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Oatmeal for Digestive Biscuits

Asked by LolaFontaine. Answered on 30th May 2014

Full question

Hi, I'm planning on making Nigella's Digestive Biscuits from How to Eat and one of the ingredients is Oatmeal. After a lot of googling and varying information, I'm just wondering if it's the same as rolled oats or quick cooking oats but by a different name. Thanks! Lauren

Our answer

Unfortunately the term oatmeal can cause a bit of confusion as in the US oatmeal refers to the cooked dish that would be known as porridge in the UK. However in the UK oatmeal does exist and it is different to rolled oats/quick cooking oats. Rolled oats are made by cutting the whole, husked oat grains into small pieces. The pieces are then steamed and rolled to give medium-sized flakes that will cook fairly quickly.

Oatmeal is made by milling/grinding the whole husked oat grains. There are various grades of milling and the one you are most likely to see in a supermarket is pinhead oatmeal (the coarsest grade and sometimes called steel cut oats), which you usually need to soak overnight then cook for a while to make porridge/oatmeal. There are also medium grade and fine grade oatmeals. Nigella uses to medium grade in her Digestive Biscuits (from How To Eat) to add some flavour and texture. FIne grade too fine as it is more like an oat flour.

In the UK you should be able to find the medium grade oatmeal in health food stores and Hamlyn's also sell bags of the medium grade oatmeal on-line. in the US you may be able to find the medium grade oatmeal in natural food stores and Bob's Red Mill sells Scottish oatmeal on-line.

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