My husband wants to switch to real oats but we still have a huge package of quick oats that he doesn't want to waste. Can I grind the quick oats into oat flour, and if so, how can I use oat flour? Can I use it interchangeably with all-purpose or whole wheat flour? I have a food processor and a Magic Bullet. I think I have a coffee grinder somewhere but I've never used it.
Oat flour is wonderful in baked goods. It is slightly sweet, but other than a slight reduction in sugar, you should be able to substitute it for wheat flour in a quick bread recipe. I usually use a combination of whole wheat pastry flour and oat flour.
I'm not sure what 'quick' oats are, so I can't answer your first question. Regular rolled oats can be ground into oat flour. Just make sure it is fine. Not sure about 'quick', though.
Usually the only difference between 'regular' and 'quick' oats are that quick oats are already a little ground up.
To make 'quick' oats from 'regular' you just pulse them in the food processor.
Yes you can make oat flour from grinding quick oats.
We grind our own oat flour all the time in the blender. We did find a difference between quick oats and regular rolled: the quick-oat-flour turned out cookies and "biscuits" that were chewy and dense. I'm not sure why the difference, but I know we switched to grinding our own oats instead of buying oat flour for similar reasons.
In muffin, cake and pancake recipes where you are adding eggs, oat flour can act remarkably well, and I have found that I can mostly exchange the flours cup for cup. Oat flour acts a bit more like corn meal in that it takes a little longer for water to absorb thoroughly, so for cakes, the batter will start off a little runny, and pancake batter should sit a bit before using. Always cook thoroughly. Underdone oat batter is a lot like having a gob of flabby oatmeal on your plate.
For recipes that rely on large amounts of fat, like cookies, oat flour gets a bit trickier. It does not have wheat's ability to take up fat nicely, so you'll need to experiment with shortening and butter amounts in recipes so they aren't greasy. Again, eggs help. Making oat cookies without eggs is not as easy as with wheat flour. We used flaxseed meal goo with decent results, but I am thrilled that eggs are back in dd's diet. Eggs make wheat-free so much easier.
In recipes where you are relying on the wonders of gluten, oats are a no-go. Forget bread loaves. Traditional pie crusts just aren't possible*(see comment below), so for dd I use oat-flour cookies and make a crumb crust for the bottom (again, watch the amount of fat--you'll probably get some greasy crusts before you get it right.). She won't eat covered fruit pies, so I have yet to work with oats like that yet. DH has made bannock for her before, which is a nice alternative to wheat flatbreads.
*I am a pie snob. So, while other people might be perfectly happy with their wheat-free pie crusts I am not. Same goes for crusts made with vegetable oil. I feel awful being so stuck-up-and-superior, but I usually dread dessert when other people make pies. So, when I say "aren't possible", I mean "not for me".
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