Toddy is quite correct: t must have salt. However, the quantity of salt is minute, a small pinch,1/8 teaspoon, per serving being sufficient. As stated earlier, if you can taste salt you've used too much. If it tastes strongly of oatmeal, you have used to correct amount. Another factor the type of oats. Steel cut is uncooked and requires a minimum of 20 minutes constant stirring (and up to 40 minutes depending on the texture you prefer) . This I would find intolerable at home on a well regulated stove, never mind on a camp stove in a titanum, stainless or aluminium pot which catches and burns at the slightest inattention. So on the trail. I use quick oats, which are rolled and steamed and broken down to fairly small pieces, but still have some texture. I don't simmer for the requisite 1 to 2 minutes. I place the oats mix in a serving pot (usually a 12oz (250 ml) yoghurt pot) , pour over a cup (8oz) of boiling water, place in a cosey and leave for about 5 minutes to "cook". The mix would be 1/3 cup quick oats (Quaker's name) 1/3 cup mixed dried fruit (raisins, cranberries,apricots, plums,all cut small) two tablespoons of dry milk powder, 1/8 teaspoon salt (small pinch) and, because hiking in the mountains uses up muscle, a tablespoon of soy or whey protein powder, teaspoon cinnamon,pinch cloves, teaspoon dried ginger for flavour. The mix is in a plastic freezer bag, one per person, per meal. I don't put sugar in mine, but will put in a tablespoon of sugar for co hikers who prefer that. Also,usually pour the boiling water into the freezer bag rather than transferring to a cup/pot. The bag is then insulated for 5 minutes and the porridge eaten directly from the bag, saving on washing up. Altogether a very reliable, quick method which gives consistently good results . Even allows for individual preferences to be accomodated (salt/no salt, one person not liking dried plums etc.
I can't digest milk anymore, but I miss the salty milk of my porridge. Sorry PDA1, but I can taste the salt on mine. It's not a lot, but it's there.
I know there's all this opprobium agin salt these days but my family generally lives long, healthy lives, and they all ate salt on their porridge.
To make our oat meal the oats need to be turned into groats first. That's when they are heated up enough that they shed the outer layers of the bran. The process partially cooks the oats, not as much as the steaming process does for rolled oats, but it's why our oatmeal can be eaten just with cold water added. It's good food
I simply soak the oatmeal in salted water overnight and bring it up to the boil the next morning. It's ready in a few minutes.
Maybe your oatmeal is prepared differently ? but my porridge doesn't need boiled for near so long.
Toddy 0 Quajer web site describes steel cut exactly as you do. http://www.quakeroats.com/product/hot-cereals/Steel-Cut-Oats.aspx
Seems that an 8 hour soak in cold water equates to 30 minutes simmering.re salt - seasoning is an individual choice. A little salt enhances the flavour of almost all cooked foods. The great thing about the method I use on the trail is that your bag would have more salt and no milk powder. It can easily be tailored to the taste of each member of the party. Also no need for to get up at the same time, a each portion is individually prepared. Quick oats (first sold in 1922) are just rolled oats (named old fashioned or Irish over here) chopped to smaller particle size. Instant are ground to a powder and "cook" the quickest,but IMO,have an unpleasant texture.
If it's not soaked first the porridge does take a long time to cook through. That was one of the huge advantages of the rolled oats.
My sons love those, but I don't like the texture, and the ready break tastes and feels like fines to me…that's the softest ground meal that is fed to babies or used like flour. I'm not very keen on it to be honest. I bake with the fines, and with the rolled oats, but for porridge I soak the meal (usually our oatmeal is finer than the steelcut oats; our oatmeal is ground) overnight and cook it quickly in the morning.
Cold, it slices up and is used pretty much the same way that polenta is used.
We have started to cook our porridge in the slow cooker over night. Its lovely waking up in the morning to a nice warming smell of porridge in the kitchen. If you put raisins and other dried fruit in it the Sugars from the fruit come out into the porridge and sweeten it, If you have a sweet tooth you will need add extra sugar when you serve it.