Oats have long been hailed as a superfood for their numerous health benefits. With so many ways to incorporate oats into your diet, the options can be overwhelming. Today I’ll focus on two: oat bran and oat flour. Read on to find out how these two compare and how to use each most effectively in your baking!
Comparing oat bran vs oat flour
While both are derived from oats, they are two distinct ingredients:
Oat bran is made from coarsely ground groats – the outer layer of the oat grain that is separated from the rest of the grain during the milling process. Oat bran is typically consumed as cereal or added to baked goods.
Oat flour is a flour made from ground oats. It is a gluten-free alternative to wheat flour and is often used in baking to add fiber and nutritional value to baked goods.
Both are gluten-free – just make sure to check the label to make sure oat bran or oat flour was made from certified gluten-free oats. However, they should be avoided on keto or paleo diets because they are high in carbs and made from grains that are not paleo-friendly.
What is the difference between oat bran and oat flour?
Oat bran and oat flour are both derived from the oat grain, but they differ in terms of how they are processed and their nutritional profiles.
Oat bran is obtained from the outermost covering of groats (the whole grain seed), which is milled to remove the endosperm and germ. This process leaves behind the oat bran, which is then ground into a coarse meal. Oat bran is rich in dietary fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals.
Note: Oat bran is different from oat fiber, which is made by grinding just the hulls of the oats, which are the hard shell that enclose the groat itself.
On the other hand, oat flour is made by grinding the entire oat groat into a fine powder, including the endosperm and germ. As a result, oat flour has a finer texture than oat bran and is often used as a gluten-free alternative to wheat flour in baking. Oat flour is also high in dietary fiber, but it has a lower fiber content compared to oat bran.
How to use oat bran vs oat flour
Oat bran can be cooked with water or milk to make a hot cereal, similar to oatmeal.
Since oat bran is high in fiber, adding oat bran to baked goods increases their fiber content, making them a more satisfying and nutritious snack.
Oat bran has a slightly nutty flavor and a coarse texture, making it a popular ingredient in cereals, bread, muffins, and other baked goods. It can also be used as a topping for yogurt, oatmeal, and smoothie bowls to add some extra crunch and nutrition.
Keep in mind that oat flour tends to be highly absorbent, which may result in drier recipes or batter. To prevent this, it might be necessary to add extra wet ingredients to your recipes, such as eggs, to help bind the ingredients together.
Since oats do not contain gluten, the elastic protein that gives traditional baked goods their chewiness, it may be necessary to adjust the other ingredients in the recipe to provide structure. If you are new to using oat flour, it may be helpful to start with recipes that specifically call for it.
Oat flour has a mild flavor and works well as the base ingredient in pancakes, muffins, cookies, and fruit crisps. Try these gluten-free oatmeal raisin cookies!
Nutritional comparison of oat bran vs oat flour
|Per ¼ cup||Oat bran||Oat flour|
|Glycemic index score||15||44|
Oat bran is less than half the calories than the same amount of oat flour, but it packs a lot more nutrients.
Oat bran is particularly high in soluble fiber, making it a better option for improving digestive, reducing cholesterol levels, and promoting feels of fullness. In addition, oat bran is also a good source of protein, vitamins, and minerals, including iron, magnesium, and zinc.
On the other hand, oat flour is more processed than oat bran and thus contains fewer nutrients. But it’s a good source of complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber and may contain traces of B vitamins, iron, and other minerals—though not nearly as much as oat bran.
Oat bran and oat flour are both low glycemic foods, meaning they are digested slowly and do not cause a rapid increase in blood sugar levels.
Oat bran vs oat flour: Everything you need to know
Overall, both oat bran and oat flour offer numerous health benefits and can be incorporated into a variety of recipes to add nutrition and hearty flavor.
Oat bran is coarser and higher in fiber than oat flour, making for a healthy breakfast or wholesome baked goods. On the other hand, oat flour is finer and better suited for use as a gluten-free flour substitute in baking.
Not really. While oat bran and oat flour are both derived from the oat grain, they have different textures and properties, so substituting one for the other may not always work in a recipe.
No, oat bran specifically refers to the outermost layer of the oat kernel and is obtained through a milling process that separates it from the endosperm and germ of the grain.
Oat bran and rolled oats have different nutritional profiles, with oat bran being higher in fiber and protein but lower in carbohydrates compared to rolled oats. Which is “better” depends on individual dietary needs and preferences.
Psyllium husk, wheat bran, ground flaxseed, or chia seeds can be used as substitutes for oat bran in recipes, depending on the desired texture and nutritional profile.