Sunday, April 18, 2010


First of all, let me say that I know there's too many mushroom photographs on this blog! So, in keeping with the need for diversity, here's a photo of .... me!
Those two pale lumps in the foreground are stale millet rolls ready for conversion to crumbs. The dark loaf is my signature buckwheat sourdough. Its smooth crust and attractive slash marks are the result of retarding - that is, keeping dough under refrigeration until just ready to bake.

Now on to the topic at hand: oats.

When I first became ill with celiac, oats effected me tremendously. Those days I was eating oatmeal with strawberries 2-3 times a week, and at first I was sure my symptoms were caused by parasite-contaminated strawberries. (I was in the bad habit of consuming pick-your-own straight from the bush.) Once my diagnosis was confirmed I happily scratched oats from the food list. Hey, if they made me sick, why bother?

I missed them, though. Oatmeal cookies, vegi-burgers made from oats, steel cut oat gruel.... Yum. 

I'd heard about "Gluten Free" oats, but simply didn't trust them. Then last month several of my workshop participants convinced me I was wrong. One couple, who have a celiac child, showed me a 25-pound sack of GF oatmeal which they say lasts maybe a month in their household. That's an impressive amount of oats, so I've decided to give them a try.

Of course my first step has been to make a sourdough starter from oat flour. As I write, it is maturing atop my refrigerator (the 75 degree zone in this apartment). Tonight comes the experiment: Blending it with other grains and a "beta" Expandex formula. The leaven does smell good - if you like the scent of oatmeal, and I do - and physically it is very sticky and rich-looking.

The bread I make I'll give the wild mushroom treatment. That is, I'll sample it myself before serving any to my wife, Leslie. That's a deal we worked out when I first became seriously interested in mycology and it has served us both well. Knowing I'm the guinea pig keeps me erring on the safe side and allows her the chance to safely observe. ("Seeing any pink rabbits yet?") There's also someone who can drive in case we need to get to poison control. An event that has never happened, for your information.

(Wondering what mushroom poisoning feels like? Click here for a very graphic description)

I'll post a crit of my oats bread once it comes out of the oven. I hope all my readers are having a great weekend. It is true spring here in NJ. Yay!

1 comment:

Christy said...

I love oats...can't wait for a taste I hope you'll bring me a sample. BTW nice pic...who took it?