For generations bleary eyed people have stared at the bottom of their cereal bowl, eyes still glazed with sleep as they shove bits of cereal and milk in their mouths as if on automaton. Then along comes a genius who has a spark of imagination as her eyes peruse the leftover milk at the bottom of the bowl. "Why don’t I bottle this and sell it?" she muses "It will work!" And it did.
One fine day, Momofuku founder David Chang asked Christina Tosi to prepare dessert and just like that the pastry program at Momofuku began. Christina’s quirky and playful vision about giving a fun modern twist to childhood flavours earned rave reviews and led to the opening of the Momofuku Milk Bar that has garnered hordes of fans around the world. Cereal Milk is the brainchild of Christina Tosi’s playful take on breakfast. Who would’ve thought that the milk in the bottom of your cereal bowl could taste so luscious once it was tweaked and bottled up in delightful packaging.
The Momofuku Milk Bar is one of my favourite cookbooks, mainly because of the quirk factor and the immense creativity that is Christina Tosi. I love a concept that allows adults to become little children and indulge. It is what the world needs. It is what I need! On occasion. You see, feeding my inner child also unleashes my creativity.
One of the first things that is tackled in the Milk Bar cookbook is Cereal Milk. Building on the concept of steeping your favourite cereal in cold milk, the book encourages you to use your favourite cereal. Once you have a bottle of your cereal milk, you can use that milk to make cereal milk ice cream (which I did and enjoyed the strange feeling of having an ice cream that tasted like my leftover cereal milk! A bit fiddly and dragged out to make and I will probably not make it again because I like my ice cream to be simple with 3 to 5 ingredients), cereal milk panna cotta or maybe custard?
Cornflake was my favourite cereal growing up. It was the only cereal that was available in my part of the world till I was in my teens. So, I have very fond memories of crunchy, golden flakes swirling in creamy cold milk. I also remember that cornflakes used to be not commercially packaged and had zero to none sugar. Ah I miss that version of my breakfast! You guessed right! I used cornflakes and the beige coloured milk that resulted from an afternoon’s worth of experimentation will now become a regular fixture in my fridge, especially in the warmer months. The candy and beakers are from my gleeful splurging spree at The Happy Lab in Sydney. I felt they went well with the chemical nature of the Momofuku Milk Bar’s fantastical creations.
adapted from The Momofuku Milk Bar by Christina Tosi cookbook
A beige coloured milk obtained from steeping cornflakes in cold milk is a delicious morning treat.
Preparation Time – 45 Minutes
Makes – Serves 4
100g (2 and 3/4 cups) cornflakes
900ml (4 cups) cold milk
30g (2 tablespoons) light brown sugar
1g (1/4 teaspoon) salt
Heat oven to 150C (300F). Spread cornflakes on a baking paper lined sheet pan. Bake for 15 minutes until lightly toasted. Remove from oven and cool completely.
Transfer the cooled cornflakes to a large jug. Pour milk onto the cornflakes and stir well. Let steep for 20 minutes.
Strain mixture through a fine sieve mesh, collecting the milk in a bowl. Once the initial milk drains through quickly, use the back of a ladle to gently press the cornflakes to release more milk. Take care to not force the mushy cornflakes through the sieve as this will discolour the milk and leave you with a residue in it.
Whisk brown sugar and salt until fully dissolved. Store in a glass bottle or jug in the fridge for upto 1 week.
Try adding a smidgeon of pure vanilla extract in the last step while whisking the milk.
Try experimenting with your favourite low-sugar cereals.
These are great to have in little retro milk glasses for the kids after school or for a retro themed party.
If you want it sweeter, add some more brown sugar.