April Bloomfield's English Porridge

By • April 9, 2013 46 Comments

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Author Notes: This porridge is just right. Bloomfield calls for equal parts of two styles of oats, which means the steel-cut bits keep their pop, while the rolled oats melt around them -- and getting them to the perfect texture only takes 20 minutes. Cooking with half milk, half water is enough to make it feel rich and loving, without slogging you down first thing in the morning. This will seem like a lot of salt. But it won't be too much, because at the end you'll add something sweet and something milky and it will all live in harmony. Adapted slightly from A Girl and Her Pig (Ecco, 2012)Genius Recipes

Serves 2 to 3

  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk, plus a few generous splashes
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Maldon, or other flaky sea salt (if using finer salt, start with 1/2 teaspoon and add to taste)
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup steel-cut oats
  • About 2 tablespoons sugar (maple, brown, or white) or maple syrup
  1. Combine the milk, water, and salt in a medium pot (a 2-quart pot should do it) and set over high heat. As soon as the liquid comes to a gentle simmer, add both kinds of oats and lower the heat to medium.
  2. Cook the oats at a steady simmer, stirring frequently and lowering the heat as necessary to maintain the simmer.
  3. After about 20 minutes at the simmer, the rolled oats will have turned a bit mushy, while the steel-cut oats will be just tender and pop when you bite them.
  4. Taste for seasoning -- it should be on the salty side. Add sugar or syrup. Spoon the porridge into warm bowls and let it sit for a minute. Then carefully pour a little cold milk around the edges of each bowl, so it pools all the way round. Sprinkle a five-fingered pinch of sugar or drizzle the syrup in the center of each and let it melt, then serve right away.

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Comments (46) Questions (0)


5 months ago fj62

I wanted to like this, but neither me nor my husband cared for it. Even with tweaking the salt/maple syrup, it was too salty. Also the consistency was still rather heavy. Neither of us is picky and we both like oatmeal.


5 months ago Alicia Warren

Porridge is my favourite winter breakfast. Granola/Muesli my favourite summer breakfast. I use all milk, no water for the extra taste and nutritive value that milk gives. Next time I shall try the 2 types of oats for the more contrasting creamy and chewy texture. Interesting how many comments fall into the "Yes but no salt" or "Yes but no sugar" camps.


10 months ago pursnl

The traditional Scottish version is an acquired taste but once you get there, the idea of adding sweetness in any form is nasty. Growing up on the border of England and Scotland we would start breakfast with porridge similair to this recipe, follow it up with a smoked kipper or eggs and breakfast meats (blood sausage anyone?). I love this recipe and can appreciate the many variations. But if I start the day with the salty Scottish version, (Malden salt please) with thick pouring cream on top, I feel invincible.


10 months ago Patricia Walters

There's no reason to add salt, especially the amount recommended in this recipe. My go to breakfast is oatmeal, even in the hot Texas summer. We cook an apple with the oatmeal, add a scoop of protein powder, no added salt and no added sugar. Top with fresh blueberries and blackberries. Perfect.


10 months ago yellowbinder

My son says that when eating Scottish food you don't want it to be too traditional (Haggis anyone??). Very good porridge, though. A bit on the salty side for our taste.


over 1 year ago Alba

"English" porridge? I hear millions of Scots laughing. Traditionally eaten with very thick cream and nothing else. It's the salty kick that is authentic. However, great with chopped almonds or dates or flavoured, slightly, with cardamon or mastic.


over 1 year ago Alba

I should add it needs to be well cooked and smooth. It absorbs a lot of liquid such as milk or water. There should be no lumps. Best cooked over night in a slow cooker.


over 1 year ago Joyce

I cook steel cut oatmeal in my crockpot in a 4 qt glass measuring jug surrounded by water for 12-14 hours. The next time I will use 50/50 oats and see what happens.


over 1 year ago blindowl

thanks, Valentina!!! :)


over 1 year ago Valentina Solfrini

I think I know where that bowl comes from...I have one just like that :) It's a common item in japanese houseware shops. If you are in NY, it can be found at the Sunrise Mart (I got mine at the one near St. mark's) or at Mitsuwa marketplace over in NJ. It should be easy to find online, too.


over 1 year ago Jennifer Maestas

I will make this for my husband who hearts oatmeal everyday of his life...I on the other hand dislike oatmeal but heart the bowl!


over 1 year ago cassandra greene

sounds wonderful but where did you get the gorgeous bowl? Cassandra Greene


over 1 year ago blindowl

bowl envy!


over 1 year ago Manhattan Tart

Have made this several times now by chucking all ingredients into the pot, letting them soak for however long I've got (30 min. max) then bringing to a boil, reducing to strong simmer and stirring. Works like a charm. Lovely cooked w/ a diced apple (as P Walters did...thanks!) and a splash of vanilla. Keeps great in the fridge.


over 1 year ago elise maiberger

Winter means oatmeal. I am breaking my grain-free diet and indulging for 1 week.
Temporarily egged-out.


over 1 year ago Cat

Nice touch combing the two oats for the chewy/creamy balance! For an easy head-start for all whole-grain cereals, soak in partial amount of cooking water in the pan the night before. Only don't add the salt until morning as I've read it inhibits the fermentation that contributes to better digestion.


over 1 year ago Patricia Walters

We use almond or coconut milk and cook it with a cut up apple. The apple and berries are my only sweetener, too.


over 1 year ago Gunners Mom

I have been making some for years.I make enough to last all week,just reheat so good!


over 1 year ago BadCat

With the cold snap I've been looking for something that would be both hot and sustaining. This is both! I omitted the salt entirely as I thought that it made it far too salty. So easy to make in the morning before school.


almost 2 years ago Lemongrass&Lime

Delicious and will be going into regular rotation at my place. What a lovely idea to combine steel cut and rolled oats. Beautiful texture. I grew up on porridge and would often stir in a spoonful of crunchy peanut butter and some honey into mine. Now I prefer it with fresh berries and no sweeteners.


almost 2 years ago happyxbelly

Oh this was beautiful. This porridge is much more than "just right". I posted it on my blog on how it's like falling in love -- http://happyxbelly.blogspot...

Thanks so much for this recipe - it's perfect!