Porridge is amazing, but porridge can also be terrible. If you’re not cooking it right porridge can transform from the breakfast of your dreams to a clumpy, inedible mess.
Thankfully, most people who make porridge wrong tend to make the same mistakes.
Not adding enough water
Working in an office with a shared kitchen full of people who like porridge, I’ve seen my fair share of disasters. Almost 90% of these disasters is a direct result of poor liquid management.
Almost everyone doesn’t add enough liquid to their porridge.
I get it, there’s a risk. If you add too much water/milk you’re getting a soupy mess. But this is better than the alternative stodge.
My advice: start out with a 1:2.5 ratio of oats to liquid. So for every cup of oats, add two and half water/milk. That’s a good start point. If you find that too stodgy or too soupy feel free to adjust, but that’s a good starting point.
Not cooking for long enough
This goes hand-in-hand with the water thing. It’s hard to cook porridge for the right amount of time if you’re not adding enough water! It’s gonna look ready but it’s going to have the wrong texture, and be weird, sticky and gross.
But very often people add the right amount of liquid only to get confused and take the oats off the stove before they hit their prime. This no good.
Keep cooking till they have shape. It’s going to be worth the wait.
Not adding salt
When people talk about adding salt to porridge your average oat consumer reels back in horror, assuming that it’s a seasoning. It’s not. Salt is part of the cooking process. The jury is out on whether you add salt from the very start or at different points in the cooking process (it affects how the oats absorb the water) but I tend to add it pretty much from the start.
Adding it at the very end is a poor choice though, that’s universally agreed upon.
A lot of people, particularly in office settings, tend to use those flavoured sachets for their breakfast porridge. I get it – your office only has a microwave, what choice do you have?
Look, they’re not the worst option (the worst option is “no porridge”) it’s just that regular oats can be cooked in a microwave just as easily as the stuff in the sachets. Supermarkets even sell ‘quick oats’ which are a more refined version of ‘traditional’ oats. It might take an extra couple of minutes or so, but it’s definitely worth it.
Adding honey instead of maple syrup
Because, as we all know, maple syrup is the greatest porridge topping of all time.
Porridge. In January 2013 I ate porridge every morning for breakfast. It started as a holiday thing. I loved it so much that I decided to eat it for breakfast forever. In 2013 I estimate that, out of 365 days of the year, I didn’t eat porridge roughly 20 days. That’s a fairly good innings.
I learned some things along the way.