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Jul 24, 2009 05:51 PM

Oat Flour Muffins--why so gummy?

Any oat flour experts out there? I made a small batch of oat muffins and the result was beautiful looking, but the taste was gummy. I think I used too high a percentage of oat flour. For 6 muffins I used 1/4 C white whole wheat, 1/4 C white flour, 1/2C oat flour. Here's where I think I really caused gumminess--I soaked 1/4 whole rolled oats in 3/4C milk and added this to the flours (along with butter, baking powder etc.). It was odd, they looked very full and inside was not at all gooey looking. Just when you actually ate them, they stuck to our teeth. We want to add oat to our diet, but we don't like oatmeal. What happened? Does anyone have a tried and true method/recipe?

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  1. I really like Cooks Illlustrated's Oatmeal Snack Cake. In the article accompanying the recipe, it said that neither soaked rolled oats nor instant oatmeal yielded a good texture, but quick-cooking oats DO. I bought a canister just for this purpose.

    2 Replies
    1. re: greygarious

      I guess this is the recipe you mentioned?

      It does sound yummy, and I want to try it. But I need to use up a bag of oat flour and whole rolled oats!

      1. re: Ora

        That's it. It's a very tender cake - not suitable for muffins. Have you used oat flour in pancakes? I don't have a recipe but I play fast and loose with flour types all the time. I'd swap in oat flour for half of the flour called for in a standard pancake/waffle recipe. I always add rolled oats or pinhead oats when I make Jacques Pepin's one-pot bread. Instead of 4 cups flour, I use 3 to 3-1/2, and a cup of oats, plus 2 tbsp vital wheat gluten (you could probably get away without it). I'm using whole wheat flour instead of the AP in the recipe, and a whole envelope of yeast.

    2. Other ways to use oatmeal:

      You can also add oatmeal to meatloaf instead of bread crumbs. Whirl it in the food processor to make it finer if you like.

      Mix some oatmeal with brown sugar, butter, a little flour, and spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, etc) to make a crumble crust for fruit pies or cobblers.

      Make some granola and sprinkle it on yoghurt, or eat it out of hand like trail mix.

      And, of course, there's always raisin-oatmeal cookies. I use the recipe on the lid of the Quaker carton.

      1. If you really don't like oatmeal, there are a lot of beta glucan supplements on the market. Have you tried steel cut oats? I find they taste different from rolled oats and have a way different texture.

        1. The Oatmeal Snack sounds tasty. I will try it, but just to ask the cake doesnt rise much, correct?

          1 Reply
          1. re: mtomto

            Mtomto, I'm not sure why you'd ask this question, but I'd say that it rises as much as I'd expect in a snack cake. I've never used AP flour in it, only white whole wheat. There's only 3/4 cup of flour and a cup of oats as the principal bulk of the cake. It's certainly not a bar cookie - I used a 7x11 pyrex pan so it was a little shorter than it would have been in an 8x8. It's been a few months but I'd say it was 1.5" high. By the way, though pyrex isn't supposed to be used under the broiler, since the icing is broiled from 9" away, it's fine to use a pyrex dish. I serve and store it in the pyrex, which has a plastic cover - no slings. The first piece breaks up when I try to get the spatula under it, but I don't consider that a problem.

            The reciped linked to above is identical to CI except that it calls for 1/4 cup granulated sugar and CI's has 1/2 cup. I increased the icing proportions by about a third, since my pan had more surface area. It's a really good and versatile topping which I'd use on any spice cake or apple cake.

          2. I've been baking with rolled oats once a week for the past few months. Not making muffins, but granola bars and then now oat cookies/crackers. I like the full flavor of the whole rolled oats, so to avoid the heaviness and the hard skin I rub them between my palms, or, if you want to develop "iron palm", crush them using one palm, until they're like bran in particle size.

            Whether using the oat flour or crushed whole rolled oats, I think you will have better luck to group the oat with the flour, so that all the dried flours get mixed well with the butter or other shortening BEFORE coming in contact with any liquid. This should help the gumminess without switching over to the quick cooking oats.

            Good luck!

            8 Replies
            1. re: HLing

              According to the CI article, they discovered exactly the opposite to be true - soaking the oats in tepid water prevented gumminess.

              1. re: greygarious

                but you and CI mean only the quick-cooking kind, "..neither soaked rolled oats nor instant oatmeal yielded a good texture, but quick-cooking oats DO...", right?

                When i make the cookies and crackers, the proportion of oat to flour is 4 cups: 2 cups, which is a lot more oats than flour. Still, as long as the majority of the oat came into contact with the shortening first before liquid was added, there isn't a problem with gumminess, nor in the case of cookies, rock hard teeth breaking-ness.

                1. re: HLing

                  Hi HLing--From all that oat baking, do you have any cookie, cake or muffin recipe to share? I want to use up all this oat flour. Thanks!

                  1. re: Ora

                    Ora, after making granola a few times, I came across this recipe for granola bar cookies that I've since adopted and changed so i could use what i have.


                    1)I would still crush the rolled oats into finer pieces, and really press it firm into the pan. I never liked the toughness of the whole rolled oats in anything.
                    2) For the fruit I used fresh farmer's market apples cut to the size of guitar picks, also, have on occasions added a little bit of yogurt to the fruit mixture.
                    3)I use about 1/2 the amount of sugar, and slightly more salt.
                    3)Even though i love butter, I love it cold more than melted. I also have some vegan friends...So, in order to save the good french butter for cold spread on bread, and share the cookies with vegan friends, I have started using the Asian/French hot oil technique.(similar to the tart dough method David Leibowitz raved about recently, but no water, and not with butter


                    The original and the doctored version of this recipe both have met the approval of the wandering raccoon who smelled the late night baking and scratches on my fire escape window during those cold winter nights.

                    More recently i've been making sage oatmeal cookie/crackers that I use as a canvas for my stone-grinding grains, usually wet-ground pregerminated brown rice, barley...and such. Recipes for these are harder to post for now, since it's an ongoing process and there aren't many people with a stone quern for recipes like this to be needed...

                  2. re: HLing

                    From CI, May/June 2008:
                    "While most recipes for this cake specify old-fashioned oatr soaked in boiling water, we found these cakes to be gummy and dense. We produced a cake with a much lighter texture by switching to quick-cooking oats soaked in room temperature water....It turns out that the extent to which the starch and fibers in oats absorb water is directly related to temperature. The hotter the water in which the oats are soaked, the more starches that are hydrated (and subsequently released into the mix) and the more gluey the oats become. In the case of our snack cake, all those released starches weighed down the cake's batter. Soaking raw old-fashioned oats in tap water accomplished little at all: Being raw, they need heat to effectively hydrate. Quick-cooking oats, however, have been steamed and then rolled into thin flakes, giving them the ability to readily absorb water at any temperature..." PRECEDING was from the Science Note appended to the article. The following is from the body of the article:

                    "Would simply folding in dried oats suffice? No dice: The dried oats never fully hydrated, and they tasted raw and chewy in the finished cake. A chat with our science editor gave us a different idea: The hotter the water in which the oats are soaked, the more starches they release and the gluier they become. So why not soak the oats in room temperature, rather than boiling, water? We poured tepid tap water over a new batch of quick-cooking oats....We baked the cake, and the results were the best yet...."

                    1. re: greygarious

                      greygarious, thanks for the info! It is very interesting and informative, and absolutely correct, but it's a piece for a different puzzle that I'm trying to express. Quick-cooking oats are different from old fashion oats as minute rice is different from the japanese rice, or the short grain brown rice.

                      Since the OP wants to use up the oats that are not quick-cooking, what i was suggesting to Ora is to let the oats (also needing to be in a finer form, not whole) tumble with the other flour and oil first, before it meets any liquid.

                      The CI report is only talking about water and different incarnates of oatmeal. For that particular recipe, and usage, yes, the quick-cooking will have to do.

                      *edit: sorry, I'm the worst communicator i know, I should have indicated that I meant to NOT soak the oats at all.

                2. re: HLing

                  Wanting a "bowl of oatmeal I can carry in my hand" to eat on the way to work so I can exercise in the AM, I made 100% oat flour muffins based on a recipe from The Austerity Kitchen (

                  Heeding HLing's advice on mixing the oat flour with fat, I ground 3-cups of old fashioned oats with 1-cup of walnuts, then basically followed the recipe (I veganized it, left out melted shortening, and added cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger) and made it as a loaf. It was a nice, light texture - not in the least gummy. It was quick, easy, and fit the bill - and the walnuts gave it a bit of protein boost. I initially tried steal cut oats, but my elderly processor vetoed them.

                  Now that I know the basic recipe works, I will experiment with adding fruit to my morning "bowl" of oatmeal!