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I am trying to make granola that holds together in small clumps. I have had limited success. Any hints or suggestions?

I have used rolled oats, but had better luck with instant or cut oats along with some whole wheat flour mixed through it. I use butter, half honey and half brown sugar, some flax seed and bits of pecans. I bake the mix in an over-sized metal roasting pan as I make a very large batch at once (turkey sized roaster) in a slow 300* oven stirring every 30 minutes until golden brown and moister has left the batch. Dried fruit is added after baking.

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Please excuse my editing of your title into a boring one; most of our visitors actually come from Google searches, so it's more important for titles to tell people what the question is about than it is for them to be interesting. –  Aaronut Jan 15 '11 at 23:00
    
Aaronut I value your experienced input. Thank you for your help. –  Plain Ol'Common Sense Jan 16 '11 at 2:32

4 Answers 4

You might consider just barely stirring the granola while it bakes and then breaking it into clumps when it's done.

Or, stir it as you do now, but when it finishes, press it into a thin layer on a baking pan and allow it to cool. Once it is cool, then break it into clumps.

You can also try adding an egg white: http://www.thekitchn.com/thekitchn/how-to/how-to-make-clumpy-chunky-granola-111316

All in all, you probably just need more binder. So, you're looking at egg white and/or sugar (more honey, syrups).

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Chad, thank you for the link and your thoughts. I was hoping to stay away from egg in the recipe, but this is an excellent source if I decide to go that direction. I have tried not breaking it up until after it cools, but I find that with the regular scooping and natural stirring that comes with serving it, it breaks down into loose granola quickly. –  Plain Ol'Common Sense Jan 16 '11 at 2:36

funny this question should come up today. i've had a similar conundrum in my house, and i recently ran across this recipe, which we tried today with great results. it uses a fruit puree as part of the binder, instead of oil, so it a bit sweet, not oily, and still crunchy: http://gourmandeinthekitchen.com/?p=953

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Franko, this is a recipe revision I am excited to try. If nothing else I like being able to reduce the fat intake in the granola, and or maybe trade it for 1/2 and 1/2 in my coffee. :) Thank you so much for sharing your recent find with me and your opinion of the resulting recipe. –  Plain Ol'Common Sense Jan 16 '11 at 2:41
    
you're welcome! it really is a delicious recipe. i hope it works for you, too! : ) –  franko Jan 17 '11 at 14:15

Contrary to what some people seem to be saying, fat will reduce the clumping effect, same way it does in almost every other baking recipe. The clumping behaviour comes mainly from sugar (syrup) and protein content.

In other baking recipes, gluten does a lot of the "clumping"; oats are naturally gluten-free, but the instant oats you buy are probably processed in the same plants as other wheat products and are therefore contaminated with gluten, which may explain why they clump more in your granola.

So I'd recommend any or all of the following for you:

  • If your recipe contains any oil or other fat, reduce or eliminate it; the primary purpose of that ingredient is to reduce the natural clumping.

  • Increase the quantity of flour or starch. More gluten means more clumping and a generally chewier texture.

  • Increase the quantity of sugar or honey. A denser syrup is going to be "stickier" and therefore clump more. Note that this can interfere with gluten development so you might want to do this in addition to increasing the starch.

  • Substitute the oil/fat with applesauce. This is a common substitution in low-fat baking, although its applications are limited. It's perfect in your case though, because it not only lowers the fat content, it also adds natural sugar and pectin, the latter of which is a gelling agent (albeit a weak one).

  • Add an egg white. That's very good at binding ingredients and is common in granola recipes.

  • As a last resort, use an actual gelling agent such as pectin crystals, gelatin, or agar. You shouldn't have to do this, but if you have a recipe you really adore except for its texture, then that's the best way to change the texture without altering the flavour at all.

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My base recipe comes from the ABC's Cook and the Chef http://www.abc.net.au/tv/cookandchef/txt/s2225651.htm I've read the other recipes posted. I don't know much about granola but I notice that I am baking at 80C (176F) for a coupe of hours while the other recipes say 300F for 20-30mins.

My granola clumps...

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