Brown Rice

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About
Brown rice is unmilled, its bran, germ, and aleurone layers intact. Any kind of rice, whether long-grain, short-grain, or aromatic, may be sold in its brown form. It takes two to three times longer to cook than the milled version of the same variety, and has a chewy texture and a rich aroma, often described as nutty. Thanks to the oil in its bran and germ, it’s more susceptible to staling than polished rice, and is best stored in the refrigerator.

Different forms of rice. Brown rice includes the outer fruit and seed coats that make up the bran, and the embryo and oil- and enzyme-rich aleurone layer. Polished rice is the central mass of endosperm cells, freed from all other parts of the grain; it’s mainly starch and protein. Wild rice is the whole grain of a North American grass; it is heated to dry it out and develop flavor, and this processing gives its endosperm a distinctive glassy appearance.