4

It is possible to just eat porridge (oats) after soaking in water for a couple minutes.

However, cooking it makes it creamier and softer.

I'm interested in knowing if cooking the oats actually changes them in some way (besides the heat), and if there is technically a difference between cooking vs. not cooking. (e.g. is it the case that if I leave it to soak for a longer period without heating, it could achieve the same softness?)

3

Yes, there is a chemical difference.

When you cook the porridge, the starch from the oats thickens the milk like a pudding. You don't get the effect (propper name, anyone?) by just soaking them. Just as you will never get a firm pudding without cooking.

What you prefer taste-wise is a completely different question.

  • The proper name is gelation, the point at which it happens is between 90 and 100 celsius (different for starches of different plants, I don't know it for oats). It's a very interesting process, well worth reading up, but right now I don't have the time to pull the books out and summarize. It's described in McGee's On Food and Cooking, if anybody cares to write a summary here, I'll upvote. – rumtscho Dec 11 '14 at 13:09
  • Does this still apply if you use water instead of milk? – CaptainCodeman Dec 11 '14 at 14:43
  • 1
    @CaptainCodeman: Of course. We're talking about the reaction that happens when starch and liquid reach a certain temperature. – Stephie Dec 11 '14 at 15:00
  • 1
    To be fair, you might get some additional interactions from the proteins, fats, and other substances in the milk, but that would be in addition to the gelation. You'll get the same effect from virtually any water-based liquid. – logophobe Dec 11 '14 at 19:51

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.