Friday, March 23, 2012

Gluten-free Soaked Baked Oatmeal

This is a departure from my normal grain-free posts, I know.  And that's ok.  Have you ever had baked oatmeal?  I grew up on it as a kid, since they would serve full sheet pans of it at the camp where I grew up living.  We would gobble it up, kids and staff included.  Today is no different (it's still delicious), but I was wanting to make my beloved baked oatmeal healthier.  No refined sugar, no rancid vegetable oil, and grains properly prepared.

I posted the original camp recipe way back one summer when my blog was just beginning.  That recipe is the scaled down version of the full sheet pan camp size.  For some reason, the recipe doesn't quite work, as the liquid pools in the bottom.  I think this is because when you bake with full sheet pans you use "cake guiders" which you place on a sheet pan to give the pan temporary sides.  Excess liquid commonly finds itself seeping out the sides, if what is being baked isn't completely homogenous.  This would happen in the large pans at camp.  When the baked oatmeal would come out from the oven, steaming, golden brown and smelling of cinnamon, between the guiders and the small edges of the sheet pan there would be this wonderful crispy and delicious crunchy cake like stuff that tasted of sweet baked oatmeal and cinnamon.  It tasted even better once the pan cooled and I could snap off a piece.  Crispy baked oatmeal heaven.  But pans that home cooks use do not come in commercial size or use cake gliders, so the recipe had to be edited.

The reason you see a post on this isn't because I made it for myself (although it's so delicious I could find myself doing that minus the fact I typically avoid grains), it's because I wanted an easy recipe that I could whip up and share with others.  These past few weeks have shown me that the majority of people don't plan ahead with their food, so they end up eating whatever is convenient.  (This sounds like a no brainer, but I'm guilty of forgetting how "regular" people eat).  I am hoping to get some good, nourishing food into people by making this more often and bringing it around campus to share with my co-workers, friends and professors. 

I wasn't happy with the idea of adapting the original recipe to a real food, WAPF approved version.  Instead I scoured the internet, consulted my favorite real food bloggers recipes and engaged in some serious recipe reconissance.  This version is heavily adapted from my friend Jami.  I can not thank her enough for helping inspire this recipe!  I am very happy with the end result, though I may tweak it in batches to come, and rest assured I will share those updates with you here.  But for now, here's the best baked oatmeal I've ever made.  And best part is, it's completely gluten-free, soy-free, refined sugar-free, possibly dairy-free, WAPF approved, and completely digestible.

Gluten-free Soaked Baked Oatmeal
    makes one 9 x13 pan

    4 cups gluten-free rolled oats - soaked: with 2 Tbsp whey, and covered with water for 8-16 hours or overnight - source
    1/2 cup  organic coconut oil, melted - source
    1/2 cup  coconut sugar - source
    4  eggs
    2 tsp  cinnamon
    2 tsp  baking powder
    2 tsp  vanilla
    1/2 tsp  unrefined sea salt

To make your baked oatmeal:
  1.  The night before you plan to make your baked oatmeal: measure 4 cups oats in a glass bowl, cover with lukewarm water, stir, and add 2 Tbsp of whey or for a dairy-free version use apple cider vinegar. Cover lightly with a dishtowel and let soak on the counter overnight, or for 8-16 hours.
  2.  In the morning, or sometime the next day, strain out the water from your oats using a fine mesh colander. Lightly tap the colander with the side of your hand to shake out any more liquid. Plop strained oats into a large bowl. Add cinnamon, baking powder, vanilla, and sea salt to the oats and fold together with a large spatula.
  3.  In a separate small bowl, whisk eggs by hand until glossy yellow.  Mix sugar with melted coconut oil, and add this slowly to the eggs. Make sure coconut oil is not hot, or the eggs will curdle.
  4.  Add coconut oil and egg mixture to the big bowl with the oats. Fold together to combine.
  5.  Lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish with coconut oil or butter. Pour batter into the pan. Bake at 375 (mine is non-convection) for about 25 minutes or until top is set, and sides are just beginning to pull away from the pan and become golden brown.
  6.  Let cool, slice into squares and enjoy :) If needed, this freezes very well too.

When the recipe originally came out, I contemplated baking it longer, using less oil and or using less eggs in subsequent batches.  However, now I am not so sure.  I like it how it is, and it received rave reviews from everyone I shared it with.  Like I mentioned previously, I'll continue to play around with the recipe and share any other edits I find.  If you want the baked oatmeal to taste more on the sweet side, add another 1/4 cup or 1/2 cup sugar.  The current amount of sugar gives it just a bit of sweetness, but some might like more.  I like to keep the sugar content lower, since you can always smear it with some raw honey, or even some peanut butter, or top it with yogurt, maple syrup and berries for breakfast.  Since it's sliced into squares it makes a great portable breakfast and snack option, also.  Baked oatmeal is very versatile.  Feel free to add more spices, dried fruit like raisins or even fresh blueberries to the mix!
Happy soaking!


Jami said...

Interesting Meagan! The straining out of your liquid really does change it up. Mine is more of a cake-like consistency, I'm assuming due to the extra liquid I have. Have you considered adding a couple tablespoons of buckwheat flour to the recipe during soaking to help with phytic acid breakdown? Oats really have very little phytase, if any, of their own, so it helps to add something like wheat, rye or buckwheat flour to oats to better break down the acid.

Congrats on getting that much closer to your favorite camp recipe! Looks super tasty.

Meagan said...

Thanks Jami :) Yes, I want to try it with more liquid next time to see if I can get the cakier texture like you mentioned. Good point :) My sister in law mentioned the same thing. I would add some buckwheat flour for the phytase, but I eat grain free so I the only flours I have are almond, coconut, tapioca, and arrowroot. I do add a good amount of whey (probably more than the 2 Tbsp I described) so I figure this does a good job? Or would it not?