I like using oat cream in gratin dishes like my Macaroni and ‘Cheese’ Gratin or my Pommes Dauphinois recipes. I like the way the cream thickens and…well, gratinates (yep, that is a word) without leaving behind a cloyingly sweet goo or curdling. I also like making my own oat cream because most of the products found in shops have added oils (usually undefined), thickeners, emulsifiers and probably way too much salt. I think a good oat cream only needs oats, water and a pinch of salt. So let’s get started and make some oat cream.
The first item on your shopping list is rolled oats. I prefer the oats which are not processed too much and cut up too small. Rolled oats produce a creamier consistency than steel-cut oats, but you can make oat cream with the latter if that is what you have on hand. Got it? Good, your shopping is done!
Let’s start preparing the oat cream by first soaking the oats. I like using hot water and adding about twice as much (by weight) water to oats (see official recipe below). Cover the oats and refrigerate them overnight. Some people just allow the oats to soak for an hour or so before processing and you can do this too. I like the overnight soak because it softens the oats more and creates a more substantial flavor. I think fast-soaked oats makes a product…well, a bit like white water.
After soaking your oats, it’s time to make the cream. You will need a blender for this process. I prefer a high-speed blender like my vitamix because it really gets the job done quickly and the oats are well-processed allowing for a greater yield. You will also need something fine to strain the oat cream. I use a standard nut bag, which is simple to find online. Don’t stress too much if you don’t own a nut bag. You can make your own, or use an old nylon.
Ok, let’s make this cream.
Get everything in your blender and add the salt and additional water (again, refer to my recipe below). Start processing on low and increase the speed to high. Add a bit more water if it seems your blender is working too hard. Process for 2 minutes, then strain through your nut bag into a clean container.
Here’s my recipe for Oat Cream
250 grams rolled oats
500 ml. water
1 teaspoon sea salt
250 ml. water
- Heat your first batch of water until just boiling. Pour over your rolled oats, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- Add the soaked oats to your high-speed blender. Add the salt and remaining water. Process for 2 minutes, then strain.
This recipe makes way too much cream – close to one half liter! Here’s what I like to do to get the most out of my effort. I make the cream and strain enough for 250 ml. Then, I add everything back to blender along with 750 ml. water and process at high again for 1 minute. I strain this and end up with a good amount of milk to go along with my cream!
Jack’s Fresh Tip
My recipe makes a thick cream, but you can easily adjust the consistency by adding a some more water to the blender. I would suggest starting with an additional 100 ml. and seeing how that goes before adding too much and ending up with milk instead of cream (not the worst outcome). The obvious question I normally get after sharing this recipe is, ‘what do you do with the strained oats?’ Excellent question! I don’t like wasting things in the kitchen, so I end up saving the oats and making sure they are as dry as possible. Use them in baked goods, like muffins, to add a bit more body and perhaps a touch of nutrition and fiber. Here’s another DYI use…mix the processed oats with some soil and add them to your plants!