This slowly evolved as I wanted to branch out from the same old long cooking with the nutmeg and raisins white milk version. I got to wondering what would happen if I just made it very plain? The white version was not bad, slightly carmelizes and creamy Then I decided to try chocolate milk in it. It's the ultimate comfort food for me, and chocolate milk was not habitual in our diets ever. It takes about 3-1/2 hours but doesn't need to be constantly watched, just stirred at intervals. I always aim to get it just the right amount of creamy but don't like it runny like I've seen. You do have to get a feel for when it's almost done.
- Either cut the recipe in half or find a baking dish that holds at least 10 cups ungreased; cooking UNCOVERED is essential.
- Set oven temperature to 275 degrees F.
- Move shelf to low center and keep dish near the front so you can just reach in and stir.
- Stir all the raw ingredients together; the milk will be cold and take awhile to start cooking.
- Cook for 40 minutes, reach in with fork and stir.
- Cook for another 40 minutes, reach in and stir.
- By this time the rice might have started swelling.
- Cook another 35 minutes and stir, the rice should be swollen, sticking together in clumps so stir a lot, mash down with fork, get in bottom edges of baking dish, try to get as many grains separated as you can.
- Cook for another 30 minutes and stir, most of the rice will not have clumped again.
- Fairly early on a skin will form on top, just stir it all back in each time until the last.
- After another 30 minutes, it should be about done so stir once more.
- Some of the rice should be floating near the top and it will look runny.
- Bake another 20 to 30 minutes; I let skin form on the final cooking.
- Remove from oven and set on trivet to cool.
- It's best to wait until it's entirely cooled to room temperature or just slightly warm before digging into it with a spoon; this takes patience.
- If you do it while it's hot, it's very runny and you will get too much creamy and what remains won't be as nice.
- It thickens as it cools.
- Store covered in refrigerator; it will thicken more yet, get sticky, chewy and creamy in spots.
- If it works for you, you can add cinnamon, raisins, or try other ideas.
- I don't know what would happen if you warmed the milk first but I think it wouldn't be the same.
- The cooking time may be up to 1/2 hour more than stated.