I’ve never been one for resolutions, but as 2010 faded into my memory, I awoke with the goal of getting more whole grains into my family’s eating habits. Since I’m the head cook in our house, that is a very doable resolution. I’ve dabbled in whole wheat flours for years, but had never been wowed by any recipe to make it twice.
The last few weeks though, I’ve broadened my whole grain horizons and played around with ratios of different flours. Breads, biscuits and cakes have been enjoyed with a variety of flours, including rye, spelt, whole wheat pastry flour—the key to amazingly light whole grain baked goods, and half-white, a specialty flour sold at my local farmers’ market. My favorite, most versatile flour, so far, also happens to be made from scratch.
All you need is old-fashioned rolled oats to make your own oat flour—the food processor does all the work in mere minutes. The yield is a 1:1 ratio, so 8 ounces of oats will give you 8 ounces of oat flour. Try it out in one of my favorite recipes, oat soda bread. A must if bread-making is on your “to-do” list for 2011.
Oat Soda Bread
Recipe from In Jennie’s Kitchen
To make your own oat flour, add the oats to the bowl of a food processor. Process until they form a fine flour, about 1 to 2 minutes. The baking soda acts as the leavening agent here, so need to proof the dough. Just pop it into the oven once formed, and you’ll be enjoying fresh-baked bread in less than an hour.
7 ounces oat flour
10 ounces all purpose flour, plus more for dusting and sprinkling
1 teaspoon (4 grams) granulated sugar
1 3/4 teaspoons (12 grams) baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons (6 grams) fleur de sel
2 cups (450 ml) plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
- Arrange rack in center of oven. Preheat to 400ºF. Add flours, sugar, baking soda and salt to a deep bowl. Whisk together to mix well. Pour in 2 cups of buttermilk and stir using a wooden spoon until just combined.
- Lightly flour a clean countertop or large cutting board. Dump dough onto surface and knead briefly, 30 to 60 seconds until it forms a relatively smooth ball. Place on a lightly floured rimmed baking sheet. Slightly flatten ball of dough.
- Brush sides and top with remaining buttermilk. Sprinkle top with a generous amount of flour, 2 to 3 tablespoons. Using a very sharp knife, slash a deep "X" on the top of the loaf, making sure not to cut all the way through.
- Bake for 25 minutes, then move tray to upper middle rack of oven and bake for 15 more minutes until it becomes a deep golden color and temperature registers 185ºF. It should sound hollow when tapped with your knuckle. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool for at least an hour before slicing.