subscribe to I’ll Drink to That hosted by ex-NYC sommelier Levi Dalton. The show’s interviewees roster is a veritable who’s who of the big-ticket industry talent, from sommeliers and importers to legendary winemakers themselves, and Dalton has the kind of ease and comfort at eye level to coax some really good stories.

Stop it, I’ll drink to it.

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Recipes with Whole Wheat Pasta

Rolled Oats vs. Steel Cut Oats vs. Quick Oats: How to Choose

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Have you ever gotten yourself stared at all the different oatmeal in the store? Should you be getting steel cut oats, oatmeal, or old-fashioned oats (or are some of them the same)? Which one is healthier and can they all be used interchangeably? Here’s what you need to know.

If you want to eat oatmeal, you might as well have the variety that is not deprived of its nutrients. Especially if you are feeding it to children. But hey, you are important too. So what’s the difference between Steel Cut, Scottish, Irish, Rolled, Quick Cooking, Old Fashioned, and Instant Oats?

Short answer: some are milled differently, others are exactly the same but are named differently.

Speaking of which, what’s the difference between oats and oatmeal? Technically, oats refers to the whole grains themselves and oatmeal to the pulpy dish often made from them and / or the processed form of the whole grains – but now the terms are often used interchangeably.

With any type of oatmeal, the oats are first cleaned, peeled, and conditioned, which removes the outer shell (called the peel) and leaves the inner core or grits behind. The groats are then brushed clean in scrubbing machines. Next, an oven heats the grits to about 215 degrees Fahrenheit to deactivate their enzymes, which limits the oils in the germ from reacting with oxygen, making the oats shelf-stable and giving them a slightly toasted taste. Chelsea Lincoln, a representative of Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods says this is important because “oats go rancid very quickly if not stabilized”.

From there, the whole oat groats are processed differently, depending on the type of oat flakes they are made into:

Steel-cut oats (also known as Irish oats)

Lincoln says that to make steel cut oats (also known as Irish oats), the groats are crushed with steel blades. “This allows for a tougher oatmeal,” says Lincoln. It takes about 30 minutes to cook.

Stone milled oats (also known as Scottish oats)

With stone-milled oats (also called Scottish oats), the groats are ground into a meal, creating an “oat porridge with a nice, creamy texture”. Like Irish oats, Scottish oats take about 30 minutes to cook.

Oatmeal (also known as old-fashioned oats)

Oatmeal (also known as old-fashioned oats) takes less time to cook and is less coarse and chewy in texture. To make them, the groats are softened by steaming and then passed through metal rollers to flatten them. Lincoln says that Bob’s Red Mill’s regular oatmeal is flattened to 0.024-0.032 inches.

Quick cooking oats

Quick-cooking oats are rolled even thinner – about 0.017 to 0.022 inches – so they cook in less than five minutes.

Instant oats

Instant oats are also rolled thin, but then “boiled and then dried again,” says Lincoln. Just add hot water and stir.

All oatmeal is pretty healthy for you; They are full of soluble fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Compared to other breakfast cereals and many other grains, they also have a low glycemic index, which means they are digested longer and have less of an impact on blood sugar levels (they are considered good carbohydrates). The less processed the oats are, the more nutrients they retain. And you should watch out for added sugars and preservatives in instant oatmeal.

Oats are naturally gluten-free, but are often processed in flour-handling operations, so cross-contamination can be a problem. If you have celiac disease or gluten intolerance, look for a certified gluten-free label.

Most recipes that call for oatmeal indicate oatmeal or old-fashioned oats (which, remember, are the same), but you can also use quick-cooking oats interchangeably. There may be minor changes to the texture, but it’s usually not so noticeable that it’s a deal breaker.

In a pinch, instant oatmeal can also be used in place of the above in things like oatcakes (where they are completely mixed into the batter), but the texture will be even softer and the cooking time can be significantly shorter, so make sure you get it sooner check the degree of doneness. They’re not a good substitute for homemade granola or recipes that use the oats for a crumbly, crispy topping.

Irish and Scottish oats will not work in place of other types of oats because they are much tougher and stronger. So, look for steel cut oat recipes if you want to use them in particular.

You can add oats to smoothies in some recipes and even replace flour with ground oats, but here are nine of our favorite ways to enjoy all types of oats in a starring role:

1. Simple homemade granola

Making your own granola to top up yogurt or just to snack on is usually much healthier and sometimes more economical than buying it in the store (but it depends on what you want to add). Get our Easy Homemade Granola Recipe.

2. Apple and oatmeal bars

These are tough, sweet, soft and a little crispy on top with the oat crumble. And they’re easy to make using ingredients that many of us already have on hand, so you don’t have to hunt for a random ingredient in the store. Get our recipe for apple and oatmeal bars. (Also try our recipe for apricot and oatmeal bars.)

3. Slow Cooker Steel-Cut Oatmeal

Throw the ingredients in your crock pot before you go to bed and wake up to a creamy, hot breakfast. Just add vanilla, nuts and fruits – fresh or dried. Get our Slow Cooker Steel-Cut Oatmeal Recipe.

4th No-bake oatmeal cookies

Chowhound

Wait what Oh yeah. These are especially great in summer when you don’t want to heat your kitchen any more than it already is. Preparation takes 15 minutes plus cooling time. These cookies taste like chocolate and peanut butter too, and we love that. Get our no-bake oatmeal cookie recipe.

5. Peach Melba Cake

This is what your summer is missing: peaches and raspberries wrapped in a crust and topped with an oat-brown sugar sprinkle. Serving this cake with a scoop of good vanilla ice cream is a must. Get our peach melba pie recipe.

6th Do-Si-Do copycat cookies

These are perfect if you’re calling for Girl Scout Cookies out of season. We’re calling for quick-boiling oats here to keep the texture nice and soft. Get our Do-Si-Do Copycat Cookie Recipe. (For more upgrades to the common oatmeal raisins, check out our Tropical Oatzravaganza Biscuit Recipe and our Chewy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Biscuit recipe as well.)

7. Overnight oats with summer fruits

You don’t even have to cook this! The oatmeal absorbs the milk and becomes soft over time. It’s very easy now. Put the ingredients in a bowl or glass the night before, put them in the refrigerator and take them out the next morning, cover them with fresh fruit and eat them. Get our Overnight Oats with Summer Fruit Recipe.

8. Hearty oatmeal

Who says oatmeal has to be sweet? Steel-cut or stone-ground oat flakes in particular take on hearty flavors, and you can also cook them in the slow cooker. Get our recipe ideas for hearty oatmeal.

9. Oat honey vodka

Another unusual thing about oatmeal? Soak it in vodka for a toasty-sweet drop! Get our Oat Honey Vodka Recipe. (If you don’t drink alcohol, you can try making oat fortified milk … not to be confused with non-dairy oat milk, but still delicious.) Drink it straight or try it with cream in our Quaker Shaker recipe.

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