obsession: oat flour
Confession time: I have a food crush.
It's sort of an embarrassing one, too. The object of my affection is not the sort of gorgeous new thing one can hang off an arm and take out to the glam new place. No, my crush is a homely, comfortable, snuggle up on the couch in sweats sort.
It all started because I wanted to tweak a pancake recipe. I had simple enough goals: adding whole grains while keeping the pancakes light, although slightly too substantial for fluffy. Whole-wheat flour didn't really do much, neither did white whole wheat. Slightly better nutritionally, the flavor left me unmoved.
After the third or fourth attempt to conjure up something cookbook worthy, and as many utterly indifferent results, I decided to shelve the effort for a few days. Half an hour later, I found myself sitting with a bowl of oatmeal (cinnamon and a drizzle of manuka honey) and it hit me.
Well, oat flour to be exact.
Meeting both of my basic requirements of whole-grain and flavorful, oat flour rapidly went from intriguing idea to new obsession. The past few weeks has been a series of oaty goodness around chez kitchenMage: scones, cookies, muffins, and, yes, pancakes.
Oat flour is particularly good in crumbly things, like scones, or recipes that don't rely on gluten development: pancakes, muffins, and so on. The oat flavor is lovely in plain baked goods and not particularly discernible in more flavorful dishes - the one thing I made with chocolate barely tasted like oats at all! And the pancake recipe? It's earned itself a spot in the book.
Making oat flour
Process several cups of rolled oats in a food processor for 30-60 seconds. Store it like any other flour, in a tightly sealed container, for up to a few months. You can grind the oats as fine as you like; I tend towards this medium blend where, as you can see in the photos, there is still a bit of texture to the grain.
You can, in general, replace 1/4-1/2 of the flour in a recipe with ground oats. If the recipe creates a liquid batter, like pancakes, you may need to add a bit more liquid as the oats start absorbing moisture immediately.
Have you baked with oat flour? Try some oat flour in one of your favorite recipes and let me know how it works.