How do they Process Rolled Oats

Oats, also known by their scientific name of Avena Sativa, are a grain used in many cereals.  They are quite hardy and can handle even the poorest soil conditions where other crops may not survive. 

Much of their flavor comes from the roasting process that they are put through after harvesting and cleaning, which removes dust, stalks and impurities.  They are then hulled, heated, cut and sized, flaked and milled.  

The process of hulling doesn’t strip away any bran or germ, which allows them to retain much of their fiber and other nutrients.  During this process, many under-sized oats are eliminated via the use of a machine that is called a size separator.  An air aspirator will then remove the inedible hulls. 

There are three basic types of rolled oats: old-fashioned rolled oats are whole oats rolled out flat.  Quick oats are rolled oats that are ground up more to make them cook a little faster.  Steel cut oats are rolled oats where the whole, raw oat has been cut up into smaller bits.  They are all the same food, but they are cut differently. 

While these all begin with the same grains, they are cut quite differently.  Rolled oats will be steamed so that they cook a little faster; otherwise they really aren’t any different from steel cut oats. 

Rolled oats will have a bigger flake that is flat while steel cut oats look more like a whole oat that has been cut in half; steel cut oats look more freshly picked, similar to a whole oat.  Once they have been steamed, they will look a bit like wild rice. 

Old-fashioned oats are made from kilned, whole groats or (hulled grains) that are processed with steaming in a kiln at about 215 degrees Fahrenheit and then the cutting and flaking, a process which produces the rolled oats begins.  

These old-fashioned rolled oats are the type of oats that you usually get in breakfast cereals and oatmeal.  They are also used in breads, cookies and granolas. 

Steel cut oats have a nuttier flavor and are chewier in texture.  They may have more health benefits because there is less processing.  They contain more vitamins and minerals than rolled oats because you don’t lose the bran and germ like the other types of rolled oats.  They also take a bit longer to cook, whereas, other rolled oats can be eaten right out of the container, uncooked. 

Quick rolled oats, known as instant oats, are made from kilned, steel-cut oats that are also processed through steaming and flaking.  They are most commonly found in pouches with seasonings and breakfast bars or granola. 

After the flaking process, comes the milling process, which involves two methods, one is the oat bran milling and the other is flour milling. 

The oat bran milling sends oat groats through the roll stands that separate bran from the flour.  It produces both oat bran and oat flour. 

The other method is strictly for producing oat flour from the whole groats.  Groats are put into hammer mills where they are converted to a fine, powdery oat flour.  Any coarse flour that remains is fed through the hammer mill once again and the process continues until it is all ground. 

Oats are a great source of vitamins and minerals and one of Mother Nature’s healthiest foods.  They are tasty, flexible and can be used in numerous tasty dishes and products.