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Halachot of Berachot  

The Handy Guide to Cereals

List of Cereals and their Brochos

Often we find ourselves in circumstances where there’s no internet around and yet we need to know the correct bracha upon a cereal.  Believe it or not, it’s not all the complicated to learn the rules and understand which cereals get which brachot.

Let’s start off by reviewing the different grains (Wheat, Corn and Rice) separately and then we’ll combine them together.

1. Wheat (as well as the other 4 special grains: spelt, barley, oats, and rye)

  • When these grains are ground up, and baked with water they deserve either a mezonot or hamotzei depending on if they become a snack or meal item (see Pas Haba Bekissonin for more on this)
  • If they remain unprocessed or only slightly processed (roasted or toasted while whole and intact) then they receive a Ha’adoma
  • Bran by itself is Shehakol. Bran is the part of the wheat kernel which when they leave it in, they call it whole wheat. (An Example of this is Kellogg’s All Bran)
  • Puffing is a matter of controversy: If you puff whole wheat, such as Kashi cereals they are Ha’adoma. If, however, you puff regular wheat  - Rav Moshe Feinstein says you can either say mezonot or Ha’adoma but the bracha achrona would certainly be borei nefashot. (Examples of this are Kellogg’s Smacks and Post Golden Crisps)

2. Corn (or any other grain beside for the 5 listed above)

  • These grains can only be Ha’adoma or Shehakol.  When the grain is ground into a flour – it loses its ideal bracha and becomes shehakol.
  • A Great Trick – When Cereals say “Corn Meal” they usually mean corn flour. Therefore Corn Meal cereals are usually shehakol. If, on the other hand they say “Milled Corn” or just “Corn” they usually mean bits and pieces of corn which would usually be Ha’adoma.
  • I say usually because there are exceptions. General Mills Corn Chex says “Corn Meal” but they actually use bits and pieces of corn and therefore it is Ha’adoma.

3. Rice

  • Rice is an interesting exception. Although not one of the 5 special grains, rice receives mezonot whenever cooked. Also it receives this mezonot whether it is whole or ground into a flour. However, The bracha achrona is borei nefashot.
  • Examples of this would be Kellogg’s Rice Krispies and Post Fruity / Chocolate Pebbles
  • Raw, roasted, or even popped rice be Ha’adoma – therefore rice cakes are Ha’adoma.

4. Combinations

  • Normally when one has a mixture of two items, one decides which component is the Ikar and Tofel and only makes a bracha on the ikar. (see Ikar and Tofel for more on this)
  • Usually the majority ingredient marks the ikar – but when one of the components are from the 5 special grains – they normally override and get the bracha even if they are a minority ingredient.
  • Very often you will find cereals that have corn meal as their first ingredient and then either oat or wheat flour later on in the list. This means there is mostly corn flour but there is also some wheat flour – In these cases one must assess why the oat / wheat flour is added:
    • If it is added to add taste or nutrition AND it can be tasted – it would be the ikar and the entire cereal is Mezonot.
    • If it is merely added as a binding ingredient to maintain a certain consistency – it would be tofel and the cereal would be shehakol.
  • This is the tricky part, because it is very hard to tell. First off, you need to be able to taste the grain's influence (see below with Rav Bodner's Solution). Then, you need to decide if the company added it for flavor or nutritional purposes or if they just used it as a binding ingredient. That being said, it's still not so clear, so best advice is to learn the few common examples below:

Some Common Examples

  • Combinations that are mezonot:  ,

Mezonot

Kellogg’s

Apple Jacks

 

 

Fruit Loops

 

Post

Alpha Bits

 

Quaker

Life

 

General Mills

French Toast Crunch

  • Combinations that are Shehakol:
Shehakol

Quaker

Captain Crunch

 

  Crunchy Corn Bran

 

General Mills

Cocoa Puffs

 

 

Cookie Crisp

 

 

Kix

 

 

Reese’s Puffs

 

 

Trix

  Post Honeycombs
  • Taste Test Solution: Rav Bodner suggests first eating a cheerio in order to remind oneself of that very distinguished oat taste and then try the questionable cereal. If you feel that the questionable cereal has the oat flavor as well – it would be mezonot.

5. Bracha Achrona

A few simple rules:

1. All Shehakol and Ha’adoma cereals would be borei nefashot

2. If they are mezonot because there are made from rice - also borei nefashot

3. If they are mezonot because their first ingredient is one of the 5 special grains – then al hamichya

4. If they are mezonot but the grain shows up later in the ingredient list – then most people say you should probably make a borei nefashot. ( Ashkenazim )

  • I discuss this idea at length here, but basically the common Ashkenazi p’sak (which I follow on the cereal list) is that one would only make an al hamichya if one eats a kazayit of wheat flour ignoring the other ingredients such as corn flour, cocoa and sugar within 4 minutes. Usually, the assumption is that he won't eat a kzayit of pure mezonot within 4 minutes and therefore the common psak for the bracha achrona on these cereals is borei nefashos.
  • However, If one knows that he ate a kazayit of grain within that time period – he may and should certainly make an al hamichya.
  • I think that if one was able to finish an entire bowl within 4 minutes – it is safe enough to say that he ate a kazayis of grain and could make an al hamichya without worry.  Moreover, even if one didn’t there are many opinions that allow one to include the other ingredients in this calculation. (Rav Dovid Heber of the Star K holds that one may include the other ingredients as long as it is appears as a single uniform unit, this is the opinion of Rav Shlomo Zalman Aurbach, but see the whole thing)
  • Sefardim would make an al hamichya on these cereals since they normally include all the ingredients in the calculation of a kzayit, assuming they make up at least one sixth of the composition.

 

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