Sunday, June 27, 2010

Homemade Cream of Wheat

Yes, you can make homemade cream of wheat! It is easy, CHEAP, delicious, and healthy. However, you will need a grain mill, a wheat grinder. Can I convince you to buy a grain mill to grind your own wheat? It is well worth the money--I found mine used on Ebay for $100.

So . . . we are getting ready to move and I am trying to clean out our fridge, freezer and cupboards and my challenge is to go to the grocery store as little as possible. Therefore, I am coming up with some very interesting meals. This morning, Cameron left for work and he is on-call, meaning we will not see him until tomorrow. Semaiah has a fever, meaning we are staying home from church. So, what do you make for breakfast when you have very little ingredients on hand and don't want to go to the store with a sick baby and 7 children on a Sunday, and you cannot ask hubby to go to the store? I checked and discovered, much to my dismay, that I had about 1 c. of oatmeal, no butter, less than a dozen eggs--not enough to feed all of us, no veggies, nothing, nada, zilch . . .

Hmmm. . . I have always wanted to make my own cream of wheat. It can't be that difficult, right? I mean it is milk and wheat, how hard can that be? Let me stop now to sing the praises of cream of wheat. It is the ultimate comfort food. I have loved cream of wheat since I was a little girl. It is warm, creamy, sweet and filling. There is a story of me when I was just 2 years old, my mother was in the hospital having just given birth to my brother, and I was home alone with my father. I asked my father to make me corn meal for dinner, the corn version of cream of wheat, and he told me he didn't know how. It is reported that I explained to my dad how to make corn meal and he successfully fed me my favorite food! Growing up, cream of wheat remained my favorite. My best friend, Trisha, and I used to make it every day after school when we were in middle school. She made the best. Her family was Finnish and they called it Budda (pronounced Boo-Dah and spelled incorrectly, I am sure). We devoured bowlfuls of the creamy goodness! What comfort, what memories. Fast forward to when I was pregnant with Anna: I ate coco-wheats, the chocolate version of cream of wheat, every single night of my third trimester. I am prone to nausea again in the last trimester of my pregnancy and coco-wheats was the only food that I could stomach. I am not kidding, weeks of eating coco wheats for dinner. Poor Cameron, he hates coco-wheats, as well as cream of wheat. Yes, he doesn't know what he is missing! ;)

I used to make cream of wheat frequently for breakfast for my children . . . back when I only had 2!! That stuff costs about $3.50 a box and is gone in 2 breakfasts here! That is almost as bad as dry cereal! Thus, cream of wheat, and coco-wheats, have been relegated to a luxury item, a splurge. That just seems wrong! Wheat + milk, a luxury?

Back to my morning dilemma . . . I decided to attempt to make my own cream of wheat, but I envisioned mixing the wheat and milk and it turning into a soggy, lumpy batter not the creamy yumminess I was used to. I googled cream of wheat and discovered it could be done. First, I needed to know which kind of wheat to use: hard or soft red wheat. You use hard red wheat. Then I needed to know which setting on my grinder. I would have guessed fine, but no, it is the coarsest you can go, and that makes sense now that I think about it. Ratio? I would figure it out as I went. I added 4 c. of milk to a pot, brought it to a near boil and then dumped in 1 c. of freshly ground wheat (have you read all the health benefits of grinding your own wheat? You can read about it HERE. I use my wheat in everything--to make roux's, for Dutch pancake, muffins, English muffins, pizza dough, cookies, bread, etc.). I stirred it steadily to prevent lumps, added about 1/2 c. sugar (I am sure you could use honey! And you HAVE to add butter--about 2 Tablespoons) and VOILA! Cream of wheat! Katria, Elyse, and Haven were my guinea pigs. They ate it up! I made a second batch to feed the rest of us and everyone enjoyed it.

No more store-bought cream of wheat for us! I fed my family for literally pennies! A 25# bag of wheat is about $12.00. I used 2 cups of wheat. You CAN make your own! I am learning this about just about everything. My challenge to myself is to make everything from scratch. We use almost zero pre-made items with a few exceptions such as tortillas, (yes, I could make my own, but the time involved to make each one is not worth the $.99 a bag) tortilla chips, and pasta. Here are some other things I regularly make: maple syrup, dressing, granola, taco and ranch seasoning, bread crumbs, and all the kids' snacks. Is it worth it? Isn't it easier just to buy things pre-made? Well, first of all, I enjoy the satisfaction of knowing I made something myself. Secondly, I know the health benefits of avoiding preservatives, MSG and high fructose corn syrup. Thirdly, I love saving money. Most things, when you get the hang of making them, take very little time. I have learned that a lot of it is the fear that it won't turn out. Once you take the risk and successfully make your first loaf of bread, batch of yogurt, a cake from scratch, you will feel proud of yourself. That almost motivates me MORE than the health benefits. Also, I wouldn't do it if I didn't enjoy it. That being said, with a little time and effort, you can eat healthy and cheap. However, don't feel guilty if you don't do this with everything, or very little. Your family will live--didn't we all grow up on bologna, wonder bread and pop tarts? Also, just so you know--we occasionally eat boxed mac 'n cheese, frozen pizza and McDonald's. I may be a "health nut", but I am not militant. I do not want to go so far with it that I make it into a religion. Enough said.

There you have it! Homemade Cream of Wheat! Now I will be able to indulge in one of my childhood favorites without breaking the bank! Ah, sweet nostalgia in a bowl.

Cream of Wheat

8 c. milk
2 c. coarsely ground hard red wheat berries
1/2 c. sugar (to taste)
2 T. butter (or a bit more)

Bring milk almost to a boil, add wheat, sugar and butter. Stir constantly so it doesn't stick or get lumpy. Serve hot and enjoy! Add more milk if you want it thinner, less if you like it thicker.


In Christ, Laura

**What do you make from scratch? I love new ideas!**


Beth Evans said...

Rice pudding!

Adri said...

I'm almost convinced...I'm about ready to buy a grain mill! :) I really love Cream of Wheat and was just telling someone about it yesterday...had lots of Cream of Wheat while pregnant--must have been all that folic acid! Adri

Stacy said...

Sounded so good I had to pull out the "box" I just bought to try with Jackson...seems he likes his oatmeal mixed with cheese grits. Is your grain mill electric or a hand crank?

Kathy said...

I'm with Cameron on the Cream of Wheat - sorry. :-) However, I loved the article you referenced! I do try to make as much as possible from scratch and we garden and do most of our shopping locally and relatively organic. Current nutritional research really matches up with Biblical teachings and shows how the food industry has altered that, usually not for our good. The more I read, the more natural I go. Remember when we were marveling at how "granola" we were turning - and that was 5-6 yrs ago? In terms of grains, we don't have a grain mill, but I do buy whole wheat flour and we eat a lot of brown rice, barley, quinoa, cracked wheat(we're on a tabbouleh kick right now), and kasha. I would love to see some information on seasonal foods and our nutritional requirements (i.e. does produce grown on a natural cycle provide vitamins and minerals that we specifically need during that season?). I believe this is starting to be realized for our meat consumption. Following a natural cycle, animals mature at just the right time for when our bodies need the nutrients they provide. Uh oh, you got me started on food. :-) -Kathy

laura mouro said...

Stacy, I am sorry I didn't answer your question! We have been SOOO busy with moving preparations this week. Mine is electric and is called the Whisper Mill--which it is NOT at all quiet. Thing sounds like an airplane in my kitchen, it is SO loud! LOL! :)


laura mouro said...

Kathy, you are funny! I bet you are right about our bodies needing the vitamins and nutrients that are also readily available during that particular season--like oranges in the winter and needing vitamin C to fight the flu and colds!


laura mouro said...

YES! Adri, cream of wheat is FULL of folic acid.

Beth--rice pudding is so good homemade. I also use leftover rice to make fried rice and use all the leftover produce in it!

Granola said...

I'm so glad you posted this! I looked around online some months ago for what setting to grind grain at to make cream of wheat and was unsuccessful.

It seems my hemoglobin is always low during pregnancy and the nurses always say that cream of wheat is a great source of iron. I didn't want to buy the boxed kind though.

My energy levels are so low in this last trimester reminding me that I really need to be more active in addressing the issue. I'm going to give this a try this weekend. Again I'm so grateful to you!

God bless you and your family!

laura mouro said...

No problem :) Your comment reminded me that I haven't made this in a long time! Now that it is getting colder here in Michigan, esp. in the mornings, I should make this!

Jillian said...

I found you from a simple Google search for homemade cream of wheat (made it this morning, fresh ground... delicious!), thinking a recipe was all I was coming away with... God had other plans. Instead, I came away with more encouragement than I could have imagined! You have a way of putting things that are so aligned with God's word, and so applicable to life. My husband and I are talking about adoption and/or being foster parents. I may come back from time to time to soak up some wisdom about parenting kids with RAD and adoption challenges. I'm so glad I had a craving for cream of wheat!

laura mouro said...

Jillian, thanks for the kind comment! :) Glad I could help with the cream of wheat! We have been eating it frequently here lately! God bless you in your plans to adopt and/or foster! :)

In Christ, Laura

Carol J. Alexander said...

Hi, I found your blog looking for homemade cream of wheat instructions. When we buy it in the box, we don't use milk. Have you ever made it with water? Thanks, Carol

Melissa said...

We like to make Pita Bread from Scratch.
I was a little skeptical of the homemade cream of wheat. So I only made a half batch. My Family LOVED it so much I had to make another batch! Thanks so much!!!!

Sylvia Bunker said...

Thanks for the recipe. Made half of it this morning. My daughter's been begging for porridge. (That's what the neighbors call it.).

Sylvia Bunker said...

Thanks for the recipe. Made half of it this morning. My daughter's been begging for porridge. (That's what the neighbors call it.).

Rebecca Chow said...

Thank you so much for posting this! I recently bought a grain mill (Wonder Mill) and a huge tub of rye berries (as I love rye bread). I followed your recipe (cut down to 1/4 as I didn't have much milk on hand) and used freshly ground rye instead of hard red wheat. I also used honey (a light honey, purple starthistle to be exact) instead of sugar. It was simply delicious! I was looking for how to make cream if wheat from scratch as I was sad to see the box I had had as a child contained other ingredients (beyond just vitamin enrichment). Googled, and your page came up. Thank you so much, again!

DJ Angaiak said...

Hi there,

We make poor mans cereal with water and no milk. Then let the kids add milk to the top of their bowls.

We are so thankful for our grain mill, and just love the fact we can make it from scratch!

Thanks for the post!

Blessings from Alaska

Tina Snowbarger said...

This is great thank you for the recipe. We make hominy and corn tortillas from scratch. We get the lime from Walmart, it is actually pretty easy once you get the hang of it. Although I am still struggling to get the hang of making bread. It is so discouraging when it doesn't come out right.

gypsyhippie said...

Thanks so much for the recipe wil be trying first thing tomorrow morning, I actually bought a kitchenaid on ebay because it had a grain mill (and pasta attachment with it) all 3 of these in my kitchen i am unstoppable .....I now find myself not even going into all the isles of the supermarket!!! Also just brought a bread maker at my local (goodwill $5) AWW it has worked wonders with the wheat bread making (my family even eats the crust!! and these are white bread people!!)

Christine Morton said...

Hello, I'm new to your blog and enjoyed this post. I am also learning to make almost everything from scratch! In fact, I just told my husband last night (as I was meal planning and looking for a pizza crust recipe) how I used to be so intimidated to make my own dough. But now I find it easy and quick! It really is just about giving it a try :-)
I actually use a small coffee grinder appliance to grind my wheat. It's what I used for all three children when I made them homemade baby cereal. And I believe it only cost me about $15. So, while it only does very small batches at a time, if a grain mill seems outside someone's budget, a small, inexpensive coffee grinder will also do the trick!

Negri Up North said...

Thanks for this post! Looking forward to homemade cream of wheat! Here's an easy recipe for you: naan bread. 3 cups of flour, 2 tsp. Of yeast activated in 1 cup of water. Knead together until you get a stringy ball, let rest at least 20 minutes (better if longer) use slightly greased hands and surface to pull off a golf ball size and flatten into a pancake, cook in pan on medium heat (again slightly greased) on each side and it's done! Great to use as replacement for tortillas, bread hotdog buns, personal pizza crust, etc. Enjoy!

Meg G said...

Have you attempted this with soft red wheat or will it only turn out with the hard?

Thanks, Meg

Lilah Nay said...

Why red wheat? We buy hard white to grind for our baking because its flavor is so much more mild... is this why? The red has a more "wheaty" flavor? (Just curious because I don't really want to buy a different kind of wheat JUST for this... although it would still be cheap.)