Georgia's State Flags,
Home of Good Eats
|[at the cutting board] Now let's just pretend for a moment that this lump of pasta dough is actually a whole oat grain or groat, the fruit of the Avena sativa plant, if you like. Now the process begins by hulling this grain and then steaming it to make it pliable, like this, all right? Now to make a standard old-fashioned oat, the groat is simply rolled, like this [rolls dough through a pasta machine], a little on the thick side, and it is dried. Now some companies toast them afterwards, in order to kind of bump up the flavor. It's something you could easily do at home.||
Now to make a quick cooked
oat, you take the same groat, and you cut it into pieces. And then each one of
these pieces is, in turn, rolled very thin, much thinner than the original
rolled oat in most cases. And that looks something like this [rolls the dough as
before but it's all broken up].
Now to make instant oats, of course, you would start with an even thinner slice
and roll it even thinner, if you can imagine that. Now I do not care for this
type of oat, either in the bowl or in other applications, because, well, they
tend to fall apart and they don't have the same flavor or texture. Oh, and the
process also tends to damage some of the soluble fibers, and that's not a good
thing. So from here on out, we will be using standard old-fashioned rolled oats.
They may not be quick. They may not be instant, but they are good.
Let's say for a moment that you made some oatmeal simply by following the instructions on the bag or box. Most of the time, that means two cups of water with just a pinch of salt added, kosher in our case, of course. You bring that to a boil, and then stir in one cup of oats for a 2 to 1 water-oat ratio. You clamp on the lid. You drop the heat. Fifteen minutes later, boom, you've got yourself some oatmeal. Very nice. Maybe a little on the dry side, but it's okay.
Now let's say that you serve up a nice big heart-healthy bowl of this oaty goodness to, I don't know, yourself or somebody else in the house. Order up! Who got this? All right, good.
|Now you got left over, what, 12 ounces of oats, okay. That's 1.5 cups of concentrated culinary power, featuring protein, soluble and insoluble fiber, complex carbohydrates, such as pentosans and glucans. Water-retaining molecules: powerful stuff, I guarantee.||
12 Ounces Cooked Oatmeal
|Now let's say that while your leftovers are still warm, you added two tablespoons of agave syrup, all right. Now this is a neutral-flavored liquid sweetener, made from the very same plant that gives us tequila, but with the consistency of honey. I love this stuff, found in most mega-marts and certainly at health food stores. Now let's say on top of that, you added a quarter of a cup of warm water, and a tablespoon of olive oil. There.||
2 Tbs. Agave Syrup
¼ Cub Warm Water
1 Tbs. Olive Oil
|Now meanwhile, in another bowl, let's say that you were to combine a quarter cup of uncooked oats with one envelope of active dry yeast, a teaspoon of kosher salt, and 11 ounces by weight of bread flour. Why bread flour? Well, because we want to capture some of the yeast ...||
¼ Cub Uncooked Rolled Oats
1 Package Active Dry Yeast
1 tsp. Kosher Salt
11 Ounces Bread Flour
YEAST SOCK PUPPET: [appears and belches]
You know, the next book I write is going to be an etiquette book for unicellular organisms that may or may not actually be plants.
Anyway, as you all know, we cannot capture these ...
emissions without gluten, that molecular mesh created when wheat proteins are
agitated with water. Just imagine that the balloons are bubbles. No gluten, no
rise. Now you're using bread flour, because it contains even more protein than
regular all-purpose flour. Our oatmeal, on the other hand, contains no gluten
whatsoever. So we use the bread flour to compensate, all right?
Now we're going to introduce the dry team into the wet team in three easy installments, making sure to work each in before adding the next.
Now by the time the dry team is thoroughly integrated, you are going to have one big sticky mess on your hands. Time to get this out of the pan. All right, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, a counter, board, table, what have you, and knead by hand for ten minutes, adding flour as needed. Keep in mind it should be sticky. Not tar baby sticky, but sticky. All right, then lightly oil a bowl, food-grade bucket, or some other vessel, insert the dough, cover, and leave in a warm spot for one hour.
Rolled oats were invented as a way to speed cooking, making it one of the first American "fast" foods.
All right, hour is up, so it is time to punch down the dough. Now punch is
actually just an expression. Food doesn't like violence. It just means that
we're going to try to work out most of the big bubbles created by the yeast.
Just kind of knock it down, and I like to fold it out almost into a rectangle.
Then roll that up, and hopefully, it will fit into a 9" x 5" loaf pan. I'm using
nonstick. If you don't have nonstick, you want to grease up that pan a little
bit. There you go.
[at the refrigerator] Cover with plastic and refrigerate for at least eight hours and as many as 15. I like to make this up right after cooking my morning oatmeal. That way, it's ready to bake up by dinnertime. And when that time comes, ...
|[at the countertop] ... a bit of final prep will be necessary. One tablespoon of water is lightly beaten into one egg yolk to create an egg wash. Just brush that top of the loaf. And be gentle. Don't want to push any of the CO2 out of that loaf. And finally, top it with, say, a tablespoon more of the rolled oats. You can use more or less, depending on what you like. And hey, feel free to make a mess, like me. There.||
1 Tbs. Water +
1 Tbs. Toasted Rolled Oats
|[at the oven] In 55 to 60 minutes, the internal temperature of this loaf should reach 210 degrees.||
[after 55 to 60 minutes] When it does, and that is perfect, remove the loaf to a cooling rack for at least half an hour before serving.
The edible portion of the oat grain is technically a complete "fruit".
[AB is at the table with his laywers] Now here we have a loaf of bread that's tasty, thrifty, and extremely healthful due to the high ...
I & T: [lean in an leer at AB]
... what am I saying? I, I don't know anything about the healthy stuff.
AB: Say, hey, you fellows like waffles?
I & T: [nod enthusiastically]
AB: Well, what if I told you, you could get your oats for breakfast by eating waffles instead of oatmeal? Would you like that? Well, just ... [tries to excuse himself but is trapped on either side by his lawyers, so instead ducks under the table] Oh, never mind.
Our oaty odyssey begins with two cups of buttermilk, and this will need to come to room temperature. But don't worry. It is extremely acidic. You can basically cover it and leave it overnight on the counter, and nothing would happen. Bacteria hate this stuff.
|Next, toast five and a half ounces of old-fashioned rolled oats in a 10-inch skillet for about three minutes, or until they're just starting to darken and you can smell some oats in the air. Then move them off into your favorite food processor. Clamp on the lid, and spin until it's basically the consistency of whole wheat flour. Oh, and you're going to want to go ahead and preheat your waffle iron per the manufacturer's instructions.||
5½ Ounces Old-Fashioned
|Now, meanwhile, we turn to the wet team. That is going to be three large eggs, and beat them almost smooth before slowly drizzling in two ounces of melted unsalted butter. You can let that cool a little, so it doesn't cook the eggs. Then bring in the buttermilk. Why room temperature? So it won't solidify the butter, of course.||
3 Large Eggs
|All right, there we've got the wet team, and the consistency looks good on the flour. So the rest of the dry team: four ounces by weight of all-purpose flour, three tablespoons of sugar, one teaspoon baking powder, half a teaspoon baking soda, which is usually less than the baking powder, and then finally, one teaspoon of kosher salt. Now just lid up and spin that, just a few pulses just to mix. There.||
4 Ounces All-Purpose Flour
3 Tbs. Sugar
1 tsp. Baking Powder
½ tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Kosher Salt
Now time to introduce that to the wet works. Usually, I would go the other way,
but this is just easier, because we're coming straight out of the food
processor. So I'm going to work in batches, just whisking in three batches at a
time until everything is nice and integrated.
[at the refrigerator] At this point, you could chill the batter overnight, as long as you let it sit at room temperature 30 minutes before hitting the iron. [closes the door, and opens it again] What am I saying? I'm hungry now.
How much batter that goes into each waffle will depend, of course, on your exact make and model of machine. I typically go with four to five ounces, and I'm using a four-ounce ladle here. Just kind of run it out to the edges and ease the lid down. Don't slam, or you'll make a mess. If you need to hold your waffles for more than a couple of minutes, you may want to heat your oven to its lowest setting and stash them in there. If you're only going to be holding them for one to two minutes, just remove when finished—hey, that looks nice—and fold them up in a kitchen towel. That'll do. Now I guess I better make some more to feed those pesky lawyers.
[AB and the lawyers are eating waffles] Besides the obvious health attributes, which we've established I am not qualified to discuss, these are tasty waffles with a delight crispness that comes from the fact that oat flour does not hydrate as readily as wheat flour. So there's a pleasing contrast of crunchy to soft.
AB: [notices Itchy is eating a very large number of waffles] You know, we could have made more if you ... Oh, never mind.
An entire French guild was established in 1270
to train the vendors who sold waffles on the street.
[AB is looking over a stack of cookbooks, muttering to himself] Look at this.
Look at this. We got a cup and a half of flour. In this one, we got a cup of
flour. This one, two cups self-rising flour. Over here, three ounces cake flour,
eight ounces sifted whole wheat flour, and oh, I love this, six ounces of rice
flour, which is gluten-free.
But hey, kids, riddle me this. What the heck is wheat doing in an oatmeal cookie, huh? I mean, besides, if we make them with 100% oats, they will be more healthy, at least as healthy as any cookie worth eating could be, and that means we could eat more of them, right? Let's go.
|[at the oven] Spread 16 ounces by weight of rolled oats onto a sheet pan and bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or until lightly toasted. Oh, this is the same maneuver that we executed in the pan for the waffles. But since there's a lot more of them, makes sense to do it in here.||
16 Ounces Old-Fashioned
About 95% of the world's crop of oats is produced for animal fodder.
|To continue the oatmeal cookies, place half of the toasted oats into the food processor, and pulverize into a powder.||
8 Ounces Old-Fashioned
|Meanwhile, 10 ounces of unsalted room temperature butter go into the work bowl of your stand mixer, along with six ounces of dark brown sugar, and three and a half ounces of regular sugar. Attach your paddle thusly, and beat on medium speed for about three minutes, or until smooth and light.||
10 Ounces Unsalted Butter,
6 Ounces Dark Brown Sugar
3½ Ounces Sugar
|You, no doubt, recognize the beginnings of the creaming method, wherein we cream the fat and sugar together, integrate any liquids including eggs and all extracts, and then slowly work in the dry team including flours, salt, and leavening. And then finish with any optional parts. More on that later.||
|Now the creamed mixture looks smooth, so I'm going to drop the speed, and add one large chicken egg, and about a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Just let that stir.||
1 Large Egg
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
|All right, the oats look thoroughly pulverized. So I'm going to add one teaspoon of ground cinnamon and one teaspoon of baking powder, and just a pinch, or maybe two, of kosher salt. There, good.||
1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1 Pinch Kosher Salt
Now it's time to bring this into the
creamed material. But it's tough to dump out of that bowl. So I'm going to put
everything onto a paper plate. I love these for adding things to mixers, because
you can bend them so easily. There you go. Just kind of flex that and very, very
slowly add the powder.
Now we might as well talk about the optional parts. Behold, four ounces of raisins, an ingredient that I have always thought of as optional at best. And yet, 99.7% of traditional oatmeal cookies do call for them. So how do we make them more palatable? Well, I'll tell you how. We soak them overnight in dark rum. Of course, you will have to strain off the rum before adding the raisins to the cookies. And what you do with it is, well, it's up to you.
|So lower the speed to stir, and add the optional ingredients, and then finally the other half of the toasted oats. Remember, that's another eight ounces by my math. It's going to take a while to really work into a smooth batter. But that's okay. Give it a couple minutes.||
4 Ounces Raisins
8 Ounces Old-Fashioned
Dose out with a one and a half-ounce disher, if you have it. I have parchment paper, a half sheet pan, no grease or lube necessary. I like to start with the corners, so that I get even two-inch spacing. I'm going to get 12 onto this pan. We'll need two pans for 24 cookies total.
|[at the oven] Bake for 12 to 14 minutes still at 375, rotating the pans after six minutes. In the end, you want them to just start browning around the edges. Of course, if you like them really, really crunchy, go, eh, 15 to 17 tops. Then cool on the pans for two minutes before moving to racks to cool completely.||
|Now I should mention that if you don't want to cook all of the cookies, you can place one pan in the freezer. After a couple of hours, the pucks will be rock-solid. And at that point, you can move them to a zip-top bag for long-term storage, say, six months to a year.||
AB: [eating cookies with the lawyers] See, fellows, delicious. I don't even have to sell the whole health angle here now, do I? But if I were a doctor or did know anything at all about healthy food, I might mention the fact that oats can lower bad cholesterol while raising good cholesterol. You guys know the difference, right? Don't you? Don't you? Don't ... all right, come on.
|AB: Let's pretend for a moment that all these lovely papers from your briefcases are cholesterol, a waxy compound, which, unbeknownst to most, is actually a naturally occurring steroid produced in the liver. Cholesterol actually assists in various bodily functions, from forming cell membranes, to building digestive bile salts, and even constructing sex hormones. And you ...||
I & T: [snicker]
AB: Guys, stick with me, please, would you? Now since it is waxy, cholesterol cannot mix with blood, so your body produces carriers in the form of two protein structures, low-density lipoproteins, or LDLs, and high-density lipoproteins, or HDLs, which will be portrayed today by your rather cheap, shabby briefcases.
AB: Now LDLs deliver cholesterol to cells, okay? So we're going to say I'm a cell.
So go ahead. Deliver me cholesterol. Come on. Give me some.
ITCHY: [hands AB some papers]
AB: Oh, hey, none for me today, thanks. I already have plenty, due to a diet high in animal fats, steak, butter, egg yolks, and the like, all right? So I'm rejecting the delivery. And once a cell rejects delivery, well, the LDL just starts sticking the cholesterol all over the place. Go ahead, go ahead!
ITCHY: [throws papers around the room]
AB: For instance, in your arteries, go, throw it around, where it can cause a dangerous, if not deadly condition. Oh, yeah. This is going to be a terrible, terrible mess inside your body.
Luckily, HDLs are capable of gathering up that cholesterol and returning it to
the liver for recycling. Hence, good cholesterol. So go ahead. Gather it up.
Gather it up. Gather it all up. Yeah, yeah.
TWITCHY: [begins to pick up the papers]
Problem is LDLs typically outnumber HDLs three to one, which can be a really big problem. How do oats help? Ah, good question.
Oats contain more soluble fiber than any other grain.
All right, here is how oats help to fight cholesterol. Now remember, I said that
some of the cholesterol created by the liver is delivered to the small
intestines in the form of digestive bile salts. All right, so here they are,
doing their job. Now you eat some oats, and they move very slowly through the
intestines because of a soluble fiber, which forms HDL. Now one of the fibers is
called beta-glucan, and it can actually capture and lock on to cholesterol. It
just kind of gathers it up, so that it then ties it up, throws it out with the
trash, if you get my meaning.
Now I'm not suggesting that a couple of cookies are going to fix what ails you. But enough research has been done to convince the F.D.A. to allow cholesterol-lowering health claims to be made on packages of oats. And now you know.
To maximize their cholesterol lowering effects consider
consuming oats 2-3 times a day.
Down South America way, it can get muy caliente, and nobody's about to cook up a big hot bowl of porridge down there. Luckily, much of the oat's goodness is water soluble, which means it can be coaxed into a soothing, delicious beverage called refresco de avena. Avena being Latin for oats, don't you know?
|So, it all begins with one quart of warm water. Into that, we dissolve one half cup of piloncillo. It's unrefined Mexican sugar. Usually comes in a cone, like this, easily found in the ethnic aisle of your local mega-mart. Then we add half a cup, that's two ounces by weight, of standard rolled oats, and then the zest of one lime. You can harvest that with a peeler, if you like. Last but not least, half a teaspoon of cardamom seeds.||
1 Quart Warm Water
Then cover this up, and give it a shake or a stir. And let it steep for one to two hours. Then strain and serve with a little squirt of lime juice. Good and good for you. Mmmm, certainly better than some silly old soda pop.
I & T: [asleep and snoring]
DR. XB: In closing, not only are oats filled with culinary potential, they are packed with complex chemical goodness, which could, maybe, possibly, save your life. Some studies have even shown them to have calming chemical properties. [glances at the lawyers, and chuckles] I'm Dr. Xavier Brown, saying, buy my book and see you next time on Good Eats.
Transcribed by Michael Roberts
Proofread by Michael Menninger
Last Edited on 09/28/2011