Hot Breakfast Cereals Oats

Hot breakfast cereals are usually made of oat flakes. The two principal factors that make oats different from other cereals are its retention of its whole grain identity and its nutlike flavor. Products vary from rolled oats (whole oat flakes), which require five or more minutes to prepare, to instant products, which can be prepared in a bowl with hot water.

In making oat flakes, the oat grain is first heated with dry steam, which reduces its moisture content to approximately 6%. Enzymes that produce rancid flavors during storage are deactivated during steaming. A high-speed impact operation separates the dry friable hull from the groat (oat berries). Even a small percentage of whole oats remaining is unacceptable because the hull fraction in oat flakes is unpalatable. Whole rolled oats are produced by flaking the whole groat.

Steel cutting reduces the groats for further processing. Another steaming step softens the cut groats for the rolling step. The size of the flake is determined by the type of rollers used to flatten the groats. Instant cook-in-the-bowl oats are produced from highly polished rollers with a narrow gap.

Oat flakes vary in sizes from 0.02 to 0.03 in. for rolled oats to 0.011 to 0.013 in. for instant oat flakes. Thicker flakes require rity (6,9).

Wheat longer cooking and retain more flake integ-

Hot wheat breakfast cereal is made with farina, which is a fraction of middlings from hard wheat. Soft wheat is not suitable because it produces a product that loses particle integrity too rapidly during cooking. Particle size is critical for quality. United States standards require that 100% of the product pass through a 20-mesh sieve and not more than 10% pass through a 45-mesh sieve. Farina must be cooked in boiling water for several minutes to insure complete starch gelatinization.

Instant farina cooks in about 1 min with boiling water. Proteolytic enzymes are used to instantize farina by opening avenues for easier penetration of water into particles to facilitate hydration during cooking (6).

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