I am a big fan of using small amounts of flaked adjuncts like flaked wheat and flaked barley in my recipes to add some extra mouthfeel and boost head retention. Since St. Patrick’s Day is approaching I have been thinking about stouts and I have been itching to try my hand at making an oatmeal stout, which makes ample use of flaked oats for its signature creamy texture.
If you have never used oats in a recipe before, they lend a smooth, silky mouthfeel and a luscious creaminess that is hard to beat. Oats are relatively neutral in flavor (slightly oaty, naturally), but it is possible to bump the character up a notch by toasting them in the oven; toasting the oats will add a nice amount of nutty/biscuity character reminiscent of an oatmeal cookie. Oat toasting is a great technique for any style that you want a full, creamy mouthfeel and nutty/biscuity character, stouts and nut brown ales come to mind.
The challenge I discovered, however, was that when I was researching oat toasting technique there was sparse advice for the process beyond “cook in oven at 300ºF until toasted.” Thus, I decided to create this guide to toasting oats in hopes others would not share the same frustration I had as I worked out the proper technique.