How To Roast Grains At Home
Roasting is a common way to prepare grains at home, so that they may be cooked and eaten whole or ground into flour. Pre-roasted grains are also used as an ingredient in dishes like pilafs, salads, breads and soups. This process has been a favorite of cooks for thousands of years, and has only gotten more popular over time due to the additional health benefits it can provide over other cooking methods.
Okay, so you’ve heard that roasting grains is a wonderful way to add lots of flavor to your favorite foods, or maybe you just want to be able to make delicious baked goods for your family and friends. You’re well on your way if you have a grain mill. But what if you don’t? Don’t worry! There are some things that are easy to substitute for that will do just about the same thing as roasting.
A Guide To Roasting Grains On The Stovetop
Here’s a secret: Roasting grains is as easy as boiling water. You can roast just about any grain on the stovetop, turning out grains every bit as flavorful and brightly colored as if you’d made them in the oven. Roasting also dries out the grains, so they cook faster and with less liquid than unroasted grains.
You don’t need any special equipment for this method — just a few simple kitchen tools, some dried grains and a burner or two.
What Is Roasting?
Roasting is a form of dry heat cooking that turns the surface of food brown, crisp or otherwise changes its flavor. Coffee beans, nuts and even maize are roasted to bring out flavor compounds that are hidden inside raw beans and seeds. Grains are roasted to add flavor and texture, but also to preserve them by removing moisture. Dry-roasted grains can be stored at room temperature for long periods of time before cooking.
Roasting grains on the stovetop is one of the easiest, most cost-effective ways to add a layer of nutty, toasty flavor to your morning meal. When you roast the grains yourself, you can easily turn out batches in small quantities or large, depending on your needs. Grains that you roast yourself are also raw and not milled, so they retain all of their natural nutrients and fiber.
To roast grains on the stovetop, you’ll need a big saucepan with a thick bottom and deep sides. (The best kind is cast iron.) Start by adding your grains to the dry pan over medium-high heat. You’ll want to use just enough grain to cover the bottom of the pot — ideally no more than half an inch deep — because they will expand as they pop and cook.
Using a spatula or wooden spoon, stir constantly until the grains begin to turn brown around the edges and smell nutty. Then remove from heat immediately before they burn.
Store any extra grains in an airtight container for up to two weeks. Add roasted grains to overnight oats or yogurt for flavor and texture; grind them finely in a spice grinder for homemade flour; or use them to make homemade granola bars or energy bites.
Why Roasted Grains important?
Roasted grains are an incredibly versatile ingredient in the kitchen. They can easily be used as a coffee substitute, or even to make a hot cereal breakfast. They can be ground up and added to flour for baked goods or sprouted and used as a salad topping. The best part is that they are so simple to make at home, and they can add some fun variety and nutrition to your meals.
Why Roasted Grains have sweet taste?
Roasted grains have a nutty flavor with a slightly sweet taste, similar to roasted nuts or coffee beans. Most grains can be roasted, including wheat, barley, oats, buckwheat, corn, rice and quinoa (though not all of them will sprout). It’s possible to roast single types of grain or even blend them for flavor (a healthy alternative to flavored coffees).
Roasting also makes it possible to store whole grains for longer periods of time without worrying about them going rancid. Roasted grains will keep indefinitely when stored in an airtight container in the freezer.
The Basic Roasting Method
Roasting is a great way to transform grains into something more flavorful, one that’s an excellent addition to salads or side dishes. We’re going to take a look at the basic roasting method and some variations on it.
The Basic Roasting Method
1. Heat oven to 350°F and place racks in the upper and lower thirds of oven.
2. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups rinsed whole grains with 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Toss until grains are well coated.
3. Spread the grains evenly on two baking sheets (or use just one if you have only one baking sheet). Place baking sheets in the oven and roast, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 20 minutes for quinoa or wheat berries and 10 minutes for pearl or pot barley.
Roasting grains — be they rye, barley or corn — yields a deeper, more nuanced flavor. It adds a toasty, almost caramel-like character that you don’t get from using the grain in its raw form.
For example, we often use roasted barley in our beers. We use both malted and unmalted barley for different beers, and we roast both varieties of the grain to enhance their flavor.
When we do this, we end up with something called “black barley”— a product that looks similar to coffee beans (and smells like toast). This black barley is what gives our Black Butte Porter its characteristic coffee flavor and aroma.
If you want to taste what roasted grains can do for your food, try out the recipe below (or click through to our pancake recipe!).
Savory Uses For Roasted Grains
Place 1 quart water and all the grains into a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes. The grains should be soft but still slightly chewy. Drain and transfer the grains to a baking sheet or large platter. Spread the grains out evenly so they will roast more evenly.
Place the baking sheet in an oven preheated to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Roast the grains for 15 minutes, stirring them once or twice during roasting to ensure even browning. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before using in recipes or eating as desired.
Sprinkle roasted grains on top of salads for added flavor and texture, or toss them with vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and carrots for a simple side dish. If you want more protein in your diet, add roasted grains to your morning bowl of oatmeal or yogurt. Sprinkle the grains over creamy soups for added texture, or add crunch and nutty flavor to rice dishes by mixing in some roasted grains just before serving. For a healthy snack food, toss roasted grains with dried fruit, nuts and seeds for homemade granola.
Roasting at home allows you to experiment with grains in your own kitchen and make them the star of their own dish. Homemade roasted grains are a healthy, delicious addition to any meal. If you have time, opt for the slow-roasting method for tender and more flavorful results. Your homemade grains will be good for up to two weeks in an airtight container stored at room temperature.