Oat flour has a sweet taste without any bitter aftertaste like many other wheat free flours. It is great in baking and cooking since it holds together. It is the predominant flour used in my cookbook, No Wheat No Dairy No Problem. Oats are high in protein, iron, thiamine, and fiber and low in fat. It is also cholesterol lowering and heart healthy! If you cannot eat oats, you can use other gluten-free flours such as Amaranth, Millet, Buckwheat, Sorghum, Teff and Coconut either alone or combining them. Coconut is a bit challenging in that you need to add a lot more liquid when baking with it. Disregard the amounts the packages say you can use as a substitute, they will work one to one/equal measure of AP/white/wheat flour. Play with these flours and see which ones you like and notice how you feel after you eat them. Each flour has a different flavor and texture so play around with them.
Oat Flour can be made by grinding rolled oats in a food processor, blender or vita mixer (best) or food mill until it is the consistency of flour. It can also be purchased in health food stores. I highly recommend that you buy Bob’s Red Mill because they are a co-op that has dedicated gluten-free fields and facilities and they measure the ppm which is usually 5ppm or below. It is the sweetest and least bitter brand I have found too.
It is important to remember that oat flour is often processed in facilities which handle gluten-containing grains, like wheat, rye and barley. As a result, it can be contaminated with gluten, and people who are extremely sensitive to gluten may experience discomfort if they consume products made with the contaminated oat flour.
You can use it for your traditional recipes that call for all purpose flour(white/wheat flour). Start by using the same amount as your original recipe and if the texture is too wet, then add more 1/4 cup at a time until you have the right consistency. You can also use half oat flour and half of another gluten-free flours such as, Amaranth, Millet, Teff, Sorghum or Buckwheat. I like to make my own gluten-free combination of flours so I get to choose what flavor profile and what my body responds to best. You do not need to add tapioca or potato starches or xanthan gum to these especially if you use 1/2 oat flour.
I do not use much rice flour for two reasons, first it is very high in carbohydrates and turns into sugar in the body which can result in weight gain and contribute to diabetes. It does not have much nutrition either. Finally, rice and corn mimic gluten in the body! So think twice before you use or eat rice or corn. Sadly many gluten-free packages products are using rice flour and that is why I created a gluten & dairy-free Biscotti using GF Oat Flour. One final note on gluten-free Oat flour, is that about 10% of people who have Celiac Disease are sensitive to Oat flour and cannot tolerate it. That is when using the other flours listed above would be ideal.
When using flour to thicken sauces the gluten-free Oat works very well, and you can also use various thickeners like arrowroot and tapioca.
Give these flours a try and I know you will fall in love with them as much as I have and will expand your repitore to broaden the range of your customers and loved ones who can enjoy your delicious cooking after you make it gluten-free!