Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Oats, glorious oats.

The title is a quote from Black Beauty by Anna Sewell. Oats are good for horses, but they're also very good for people too! Not to mention very tasty.

Awhile back, I ran out of whole wheat flour and wouldn't have a chance to get to the store for a couple days. I had plenty of all purpose flour but to me, baking with only all purpose flour in a recipe is inconceivable. Even when I make cookies or brownies I'll substitute part of the all purpose flour for whole wheat. Well, I decided I simply wouldn't bake for a couple days, not until I had some whole wheat flour. Probably not possible for me. I'm a baker, I bake. Moreover, I have a reputation for being a baker. Our friend called and asked if I could make some bread for Bible study's dinner (she was making soup). I agreed, though unsure of how I could possibly make a loaf of bread without whole wheat...Then I thought of it! Oats!

I ground the oats a bit in my food processor so that they were of the consistency of very coarse flour and I used about two cups of them in place of all purpose flour in my french baguette recipe. That night at Bible study I received more compliments on my bread than usual. I was very pleased with the outcome.

The next morning, being Saturday, I fancied pancakes for breakfast. This time, I didn't hesitate but pulled out my oats and made some delicious, hearty banana walnut oat pancakes. And that night, when for dinner I felt like making biscuits with our stew, oat biscuits was a no-brainer.

Here are my modified recipes:

This recipe is adapted from Local Breads by Daniel Leader. I have greatly simplified the directions, but if you are very into baking bread then I highly recommend this book. He goes into the science and the art of  baking bread, everything from starters to how to knead, shape and bake dozens of recipes. And there are lots of beautiful photographs as well.
The oats and beer are my additions, feel free to make them any shape you want if you don't prefer baguettes.
 Parisian Daily Bread (with oats)
1.5 c. water, room temperature
1/4 c. beer, room temperature
1 tsp. yeast
1.5 cups ground oats
2 cups all purpose flour
1.5 tsp salt

Combine water and yeast in a large bowl. Add everything else and stir until water is absorbed and a shaggy, clumpy dough is formed. Cover bowl and allow to sit for 20 minutes. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead for several minutes until it is a smooth elastic-y dough. Add more flour if necessary but try not to add too much. Let the dough rest for about two minutes and then knead again for a few more minutes. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl and allow to rise about an hour. Give the dough a light turn and let rest another 45 minutes to an hour. Grease a baking sheet and sprinkle some cornmeal onto it  Turn out dough onto floured surface and divide into 3 equal parts. Shape each lump into a long baguette and place on cooking sheet. Preheat oven to 450. Allow to rise for 30-40  minutes, the baguettes will rise a bit but not quite double. Give them three slashes each and set into the oven along with a cake pan full of water, bake 15-20 minutes, or until lightly browned.

The pancake recipe is from memory, so use with care. If you're okay with tweaking recipes to make them fit your style, feel free to go for it. If you are an exact recipe person, you might not want to use this one until I have a chance to double test it. You can, of course, do whatever you want, but don't say I didn't warn you!
Oatmeal Banana Walnut Pancakes
1.5 c. all purpose flour
1 c. ground oats
1/2 c. rolled oats
1.5 tbs. baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3 tbs sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 and 3/4 c. milk
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 tbs vinegar
2 tbs molasses
2 mashed bananas
1 egg
Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. In another bowl, mash the bananas and add the milk, oil, vinegar, molasses and egg (tip: if you measure the oil first and then use the same utensil to measure the molasses, it will allow the sticky stuff to slide right out.) Combine wet and dry ingredients and add walnuts, stir until just combined. Add milk or flour as necessary to gain your desired pancake consistency. Cook as you would any pancake recipe. (sorry, haha, I'm getting lazy)

This recipe is straight out of Joy of Cooking, I only replaced 3/4 cups of all purpose flour with ground oats. If you prefer to use one of their other biscuit recipes, you can probably make the same substitution with good results.
Oat Biscuits
1 c. all purpose flour
3/4 c. ground oats
1 tbs. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4-6 tbs cold butter
3/4 c. milk
Blend dry ingredients. Cut butter into flour until the size of small peas add milk. Stir until a dough forms and then turn out onto a floured surface. Knead 8-10 times. Roll out with a rolling pin to about 1/2 to 1/4 inch thickness and cut with a biscuit cutter. Place rounds onto a greased baking sheet and bake at 450 for 12 - 15 minutes.

Do you bake with oats a lot? Have you ever ground oats in a food processor to make oat "flour"? Let me know if you try any of my recipes, I'd love to hear feedback!

Also! Of great import: Tomorrow, my husband and I are departing for Key West. We'll be gone for a little over a week. I'll take many pictures and post when I get back. See you later!

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