What Is Farina? Malt O Meal vs Cream Of Wheat

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Need a hot breakfast to warm you up? How about a mild, warm late night snack to help you fall asleep?

A warm bowl of farina can boost your energy and get you moving in the morning, or calm a tired mind at the end of a busy day. This grain cereal is a great backdrop for other flavors and packs a large nutritional punch!

There are many brands that offer great hot cereal options, but in this guide we will focus on 2. Here are Our Top Picks:

What Does Farina Taste Like?

The best farina definition is that of a background. It’s warm and mildly sweet. On its own, farina is fairly bland. It works well as a staging area for fresh fruit or fruit preserves; a little sweetener and some cinnamon will give it a boost as well.

FlavorFarina Taste
SweetFarina has a natural mild sweetness, but will likely need amenities to bring it up to a truly sweet flavor. Sweet rating: 7 of 10.
SourIf your farina is sour, check the expiration date on your milk. If the package smells musty or sour when you open it, don’t eat it. Grains are great food for bacteria as well as humans. Sour rating: 0 of 10.
SaltySalty farina means you just overdid with the salt before you cooked it. It’s not the end of the world; try adding fruit preserves or maple syrup to the bowl to improve the flavor. Salt rating: 1 of 10.
BitterMany cooks like to make farina with milk rather than water for a lush, creamy texture. Unfortunately, some milk, such as soy or almond, has a limited heat tolerance and will scorch. If your farina is bitter, you likely burned the milk. Discard it and try again. Bitter factor: 0 of 10.

What Is Farina?

The word farina is based on the Latin, meaning meal or flour. This cereal is a milled grain, made from the wheat germ and the endosperm.

The wheat germ is the portion of the grain where the nutrients are most dense. This cereal is quick to cook and loaded with healthy features!

Bob’s Red Mill Organic White Wheat Farina

Bob's Red Mill Organic Creamy Wheat White Farina Hot Breakfast Cereal, 24 Oz (4 Pack)

In the bowl, farina can be a little boring to study. It’s an off-white bowl of warm, yummy goo.

You can boost the nutritional value and the visual appeal with a sprinkling of fresh blueberries, sliced bananas (how long do bananas last?), a drizzle of maple syrup or honey, or a sprinkling of cinnamon.

If you can tolerate sodium, add a little bit of salt in the cooking; it will boost the flavor of the fruit and natural sweeteners.

Statistics on farina nutrition are fairly straightforward. If you can tolerate gluten and are looking for a way to add a bit of warmth and comfort to your diet without loading up on empty carbohydrates, learning to cook farina is worth your time!

How To Make Farina

Farina is quite quick to cook, but needs to be monitored as you cook it. This video features farina cooked in milk, a little butter and sugar.

Milk can scorch and sugar can burn, so once the liquid heats up, you need to whisk in the farina and keep stirring to keep the grain from getting lumpy and burning to the pan.

Because farina is so mild, you can use it as a background for many unique flavors.

Tired of cereal and berries? Try Dominican style farina, loaded with cinnamon and cloves. What a holiday treat!

Dried fruit will also add to the rich texture of farina. This farina recipe is a combination of cereal, brown sugar, roasted almonds and dried apricots will give you a solid source of breakfast fuel on the coldest day.

Related | Difference Between Light and Dark Brown Sugar

Is Farina Healthy?

Farina is wheat, so if you’re gluten intolerant or grain sensitive, this probably won’t be good for you.

is farina gluten free

Is farina gluten free? No. This natural binding protein is what causes it to form lumps if allowed to stand, unstirred, on the heat source. If gluten is an issue, try cream of rice or cream of buckwheat.

However, if you can tolerate wheat and would like to add a hot cereal to your day, farina is a quick-cooking way to add valuable nutrients to your diet.

Farina is high in calcium, iron, and B vitamins. The wheat germ inherent in farina is a terrific source of antioxidants and vitamin E as well.

Unfortunately, farina is heavily milled to make it quick to cook, and is therefore low in fiber. To boost the fiber, you can add bran or flaxseed directly to your cereal.

A word about sugar: It’s easy to make farina or any breakfast cereal a sugar highway. However, you might be better off skipping your favorite flavored coffee for a bowl of farina.

As possible, add natural sources of natural sweetness to your cereal, such as fresh fruit. A pinch of salt will bring out the natural sweetness of the grain. Try to train your taste buds to be sensitive to natural sugars by cutting back on granular sugar additions.

Malt O Meal vs Cream Of Wheat

What is Malt O Meal? Functionally, farina and Malt O Meal are interchangeable, so if you can’t find the package labeled farina, Malt O Meal is a great farina substitute.

It’s a ground wheat product that can be boiled into a creamy cereal.

Maltomeal ingredients include the germ and endosperm of the mature wheat grain.

Malt-O-Meal Original Hot Wheat Cereal

Malt-O-Meal, Original Hot Wheat Cereal, 36oz Box

Maltomeal nutrition statistics are quite similar to those of farina, unless it’s labeled as fortified; fortified cereals are formulated with nutritional additives, making them even more important in the diet.

When comparing Malt O Meal to Cream of Wheat, the flavor difference is nearly indiscernible. Both are wheat products, both are cooked hot, and both are served (generally) with sweet additions.

However, some may notice a difference in texture:

  • Cream of Wheat is more finely ground than Malt O Meal and results in a smoother texture.
  • However, it may take more Cream of Wheat to provide a full feeling, as there’s less bulk.

Final Thoughts

A hot, hearty breakfast used to be a necessity when the diner was heading out to face a day of manual labor.

If your labor includes parking yourself in a chair and typing on a keyboard, a hot breakfast might just put you to sleep, and may lead to sluggishness and even weight gain.

However, farina is a nutritious dish and may be a welcome addition at the end of the day or as a midday snack or even as part of your lunch.

Did you enjoy this guide? Did you enjoy this guide? Let us know in the comments with your favorite farina recipe or any substitutes that you prefer.

Written By Tara Williams

Tara is a food writer that has been editing and authoring articles for KitchenSanity since its founding. Her writing offers personal experience from experimentation with food and recipe creation. If you’re looking for simple tips, she will make your journey in the kitchen straightforward with a dash of fun.

1 thought on “What Is Farina? Malt O Meal vs Cream Of Wheat”

  1. I’ve eaten cream of wheat my entire life mixed 50/50 whole/milk water. The original with the chef on the box but its hard to find the original 3 minute kind, it’s down to 1 minute which means its even more processed so I switched to malt meal. I like my wheat on the thin but not runny side. The first time I used malt meal it was too thick and lumped a lot more than cream of wheat so I increased the liquid by 1/4. The malt taste is noticeable and ok. I like mine with dried dates, blueberrys and cinnamon sugar or maple syrup.

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