Brown rice cereal is a breakfast food made primarily of brown rice, often in either puffed or creamed form. It is generally praised for its nutritive content, being high in both fiber and essential vitamins and minerals. Brown rice cereal can come in many different forms. Sometimes, it is served cold, much like any other grain-based cereal. When hot, it is often compared to oatmeal or cream of wheat, at least in presentation.
Rice has long been used as a base for cereal products, in part because of its ready availability. When dried and puffed, rice is crispy and lends itself well to many different cold cereal combinations. It can also be heated into a sort of gruel, which can be sweetened or spiced to taste. In a brown rice cereal, whole-grain brown rice is used in place of the more common refined white rice.
White rice and brown rice are not usually different types of rice. Rather, the distinction comes in how the grain is processed. Most rice starts as brown rice, covered in a fibrous hull that carries a somewhat nutty flavor. White rice manufacturers remove that hull, which leaves a more delicately flavored grain.
It is often less expensive to process white rice, which makes it more economical in the marketplace. Without the nutrients of the lost hull, however, it is significantly less beneficial for humans to consume. Brown rice cereal usually tries to reclaim some of the nutrients inherent in brown rice in an easy-to-eat, tasty combination.
Crunchy, air-puffed rice grains are a common cold brown rice cereal. These are usually sold in boxes or bags with the idea that consumers will add milk to them before enjoying. Kids’ cereal products are usually sweet, while those intended for the health food consumer are often more natural.
Hot brown rice cereals are often a bit different. These are usually made from macerated brown rice grains that have been boiled or roasted. Consumers must usually add water or milk, then cook them over a stove to reconstitute. They are usually sold as rough powders or dry meals that are not suitable for consumption on their own.
Plain hot cereals are popularly sold and served as baby or infant foods. The consistency is generally bland, and the substance is easily digestible. Babies can also usually benefit from the vitamins and minerals inherent in the grain, making the product something of a healthy cereal choice. Adult preparations often include other ingredients, like chopped nuts or dried fruits, as well as sweeteners.
Brown rice cereal products do not have to contain only brown rice. In many instances, brown rice is one of many different ingredients. A whole grain cereal, for instance, or a dried cereal medley may include a variety of tastes and textures. Brown rice often serves as a base or as an accompaniment to other less nutritious additives.