Fermenting oats is an easy way to to make them more nutritious, deliciously creamy and shorten the cooking time. The process of fermenting grains breaks down the proteins, fats and carbohydrates; making the nutrients more bioavailable, and creating a healthy, rich, flavorful breakfast porridge.
I love steel cut oats, but I don’t always have 45 minutes in the morning to cook up a batch. For years I have precooked my oats and reheated them in the morning — which works quite well. Discovering the simple process of of overnight fermenting, however, has changed everything.
Fermenting has been used for centuries to preserve food. It is not complicated and it increases the nutritional value of the food being fermented. It also cuts the cooking time down to almost in half. I am always trying to find ways to make what I am eating more healthy, nutritious and readily available; fermenting does all three.
In addition to fermenting the oats before making breakfast oatmeal, I have started thinking about my oatmeal differently. I grew up eating oatmeal with brown sugar and butter; today, I add savory flavors to make it more versatile. It may be my Scottish heritage, but I find oatmeal with butter from grass-fed cows, salt and pepper quite delicious. I also like to add things like pomegranate seeds, walnuts, and cacao for sweet variety. I have also added miso, scallions, cheese and a fried egg to make it more hearty.
This is not your bland childhood oatmeal. This is oatmeal all grown-up and taken to the next level. It has texture, flavor, and packs a nutritional punch to start your day. You can enjoy it sweet or savory, and layer on the flavors and protein.
Creamy Fermented Breakfast Oats
- 1 cup steel cut oats
- 1 1/4 cups filtered water
- 2 Tbsp. Plain kefir - kefir is a fermented dairy drink. This step is optional but speeds up the fermentation process.
- Place grains in a medium bowl and cover with water. If using kefir, mix into water before adding to oats.
- Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place at room temperature in a spot away from direct sunlight.
- Ferment overnight, but no more than 24 hours.
- Cook your fermented oats following the directions on the package, and adding a pinch of sea salt to the cooking water.
- Serve with toppings of your choice.
I make a batch of oatmeal and reheat it for an easy breakfast on busy mornings.