Halacha Date: 7 Shevat 5779 January 13 2019
Question: We would like to partake of all of the Seven Species on Tu Bishvat. We wished to use puffed wheat as one of the species. What is the correct blessing on puffed wheat?
Answer: Anything made out of the five types of grain (wheat, barley, oat, spelt, and rye) such as, cakes, cookies, and other pastries, requires the Mezonot blessing. Similarly, if a cooked food was prepared from these grains, such as a wheat farina or oatmeal, one must recite the Mezonot blessing. If bread was made from one of these five grains, the Hamotzi blessing is recited. Nevertheless, there are situations where the blessing on these grains will be “Boreh Peri Ha’adama” as we shall explain.
The Gemara in Masechet Berachot (37a) teaches us: “One who eats whole kernels of wheat recites the ‘Boreh Peri Ha’adama’ blessing.” Maran Ha’Bet Yosef (Chapter 208) explains this Gemara based on the Rishonim that this refers to one who eats whole kernels of wheat, whether raw or cooked; as long as they are whole and noticeable, one will recite “Boreh Peri Ha’adama.” This is because the blessing on wheat changes to Mezonot or Hamotzi only through cooking, grinding to flour, and the like.
Nevertheless, one who eats the wheat as is (raw) recites the “Boreh Peri Ha’adama” blessing. The Acharonim point out though that if the grains were cooked very much until they are soft and stick together, their blessing becomes Mezonot, just like any cooked dish made out of grains.
Based on this, we can infer that the proper blessing for puffed wheat (such as the “Smacks” or “Golden Crisp” cereals) is “Boreh Peri Ha’adama” and not Mezonot since the wheat kernels are whole and noticeable. However, the proper blessing for farina or oatmeal, where the grains in the dish are soft and stick to one another, is Mezonot, like any other cooked dish made from the five grains. Although the grains in the farina or oatmeal are not cooked to such an extent that they completely lose their form, the Poskim nevertheless write that as long as they are cooked until they are soft enough to stick to one another, this is sufficient and they need not completely lose their form. Hagaon Harav David Yosef Shlit”a rules likewise in his Halacha Berura.