How do I make my own cold cereal?
January 20, 2015 11:59 AM   Subscribe

So I've decided that I need to make my own damn cereal. I DO NOT WANT HOT CEREAL. I want to know how I can make my own COLD cereal, which can be used as the base for milk and blueberries.

I'm pretty damn old (37 in three weeks), so I've been trying to eat healthier.

Every damn cereal I buy sucks. I feel I'm always negotiating on fat or protein, or lack of fiber, or too much sugar or whatever. Even the "healthy" cereals aren't that healthy. Also, I currently live in a part of the world where I can't get my favorite cereal of all time at a price that will allow me to eat it all day, everyday (Maybe its the principle of it [or I'm frigging cheap], but I refuse to pay $8USD for a box). Even then, it was a *tad* more sweet than it should be. So this is an excellent way to customize my intake rather than allowing pre-made goods do their business on me.

I want the cereal to be as healthy as possible. Whole grains, steel cut oats, oatmeal, flax, quinoa, whatever. Easy on the butter/oils (fat).

I would like as little sugar as possible; I'm sweet enough as it is. I also complement the cereal with milk and fresh blueberries so it need not have any sugar/honey/whatever.

It would be nice if it had a crunch. I add blueberries and milk and start chomping down. A whole bowl (with 1/2 cup of milk) can be gone in 36 seconds, so I need not it be super crunchy.

Yeah, I can probably take time out to make a HUGE batch, which I then eat over the course of a month or day or something. But I'd like it if was easy to make. But then again, thats only a preference, and probably a pipe dream. Bring on the complex, but even if you have a clever or creative easy recipe, that would be awesome.

So now that I've gotten the requirements out of the way, how do I actually do this?
Do I toast grains? Do I make a paste? Something else entirely?

How do I make my own COLD breakfast cereal?

I will "best answer" every recipe/idea that does not include hot breakfast cereals. Again, I do not need recipes for hot breakfast cereals.
posted by hal_c_on to Food & Drink (26 answers total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
Granola is your friend! There are about eighty billion recipes online... What about something like this?
posted by Specklet at 12:06 PM on January 20, 2015 [3 favorites]

Have you tried homemade granola? I've made a large batches with oat, various nuts, dried fruit and honey, mixed, put on cookie sheet and cook until crispy but not burnt. I've had it with milk or yogurt and turned out great.

(What Specklet said!)

Here's a recipe I saved years ago, I forget the source. You can tweak things to remove the sugar, add other nuts, etc.

1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup water
4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
8 cups rolled oats
2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, or slivered almonds

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.

Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper and reserve.

Combine brown sugar and water in a 4-cup microwave proof glass measuring cup or bowl. Place in microwave on high for 5 minutes and cook until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from microwave, add vanilla extract and salt.

In a large mixing bowl, combine oats, nuts, and brown sugar syrup mixture. Stir until thoroughly mixed. Spread the granola onto cookie sheets and bake 45 minutes to 1 hour or until golden and crunchy.

When the mixture comes out of the oven, it is still very pliable. You may choose to add in dried fruit as a finishing touch at this time. When granola has cooled completely, store in an airtight container.
posted by beowulf573 at 12:08 PM on January 20, 2015 [2 favorites]

The magic word is muesli.
posted by ephemerista at 12:13 PM on January 20, 2015 [5 favorites]

Puffed quinoa. Many coops sell it plain in the bulk section, or you can make your own.
posted by susanvance at 12:14 PM on January 20, 2015

Granola is delicious but pretty high in sugar. If you take the sugar out you'll lose the crunch.

Museli will give the chew but not the crunch, unless you're OK with the fat from nuts. It's very much a case of adding whatever you want, but some suggestions are here:

Alternatively, you can buy puffed quinoa, which may or may not be suitable to eat with milk.
posted by kadia_a at 12:16 PM on January 20, 2015

I make granola all summer. I started from a Early Bird Granola recipe and then pared it down to what works for me, which is this:

+ 3c oats
+ 3c raw nuts or seeds-- sesame, sunflower, pepita, walnuts, coconut, wheat germ, flax seeds, whatever
+ 1/2 c maple syrup
+ 1/2 c olive oil

Stir it all with a slotted spoon in a dutch oven or heavy iron skillet and bake it 350° for 45 minutes, taking it out to thoroughly stir/turn over every 15 minutes. Sesame seeds, flax and brans should only go in for the last 15 minutes or they'll burn. You want it to be starting to turn brown, but not really getting toasty. It crosses over into burnt super fast. If it starts to smell toasty, it is probably done. Some batches seem to be done earlier than others. I haven't done any scientific testing, though.

Don't use a cookie sheet, it just makes a mess.

When you stir it, get it all off of the bottom of the pan or you'll get uneven toasting.

Our food coop sells these giant bags of puffed millet and puffed kamut from Nature's Path and I've been tweaking the recipe to:

+ 2c oats
+ 2-3c puffs
+ 2c whatever

You can probably figure out an alternate sweetener if maple syrup is too pricey, but I definitely found that the other oils I tried didn't come out as perfect.

I've seen granola recipes that use oj concentrate or other things that sound cool, but the beauty of this is that I just know. Six cups total, 1/2 to 2/3 grains, the rest nuts. Boom. You can probably take the sweet and oil down even more and still get good crunch from toasting it.
posted by amandabee at 12:18 PM on January 20, 2015 [2 favorites]

America's Test Kitchen ran a recipe for almond granola with dried fruit this week that I intend to try soon. Looks super easy, and you can switch it up by changing the nuts and fruit each time to keep it interesting.
posted by heyho at 12:22 PM on January 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Granola is delicious but pretty high in sugar. If you take the sugar out you'll lose the crunch.

Museli will give the chew but not the crunch, unless you're OK with the fat from nuts.

As Kyle would sing, "this is my struggle".

TOO MUCH SUGAR. Also, dried fruits have way too much sugar too. I could just not add them, right?

I'm also ambivalent about nuts. But if they make the cereal healthier, thats great. Otherwise, I've never really cared for nuts, so adding for taste is not a consideration.
posted by hal_c_on at 12:24 PM on January 20, 2015

Also, it sounds bizarre, but regular popcorn + milk is actually a thing (and was endorsed by Alton Brown on a Good Eats episode).
posted by susanvance at 12:27 PM on January 20, 2015 [2 favorites]

There are tons of low/no sugar granola recipes out there too.
posted by Specklet at 12:28 PM on January 20, 2015

Paleo cereal recipes are what you want.
posted by caoimhe at 12:29 PM on January 20, 2015 [2 favorites]

I'd suggest looking at recipes for homemade bran flakes, which are all over the internet and seem pretty simple. You can play around with different ingredients, but the principal is the same.
posted by mkultra at 12:31 PM on January 20, 2015

Make your own croutons and eat them in milk. You can choose a bread to suit your needs.
posted by WeekendJen at 12:39 PM on January 20, 2015

Cool Tools recently discussed this thing which turns grains into cereal.
posted by ftm at 12:52 PM on January 20, 2015 [3 favorites]

Nuts will make the cereal healthier if increased protein is one of your goals.
posted by oxisos at 12:54 PM on January 20, 2015

Mix oats with just enough honey to stick together (and just enough canola oil to not stick to the bowl). You can usually reduce the honey in granola recipes quite a bit. Spread on your junkiest jelly roll pan and bake at 275 for 15-20 minutes, then scrape off into an airtight container. (Yes -- jelly roll pan, not cookie sheet. IT NEEDS A LIP. Use your junky one and you don't have to bother lining it.) Adding an egg white can make it a bit crisper and you can then use less honey/oil.

Add what you like -- dried fruit, raisins, nuts, wheat germ -- or don't.

(I think people bake their granola waaaaaaay too long and I can't be arsed with stirring it, but maybe the perfect batteredness of my granola jelly roll pan makes me not need to.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:55 PM on January 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

This is a little outside the box, but although I love granola it's a very different kind of thing than the kind of breakfast cereal like you're talking about. There is literally an ingredients list on the page you listed as your favorite cereal - why not make some crackers like these with whole wheat meal, whole wheat bran, soy flour, ground flax etc? You'd want to be sure to add the salt and cinnamon and at least a little sugar (your cereal gets it from cane juice and barley malt syrup - the syrup would work best in crackers), maybe take out the yeast. If it were me I'd bake the things in a thin sheet, break it once baked, add some puffed quinoa for variety and nom that stuff down with milk and berries.

It might take a few tries to get it right, and your level of crazy about this stuff may be less than mine. But hey! Delicious cereal!
posted by theweasel at 1:09 PM on January 20, 2015 [2 favorites]

Also, it sounds bizarre, but regular popcorn + milk is actually a thing (and was endorsed by Alton Brown on a Good Eats episode).

As well as Almanzo Wilder in "Farmer Boy".
posted by Melismata at 1:10 PM on January 20, 2015 [4 favorites]

Yup, popcorn 100%.

Homemade kettle corn is killer, but requires sugar.
posted by jrobin276 at 2:01 PM on January 20, 2015

Homemade Bircher muesli may meet your requirements
posted by koahiatamadl at 2:44 PM on January 20, 2015

Homemade grape nuts are a thing.
posted by Lexica at 2:50 PM on January 20, 2015

Crunchy Granola compliments of Smitten Kitchen. Uses maple syrup as the sweetener and egg white to add crunch and omg it is so good!!!!
posted by coevals at 3:04 PM on January 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

You can make low fat granola using egg whites instead of oil, and sugar to taste (or even Splenda/stevia if you want). Recipies are easily google-able
posted by genmonster at 4:04 PM on January 20, 2015

I just eat plain old fashioned "large flake oats" in a bowl every morning with some blueberries or cherries (defrosted frozen ones are cheaper than imported fresh). If money is tight I just use apples since they are way cheaper. Occasionally I toss in a bit of sunflower seeds (cheaper than nuts) since I use almond or soy milk I need to add fat to breakfast somewhere. A pinch of salt can help make this stuff seem more like regular breakfast cereal.
posted by glip at 7:54 AM on January 21, 2015

You can make dehydrated whole grain cereals. Some ideas here.
posted by freezer cake at 11:06 AM on January 21, 2015

Along those lines, and even simpler: buckwheaties are raw buckwheat, soaked and then dehydrated or roasted crispy in an oven. They're easy, tasty, and nicely crunchy.
posted by Lexica at 11:47 AM on January 21, 2015

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