Steel cut oatmeal HELP

  • Hi,
    After reading so much great stuff about steel cut oatmeal, I wanted to try it (I'm an instant oatmeal junkie).

    I tried cooking a week's worth in a stainless steel pan on the stove, following the directions exactly, and while 90% of the oatmeal turned out DELICIOUS, the rest of it burnt into a very hard layer on the bottom of the pan. Despite lots and lots of scrubbing with steel wool, I can't seem to get it all the burnt spots off!

    What do you think caused this? I used plenty of water and the rest of the oatmeal was not burnt at all. I want to make this oatmeal every week, but I don't want to destroy a pan every week! Any ideas or advice?

    Also, I stirred it occasionally, but not constantly, and my pans are EXTREMELY cheap. Could this have something to do with it?

  • What cooking method did you use? I usually use this quick soak/overnight method.. no burnt pans!
  • Cheap pans are a big part of that. I hate to say.

    The thing about a good, expensive pan, is that it's made to evenly distribute heat throughout the bottom of the pan and not to scorch or burn. Cheap pans don't have that layer of aluminum or copper to balance out the heat, so they get hot spots where the flame/burner meets the bottom of the pan.

    The other thing is that you have to turn the heat down to VERY VERY low and simmer the oatmeal. I mean really simmer it. Even with my good AllClad pots, I still get some sticking at the bottom if I don't watch it carefully.

    Another thing you can do is make steel cut oats in a crockpot. I got myself one of the small ones at Target for $14 or something like that. Set it up overnight and it'll be yummy and creamy by in the morning.

  • Or if you don't care about creamy oats, you can just soak them in hot water for about 15 minutes and then eat them. That's what I do at work, since I can't cook them: Put oats in a big ceramic cup, add hot water from the water gadget we have, microwave for about 45 seconds for extra heat (basically just until the water starts to boil), then let them sit in the cup for 15 minutes. After the hot-water soaking, they're still quite crunchy-chewy, but they taste good with added milk and cinnamon.
  • I've only made steel cut oats in a crock pot and they are awesome.
  • Thank you for the speedy replies!
    Photochick: I did fear that having the world's cheapest and thinnest pans may be to blame. Thanks for your explanation b/c now I actually understand why. Hopefully within a few months I'll be able to replace them AND get a Crock Pot, which I have been wanting for a long time. The oatmeal that wasn't burnt tastes really, really good, so I'd like to try this method of cooking again, so I'll attempt a super low simmer.

    Linda and Warmaiden: I didn't realize there were other ways to cook the oatmeal! I used the Trader Joes brand and the package made it seem like their way was the only way. I'll definitely be experimenting (thanks for the link and recipe!) and oatmeal at work is a staple for me too!
  • YOu don't need to buy your expensive stuff in a set - keep an eye on and and they often will sell individual pieces at 1/2 price or better on sale.

    I don't like to buy cookware in a set because I don't always want what *they* think I should have in a set. For example, I haven't used a double boiler in years. I'd rather make my own with a stainless steel bowl set over a pot ... more flexible and doesn't leave me with weird shaped pots that I can't use for anything else.

    I bought all of my All-Clad (the regular stainless steel variety) in individual pieces as I found them on sale. It's amazing stuff and I've never regretted the money I've spent on it.

    I think right now has the 1qt saucier on sale for less than $50 (which is what I usually cook my oats in!).

  • You can get inexpensive and good quality cookware at your local restaurant supply shop. I've purchased the Liberty brand and they have a nice heavy bottom (aluminum sandwiched between stainless) and have held up quite nicely.

    Also, I've always stirred constantly when cooking oatmeal by the method you mention. Starches stick unless cooked over very low heat. My preferred method is to put the oatmeal and water in a pot, bring to a boil, boil 1 minute, then cover and leave overnight. I reheat in the morning and the oatmeal is perfectly cooked. In fact, I just did that a few minutes ago, so DH and I will have oatmeal for the morning.
  • I am with posts above.. and until you can get those new pans.. you can use baking soda to clean the residue off the old one... let the pan soak in soda and water for 10 minutes before washing. Or scrub the pot with dry soda and a moist scouring pad. You can also coat the area with table salt, then enough water to just cover the bottom, then boil the water.

    you can also cook oats in rice cookers.. not steamers.. but the actual cookers if you have one of those. sometimes you have to watch the water in those - making sure to add enough.
  • I would love some tips on cooking with stainless steel cookware. I got a all clad set a few months ago and always have problems with sticking. I really wanted to get away from non stick pans but I'm having so much trouble. I usually use olive oil but I've also tried sprays and cooking super low heat. I don't know what I am doing wrong.
  • I love my All-Clad, but it is overkill for most applications. The poster who suggested restaurant supply saute pans is right on. Heavy gauge, triply for like $20 rather than $50-$300.

    And keep the heat really, really low.
  • I use a crockpot for my oatmeal.

    I've had great luck finding nice cookware at Goodwill - folks with more $$$ than me trade up all the time and I'm happy to have their leftovers!

    My co-workers frequently cook rice or pasta on to the bottom of the pans at work (it's a residential home for kids with issues) and I've found that sometimes the only thing that works is oven cleaner. Spray the pan, put it somewhere the fumes won't kill you, and wait. Sometimes it takes an application or two but it always works eventually.
  • mmmm...I love steel cut oats...I cook mine in the crockpot overnight so they are ready in the morning. Depending on what you like in your oatmeal there are so many different flavour varieties you can try. Search the recipes over the internet for steel cut oats.
  • I cook steel cut oats on the stovetop in a somewhat cheap pan.

    I had problems with sticking at first too, but have learned to just use a bit more water than recommended and simmer on absolute lowest heat for a long time.

    I typically cook 1/2 cup dry oats (Bob's Mill brand if it matters) with 2 cups of water, plus I add cinnamon and vanilla right into it but that doesn't really affect anything.

    I cook on low (1 on my stove) for 20-30 minutes and stir about every 10 minutes. After cooking, I move the pan from heat and let it sit about 20 minutes to cool off. The oats absorb a bit more water while cooling and are very creamy. I spoon the oats into a plastic container and put it in the fridge for morning. I get 3 servings of oats from 1/2 cup dry oatmeal.

    In the morning I reconstitute a portion with about 1/4 cup milk and add whatever other flavorings, spices, fruit, etc then nuke it for about 2-3 minutes on high.

    My pan is so crappy the lid doesn't fit properly so I put a small piece of waxed paper over the pot then top it with the lid! My oats come out great though! Hope this helps Enjoy your oats!