Monday, February 15, 2010

Baking with Oat Flour

How to adapt recipes to boost fiber and nutrients using oat flour.

Have you heard of baking with oat flour? Even if you don’t have a wheat grinder at home to have the benefits of fresh ground whole grain wheat, oat flour easily be made in a blender or food processor or home blender. The oat flour then can be used in place of a portion of white flour in a baking recipe. This boosts fiber and whole grain nutrition. Also, oat flour retains moisture in baked goods, which reduces the need for additional fat.

Oat flour is so easy to make! Simply grind regular or quick oats in your blender or food processor until the consistency of flour. Try low speed and grinding or processing in 30 second increments. As a general rule, grind small batches. Try 1- 2 cups at a time, more than that might be too much for your blender. A VitaMix blender handles about 3 cups with no problem. It will take about 1 1/3 cups oats to make 1 cup oat flour. If you have ground more than you will use in a recipe, store the flour in the refrigerator or freezer; oat flour goes rancid fairly quickly.

Replace refined flour with oat flour at a 1:1 ratio; if you’re replacing 1 cup wheat flour, simply add 1 cup oat flour. For muffins, cookies, and breads, try substituting 1/3 of the recipe’s refined wheat flour with whole grain oat flour. Try replacing up to ½ of the flour for waffles and pancakes. Just experiment, and see what you like!

Another option is adapting a recipe to include rolled oats that are not ground into flour. Just use 2 times rolled oats as the portion of refined flour you’re replacing. A quick bread recipe, drop cookies (like pumpkin, banana, zucchini, etc) and muffins would probably be good candidates. For example, turn banana bread into banana-oatmeal bread. Pumpkin cookies into pumpkin-oat. You probably wouldn’t replace more than 1/3 of your refined flour with whole oats. Maybe up to 1/2 if you want true oatmeal cookies or something.

For most recipes, you do not want to replace all of the wheat flour with oat flour. Oat flour used alone in a recipe generally produces a dense, gummy texture. If you cannot use wheat flour, or do not want to, try pairing oat flour with rice flour. The dense and gummy properties of oat flour complement the properties of dry, gritty rice flour to make a satisfactory combination. A 50% oat/50% rice flour works well in drop cookies(such as banana, zucchini and pumpkin), wholesome muffins, and quick breads. Try adding 1-2 tablespoons tapioca starch or potato starch per cup of non-wheat flour used, to help lighten the product a bit. If you’re baking often without wheat for allergy reasons, I recommend xanthan gum as well; the baked product will be less crumbly. Use ½ tsp. xanthan gum per cup of gluten-free flour. (1 tsp. per cup if using in yeast breads or pizza crust).

If you’re looking for wheat-free recipes using oats, Melissa’s blog has several, including really good yeast bread!

Fruit crisp, oatmeal cookies, and oat pie crust work pretty well with all wheat flour being substituted with oat flour. I also like a particular recipe for brownies that uses only oat flour. See Melissa’s blog post, “Vegetable Brownies?”


singingxpassion said...

I want to try to make a dough so I can use it to make cinnamon rolls. Do you think I can just use oat and rice flour to make the dough?

Lisa said...

Go to this blog and ask... I really don't know enough about the oat and rice flour to give you a correct answer. Sorry!!

Marci said...

Hi! Love your blog; however, I want to make on comment on your oat flour post. Oat flour made from quick oats will indeed be gummy because the oats have already been steam cooked more than once in the manufacturing process as well as having the outer part of the oat removed and discarded. Oat flour ground in a flour mill or a VitaMix from whole oat groats will have a much different consistency comparable to a mix of, say, whole wheat and white flour but with more moistness and not as gritty, but definitely whole grain texture and flavor.