Good Food blog

How to make oatmeal porridge

24th January, 2013

by Tom Bonnett - Good Food team

How to make oatmeal porridge

Learn how to perfect your porridge making with a lesson from Britain's greatest competitive porridge maker and owner of food company Rude Health, Nick Barnard.

Persimmon porridge

Before speaking to oat officiando Nick, if you'd asked me how I'd make my perfect bowl of porridge, I might have suggested the tropical flavours of this persimmon, apple and syrup combination or gone for a touch of citrus in this porridge with orange curd.

But for Nick, it's not about toppings, how much milk you use or whether you should make it in a microwave or on the hob. For him, it's about turning your back on quick, convenient oat flakes and instead soaking oatmeal - and that means soaking it overnight.

The soak

Take one portion of oatmeal, pop it in a bowl and pour over one and a half or two measures of warm water and stir. Put a plate on top of the bowl and go to bed. The mixture will set overnight.

Fruit date

The splash

Never start off with too much water. You can always add water but if you try to boil it down it will start to becoe too thick. Put the porridge in a heavy-bottomed pan and add no more than two parts water.

Oatmeal

The salt

You need to cook sea salt in the pan as it heats. Don't use rock salt because it's too slow to break down and you won't be able to tell if the oatmeal is salty enough.

Start off by adding ΒΌ teaspoon of salt. Good oatmeal porridge doesn't taste salty but has an oatyness brought out by the salt that makes it a great foundation for sweet or savoury. You'll have to practise to find out the right amount of salt to suit you.

Porridge with berries

The stir

Don't become obsessed by stirring your porridge. Bring it to the boil then turn it down to simmer and keep tasting it. Cooking soaked oatmeal should only take 3 minutes.

It's ready when it almost begins to stick to the pan slightly, not because of the heat but because it's actually combined and stable. It should thicken to the point where if you pour it, it doesn't run. Now all that's left to do is make up your mind on the topping - savoury or sweet?


How do you make your porridge? Have you got any tips to share?

For more great ways to get the most out of breakfast take a look at Nick's website Rude Health.

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Latest Comment

I used to make porridge with rolled oats but here in France could only get oatmeal (at the English shop) so thought I would try it. I made it very much as described at Tom above but didn't add salt (will try that next time). Oatmeal makes a fabulously creamy porridge. Perfect for winter breakfasts though I am sometimes tempted to recreate the taste of porridge as a child when we had it with sugar and 'The top of the milk'...Heaven!

LynnB33814 LynnB33814 Posted 25 Jan 2013 5:10 PM
 

Put 5 heaped table spoons of oats( I use Sainsbury Taste the Difference rolled oats) into a large microwaveable bowl. Add 1 mug of liquid( I use half skimmed milk and half water). Stir, then microwave for 170 seconds. Stir then give it another 90 seconds. That's three & a half minutes total. Add 4 or 5 desert spoons of frozen fruit(mixed berries). Leave for about 15 minutes before eating. This lets the porridge thicken, while the frozen fruit thaws and cools it down.

GeofP85559 GeofP85559 Posted 25 Jan 2013 2:29 PM
 

For really creamy porridge, I soak the oats with a measured quantity of water overnight, then in the morning I stir in the same quantity of milk and a good pinch of salt, and I put it in the microwave for three minutes. Take it out and give it a good stir, replace it for another two minutes and then serve into individual dishes with a splash of cold milk. My husband likes some sweetener on his, I prefer mine as it is.

Alphabet Alphabet Posted 25 Jan 2013 1:38 PM
 

For really creamy porridge, I soak the oats with a measured quantity of water overnight, then in the morning I stir in the same quantity of milk and a good pinch of salt, and I put it in the microwave for three minutes. Take it out and give it a good stir, replace it for another two minutes and then serve into individual dishes with a splash of cold milk. My husband likes some sweetener on his, I prefer mine as it is.

Alphabet Alphabet Posted 25 Jan 2013 1:37 PM
 

What are the quantities of oats how much is a measure ? I use Quaker oats would you recomend a different brand ? Thanks

lampy1 lampy1 Posted 25 Jan 2013 1:14 PM
 

What are the quantities ? Measurements are a little vague. I use Quaker oats,can you recomend a brand ? Thanks.

lampy1 lampy1 Posted 25 Jan 2013 1:12 PM
 

Porridge DOESN'T need salt (nor does any food with good quality ingredients). When there is so much publicity of the risks to health of adding too much salt to our food (high blood pressure = arterial disease = heart attacks & stroke etc) why do so many high profile chefs continue to add it ?

AnnK48917 AnnK48917 Posted 25 Jan 2013 10:43 AM