A Hard Press Is The Key For Perfectly Formed Granola

One of the best things you can do for yourself is to start making your own granola. Granola can be a highly nutritious option for any meal, but you never know what you're going to get from store-bought granola in terms of nutrition. Some might have excessive amounts of sugar and fats that minimize the other health benefits.

Healthline points out that while nutrition details can vary depending on what's added to the granola, it is typically considered an excellent source of nutrition. The oats that most often serve as the base of granola are full of fiber and have been shown to help lower cholesterol levels as well as improve blood pressure. Medical News Today adds that the high levels of manganese typically found in oatmeal have also been shown to help regulate blood sugar levels as well.

Of course, the extent of any of these benefits is highly dependent on the recipe of the granola. That's why it's so beneficial to make your own and customize the nutrition and flavor of your personalized blend.

How to take advantage of granola's variety

There are tons of recipes and methods for preparing granola out there. Versatility is one of this sweetened cereal's best traits. The Toasty Kitchen notes that granola can be enjoyed as a cereal, with yogurt, on ice cream, or added to a savory trail mix. True North Granola Company says that there are even ways to incorporate granola into all three meals of the day.

The Toasty Kitchen adds that the flavors of granola can be as simple as plain vanilla or as complex as a chai spice mix. They can also rotate with the seasons, or focus on the kind of additional nutrition you'd like. Need more healthy fats in your diet? Use olive oil as the fat in your granola.

Another way to add variety to your granola is to control its texture. Some people might like all of the oats and other ingredients separated, but if you want lots of delicious clusters to chew on, then you'll need to keep a few things in mind.

The best ways to get granola clusters

One of the most important things for cluster-loving granola fans out there to remember is the importance of a good hard press. As Jessica Gavin points out, when you're laying your granola out on the tray to be baked you can't be afraid to crowd them together. Having a dense layer of granola ingredients pressed in close will help them stick together once the sugars start to melt and caramelize. To ensure this, it helps to give the granola a good firm press across the entire tray using a spatula or other utensil. This will keep them pressed closely together, and maximize the number of clusters in your granola.

It's also important to hold off on stirring your granola. By waiting till your granola is halfway through its cooking period, your giving those clusters time to form. Stirring them up will then break the sheet of granola apart. This way you'll still have a proper cereal instead of granola bars.

With these two steps, you'll be able to have a firm hand on how your granola's texture and maximize the number of clusters in your homemade cereal.