This pumpkin bread with oat flour is moist and delicious and just a tiny bit better for you than regular pumpkin bread.
What I love about this bread is that it is made with a whole grain flour and is higher in fiber, both of which help me feel fuller longer and make me feel a tad bit less guilty about eating pumpkin bread for breakfast.
If you’ve never made pumpkin bread with oat flour before, you may be wonder if oat flour changes the taste – I certainly was, the first time I made it.
In my opinion, there is little to no difference in taste – especially given all the fall flavor this bread has.
QUICK BREADS VS YEAST BREADS
Quick bread originated in the States and uses baking soda or baking powder, allowing them to rise quickly.
The Civil War brought quick breads into high demand because breadmakers were in short supply.
Naturally, quickly made foods became in high demand and it wasn’t long before recipes were being adapted from yeast to baking soda.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN QUICK BREAD AND CAKE
When I first started making quick breads, my mother questioned the difference between it and cake. My conclusion was, cake is fluffier whereas bread is denser. I still think that is a fair analysis of it.
The name “cornbread” can be a little confusing to some. I remember once reading a review left by an English woman on a cooking site who said it came out nothing like bread.
As far as classic yeast breads go, that is completely true. Instead, it’s a quick bread and more of a cake than a bread. Still, it is not a dessert but most commonly used as a side dish.
BREAD FLOUR VS ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR
Bread flour has a higher protein content than all-purpose, which helps with gluten development. This is great for challah and other breads.
Some recipes call for it if an especially chewy texture is desired. It will also produce a heavier and denser loaf.
All purpose flour has a lower protein content, but can generally be substituted for bread flour.
I almost never use anything other than all purpose flour, including in bread recipes. For quick breads, I only recommend using all purpose flour.
HOW TO MEASURE FLOUR AND OTHER DRY INGREDIENTS
Using a dry measuring cup, scoop ingredients from the bag or spoon them into the cup.
Next, level off the ingredient by removing the excess with an upside-down butter knife.
The one exception to this is brown sugar. Brown sugar should be packed down, and then any excess should be scraped off as well.
DRY VS LIQUID MEASURING CUP
Ever wonder why measuring spoons often come with a set of measuring cups? I used to. I didn’t see why we need a set when we could have one large measuring cup.
After a quick search, I had my answer. I discovered that the large measuring cup is used for liquids, whereas the set is used for dry ingredients.
As it turns out, if you try to measure dry ingredients with a liquid cup, the measurements get messed up.
First, you pour the flour or cocoa in, next you shake it around to get it level, and then you add more.
By shaking it, you are causing the powder to settle, and when you add more, you end up using more than called for.
WHY SIFT FLOUR and Other Powder Ingredients
There are a number of benefits to sifting flour and other ingredients like cocoa:
It removes any unwanted debris and you can get a more accurate measurement than when packed tightly in a bag.
It also removes any lumps that can get into the batter and be hard to break up later, or be missed altogether before baking.
If you sift the powdered ingredients together, it helps combine them and mix more evenly with other dry ingredients like sugar.
Sugar may seem very basic if you’ve baked before, but I’ve been asked about it in the past – so I’ll explain.
There are many different types of sugar, including white sugar, brown sugar, vanilla sugar, powdered sugar, turbinado sugar, and demerara sugar.
When a recipe (any recipe, not just mine) says “sugar” without specifying anything else, it is regular white sugar.
White sugar (sometimes called granulated sugar, table sugar, or white granulated sugar) is made of either beet sugar or cane sugar, which has undergone a refining process.
It is the easiest to find and most commonly used.
Brown sugar is white sugar with molasses added to it.
It is commonly used in chocolate chip cookie recipes, and it’s rare for a recipe that calls for brown sugar not to also call for white sugar as well.
When a recipe calls for “brown sugar” but doesn’t specify what type (light or dark), it is referring to light brown sugar.
In my recipes, you can use whatever type of brown sugar you have on hand, whether it is dark brown sugar, light brown sugar, or demerara sugar – which is very common in Israel.
Just keep in mind that the flavor and color will be slightly different, depending on what you choose to use.
Turbinado sugar is better known as “raw sugar.” But, despite this name, the sugar is not really “raw.”
Instead, it’s partially refined sugar that retains some of the original molasses.
The term “raw sugar” may also give off the impression that it is somehow healthier.
In reality, turbinado sugar is nutritionally similar to white sugar.
Demerara sugar is very popular in Israel and is especially delicious in tea, but is also used for baking.
Unlike white sugar, demerara sugar undergoes minimal processing and retains some vitamins and mineral.
However, it is still not much healthier than white sugar.
Vanilla sugar is not very common in the States. However, it is common in Israel and parts of Europe.
This is sugar that sat for an extended period of time with vanilla beans, giving it a vanilla flavor.
This type of sugar is common in the United Kingdom.
It has a grain finer than white (granulated) sugar and larger than powdered sugar.
Caster sugar is often called for in recipes for delicate baked goods like meringues, souffles, and sponge cakes.
You can use a 1:1 conversion rate between caster sugar and white (granulated) sugar.
Powdered sugar, sometimes known as confectioners’ sugar, is a sugar with a powdered texture.
This sugar is rarely, if ever, used for baking. Instead, it is used for dusting desserts and making frosting and icings.
In some countries, you can also find powdered vanilla sugar.
It is made the exact same way regular vanilla sugar is made. However, the sugar used is powdered instead of granulated.
Vanilla Extract vs Vanilla sugar
In my recipes, I don’t specify what kind of vanilla to use.
The reason for this is that in the States, vanilla extract is exclusively used.
Meanwhile in Israel, along with many European countries, vanilla sugar is common.
In most, if not all recipes, both vanilla extract and vanilla sugar can be used.
In recipes where vanilla sugar can be used instead of extract, you can replace them 1:1.
Replacing Sugar with Honey
If you’d prefer to use honey instead of sugar, you can do so with pretty good results.
Honey can be two or even three times as sweet depending on the honey, so for every 1 cup of sugar, you can use 1/2 to 2/3 cup honey.
Since honey adds liquid, you need to remove some to balance it out. For every cup of honey, remove a 1/4 cup of liquid.
Also, it burns faster than granulated sugar, so you want to lower the baking temperature by 25 F or 14 C. In addition, check it early and often to avoid burning or overbaking.
DO EGGS NEED TO BE AT ROOM TEMPERATURE?
The short answer is “no.” While a side-by-side comparison shows that baking with eggs at room temperature makes a better crumb, it’s not otherwise noticeable.
What are Eggs used for?
Eggs do three things in most recipes: they help bind the ingredients together, act as a mild leavening agent, and they add moisture.
EGG FREE OPTION
Eggs can be substituted with 1/4 cup of unsweetened apple sauce per egg. This means for recipes calling for 2 eggs, you’d need 1/2 cup of unsweetened apple sauce.
The reason applesauce makes a good binder is that it’s high in pectin. Pectin is a naturally occurring starch in fruits and berries that acts as a thickening agent and stabilizer in food.
This happens when combined with sugar and acid (if the fruit or berry isn’t naturally acidic).
Just keep in mind that it may change the flavor slightly.
ARE EGGS DAIRY?
No, eggs are not dairy. Dairy is milk and any food products made from milk, including cheese, cream, butter, and yogurt.
So, while eggs are an animal product, they are not dairy. In fact, eggs fall under the protein food group.
BAKING POWDER VS BAKING SODA
I’ve had a number of comments asking me questions about baking soda and baking powder.
I’ve also noticed that if the wrong one is used, things don’t come out as they should.
Using baking soda instead of baking powder can give your recipe a terrible metallic taste, while using baking powder instead of baking soda leaves your baked goods looking flat.
Baking soda is a leavening agent, which means it helps things rise.
It does this by creating carbon dioxide when it reacts to an acid, such as cream of tartar, lemon juice, yogurt, buttermilk, cocoa, and vinegar.
When the carbon dioxide is released, it causes the familiar texture and crumb in pancakes, cakes, quick breads, soda bread, and other baked and fried foods.
Baking soda works well with sourdough because sourdough is acidic. When combined, it makes a lighter product with a less acidic taste, since baking soda is alkaline.
A good rule of thumb is to use around 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda per 1 cup of flour.
Baking powder is also a leavening agent and it’s a mixture of baking soda, cream of tartar, and sometimes cornstarch.
Most baking powder sold is double-acting. This means that the leavening occurs in two steps.
The first time it’s activated is when baking powder gets wet, which is why you cannot prepare some batters ahead of time to bake later.
The second time is when the baking powder is exposed to heat. This happens when the batter is being baked or fried.
Since baking powder already contains an acid, it’s most often used when a recipe does not call for an additional acidic ingredient or too little of one.
A good rule of thumb is to use around 1 teaspoon of baking powder per 1 cup of flour.
WHY SOME RECIPES CALL FOR BOTH
Some recipes call for both baking powder and baking soda when the carbon dioxide created from the acid and baking soda is not enough to leaven the volume of batter in the recipe.
Too much baking soda gives a terrible metallic taste, so baking powder is added to give it more lift.
WHICH ONE IS STRONGER?
You may have already guessed the answer since baking soda is used to make baking powder, and you need more baking powder per cup of flour. But I’ll tell you anyway.
Baking soda is four times stronger than baking powder.
That’s why you will more often than not see recipes that only call for baking soda rather than recipes that only call for baking powder.
HOW LONG DO THEY LAST?
Baking soda is good indefinitely past its best by date, although it can lose potency over time.
A rule of thumb is two years for an unopened package and six months for an opened package.
However, to be honest, I’ve used very old baking soda with good results.
Like baking soda, baking powder is good indefinitely past its best by date, and can lose its potency over time.
For both opened and unopened, it’s ideal to use it within nine months to a year.
While storing it, make sure to keep it in a dry place and away from humidity.
HOW TO TEST IF IT’S STILL GOOD
To test baking powder, pour 3 tablespoons of warm water into a small bowl, add 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder, and stir.
If the baking powder is good to use, it should fizz a little.
To test baking soda, pour 3 tablespoons of white distilled vinegar into a small bowl, add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, and stir.
The mixture should rapidly bubble if the soda is fresh.
What is Oat Flour?
Oat flour is a whole-grain flour made from oats.
Does oat flour make things taste like oatmeal?
I am happy to say it does not!
To be honest, before I started baking with oat flour, I was also concerned that it would give my food an oaty flavor.
I wanted a healthy whole grain flour, so I was willing to tolerate it, figuring that it has to be better than whole wheat flour.
So, you can imagine how thrilled I was to find that it hardly impacted the flavor at all and that I actually enjoy the subtle flavor it does give.
How do you make oat flour?
To make oat flour, place oats in a food processor and blend until a fine flour forms.
What kind of oats can be turned into oat flour?
You can use old-fashioned (rolled) oats and quick-cooking oats, which are perfect for making oat flour.
Steel-cut oats can be used too, but since steel-cut oats are more dense, they require more blending time. However, they also yield twice as much flour per cup.
Is oat flour just ground oats?
Oat flour is finely ground oats, just like wheat flour is finely ground wheat. Or, in this case, not ground, but blended in a food processor.
Is oat flour healthier than flour?
In one-third a cup, whole-grain oat flour has 7 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber, according to the USDA, whereas equal amounts of whole wheat flour has 4 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber, and all purpose flour has 3 grams of protein and no fiber.
According to Livestrong, oat flour offers a little more iron and calcium than whole wheat flour, while all-purpose flour is processed and only has trace amounts of minerals.
If you’re watching your weight, oats are particularly rich in a kind of soluble fiber called beta-glucan, which according to a review article published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, has been shown to increase fullness.
Medical News Today lists five health benefits of eating oats, ranging from heart health to antioxidants.
Can I use oat flour instead of all-purpose flour?
Oat flour can be used instead of all-purpose flour for baking. However, it cannot be used as a thickener, like when making gravy, for instance.
Is oat flour gluten free?
Oats and oat flour are technically gluten free, but due to cross contamination, people with gluten sensitivity still need to be careful about eating oats.
In many cases, farmers grow oats in fields close to wheat and other gluten-containing crops, and many oat-processing plants also process foods that contain gluten.
People with a gluten intolerance should always check food labels and look for oats that are entirely free of gluten.
Oat flour vs all-purpose flour
Oat flour is lighter in weight than all-purpose flour and does not develop gluten like all-purpose flour does.
However, oat flour is a whole grain flour that is more nutritious and filling than all-purpose flour.
Oat flour vs whole wheat flour
Since whole wheat and oat flour are both whole grain flours, they are both nutritious.
However, oat flour is still higher in fiber and protein than whole wheat flour.
Oat Flour vs Almond Flour
Almond flour is made of finely ground almonds.
Oat flour is lighter than almond flour and can make baked goods light and fluffy with a subtle nutty flavor.
Oat flour and almond flour have similar, but not identical, nutritional information.
According to Medical News Today, oat flour is higher in carbohydrates but lower in both calories and fat, compared to almond flour.
Oat flour vs coconut flour
Coconut flour is made from ground coconut meat, very dry, and requires additional liquid and other flours to result in a moist baked good.
While oat flour is higher in carbohydrates, coconut flour contains more fat, fiber, and protein than oat flour.
Oat flour vs rice flour
Rice flour is made by grinding white or brown rice kernels.
Oat flour has more fiber and protein than rice flour, but rice flour is lower in calories and higher in carbohydrates than oat flour.
How to Substitute Oat Flour
You can easily substitute all-purpose flour for oat flour in recipes that call for eggs.
Gluten provides structure to baked goods, as mentioned above. While oat flour isn’t automatically safe for people who are gluten free, oats themselves don’t contain gluten. So, eggs also provide some structure and help make up for the gluten’s absence.
To substitute all-purpose flour with oat flour, you replace it with an equal amount of oat flour by weight, not by volume.
Oat flour is lighter than all-purpose and whole wheat flour, so replacing it cup for cup won’t work.
If you don’t have a scale, math will work.
Multiply the amount of all-purpose flour called for by 1.42.
For example, my banana chocolate chip muffins call for 1 1/2 cups of flour, so to use oat flour instead, I multiply 1.5 by 1.42 and get 2.13 cups of oat flour. This is 2 cups and 2 tablespoons, which I can either round up to 2 1/4 cups or round down to 2 cups – whichever I prefer.
Baking with Humidity
Humidity can have a big impact on how your baked goods come out.
This is because when humidity is extremely high (think 70 percent or more), baking ingredients like flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda soak up moisture from the air.
This can negatively impact the outcome of your cakes, cookies, yeast breads, and quick breads.
There are some things you can do to try to save your baking.
Try to counterbalance the additional moisture
To help counterbalance the additional moisture your dry ingredients soak up from the air, try reducing the amount of liquid in the recipe by about one-quarter.
If the batter or dough looks too dry once all the ingredients are mixed together, add an additional liquid tablespoon at a time until you have the desired consistency.
This is not usually possible to do for cookies, but it does work for cakes and breads.
Store Ingredients in the Fridge
If flour and sugar are stored in the refrigerator or freezer rather than in a cupboard or pantry, they are better protected from humidity.
As an added benefit, keeping these ingredients cool also helps keep them fresher longer, in addition to helping them stay bug-free.
For the best results, let them warm to room temperature before using.
Bake for Longer
If you bake your goodies for a few extra minutes, it can help the liquid to cook off.
To avoid overbaking, continue testing for doneness every couple of minutes for breads, quick breads, cakes, cupcakes, and muffins. Cookies, on the other hand, need to be checked every minute.
Use Air Conditioning
To help lower humidity levels on humid summer days, air condition the room for at least an hour before you start baking.
Cooler air isn’t able to hold as much moisture as warm air.
Store your baked goods in an airtight container
Humidity can also ruin your fresh-baked goods because when they are left out, they can absorb moisture.
To avoid this, store them in an airtight container or resealable bag.
BAKING AT HIGH ALTITUDES
The higher the altitude, the lower the air pressure, and the more difficult it is to bake recipes.
Increase 15 to 25°F. Since leavening and evaporation happen more quickly, the higher temperature helps set the structure of baked goods before they over-expand and dry out.
However, the baking at higher temperatures means products are done sooner, so decrease by 5-8 minutes per 30 minutes of baking time.
Adjustment for 3000 feet
- Reduce baking powder: for each teaspoon, decrease 1/8 teaspoon.
- Reduce sugar: for each cup, decrease 0 to 1 tablespoon.
- Increase liquid: for each cup, add 1 to 2 tablespoons.
Adjustment for 5000 feet
- Reduce baking powder: for each teaspoon, decrease 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon.
- Reduce sugar: for each cup, decrease 0 to 2 tablespoons.
- Increase liquid: for each cup, add 2 to 4 tablespoons.
Adjustment for 7000+ feet
- Reduce baking powder: for each teaspoon, decrease 1/4 teaspoon.
- Reduce sugar: for each cup, decrease 1 to 3 tablespoons.
- Increase liquid: for each cup, add 3 to 4 tablespoons.
HOW TO STORE QUICK BREAD
Let the bread cool fully.
Transfer the bread to an airtight container lined with a paper towel. Place another paper towel on top of the bread before sealing.
If using a zip-top plastic bag, line both sides of the bag with paper towels and remove as much air as possible before sealing the top of the bag.
Store at room temperature for up to 4 days.
HOW TO FREEZE QUICK BREAD
Let the bread cool fully. Wrap in plastic wrap, then place in a resealable freezer bag.
Freeze for up to 3 months. They will still be safe to eat after 2 to 3 months, but their quality begins to degrade.
When ready to eat, let thaw at room temperature or rewarm gently in an oven.