Paugh! too much oat flour!

I made an oat flour loaf recently that was horrible for many reasons.  It was heavy, although not quite a brick.  It failed to achieve a nice brown crust.  Figuring that even the worst can be eaten with jam, I cut a slice and couldn't even get through the first bite.  The loaf was bitter.  I'd sweetened with molasses, my favorite, and proceeded with a pretty generic formula except for using about two thirds oat flour and a handful of thick cut rolled oats.  Not recommended.  Bitter, grayish bread.  Horrible.

2 comments

Anybody can share a winner, but to call attention to your misteps is harder- and probably more valuable!

I really think that only wheat has the optimum combination of glutenin and gliadinin in its gluten makeup as far as loaf structure is concerned. Spelt may be manageable by some, and I guess there are a few 100% rye breads, but for palatability and mouth feel wheat is in its own class. I have friends and coworkers who have problems (including sprue, which is very serious) with wheat, and I know there's a lot of need and a rapidly developing market for gluten free foods, but I've found it very hard to motivate myself to learning how to do it. It's just so far outside my realm of experience that I don't have any "instincts" to guide me.

But oats, well oats is good food. Samuel Johnson wrote: "Oats: A grain, which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland appears to support the people."  (The retort was to the effect of "ah, yes, and look at what fine men we have in Scotland, and what fine horses in England".) 

But two-thirds oats is asking too much of the gluten in the one-third wheat flour, unless you want to help the structure along with eggs, and probably increase leavening either by incorporating air in the mix (which isn't really what we do with a yeast or sour fermentation) or adding baking soda, if the mix is acid enough, or baking powder, if you need that. Either way, it's not what you wanted to do, and probably wouldn't be enough anyhow, would be my guess.

But I suspect that if you had toasted the oats first you would have gotten a different result. The loaf would still be nearly-a-brick, but I think a palatable one, because by toasting you might avoid the gummy quality and the flavor should be a little nutty, not bitter. It would be more like adding nuts or fruit or such. A lot of nuts or fruit!

In mainstream commercial practice I think it's much more likely to limit oats to maybe 1/8th the total grain weight- to make an "oat bread" I might take 1 1/2 pounds of oatmeal (ordinary Quaker Oats type of stuff) and 12 1/2 pounds of wheat flour. I wouldn't hesitate to take that to 3 pounds of oats and 11 pounds of very good, strong flour; I might flirt with 4 to 10, but I'd worry. And yeah, I'd think a good molasses would be a great sweetener, although honey would be too. Nothing wrong with just adding raisins at the end of the mix.

But I need to have well behaved doughs that I can count on, and in sometimes difficult situations - so anything that wants to be baby-sat too closely is a problem. Home craft thrives on more demanding doughs, and well it should.

It's time I got off the muttering, but I will mention that one of my most distinct failures making home brew beer, which I used to do a fair amount of, involved oats, and that one experience pretty well soured me on oats in beer!

I'm OK with beer otherwise though, and think I'll have one now.

 

:-)M

 

 

And a little dimsey d'ivey.  Don't mind me, I'm a half greyhound cocktail down.  It's an old silly song for those who don't recognize.  Anyway, THANK YOU Muff for the comments.  I think I will toast the oat flour and cut the proportion.  Toasting sounds absolutely yummy.  I do add rolled oats now n then to a bread, usually no more than a half cup (American) to a three cupish batch.  The lots of oat flour was a wild idea that I had to test; I would have had a clue had I actually tasted the flour first.  The squirrels were even not fond of it so the dog ate it and has had the worst stink for 2 weeks now.  A lesson not soon forgotten on my part!

I love cooking and baking in general and learn so much from my mistakes.  I can't say enough what a great site this is for sharing of thoughts...and experiments!  It's by far the best. 

I was interested to hear about the homebrewing as well.  My husband and I try to do that, too.  He's one of those who doesn't want to take the time to learn the right way before going off in left field.  We've had some doozy failures. So, we finally did get a kit and it still isn't quite going together properly.  Meanwhile, my honey mead is aging.  I'm taking it on vacation to the Texas Gulf Coast at the end of May, just in case it is clarified by then.  Nothing like tipsy dances on the beach in the moonlight.  We also try to do cheese.  I say try.  We each have had one moderate success, and the rest have been nothing but glorified cottage cheeses.  Of course I use them!  Waste not...We've moved in that ferment arena from Junket rennet to expensive! animal rennet from the home brew store.  Altered the acidification.  Prayed to the cheese gods.  It's frustrating but I have some milk waiting to be cheesed. 

So thanks again!