Some time ago my husband and I decided to stop using white, bleached flour because it contained other ingredients besides just flour. We looked for a whole wheat option, and found one that contained only the whole grain, and no additives. But we go through a lot of flour since I like baking! And the flour I had started using was not cheap, so we found an alternative at our local bulk food store. We decided to buy a 20 pound bag, since we it doesn’t expire and we were given a decent discount for buying such a quantity.
Well, since we bought 20 pounds worth of flour, we only needed to purchase it twice a year. One day when we went to order more, I was told that the store stopped carrying it because it was not popular enough to stock. Now I had to find a new flour that was just as high in quality, without being too expensive. This sounds like an easy task, but whole wheat flours are quite finicky to bake with! I tried many different varieties, and then settled on oat flour, which is actually a gluten free variety (I do not have celiac’s disease and never intentionally bake without gluten, but this flour was the least expensive so I went with it).
Oat flour is exactly what it sounds like: whole oats are ground up into a very fine flour. I know some of you will likely ask this question, so I will address it now: can’t I just grin up oat flakes into my own flour? Yes, but you need a very good quality blender or food processor or flour mill. It is easier to just purchase the oat flour!
I have found this flour is a bit heavier than traditional white flour, so I use a little less than a recipe calls for when baking. In all honesty, it takes some getting used to! But I have been using it consistently for a while now, and enjoy it. Oat flour does not have a gritty texture, nor does it alter the taste of food. I have used it to make brownies, pie crust, cookies, cakes, and more. One odd thing I have noticed about oat flour is that it tends to give my food a slightly greenish-grey color! Not a big deal, but if you cook with it for the first time, you may be surprised at that.
This recipe I’m sharing is for old fashioned tea biscuits made with raisins. I have had this recipe for about 12 years, and have made it many times. When I was in high school I took a home economics class and these biscuits were one of the first things we learned to bake. Of course, I have made some changes for the sake of convenience now, but the integrity of the recipe is still there. One tip I will share for these biscuits is to mix all the ingredients in a food processor to save time. Instead of using a bowl and a pastry blender, I pulse the dough a few times in the food processor and it takes less than one minute (although I mix the raisins in my hand). You want to dough to stick together and be soft, not coarse as if making a pie crust.
I added raisins to my dough because I like them, but you can leave them out or replace them with something else. Some other options are: grated cheese, chocolate chips, other dried fruit. I hope you enjoy this recipe!