Perfect Oatmeal

I like variety so this recipe, Star tested by the Toronto Star test kitchens, caught my eye, a few years ago.

It’s based on the finding’s of Mayrellen Driscoll at Cook’s Illustrated that:

  1. salt added at the beginning of cooking hardens oats and prevents the grains from swelling;
  2. oatmeal does best with a steady, uncovered simmer on medium-low heat;
  3. stirring too early and with the usual end of a wooden spoon (instead of the handle end) creates a “mushier, less toothsome oatmeal”; and
  4. a rest period lets the “creamy grains pull together like a pudding”.

Makes 4 servings

Cook time = over 40 minutes; this is a long time, but I am retired and don’t find it a problem since I have enough to do in the interim. Many of you may not be as lucky since you have to rush off to work … so treat yourself on the weekend!


3 cups             water

1 cup               milk

1 tbsp             unsalted butter

1 cup               steel-cut oats

¼ tsp               salt


In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring water and milk to simmer.

Meanwhile, in medium skillet, heat butter over medium until just beginning to foam.

Add oats.

Toast, stirring constantly with (the usual end of) wooden spoon, until golden and fragrant with butterscotch-like aroma, about two minutes.

Stir oats into simmering liquid.

Reduce heat to medium-low.

Simmer gently, without stirring, until mixture thickens, about 20 minutes.

Add salt.

Stir slightly with handle of wooden spoon.

Simmer, stirring occasionally with wooden spoon handle, until oats absorbalmost all liquid and oatmeal is thick and creamy with pudding-like consistency, about 7 to 10 minutes.

Remove from heat.

Let stand uncovered, 10 minutes.

Serve immediately.


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