Sunday, February 20, 2011

Homemade Cream of Wheat

I have eaten Cream of Wheat (also called Bear Mush or Ralston) since I was a child. It was a main staple next to oatmeal in our family since breakfast foods were often served for dinner.  Dad loved to experiment and throw all kinds of fruit into the cereal while Mom preferred hers with "just butter, milk, and brown sugar, thank you." I have found I eat oats like my Dad but Cream of Wheat like my Mom.

Last week Cowboy and I ran out of Bear Mush so I headed out to the grocery store to pick some up. At the store, I surveyed the ingredients in the hot cereal and saw three words: Hard Red Wheat.
What?! Well hot diggity! I bought just the one box to have reference on the texture/coarseness of the grain, and headed home immediately. Cowboy, newly excited about the prospective of making our own hot cereal, helped me adjust the dial for coarseness and I tossed in a cup of hard red winter wheat into our Country Living Grain Mill.  We had to adjust it a few times to try to match the boxed variety but within no time we were grinding out tiny little bits of cracked wheat. The color was a deep golden brown where as the boxed was pale yellow-white.

We had 2c. of water with a dash of Kosher salt at a soft boil in a pot. Slowly I added 3/4-1c. cracked wheat to the water while stirring continuously. The aroma that wafted up from the pot was amazing, like homemade bread! A few minutes of stirring and we had a creamy concoction just like the boxed kind.

We headed to the table with our steaming bowls (mine prepared like my mother's, cowboy eats his with just brown sugar scooped on buttered toast) in great anticipation.

WOW. The robust, heartiness of the wheat coated our tongues and made us both shift our eyes to each other in amazement. This was good! I couldn't believe the difference in taste.

"Do I need to buy anymore Bear Mush ever again?" I asked Cowboy.
"I don't see why, fresh ground is so much better!" he confirmed to me my thoughts exactly.

*this recipe is for one person, double it to 4c. water to 1 1/2 - 2c. wheat for 2 persons*

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