Bob's Red Mill Scottish Oatmeal vs. Bob's Steel-Cut Oats
I read an earlier topic about McCann's Irish Oatmeal. I normally buy Bob's Red Mill Scottish Oatmeal which assumed was steel-cut oats. Today I noticed that in addition to the Scottish Oatmealnow Bob's Red Mill has oats labeled steel-cut oats. So what is the Scottish version that I've been eating then?
Scotch/Steel-Cut/Irish oats are all, more or less, interchangeable terms referring to whole oat groats (the oblong oat kernel that looks like a grain of rice) that has neither been pre-cooked nor rolled but has been cut (or ground) into several pieces. These are not flat; they look like small, irregular pellets. They take a considerable length of time to cook and have a dense, chewy texture.
Notice the "more or less" above. Bob's is using the words to make a distinction between whole groats that have been cut and whole groats that have been ground. Their "steel cut" oats are what I described above as cut by, you guessed it, steel. The pellets are distinct and their is little powdering or additional fracture of the groat. They are using "Scottish" to mean stone ground whole groats. This gives most of the benefit of steel cut - the toothsome texture, the distinct granularity that doesn't devolve into mush - with some of the "cohesion" and porridge texture of rolled oats. I suppose it's less "new fangled" and more "old world" than steel cut.
Rolled oats, by the way, are disc-shaped flattened groats. They take less time to cook than steel cut or ground oats - around 15 minutes - and still have a chewy texture, but less so than steel-cut, and a "porridge factor," but less so than ground. Down the chain are quick-cooking (groats that are cut before being flattened - essentially rolled steel cut oats) and instant (pre-cooked and dried before being rolled). The latter have a smooth, gooey texture and, in my opinion, should be avoided. Quick cooking are superior in texture and only take five minutes.