Flour is edible?

I was always told that raw flour was not edible. I was told that it will damage your stomach if you eat it raw, that may not be true, but I still can’t find if it is safe or not. I did some research but it is all conflicting.

I watched a video of how flour is made: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0gITBy-N6X0 and there was no cooking step, or irradiation step to kill bacteria. So presumably it still contains bacteria.

This http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20110621123717AA54LTz presents several sources that say it has bacteria.

According to this: http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=4883053&page=1 Oat Powder = Oat Flour.

So what is this oat powder, what makes it different that oat flour?

I see people on here talking about both oat powder and oat flour. Anyone know what the deal is?

I asked this on reddits soylent page and it just got sidetracked into a discussion on phytic acid, maybe we should ask the body building forums?

Hmmm good point.

Although the Oat Powder that I am taking is a supplement powder rather than straight oat flour. I am unsure how it is processed, but I am pretty sure mine is processed in some way. I’ll have to do some digging on this later.

Ok, I guess uncooked flour does probably have a risk of containing pathogens: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/12/12/beware-of-raw-cookie-dough/

“Out of all the ingredients, raw flour is the only raw agricultural product that was in the cookie dough,” Dr. Neil said. “It didn’t undergo any specific processing to kill pathogens, so we feel that’s the most likely suspect for what may have introduced contamination into the cookie dough.

One study that looked at commercial wheat flour samples found almost 13 percent contaminated with E. coli.

One possible solution to this, would be to put your 50 pounds of flour or whatever into the oven for a few hours at 300 degrees F. I don’t know if this would alter something in the flour, though, but it seems it should be ok.

I found another possible carbohydrate: cornstarch. Cornstarch apparently has a GI of around 70, and because of this, it is recommended to be used by diabetics to prevent low blood sugar at night. Apparently it has a low GI because it contains more amylose than other starches.

@johnsands660, if there is indeed any difference between “oat powder” and oat flour I have yet to hear anyone mention or explain it. I believe most oat products undergo some minimal processing like kiln drying, mainly for purposes of increasing shelf life of the products. You would probably have to enquire of the individual supplier of a particular product to discover what processing that product had as I think it varies quite a bit from one source to the next.

The bottom line, though, as far as I’m concerned, is that oat powder or oat flour, it’s still essentially raw starch and not the most digestible of foods without some cooking. I go further and presoak my oat powder, or oatmeal, or steel-cut oats, with some yoghourt whey added, for 24 hours or longer. That is in an attempt to cope with the phytic acid issue that sidetracked you on reddit’s soylent page. After the presoak I cook the oats, whether I’m going to eat them as oatmeal or whether they are going into my soylent, makes no difference.

One of the good things about the oats is that they have plenty of fibre; you get around 10g of fibre per 100g of oats (about the same for buckwheat and spelt; dark rye flour is the champ at over double that quantity but you are unlikely to like the taste); if you go with the cornstarch you will forego nearly all the fibre, 100g of cornstarch contains only ~0.9g of fibre.

“flour” is made from wheat. Oat-floar is made from oats. It’s similar, but different ?

Besides “I was always told that raw flour was not edible” … I suspect that mainly has to do with it not tasting very nice (chalky) compared with prepared (cooked or baked) flour. It’s a culinary crime. I would think that your stomach (acid) would be good enough in eliminating bacteria… otherwise you wouldn’t be able to eat anything uncooked (like salad). Besides, bacteria aren’t always bad, only certain kinds of bacteria.

Does anyone know if this would actually work? It seems like a relatively easy solution.

Just baking the flour would work as far as micro organisms, until some evil E. coli from the heat vents at the ocean depths makes its way into the food chain. I’m going with jeffreys idea, if I have some always presoaking and ready for the next days batch its a minor inconvenience and it tackles the phytic acid ‘issue’

The main point of my original inquiry was just the fact that it looks to be 3x cheaper to buy it this way.

How long does pre-soaked, cooked Oatmeal keep in the fridge for?

I was thinking of cooking some porridge, adding home-made yoghurt and letting it ferment for 10 hours then sticking it in the fridge. Hopefully making 10 days worth at a time.

Too many variables to say for sure; ten days might be a bit of a stretch. But I would encourage you to add either freshly ground rye powder or buckwheat powder – either one has abundant phytase enzyme which the oats largely lack. But be aware that heat destroys phytase, so in order to benefit from it your soaking has to take place before cooking. I urge you to read the Ramiel Nagel article linked several times here, and read it with care and attention. It tells you the best way to proceed for maximum effect. It is not a simple matter; some measures work, others are relatively ineffective.

One word of warning with dry/baking flour in a gas oven, do not get the flour near the flame. Flour as a powder/dust dispersed in the air is highly flammable!

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Theoretically, it should only be necessary to heat to 160 to kill E Coli.

I wonder how real this risk is, though…

I’ve been looking to incorporate raw flour (in addition to oat flour) into my Soylent. However, the issue that everyone is wondering is whether digestion of raw flour is actually okay. Unfortunately, Google Scholar doesn’t reveal very much in this regard.

I want to bring up two points:

  1. Everybody talks about GI. A lot of you point out that you have to stay away from high-GI carbs. However, I assume that none of you have actually factored in the effect that rawness can have on the process. This article talks about the digestion of raw starch, along with different digestion times for different starches. What do you know about GI of a raw flour vs of a cooked flour?

  2. The only article that we have been able to find on the dangers of consuming raw flour is in regards to the E.Coli warning from cookie dough that was well reported. However, while the outbreak was covered well, this article explains that Nestle took 32,000 tests over its various factories and found only one incidence of E.Coli. That is a tiny rate. It’s hard to make sense of this number, but from looking at incidence rates of E.Coli here, my feeling is that the chance that you would catch EColi just from normal handling of say, meat (either cooking at home or at a restaurant) is so much statistically more significant than your chance of catching it via uncooked flour.

My feeling from this short Google search is that: nobody knows. We know that digestibility of raw flour is going to be worse than cooked flour—however, my feeling is that this is something that you can mostly judge for yourself (based on bad gas or bad diarrhea, etc.).

In terms of the dangers due to EColi and Salmonella, I’m happy with the numbers provided to go forwards. You can’t question everything you eat, and we certainly don’t cook in a clean room.

I am finally linking this very good article about phytic acid in brown wheat flour. The one thing that worries me slightly is that most of us have calcium supplements in our Soylent, and according to this, Calcium inhibits the breakdown of phytic acid.

For those of you who are precooking your flour beforehand, can I ask how you’re doing this? Are you just dumping it into boiling water and letting it stew for a bit? As with most people here, I make my Soylent in batches for 4-5 days, with at least overnight soaking for the first meal. I may want to pre-cook beforehand, which might not be so much trouble for 4 days worth.

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People blend oats in a blender to make their own oat flour. If the whole oats were edible beforehand, I can’t understand why the result of blending them to a powder wouldn’t be.

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Never had that problem with masa harina :smile: just saying

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“Defatted soy flour is shipped in 50-lb, multi-wall paper bags. It is
heat treated, which deactivates enzymes and kills spoilage and
pathogenic microorganisms”


I remember finding an old bag of flour in the cupboard and when I opened it it was crawling with tiny mites.

people wrote that there is bateria on the flours so you need to heat it. thats not possible because the water activity of flour is less than 90, and bacteria grows only in water activity above 90. in my scholar search i didn’t find an answer if its edible :frowning: (mean while it didnt do any harm)

Based on my research, it looks like Wheat flour does have some potential issues with both pathogen contamination and indigestibility.

Here’s the FDA’s take on the pathogen issue: https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm508450.htm

Finding sources for the digestibility issue seems to be rather difficult, but here’s one rather old USDA article on the subject: http://www.jbc.org/content/156/1/203.full.pdf

Because of those two issues, I use Oat flour instead of Wheat flour. Oat flour undergoes a steaming process which apparently kills pathogens and makes the flour more easily digested. Even the retailer I buy mine from states that using it raw is fine: http://shop.honeyville.com/oat-flour.html?gclid=CJn3vem1nsMCFRFafgodXiYA-w