A closed steamer or steam-cooker is also valuable for the cooking of grains. Grains may be cooked in an ordinary kettle, but the difficulties to be encountered, in order to prolong the cooking sufficiently and prevent burning, make it the least desirable utensil for this purpose.
Water is the liquid usually employed for cooking grains, but many of them are richer and finer flavored when milk is mixed with the water,—one part to two of water. Especially is this true of rice, hominy, and farina. When water is used, soft water is preferable to hard. No salt is necessary, but if used at all, it is generally added to the water before stirring in the grain or meal.
The quantity of liquid required varies with the different grains, the manner in which they are milled, the method by which they are cooked, and the consistency desired for the cooked grain, more liquid being required for a porridge than for a mush. The following table gives the time necessary for cooking and the quantity of liquid required for the various grains, with the exception of rice, when cooked in a double boiler or closed steamer, to produce a mush of ordinary consistency. If an ordinary kettle is used for cooking the grains, a larger quantity of water will be needed:—
Quantity of Water Hours to Grain. Required. Cook. Graham Grits 1 part 4 parts 3 to 5 Rolled Wheat 1 " 3 " 3 to 4 Cracked " 1 " 4-1/2 " 3 to 4 Pearl " 1 " 4 " 4 to 5 Whole " 1 " 5 " 6 to 8 Rolled Oats 1 " 3 " 3 to 4 Coarse Oatmeal 1 " 4 " 4 to 6 Rolled Rye 1 " 3 " 3 to 4 Pearl Barley 1 " 5 " 4 to 5 Coarse Hominy 1 " 5 " 6 to 10 Fine Hominy 1 " 4 " 4 to 6 Cerealine 1 " 1 part 1/2
All grains should be carefully looked over before being put to cook.
In the cooking of grains, the following points should be observed:—
1. Measure both liquid and grain accurately with the same utensil, or with two of equal size.
2. Have the water boiling when the grain is introduced, but do not allow it to boil for a long time previous, until it is considerably evaporated, as that will change the proportion of water and grain sufficiently to alter the consistency of the mush when cooked. Introduce the grain slowly, so as not to stop the sinking to the bottom, and the whole becomes thickened. If the grain is cooked in a double boiler, this first boiling should be done with the inner dish directly