Still not successful with fluffy grits
Recently I posted a question about how to produce fluffy grits. (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9100...) Thanks to all of you for your suggestions. However, I am still puzzled. Several people suggested a higher ratio of liquid to dry grits, but on the most recent attempt after simmering for over an hour my grits had not even absorbed the original 4 cups of liquid and the mixture was still runny and sloppy. I was using the bag of grits I bought at a roadside stand in Georgia in April. Are my grits too old? Too dry? What's going on here?
The coarser the grind the longer the cooking needed to "Bloom" the grains. Overnight soaking is a great way to cut the cooking time and get a very Bloomed grain. Take a look at Anson Mill's instructions ;
I think the lack of Cheese is the big difference between what you had S.C. and your Dairy-free version. The addition of the Cheese does more than flavor the Grits, it also changes the texture pretty significantly.
Were your grits refrigerated , or in the kitchen cupboard?( thye might be stale)
Did you stir the grits into the boiling water until incorporated and then every 5 minutes or so?
Adding milk at the finishing does make them fluff up- so all of these factors might have lead to your outcome.
I boil 4 cups of water and put 1-1/2-2 cups of grits in a bowl WITH 1 cup of water to make a " slurry" . When the water boils, I slide the slurry into the water.
I live at sea level now, but when I was up 3000ft I adjusted the liquid/grit ratio
Stone ground grits (with the germ) might go rancid if old. Degerminated have a much longer shelf life. But age shouldn't affect the cooking texture.
Cooking grits isn't much different from cooking other cereals, cream of wheat, oatmeal, cornmeal, cracked wheat, cut oats. Finer grinds have to be added with care to the boiling water (or stirred very well) so they are evenly dispersed and don't form lumps. Coarser grinds take longer to start absorbing the water.
Americas Test Kitchen found that a bit of baking soda reduced the need for frequent stirring when cooking cornmeal. Technically the alkalinity promoted the gelatinization of the surface starches. I haven't fully tested that myself.