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Steel cut oats without milk

Can anyone tell me out to cook steel cut oats with water only, no milk?

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  1. Just follow the directions on the can. Use a larger pot than you think you need, and don't cover it; they tend to foam up and boil over.

    1. Just mix oats and water, bring to a boil stirring often, reduce heat, and cook till tender. I usually start with a 2:1 water to grain ratio (volume), but add water if it gets too thick (ending up with more like 3:1). I also think it needs salt.

      I don't think there's a significant difference between cooking with water and milk. Water is norm for me, though I may add some cream toward the end to add some richness.

      1. I like to make mine with some apple cider mixed with the water (about 50/50) or if I only have apple juice then more like 75/25 or even all apple juice. Yummy!

        Otherwise, like the other posters have said it's about the same.

        1. Milk??? We never use milk in the recipe, so it even hit me as strange that milk is some folks' option. We do overnight steel cut oats in the crock pot. We read somewhere of turning the crock pot into a type of double boiler by putting an oven-safe bowl in the crock pot, and surrounding the bowl with water. Someone thought there might be a risk of something cracking, so we follow their hint of wadding up some small pieces of aluminum foil under the bowl or putting a small saucer under the bowl. Nothing has cracked yet/ not worried about it.

          Overnight Crockpot Steel Cut Oats

          Before you go to bed...

          The water in the crockpot should come up to a little more than halfway up the outside of the bowl. Bowl should be able to hold 4 cups of liquid. Make sure the lid still fits on the crockpot. Measure out one cup of steel cup of oats. Pour that into the inner bowl. Now, add 4 cups of water to the inner bowl; stir it in. Maybe yes, maybe no, for a little salt. Put the lid onto the crockpot, set the unit on low (I learned to check that its on 'low' and not 'warm!') Go to bed, and the next morning, its perfect! In the morning, you can stir in a little milk or some dried fruit or raisins or some thawed out frozen blueberries or brown sugar or nothing!

          We do this 1- 2x a month. We have also done overnight stone-ground grits with same success.

          Florida Hound

          5 Replies
          1. re: Florida Hound

            IMO, the slow cooker is the only way to cook steel cut oats. Perfection every time, and they reheat like a dream :)

            1. re: CanadaGirl

              I like covering them with boiling water then in the morn I fork stir add more hot water to cover and cook at a low temp .

              1. re: CanadaGirl

                +1 on that, it makes it very creamy so you don't need milk. I do add butter though, so healthwise it's worse.

              2. re: Florida Hound

                I detest my crockpot but this intrigues me...

                When it gets a bit cooler I am definitely going to try this.


              3. 3:1 water, low heat -- simmer about 25 minutes...add cold milk or buttermilk at service

                1. Milk is not needed. Just follow the package instructions.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: JudiAU

                    But not all steel cut oats come in a package with printed instructions - sometimes they can be found in the bulk foods bins.

                    1. re: paulj

                      Yes, paulj, I bought mine in bulk. All the recipes I googled used milk.

                      1. re: laredo

                        They are just trying to be fancy. :)

                        is the Bobs Red Mill package with instructions
                        They also have a quick cook cut oats that takes a bit less water and less time

                        for the first time, cook them when you have plenty of time. And feel free to taste and test.

                  2. I've never cooked them with milk. I just tend to add a touch of butter or cream before serving.

                    I recommend, however:

                    1. Toast your raw oats (I also include some dried tart cherries) with a pinch of salt in your cooking pot over medium heat (the toasting improves the flavor of the oats and also reduce their tendency to stick to the pot), while
                    2. Bringing the water to a boil in an electric kettle, then
                    3. Pour the boiling water over the oats (the pot will spit, that's perfectly OK), reduce heat, add a hint of butter or fat (to control foaming) and cover. If you do this the night before, you can just turn the heat off and warm back up in the morning. No slow cooker is needed or desired for this. The oats will be fine on the stove overnight, covered.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: Karl S

                      I'll try this tonight, Karl, with the proportions posted above.

                      Thanks so much to all for your help.

                      1. re: Karl S

                        Why do you add the salt to the dry oats in the pot and not later?

                        1. re: Leepa

                          Oh, because it's easier for me to remember to do it. One could add it just before covering. But they do need a pinch of salt. It's not the same just adding it upon serving.

                          1. re: Karl S

                            I agree. I like to add salt to mine when it's nearly finished.

                        2. re: Karl S

                          This is what I do, no slow cooker needed.
                          I also cook them in chicken broth to use for savory purposes, they make an excellent grain as a side for dinner or a base for grain salads.

                          1. re: magiesmom

                            Yes, they would. The next best thing to hulled (rather than pearled) barley.

                        3. I don't think I've ever cooked oatmeal -- of any kind -- with milk. Just water.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: ipsedixit

                            try it sometime, it is very creamy and delicious.

                            1. re: magiesmom

                              I don't like milk, ever -- except in yogurt or ice cream form.

                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                well then that would not make any sense!
                                I love milk, so for me it is a treat.

                          2. All you need is 3 to 1 ratio of water, a bit of salt (to taste), a bit of fat or oil, and then you cook the porridge low & slow. The primary reason that people use milk or heavy cream in oatmeal is for the dairy fat and sugars.

                            I've used everything from vegetable oil to rendered pork drippings to cover the fat content, and the porridge turns out just fine. Although there can be a noticeable flavor and textural difference between the different types of fat you use, and the amount you put into the pot.

                            23 Replies
                            1. re: deet13

                              Why do you need fat to cook oatmeal?

                              I've been cooking oatmeal with just water since, like, forever. Sometimes I crack a raw egg over the oatmeal, but I don't think that's what you mean by "fat or oil".

                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                The fat changes the flavor and texture of the oatmeal, as it cooks.

                                IMO, it's like adding oil, fat, or butter to a pot of rice or beans.

                                That said, you don't need the fat content; but then again, you don't "need" the salt either...

                                Interestingly with the egg, you do get the fat from the yolk; but yeah, you're correct in that I'm talking about "fat".

                                1. re: deet13

                                  The thought of oil and oatmeal sort of turns my stomach.

                                  The thought of butter and oatmeal is just not appealing.

                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                    My best friend's wife uses beef tallow in her oatmeal.

                                    It's pretty good, though when she told me it surprised me.

                                2. re: ipsedixit

                                  A touch of fat when cooking will help reduce foaming while the pot is covered.

                                  For nutritional reasons, having some fat will reduce the insulinogenic aspects of carbohydrate digestion; it's actually a more balance meal (especially if you supplement it with protein).

                                  1. re: Karl S

                                    I'd just as soon as nuts to my oatmeal than an oil (or butter).

                                    And I don't cook oatmeal with the lid on.

                                    1. re: Karl S

                                      I have had success cooking it in my rice cooker too. I believe it was a 3;1 ratio.

                                      1. re: cleopatra999

                                        I use the pressure cooker; 3:1 water to oatmeal.

                                        1. re: alc

                                          oats are one those no-no items for a pressure cooker. If you do use one, make sure there is plenty of headroom. A bit of fat to cut the foaming would be a good idea. Better yet, use the pot within a pot method.

                                          1. re: paulj

                                            My understanding is that with a modern pressure cooker oatmeal isn't a problem. As it happens, however, I always use a ceramic insert pot and am always very pleased with the results. I often add a chopped up apple to the pot which stews very nicely with the oatmeal.

                                            1. re: alc

                                              Fagor still warns about foods that can foam, froth, or sputter.

                                              1. re: paulj

                                                I was prompted by this threat to cook oatmeal this morning (in my ceramic insert in the pressure cooker with a chopped up apple) with added fat as suggested by some. I put in a spoonful of Earth Balance. The result was delicious! The texture was great.

                                                1. re: alc

                                                  What kind of ceramic insert? I've not seen one of those.

                                                  Edit to add: And how do you use the insert? Just put it in and pour water around it or raise it from the bottom on a rack?

                                                  1. re: Leepa

                                                    I use an Ohsawa pot

                                                    You put about 2 1/2 cups of water in the pc; you put the stuff you want to cook in the Ohsawa pot and cover it. It sits on the bottom of the pc without a rack. I find it great for grains. Some folks on this Board have questioned its utility, but I like it. It was recommended by Lorna Sass' book on pressure cooking.

                                                    1. re: alc

                                                      Though it seems a helluva lot more effort and unnecessary energy use than just using an electric kettle to pour boiling water over oats toasted in an already hot pot, and letting the oats soften off-heat, covered, overnight, and then re-warming when you want to eat them.

                                                      1. re: Karl S

                                                        Does that work with the oats that usually take about 30 minutes to cook?

                                                        1. re: alc

                                                          Yes, I am talking about steel-cut oats.

                                                          Toast oats in a hot pan does two things: it increases the flavor of the oats, and decreases their likelihood of sticking (I use an All-Clad pot) by tightening the "pores" of the pot and toasting the starch on the outside of the oats. Meanwhile, you boil water in an electric kettle (saves time and energy). You pour the boiling water over the hot oats. You can simmer for 5 minutes covered before turning off the heat, but the fact that it was all hot and contained means the oats will continue to hydrate for quite a while off-heat. Overnight is fine (they don't need to be refrigerated - leave them out on the stovetop or counter, covered). In the morning, there may be a bit of free liquid still, but warming back up for a few minutes should finish that off. All in all, far easier than the risotto/rice approach more commonly used or the pressure cooker approach (which I guess might be an alternative for a huge family-size batch, but otherwise is a waste of energy - mind you, I love using my PC for other things).

                                                            1. re: Karl S

                                                              Thanks again, Karl S. I followed your method last night (albeit without the toasting) and it worked great. I was very pleased. So long as I remember to put it up the night before, I doubt I would use another method having adopted yours.

                                                              Have you done the same with brown rice or anything else? I'm wondering if brown rice put up in the morning would be ready for dinner.

                                                              1. re: alc

                                                                Glad you found it useful. (Funny, today I just saw on the supermarket mag rack the October/November edition of Cooks Illustrated and saw that they also tested different methods and, voila, adopted the boiling water overnight soak - except that they don't toast the oats in the pan and they waste time and energy by boiling the water on the stove top...)

                                                                As for brown rice, I don't know; I worry it might actually get mushy (because brown rice is not as big a grain). I am not a fan of brown rice (it's not terribly better than white rice, nutritionally speaking, so if I do rice I prefer aged basmati rice), and prefer to use bulgur (far better nutritionally and even easier than white rice to cook) or, if I want a challenge, hulled (not pearled) barley - and I suspect that hulled barley would do well with a similar approach as steel-cut oats.

                                                                Now I recall that I've used a multigrain porridge cereal mix (like this: http://www.amazon.com/Country-Choice-...) and my technique works just as well for that.

                                                                1. re: Karl S

                                                                  I suppose we could try rice of any sort and call the result congee . . . .

                                                        2. re: alc

                                                          Thanks, alc. I'll think about getting one.

                                              2. re: alc

                                                I second the pressure cooker use. Usually fill it up so total volume of oats + water = 1/3 or 1/2 the volume of the pressure cooker. We do this every week.Once cooked, my husband likes his with milk, a banana , walnuts and some brown sugar. I like mine with slightly sour yoghurt and salt.

                                      2. If you are buying your cut oats from a bulk foods section, take a look at other grains that can be used as cereal (same applies to the Bobs Red Mill packages). For example

                                        oat groats - whole oat, will be more like rice if cooked in excess water, and the excess is drained off (it will be 'milky' and drinkable).
                                        cracked wheat - the equivalent of cut oats and corn grits.
                                        flakes - rye, wheat, triticale, barley (cooks looser than oats)
                                        wheat berries - polished or pearled cooks faster and is more tender
                                        exotic wheats - kamut, spelt, farro

                                        oats have more soluble fiber than other grains, which gives more of a 'glue' quality to their porridge.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: paulj

                                          bulgur is a great morning grain as it soaks for 15 minutes and is done.