Bob's Red Mill 10 Grain Hot Cereal: Supposed to taste bitter?
June 10, 2010 2:17 PM   Subscribe

I recently bought Bob's Red Mill 10 Grain Hot Cereal at my local grocery store, after hearing lots of good things about the brand as a whole. I was surprised and disappointed to find that I didn't like it at all. It had such a bitter taste!

I prepared it in the microwave according to directions and added a bit of brown sugar and milk, like I would have for oatmeal or cream of wheat.

Now, I'm wondering if the bitterness I detected is "normal". Does one of the grains used tend to have a bitter flavour? (Ingredients: whole grain wheat, whole grain corn, whole grain rye, whole grain triticale (wheat), whole grain oats, soy beans, whole grain millet, whole grain barley, whole grain brown rice, oat bran, flaxseed .) The triticale or rye, maybe?

What are your experiences with this cereal? If it is because of one or two grains in particular, can anyone recommend another of Bob's Red Mill cereals that does without? And if I decide to use the 10 Grain in my baking, will the bitterness come out in that too? (I'm thinking it will, but it would be such a shame to throw the whole package away...)

I did write to the good people at Bob's about this, roughly 10 days ago, but haven't heard back. *sigh*

posted by MelanieL to Food & Drink (21 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I dunno, it tastes like good old Red River. I can attest to the fact that it doesn't taste like the comparatively blander flavours of oatmeal or cream of wheat. It's probably the rye, yes. But let me assure you it tastes like it's supposed to.
posted by GuyZero at 2:21 PM on June 10, 2010

Rye whiskey and IPAs brewed with rye are usually described as 'spicy.' Could that be it?
posted by fixedgear at 2:21 PM on June 10, 2010

I've used it, in combination with white flour, to make bread, and the results were awesome — not bitter at all.
posted by rebekah at 2:48 PM on June 10, 2010

I tend to like the 8-grain better. I accidentally bought the 10-grain and it does have a different flavor. Unfortunately I bought three bags. :-)

I usually add honey, blueberries, and a few almonds.
posted by beowulf573 at 2:51 PM on June 10, 2010

Best answer: I tried Bob's Red Mill 10 Grain Hot Cereal and I wasn't impressed enough to ever buy it again. I also tried Bob's Red Mill Scottish Oatmeal and that is now one of my favorite breakfasts. The texture of the oatmeal is midway between plain rolled oats and Irish steel cut oats and it has a full, deep oatmeal flavor. I tried cooking it in the microwave and the texture is not as good as when it is cooked on top of the stove.
posted by calumet43 at 3:05 PM on June 10, 2010

Best answer: Also, per calumet43, don't cook 8- or 10-grain cereal in the microwave. I know it's convenient. It also has a bad texture and taste. Cook it on the stove. Cook a batch in the evening and leave it in the fridge if necessary and re-heat in in the microwave, but don't cook it in the microwave.
posted by GuyZero at 3:09 PM on June 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I love the 10-grain, but I know what taste you mean. Rinse it first and cook it on the stovetop, not microwave. I think you'll discover that it's pretty fabulous. It also cooks up well overnight in a crockpot.
posted by annathea at 3:13 PM on June 10, 2010

Did you accidentally overcook the milk? That'll make it pretty darn nasty.
posted by davejay at 3:15 PM on June 10, 2010

This is tangential, but there are people who are much more sensitive to bitter flavors:
posted by galadriel at 3:21 PM on June 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

Try it without milk - I eat 10 grain every morning and find it wonderful, but have combined grains and milk products and come out with a bitterness that's absolutely inedible, for reasons I know not.
posted by tmcw at 3:56 PM on June 10, 2010

Best answer: My husband loves this stuff. He makes it on the stovetop and adds peanut butter and honey. I think it's delicious - wouldn't call it bitter, but it's not as smooth as oatmeal.
posted by statolith at 4:20 PM on June 10, 2010

I use it, but only to make bread. You won't taste any bitterness if you use it that way.

I like cereal too, but tend to stick with a healthy fibrous raisin bran or oatmeal for breakfast.
posted by bearwife at 4:22 PM on June 10, 2010

Since the ingredients are "whole grain" their germ may have gone rancid if the bag is old or wasn't stored properly.

Have you looked for a date on the package?
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 4:33 PM on June 10, 2010 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I've been eating a lot of another of Bob's hot cereals (Scottish oatmeal) and seriously the difference between making it in the microwave and stove is HUGE. So I think you should give the stove a go before writing it off.
posted by grapesaresour at 5:35 PM on June 10, 2010

Try it in a muffin or bread recipe, it adds great texture. I've been buying it for this purpose without ever using it as a stand-alone cereal.
posted by silvicolous at 8:30 PM on June 10, 2010

Best answer: I haven't had this particular cereal, but I'm willing to bet that others are right that the bitterness is from cooking it in the microwave. Whenever I cook with grains I use whole grains exclusively, and the best tip I ever read was in King Arthur's Flour Whole Grain cookbook: anything you make with whole grains will be better if it can sit overnight. That doesn't mean you have to make your cereal the night before, but it does mean that there is a world of difference in bitterness between the microwave and stovetop. The time it takes to cook on the stovetop would really make a difference.

That being said, the suggestion of making a batch ahead of time and microwaving that should actually be pretty delicious; it'll have had plenty of time to sit.
posted by Nattie at 9:30 PM on June 10, 2010

Nthing to rinse it first and use the stove instead of the microwave.

And given all the different textures and flavors there, you may have to add just a little more sugar and fat to make a big difference in flavor. Are you using lowfat milk?
posted by desuetude at 10:59 PM on June 10, 2010

In terms of food science, I really cannot understand the comments here that say that cooking in a pot on a stove yields something better tasting than the same stuff quickly cooked in a microwave.

Maybe such people have a point as opposed to a prejudice but I have not seen any evidence to support it. It may be that Red Mill 10 Grain contains some bitter component that is broken down by prolonged cooking or post cooking aging, but even if it does then the same effect could be achieved with a microwave.

I still think the problem is germ rancidity.
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 12:29 AM on June 11, 2010

If you have a crock pot or a rice cooker, you can put it on at night and have hot breakfast in the morning without worries. You can even, if you use the crock pot, put your milk, brown sugar (or honey, fruit, nuts, etc.) in at the beginning, for a creamier hot cereal.

Perhaps not what you are looking for, but I far prefer my hot cereals with butter and salt rather than sweet stuff. Also works as a side dish for dinner.
posted by QIbHom at 11:05 AM on June 11, 2010

Response by poster: Ooh, guys! All of you who suggested I cook it on the stove were absolutely right! I don't know why, but it makes such a difference! I can still detect a very slight bitter flavour, but no more than a light rye bread would have. And, you know what? I like it now! Yay! I also prepared it last night, to have for breakfast today.

I did wonder if the cereal might be rancid, MonkeySaltedNuts, but the best before date is for sometime in 2012 and the package was well sealed. But yeah, it tasted like old walnuts when I made it in the microwave. I have no idea why it doesn't now that I've cooked it on the stove, but there you go.
posted by MelanieL at 1:48 PM on June 12, 2010

MonkeySaltedNuts: the explanation I read in the whole grain cookbook I referenced earlier is that prolonged exposure to heat allows the bran in the whole grains to break down, which makes it taste less bitter.
posted by Nattie at 10:37 AM on June 19, 2010

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