Have you ever noticed how browned food just tastes better? Well, there’s actually some science behind it.
Browning occurs when foods are seared, baked, roasted, toasted, fried and grilled. When food is heated to a certain temperature (around 140-165°C), a complex chemical reaction occurs between amino acids and the reducing sugar in food. The result is a whole new set of compounds which give browned foods their distinct flavors, aromas and colors. This explains what makes the crust tastes different from the rest of the bread and what gives toasted oats such an irresistible, nutty flavor.
Now, we all know how wonderful those golden brown oats taste in granola and baked desserts, but did you know you can enhance virtually all of your oat recipes, simply by toasting your oats first?
Toasting oats is a critical step in recipes that use the pour-over cooking method, like our Oat Tabbouleh, to achieve the best taste and texture. In recipes where the oats are simmered, toasting them first will give the finished dish a rich nuttiness.
Toasting works best on heartier textured oats, like rolled, steel cut and whole groats, and the process is extremely easy – all you need is a skillet, a stove and about five minutes. Simply place the oats in the skillet and cook over a med-high heat, shaking and tossing frequently, until they start to turn golden brown and smell toasty. You can also oven-toast your oats, by spreading them on a baking sheet and placing in a 350°F oven for 10 mins, or until golden and fragrant.
Once toasted, they can be used in just about any recipe that calls for oats – even in recipes such as no-bake cookies and overnight oats (especially if you’re not fond of the taste of “raw” oats).
Ready to try toasted oats? The next time you make a bowl of oatmeal, we challenge you to toast your oats first, then add only the bare minimum of toppings and flavorings to see if you can taste the difference toasting makes.