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How Oats Are Processed

Most everyone knows the nutrition benefits of eating oats but I wonder how many of you know what is involved in their process. If interested, read on!

Cleaning is the first step in the processing of oats. This is done to remove stones, other grains, chaff, weeds, etc. from the raw oats. Even lightweight oats are removed by air aspirators and are used as fodder for animals. During this process, oats of various sizes are separated by different machines.

De-hulling and Heating
The cleaned raw oats are fed to a large machine, which throws the grains to an outer rubber ring. The impact of the collision of the grains with the ring, causes the separation of the hull from the kernel called groat. Then the hull is removed using air aspirators and is used as feed for livestock or to produce oat fiber. The resultant groats are further cleaned by the scouring machines.

Next step is heating of groats. Raw oats contain lipolytic enzymes, which break down the fat in the grain to free fatty acids, which in turn changes its flavor to rancid. In order to avoid this, cleaned groats are subjected to heating by dry heat radiators in a kiln. After heating to a temperature of 215 degree Fahrenheit, the steam produced by the heat inactivate the lipolytic enzymes. This process is unavoidable, because after de-hulling, the flavor of groats will change to rancid within four days, unless stabilized by the above said process. This treatment also gives a nutty flavor to the oats.

The next steps are the final processing ones. Each process gives a different edible product made of oats.

Sizing and Cutting
The groats are fed to sizing systems, where machines separate the groats as per their size. After separating the large groats, the small groats and the broken pieces are directed to the cutting system. Here the steel cut oats are made from the small groats and broken pieces. Sifters are used to sort out small and large pieces. Small pieces are called baby steel cut, while large pieces are referred to as large pieces. A mixture of both is termed as regular steel cut. In case of shortage of broken pieces, whole oats are cut into required sizes by steel blades.

This process results in the production of oat flakes or rolled oats, depending upon the raw material used – groats or steel cut oats. This raw material is steamed and then passed to the rolling mill, which is usually, two large rolls spinning at the same speed in opposite direction. Large steel cut produces quick and thick quick rolled oats, whereas baby steel cut produces baby flakes. Whole groats produce old-fashioned types like regular, medium and thick-rolled oats. Before packaging, a bed dryer is employed to dry the flakes to 11% moisture.

The milling process involves two methods. One is oat bran milling and the other is whole flour milling. In the first method, oat groats are send through roll stands, which separates the bran from the flour. This process results in two products – oat bran and oat flour without bran.

The second method is used exclusively to produce oat flour from whole groats. Groats are fed to hammer mills, where it is converted into fine oat flour. The coarse flour, left behind after sifting is again fed to the hammer mill and this process continues.

Now you know the processing methods behind the various forms of edible oats available in the market. It is said that groats and steel cut varieties are more nutritious than the rolled ones, as they are not processed further. Oats are also considered a rich source of carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber. So, including oats in your breakfast can definitely add to the nutrition value as well as positively impact your health.





Pumpkin Bread #2

Pumpkin Bread #2This is a wonderful bread to serve at breakfast or brunch. I enjoy it best slightly warm with my morning coffee.

1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
4 large eggs
1 cup canola oil*
1/3 cup water
4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups granulated sugar
3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

1. In a large bowl, combine pumpkin, eggs, oil and water; mix well stirring by hand. Sift together the pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar and flour. Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture a little at a time blending well after each addition. Stir in the raisins and nuts.

2. Divide batter evenly between 2 greased and floured 9 x 5-inch loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 1 hour or until wooden toothpick or knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Makes 2 loaves.**

* You may use 1/2 cup of oil and 1/2 cup of applesauce instead of the 1 cup of oil, if desired.

** This bread freezes well. Just wrap in plastic wrap then put into a zipper seal freezerĀ  bag.



Cinnamon Oatmeal Bread

Cinnamon Oatmeal BreadThis lightly cinnamon flavored bread is great “as is” hot from the oven or add a pat of butter for extra eating pleasure. I enjoy it for breakfast or brunch with a hot cup of coffee.

1 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons cooking oil

1. In a large mixer bowl, combine the oats, flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and cinnamon with a wire whisk until well blended. Stir in the remaining ingredients; blend well. Pour into a well greased or buttered round cake pan.

2. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 18 to 20 minutes. Cut into 8 wedges; serve hot. Makes 8 servings.



Spoon Biscuits

Spoon BiscuitsWhen I’m in the mood for homemade biscuits but don’t want to do all the work of rolling and cutting, I turn to this simple recipe. The shape is different because they are baked in a muffin tin but the texture and flavor are pure biscuit heaven!

1 cup self-rising flour
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1. In a small bowl, combine the flour and milk; blend well. Stir in the mayonnaise and blend well.

2. Spoon the dough into well greased muffin tins to about 1/2 full. Bake at 400 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 6 to 9 biscuits depending on the size of the muffin tins.



Cranberry-Blueberry Muffins

Cranberry-Blueberry MuffinsYour taste buds will never believe these flavor-filled muffins from Weight Watcher’s “Simply the Best” cookbook are low-fat and low-calorie!

2-1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
2/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cold reduced-calorie margarine, diced
3/4 cup plain nonfat yogurt
1/3 cup thawed frozen orange juice concentrate
2 eggs
1-1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
24 dried apricot halves, chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray eighteen 2-3/4″ nonstick muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray or line with paper liners.

2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in the margarine until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

3. In a medium bowl, combine the yogurt, orange juice concentrate and eggs. Stir into the flour mixture until just combined (do not over-mix). Gently stir in the blueberries, cranberries and apricots.

4. Spoon the batter into the cups, filling each about 2/3rds full. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until golden and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack 10 minutes. Remove from the cups and cool completely on the rack. Makes 18 servings.

Per Serving: 144 Calories, 3 g Total Fat, 0 g Saturated Fat, 24 mg Cholesterol, 211 mg Sodium, 28 g Total Carbohydrate, 3 g Dietary Fiber, 4 g Protein, 63 mg Calcium

Serving Provides: 1 Bread, 1 Fruit/Vegetable, 1 Fat

Points Per Serving: 3



Low-Carb Pancakes

Low-Carb PancakesI have been experimenting for the past few weeks trying to come up with a “good tasting” low-carb pancake recipe. This is the best one I have come up with so far. They are not the same as the original high-carb pancakes but I think they taste really good and they are incredibly easy-to-make. I serve them hot off the griddle topped with butter and sugar-free maple syrup with a couple of slices of crisp cooked bacon on the side.

2 eggs
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup soy flour*
3 tablespoons Splenda
1 tablespoon oat bran**
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1. Preheat a greased griddle or skillet over medium heat.

2. Put all the ingredients in a blender or food processor. Pulse for 15 seconds; stop and scrape sides with a rubber spatula. Pulse for an additional 15 seconds or until well blended.

3. Spoon 2-3 tablespoons pancake mixture onto a greased hot griddle or skillet; cook 1 to 2 minutes on each side.This recipe makes about 12 pancakes each containing about 1 carb.

*Watch them carefully since soy flour tends to burn quicker than regular flour. Making the pancakes small enables you to turn them easier.

**If you do not have oat bran on hand simply put some dry oatmeal in your blender or food processor and process a few seconds on pulse setting.



Angel Biscuits

Angel BiscuitsThese delightful buttermilk biscuits are so good, they’re like a little taste of heaven! There’s nothing better for breakfast than one of these fresh hot biscuits smothered in butter and your favorite jelly or jam.

5 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup shortening
1 (1/4 ounce) package active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm (not hot) water
2 cups buttermilk

1. Sift together the first 5 ingredients; blend shortening into dry ingredients using a pastry blender.

2. In a small bowl, combine the yeast and warm water; add to the flour mixture. Stir in the buttermilk; blend thoroughly.

3. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface; roll to 1/4-inch thickness. Using a 2-inch biscuit cutter, cut out and place on an ungreased baking sheet with sides touching.

4. Bake at 400 degrees F. for 12 to 15 minutes. Makes about 3 dozen biscuits.



Bananas Foster French Toast

bananas-foster-french-toastWhether you serve this delicious Betty Crocker French toast recipe for breakfast or for brunch, it is sure to be a winner with family and friends alike!

8 slices cinnamon bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 8 cups)
8 eggs
1 cup milk
2-1/2 cups real maple syrup
1 teaspoon rum extract
6 ripe bananas, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 cup chopped pecans

1. Spray bottom of 13×9-inch (3-quart) baking dish with cooking spray. Arrange bread cubes in baking dish. In large bowl, beat eggs, milk and 1/2 cup of the maple syrup with wire whisk. Pour over bread in baking dish. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.

2. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Uncover; bake 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown along edges. Let stand 7 to 10 minutes before serving.

3. Meanwhile, in medium microwaveable bowl, microwave remaining 2 cups maple syrup uncovered on High 1 to 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until warm. Stir in rum extract.

4. Sprinkle banana slices and pecans evenly over bread, drizzle with warmed syrup mixture. Serve immediately. Makes 8 servings.