Alternative Baking: Gluten-Free Cooking with Oat Flour

Earthy and sweet with whole-wheat-like flavor and plenty of dietary fiber, gluten-free oat flour adds structure, loft, and tenderness to baked goods of all stripes. Alanna Taylor-Tobin shows us how to harness its baking mojo in three cozy recipes perfect for winter.

Photography Alanna Taylor-Tobin

Oat flour overview: Oats weren’t always the popular alternative grain they are today—they used to be considered weeds that grew between rows of barley and wheat. While they’re naturally gluten-free, they’ve been so commonly grown and processed with gluten-containing grains that the versatile, filling, and tasty grains were thought to inherently contain gluten. For this reason, it’s necessary to source certified gluten-free oats and oat flour, especially if cross-contamination is a concern.

Oats have a unique protein, similar to that of legumes, that gives them their stick-to-your-ribs reputation. But this protein is a double-edged sword, as it makes even gluten-free oats intolerable for a small percentage of celiacs. If you can tolerate oats, you’re in luck, as starchy, protein- and fiber-rich oat flour bakes up fluffy with a mild, creamy flavor that complements essentially all baked goods.

Flavor: Earthy, creamy, mild, nutty, slightly sweet

Feel: Soft, powdery, delicate, slightly clumpy

Nutrition: Higher fat content than most cereal grains; high in fiber; the only grain to contain legume-like globulins (proteins); high in vitamin E; and rich in minerals, such as phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, and manganese, a mineral that helps build connective tissue in the body, regulate blood sugar, and absorb calcium

Availability: Shelved with alternative flours at health food stores and well-stocked grocers or online

Storage: Airtight at cool room temperature for up to 6 months

Try These Oat-Flour Recipes:

Vegan Salted Tahini Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Gluten-Free Vegetable Potpie with Homemade Gluten-Free Piecrust

Gluten-Free Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Find more amazing gluten-free recipes in Alanna’s book Alternative Baker: Reinventing Dessert with Gluten-Free Grains and Flours, available here!

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