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Note #48: Homemade farina (2009.10.18)

This is going to be rather short, as I’m not feeling well, but I wanted to get in a quick note before something a little more substantial either tomorrow or the day after.

First, a little background. When I was young, I loved Cream of Wheat, a popular brand of wheat farina in the States. I also liked oatmeal, but Cream of Wheat was my favorite. So, during our trip to the States this past summer, I had a fit of nostalgia and decided to pick up a box to take home with us. Once the mornings started getting cooler, I began eating the farina with gusto, and not too long ago I finished it. We’ve looked around for Cream of Wheat (or any type of farina, for that matter) here, but while oatmeal is more or less readily available these days, we haven’t been able to find wheat farina anywhere yet.

We were in E-mart yesterday, though, and we found some wheat berries, and Hyunjin had the idea of making some farina ourselves. So I did some rummaging around online and found that a bunch of people do in fact make their own farina. It turns out that all you have to do is grind up wheat berries, although you have to make sure that you don’t grind them into flour. I read of one person who ground up their wheat too fine and ended up with a pasty mush.

I put the wheat into a food processor and pulsed it for a while, then took it out and put it through a mesh strainer so the larger pieces could go back into the food processor. I only ground up about two cups of the one-kilogram bag because I wasn’t sure how it would work—I didn’t want to end up with a kilogram of flour. When I was finished, I had something that resembled Cream of Wheat.

As you can see from the picture here, the farina was not ground completely evenly. There are still some larger pieces, and there was a good deal of much finer flour as well. There was only one way to find out whether or not it made a viable farina, though, and that was to try it out. So this morning I boiled some for myself and for Hyunjin. The proportions I used were approximately 1:4:4 farina to milk to water. I boiled the milk and water and then added the farina, as usual. I’m pretty sure Cream of Wheat is parboiled, or at least the wheat is parboiled before grinding, so it only takes three minutes to cook. My farina was not parboiled, though—the wheat was raw—so I boiled it for fifteen minutes, just to make sure it was done.

It came out much darker than Cream of Wheat, even the “whole wheat” version, and I suspect that this is because even whole wheat Cream of Wheat doesn’t contain that much bran, just the endosperm and germ. The important question here, though, is how did the homemade farina taste. The answer is: pretty darn good. It has a more nutty, hearty flavor than Cream of Wheat, which is good. On the down side, the texture isn’t quite as consistent, but it definitely passes muster. And, considering the fact that a kilogram of wheat berries only cost us 2,800 won, it’s probably a better deal than Cream of Wheat would be here even if we could find it.

Now that the weather is getting colder, it will be nice to have wholesome, homemade farina for breakfast. I only wish we had thought of this sooner—say, a decade ago or so. To think that I could have been having farina for breakfast all these years. But what’s done is done, and at least I have it now.

Well, that’s all for today. As I mentioned above, I haven’t been feeling one hundred percent, and I think I might be coming down with a cold, so I want to get some rest. Tomorrow’s going to be a full day, as I have to catch up on work that I should have gotten done over the weekend but didn’t. Look for a new entry sometime in the next couple of days.

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