This isn’t so much a recipe as it is a love letter. November is all about oats here at sentientbaker.com and I cannot expound the merits of this humble grain without mentioning the oatiest dish of them all. Porridge is a staple in my household, it’s prescribed for sleepy mornings, long days, cosy evenings and tummy aches. Since I eat it so often I have some considerable experience when it comes to hot cereals, including some very specific preparation methods.
For perfect porridge I need to use instant, rolled oats. Occasionally we will cook up some jumbo oats, but these take some time and hold a much firmer form, they’re best left for muesli and granola. Now, when I say ‘instant’ or ‘quick’ oats I do not mean the ones that come in pre-prepared sachets, I just mean a big bag of plain oats that have been processed to a finer, crumbly texture. These oats are the creamiest when cooked.
I use milk for my porridge, not water, which horrifies my Grandmother who makes hers the Scottish way. When eating dairy, I prefer to use a full-fat milk (3.5%) as it renders the oats opaquely pale and creamy. If going dairy free then I find oat milk, unsurprisingly, is the best counterpart. I always add a pinch of cinnamon to the oats before adding the milk, swirling them in the pain to distribute the spice.
The basic formula is simple and consistent; it is the adornment that varies. Banana pairs sweetly with porridge and, sometimes, nothing more is needed than a chopped banana and a further splash of milk. I’ve also taken to sprinkling over a spoonful or two of my Almond Butter Granola and allowing the chocolate chips to soften into the pillowy oats. In the summer months I’m inclined to add sliced strawberries, fat, ripe raspberries, a sour scoop of crème fraiche and a sprinkling of melting brown sugar. All other occasions call for a drizzle of maple syrup and a swirl of single cream, absolute perfection from such humble origins.
Perfect Porridge (Sentient Baker style)
1 cup quick oats
½ tsp ground cinnamon
2 ½ cups milk
- Chopped banana, a small handful of granola and a splash of milk
- Raspberries, a dollop of crème fraiche and a sprinkling of brown sugar
- Blueberries, a drizzle of maple syrup and a swirl of cream
- Add the oats and cinnamon to a dry, small saucepan and swirl to combine.
- Add the milk, stir and set on a gentle heat.
- Cook the porridge slowly, stirring regularly until the oats have softened and the texture is creamy (10-15 minutes)
- Remove the pan from the heat, put the lid on and set to one side for 3-5 minutes. I always believe this makes it extra creamy.
- Prepare with chosen toppings, take to a frosty window somewhere, stare out at the world and relish in the comfort.