This series is a summary of information available on the use of flours made with ingredients other than wheat.
We are fortunate to live in a time when we have not only an abundance of food varieties from which to draw but also a wealth of medical information/help on addressing food allergies. In our “be well” society, it is fantastic to have so many alternative “flours” available to us for cooking and baking that we don’t even miss the old standard: wheat.
As you will soon gather from the following summarized information a “flour” can be produced from almost any grain, root, vegetable, tuber, grass seed, or legume that can be truly dried. The question that occurs as a result of this fact is whether or not it is reasonable to do so or how far should we go into the land of alternatives.
2. OAT FLOUR:
Is oat flour the simple gluten-free substitution – this is a question that is frequently asked and the answer is very much to the positive side, though not all oats are truly gluten-free. Let’s address that issue first, then we’ll go on to the pros for its use. Oats themselves are gluten-free, but some oats can be cross-contaminated with wheat, rye, barley or gluten because of where they are stored and processed. So if you have a sensitivity or allergy, you should take care to purchase oats (or oat flours) that are certified gluten-free. (It is also conjectured that avenin in Oats is of concern to Coeliacs and of this those persons with Coeliac disorders should be aware.) Outside of these specific concerns, to avoid wheat or gluten, regular oats and oat flour should be fine.
With Oat flour, you will have to increase the amount of leavening in your recipes slightly over wheat flours to get your desired result. The formula most suggested for baking powder is 2 1/2 teaspoons per cup of oat flour; 1/2 teaspoon baking soda per cup of oat flour for buttermilk recipes. For yeast recipes, you will need to use more yeast for oat flour than for wheat.
It has also been suggested that baked goods recipes made with oat flour tend to be more moist, so a little experimentation may be required to get your recipes to come out exactly as you wish. Results overall however seem to be on par with all purpose wheat flour and you will be glad you tried this ingredient substitute. The formula we suggest for recipes written for wheat flours is to add a 1/4 cup of oat flour over the amount of wheat flour called for breads and cookies. In other recipes, substitute 1 1/2 cups oat flour for 1 cup of wheat flour, i.e., waffles, pancakes, etc.
Our oat flour is made from oatmeal, not from unprocessed oats or oat groats.
Process 2 cups of old fashioned rolled oats in a food processor until it is the fine flour texture you desire. For cake flour, the addition of 2 tablespoons of corn starch has worked wonders for our recipes. We add this to the oat flour in the food processor and pulse 5 times to distribute it fully with the oat flour.
We suggest processing 2 cups at a time to keep flour consistently fine and to protect your food processor. Greater volume is much better achieved in increments rather than attempts to process in wholes.
This is a summary of information available on the use of alternatives to wheat flours for the purpose of gluten-free baking. It is intended to offer the extreme basics and is not intended for use as a definitive or expert reference. There is no guarantee stated or implied.
Next: Rice Flour
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