When people start baking gluten free for the first time, it is a little daunting trying to figure out which flours are safe to use and which aren’t. Not to mention how difficult it can be learning to mix and match the gluten free flours to create a similar version of your favorite baked goods.
Oat flour is one of the most popular types of flour you are likely to encounter at the grocery store. Oat flour can be a terrific flour when baking, giving the end product a lightness and ever-so slight nuttiness.
Though oats themselves do not contain gluten, they are almost always cross-contaminated by other gluten-containing grains like wheat, barley, and rye. So, unless the oat flour is certified gluten free, you should assume that oat flour is NOT gluten free. Another issue with oats is a glutinous protein called avenin. Some individuals with gluten-sensitive enteropathy have a response triggered by avenin.
Thankfully, there are a number of certified gluten free oat flours that we can use without feeling nervous about cross-contamination. My personal favorite is Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Oat Flour, which is reasonably priced and tastes great in recipes. I have also heard good things about the Gluten Free Toasted Oat Flour from Gluten Free Prairie.
So, what types of recipes can oat flour be used in? Personally, I have always liked using it in muffins and cakes. You can also use it to make cookies, brownies, bread, and pancakes.
In summary, if you are avoiding gluten for personal reasons, any oat flour will be fine for you since cross-contamination doesn’t matter. However, if you are a celiac or sensitive to gluten, it is not worth the risk to eat non-gluten free certified oat flour. Stick with gluten free oat flour and feel safe knowing whatever you bake is going to be 100% gluten free!