It doesn't get more basic than cereal. Domesticated some 12,000 years ago, these grains are truly a human staple. So the idea of taking a selection of whole grains and mixing them with my own hands into a breakfast cereal really appealed, and it was this toasted blend that grabbed my eye for Chapter 4 of our Cook the Book project.
Shopping for the ingredients in the bulk section at Rainbow proved more interesting than I would have expected too. There are an astonishing number of grains you can buy there — things I'd maybe heard the name of, but wouldn't know the first thing about preparing. (Teff or kamut anyone?) So the 20 minutes I spent perusing was some good nerdy fun.
Four-Grain Toasted Cereal with Bananas and Pecans
Adapted from from The Breakfast Book by Marion Cunningham
1 cup each of the following flakes: oats (rolled), rye, barley, wheat
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated if possible
1/2 cup safflower oil
Sea salt to taste
1 cup broken pecans
Banana to taste
Preheat the oven to 300°. Toss the flakes by hand in a large bowl until mixed. Add the sugar, nutmeg and oil in a small saucepan and stir constantly on medium heat until the sugar dissolves.*
Pour the mixture over the flakes and stir until each flake is well coated. Spread in an even layer on a large baking sheet. I recommend using a Silpat or similar baking mat.
Bake for 25-35 minutes until slightly golden, turning the flakes every 10 minutes with a spatula to cook evenly. Don't overbake the cereal.
If your flakes are slightly sticky when you first remove them from the oven, they will crisp up when they cool.
Add salt to taste and serve with sliced banana and your milk of choice.
Store in an airtight container.
* Cooking notes: Pay close attention while you heat the sugar and oil! If, like me, your attention strays and you are not very vigilant in your stirring, you may end up with a burnt caramel mess before you know it.
I thought this cereal was tasty and had a well-rounded flavor from the mix of grains, but I'll definitely look to make a more complexly flavored granola next time.
Hungry for more? Have a look at the cereals my blog partners came up with for this round below: