Monday, August 8, 2016

Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats

I've been making steel cut oats for breakfast for me and the girls since Elspeth was old enough for oats and dairy. My fail-proof method has always been to use a double-boiler, an idea I got from The Fanny Farmer Breakfast Book. However, that takes at least an hour, making it a necessity to plan ahead the night before.

When I got my Instant Pot, I knew I wanted to try steel cut oats in it. There is no shortage of recipes on the Internet, but they all call for using water and I like to cook my oats in milk. I had read that dairy under high pressure could be a bit of a no-no but I didn't understand why until I read an explanation noting that, not only does milk have a tendency to scorch easily, but the milk steam generated when releasing the pressure could be messy and horrible to clean up. So I put the idea aside for a while until I came across an Instant Pot rice pudding recipe using milk that used low, instead of high, pressure. This seemed like it could be the solution. The first time I tried it I cooked it for way too long, doubling the amount of time in the water-based recipes because I was using low pressure, not high. I also heated the milk first using the sauté function because I read another recipe where that was recommended. It was horrible, overcooked and unappetizing.  But the milk didn't scorch... The second time I hit the jackpot. I cook at low pressure for 5 minutes and then let it rest at least ten minutes. If you use the keep warm setting you might get a little browning on the bottom of the pot, but the cereal didn't taste scorched at all and it came right off. To avoid this, I would guess that all you need to do is turn off the keep warm setting after the 5 minutes and then wait 10 minutes or more. It might not even take that long for the low pressure to drop naturally.

While I think the oats and milk integrate more silkily using the double-boiler method, the comparative speed of the Instant Pot method is compelling and I will definitely use the technique again (and again).

INGREDIENTS
1 c. steel cut oats
3 1/2 c. milk, any kind
1/2 tsp kosher salt

DIRECTIONS

  1. Place all ingredients in the insert of the Instant Pot
  2. Close the lid and make sure the valve is set to Sealing not Venting
  3. Select the Porridge setting, adjust the pressure to Low and adjust the time to 5 minutes
  4. Once the 5 minutes is up, turn off the Instant Pot if desired and wait until the pressure releases on its own
  5. Serve with mix-ins of your choice. We like dried fruit, coconut, slivered almonds and flaxseed

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