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Traditionally prepared oats

Traditionally prepared oats (fermented porridge)

  • Author: Jade Woodd
  • Prep Time: 1-5 days
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 48 minute
  • Yield: 3-6 serves 1x
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Fermenting
  • Cuisine: Scottish-inspired


If you want to have a porridge that is made from traditionally prepared oats then this is your guide! They are so simple to make and make the perfect cosy start to the day. Best served with lots of butter, cream or your preferred whole food fats. This recipe is inspired by nourishing traditions but is not meant to represent traditional preparation form any specific people’s or regions. 



3 cups rolled oats, certified organic if needed

3 1/2 cups filtered water

Optional- 1 tbsp fresh rye, wheat or buckwheat (if gluten free) flour

Your choice of 1 of the following starters;

1/2 cup unpasteurised coconut water kefir, or;

1/2 cup homemade yoghurt, unpasteurised natural yoghurt, whey or milk kefir (see notes), or:

1/4 cup homemade sourdough discard

To cook

Pinch salt

Milk or water

To serve (per bowl)

1 Tbsp butter or cream

Yoghurt of choice

Drizzle of honey


  1. Add oats to a fermenting crock or large glass jar. I use a 3L Kilner crock, but you could use anything that is glass or ceramic, ideally with an airtight lid (or second best, a tightly fitting lid). Ensure this vessel is very clean- you do not need to sterilise it, but wash in very hot water and allow to air dry. Avoid using cloths or tea towels on the inside of the jar as this can transfer bacteria.
  2. Add oats to the jar followed by the water, optional flour and your choice of starter. For more ideas on what starter culture you can use read the blog post above. Give this a little stir, then secure the lid.
  3. Place your jar in a dark but warm place for 1-5 days. This should be out of direct sunlight, and somewhere you won’t forget about. In the winter months I turn on the light in my oven and place all my ferments in there- it creates the perfect temperature. Note- there is NO right amount of time to ferment. The speed to which your oats will ferment will depend on how active your starter was AND the temperature. In summer months 24hrs might be enough, in the middle of winter it can take up to a week. It is ready when it smells slightly sour. This will become easy with practice- you will notice how strongly you like your oats to be fermented only by practicing it and tasting them- sorry were are no short cuts here! As a first time rule, they are fermented enough when they smell slightly sour.
  4. FOOD SAFETY. Fermenting is a natural process and something that is very easy to do safely once you know what to look out for. First and foremost you should trust your nose- the oats should smell pleasant- if your oats ever smell foul something has gone wrong and you should discard them. Likewise if you see mould of any sort discard the batch and start again. ALWAYS add the starter culture as advised above (this protects again harmful bacteria), and finally read this post here for more info on good house keeping while fermenting.
  5. Once you have fermented your oats to your liking you can now transfer the mix to the fridge, and cook batches as desired- see next step. It is up to you whether you want to strain the liquid off of the oats after fermenting or not. Either is fine.
  6. Add 1/2cup of the fermented oat mixture to a small cooking pot with 1/2 cup of water or milk, and a pinch of salt. Adjust ratios as needed- if you’re after a larger meal then 1 cups fermented oats to 1 cup milk/water. Bring to a gentle simmer, and cook away for 10 minutes on low heat. Traditionally oats would be stirred or beaten the whole time- this makes for THE creamiest oats and is recommend (but is a bit of an arm workout).
  7. Pour hot, creamy oats into a bowl and top with your choice of butter or cream, yoghurt and a drizzle of honey. Add any extra delights you like!


  • I’ve never made this with store bought yoghurt, but look for a Greek style yoghurt that is organic, pot set and contains only milk and bacteria strains.