The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Ah .. the forgotten straight dough

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JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

Ah .. the forgotten straight dough

Yesterday, I had two unpleasant surprises.

First, when I opened up what I thought was a second full canister of hard red spring wheat, I saw just a few scattered grains on white plastic. Argh! Out of wheat.

Second, by the time I realized that my extended family had devoured the loaf I'd planned to use for sandwiches in the morning, I had no time to do a soaker, a pre-ferment or build up enough sourdough for even a relatively quick (i.e. 7-8 hours start to finish) loaf.

So, I headed down to the store, ordered another 50 lb bag and picked up a couple of pounds of hard red winter wheat to tide me over. It's lower in protein than I'm used to, so I figured I'd just live with less lofty loaves.

As for the bread, I thought, what the heck, picked up The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book and turned to her Oatmeal Bread recipe. These days, I've taken to doing an overnight retarding when I make oatmeal bread, but I had no time for that. So I just followed her recipe.



Wow. Not only did the bread rise like a champ, it tasted fantastic. In fact, I daresay it's the best tasting oatmeal bread I've ever made -- warm, sweet, nutty, mmmm. So, as much as I like the effect of pre-ferments and overnight retarding, I think I may have gone too far in rejecting straight doughs. Anyway, here's how I made it:

Ingredients:

  • Whole wheat flour: 375 grams or 2.5 cups
  • Dry milk: 2 Tbs
  • Salt: 9 grams or 1.5 tsp
  • Instant yeast: 1 tsp or 3 grams
  • Cooked oatmeal porridge, from steel cut oats, at room temp (no sweetener, no salt): 1 cup
  • Water: 1/4 cup
  • Vegetable oil: 2 Tbs
  • Honey: 1.5 Tbs
Mix the flour, dry milk, salt and yeast in one bowl. In another, mix the oatmeal, water, oil and honey. Dump the dry into the wet, and stir until everything is hydrated.

It'll take a while for the water from oatmeal to migrate to the flour, but if you knead it well for about 10 minutes, the dough will eventually come together. If you think it needs extra water, don't add any until about halfway through the kneading, otherwise you risk making the dough too wet.

Form the dough into a ball, and let it rise in a warm place (if you've got one) for 1.5 to 2.5 hours. When it's ready, a good poke won't readily spring back. Give it a good stretch and fold and shape once again into a ball. Let it rise a second time for about an hour. Finally, shape the dough into a loaf, roll it in rolled oats soaked in milk, put it a greased bread pan and let it rise until the loaf has crested about an inch above the pan in the center.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 45-55 minutes. Let it cool for one hour before serving.

Comments

Thegreenbaker's picture
Thegreenbaker

Jmonkey, that looks awesome and it is the next loaf on my list. :)

I love oat breads but I have never made them with oatmeal. I usually make it with rolled oats soaked in hot water for an hour......similar to oatmeal, but not the same.

I still havent found steel cut oats so I will have to make do with rolled oat oatmeal.

I am all excited now. Thanks for sharing this recipe with us!

 

 

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

Rolled oats work well, too, though I like the taste and texture of steel-cut oats for oatmeal better. They're also called Scottish Oats or Irish Oats, so maybe that's how it's marketed where you live.

Hope it turns out well!

Trishinomaha's picture
Trishinomaha

I went into one of our local health food stores and they had steel cut oats in the refrigerated section. They're very interesting looking - like little pellets. We had some a few mornings ago - very tasty with a lot of chew. You might find some in your local health food store or they could probably order some for you. They are very inexpensive.

Trish

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

That's magic! 

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

I'm looking at the recipe.  JMonkey halved it, but the original recipe called for 2 cups of boiling water to cook the oats, plus 1/2 cup water.  So the bulk of the liquid is in the oatmeal.

Rosalie

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

Yeah, I usually do single loaves these days, since it's easy to whip up more fresh bread working from home whenever we run out. With two loaves, I'd have to freeze one and, though frozen homemade bread is better than store-bought, it most definitely cannot beat fresh.

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

... there's a lot of water in the oatmeal porridge. (And I just corrected the recipe to note that it's oatmeal porridge, not just dry grains! -- Thanks MiniOven!)

I cook my oats (steel cut) at a ratio of 1 part oats to 4 parts water. I bring it to a boil and then leave it there for 5-10 minutes, and then turn down the heat until it's just simmering for another 45-50 minutes, stirring occassionally.

Dr. Ben Johnson wrote, in his entry for Oats in his esteemed dictionary:

Oats are a grain which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland supports the people.
I've always been impressed by how much this demonstrates the profound love that 18th century Englishmen must have possessed for their beasts of burden. Why else would they willingly deprive themselves of such a godlike grain?
Mike Avery's picture
Mike Avery

In Jacob's "6,000 years of bread", there is an interesting discussion of grains and what foods are socialized. In earlier times, people didn't feel so great a gap between themselves and their animals. As time wore on, people began to feel they were more above the animals, and reluctant to eat what animals ate.

The Romans spurned oats, seeing them as food for horses. This carried through to the areas the Romans occupied - France and England in particular. In Scotland and Ireland, which were not occupied by the Romans, people eat oats.

 

After Dr. Johnson wrote the words that JMonkey quoted,

Oats are a grain which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland supports the people.

a Scottish wit replied, "And that is why England is known for the quality of their horses, while Scotland is known for the quality of their people."

Mike

Mike Avery's picture
Mike Avery

Sorry... had a browser glitch and double posted... I'd delete the second copy if I could...

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

with milk and sugar and just a whisper of salt. If I cook them, I throw them into boiling water, maybe leave them to bubble 5 min and then pour em hot into a bowl, then milk & sugar. I like em with bite! Neeeheee

The loaf looks great by the way. :) 

Mini O

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

I'm going to give this one a go. I hate to be the dummy..so to make 1 cup of  porridge it would take 1/4 oats and 1 cup of water? Right?

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

... if you don't have leftover oatmeal porridge.

  • 1/3 cup raw steel-cut oats or 53 grams
  • 1 cup water
Cook until it begins to thicken and then let it come to room temp.
Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

I did bake the oatmeal bread this weekend and I love the flavor, sweet, nutty and slightly chewy. I did find though, that the dough had the texture of modeling clay..it was stiff!! I'm wondering if I misunderstood the water-porridge thing. In one post you say you cook 1 part steel cut oats to 4 parts water, which I thought would be 1/4 cup oats to 1 cup water. You posted Laurel's recommendation 1/3 cup oats to 1 cup water, which is 1 part oats to 3 parts water. I'm just wondering if that's why my dough was so dry. I should have used 1/3 cup oats to 1 1/3 cups water?

A couple of things I did differently were that after mixing the dry and wet ingredients I let them sit for 1/2 hour and that really helped the flour absorb moisture from the porridge. The other thing was that I used 1/3 white whole wheat and 2/3 whole wheat in an attempt to lighten it up a bit (be less dense).

As I said the flavor was excellent and I'm going to try this again. Thanks JMonkey!

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

I usually just make a big batch of oatmeal (my way, a la Sinatra), use 1 cup for the bread and then eat the rest for breakfast over the next couple of days (it keeps and reheats well).

I do find myself adding additional water about half the time -- usually 2-3 tablespoons. But, then again, other times, I don't have to add anything. I'd let the dough be the guide. It should be lightly tacky, but definitely not like modeling clay nor sticky.

The only reason I caution not to add water until one's at least halfway through the kneading is because there's no real way to tell how much water will come from the oatmeal until then. But, if you prefer adding flour instead of water when you make adjustments (that is a bit easier, I'll admit), try adding 1/2 cup water instead of 1/4 and then add flour halfway through.

Hope that helps!

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

Looks great!  I should give that a try.  One of our favorite breads is Floyd's cinnamon raisin bread on this site, which uses oats as well.

Barkalounger's picture
Barkalounger

I'm in the middle of this one now (stuck it in the fridge last night after kneading).  So far the dough has been very cooperative.  It looks fantastic.  My wife, an oatmeal lover, might eat the raw dough before I have a chance to bake it.  :-)

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Just one question, master of whole grains. Is this bread cooked to a 190 or 205 degree internal? I would guess 190 due to the WW nature but I thought I would check before I dried it out too much. Thanks.

Eric

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

Usually for enriched loaves (i.e. bread with butter, milk, sugar, etc.), the internal temp should be 190+ (though you can probably get away with 185 in a pinch). For lean breads (flour, water, yeast, salt, nothing else but perhaps a bit of sweetener or other grains), you'll want to go above 200.

parousia's picture
parousia


Jmonkey.

 Beautiful. 

 Is the loaf pan that you have pictured aquireable from a common source?

Thnks, 

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

Great bread pans. The only problem is that they stick their labels to the baking area with industrial strength glue -- took forever to get them off, but it was worth it.

Here's a link to pans at the King Arthur Flour site. I'm sure you can find them at Amazon as well. I use the 8.5" x 4.5" for most sandwich breads.

MaryinHammondsport's picture
MaryinHammondsport

Quite a co-incidence here; I was looking at my BRM steel cut oats yesterday morning while cooking breakfast, and wondering how to incorporate some into bread. Now I have a recipe.

Does anyone know of a reference, preferably here but otherwise elsewhere on the Web that describes how best to use various flours. I'm particularly interested in oat flour at the moment, but would like to know about various other types also. Which ones can you substitute one for one with wheat and which ones should play only a minor role in a loaf, for example? I know that one generally needs to have "some' wheat in a loaf but how much can be substituted for?

Thanks in advance for any pointers to references,

Mary

 

ehanner's picture
ehanner

I baked a double batch of this recipe today. It was very stiff even after kneading and waiting for 30 minutes so I added a few Tablespoons extra water so I could knead it at all. All during kneading I continued to splash water on my hands and the dough to loosen it up. I would say it was barely able to stretch and fold but I was able to do the fold and it did rise after the first 2 hours. Even after the second fold this was the stiffest dough I have worked with. What I don't know is if that's the way it is supposed to be.

It came out of the pan with just a little spring but, it's not a brick-yeaaaa! And, it tastes great!

If I were selling bread for a living this wouldn't be a poster for my work. I need to figure out how to hydrate this dough and shape it for a pan. I don't bake much in pans and it shows.

Eric

WW Bread
WW Bread

ww crumb
ww crumb

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

My last loaf wasn't exactly lofty either, but it tastes great. It's hard to beat oatmeal bread.

Basically, for shaping, I just roll it up like a jelly roll and fold the ends underneath. But then, about half the bread I make is panned bread, so I guess my hands have become used to making them the right size.

manuela's picture
manuela

Jmonkey, the bread looks gorgeous---and the picture is fantastic, I love the colors and the overall effect.

I have the book but I never tried this recipe, even if I am a fan of oats. Thank you for posting it, I will definitely bake it soon.

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

Yeah, I was pleased with the photo as well. It was really just dumb luck, but it turned out pretty. Thanks! Hope you enjoy it.

Barkalounger's picture
Barkalounger

Here's mine...


The initial flavor is good, but the bread has a mediciny aftertaste. I'm thinking the culprit is either A) I stuck the dough in the fridge overight after kneading, B) I put too much veggie oil in the bowl before I placed the dough into it for rising, or C) I somehow added too much instant yeast. Not sure.

I know it's not the recipe, and my ingredients are all fresh. Any ideas?

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

Hmmmm. Maybe your vegetable oil has gone rancid? I've done that by mistake before, and it ruins the whole loaf -- makes them simply inedible. They taste fine at first, but then the aftertaste kicks in .... blech.

Barkalounger's picture
Barkalounger

That's a definite possibility.  Ugh.  Thanks!

swtgran's picture
swtgran

Finally, a whole grain bread that does not seem over powered with honey.  I made this yesterday and it was great.

I made it in the bread machine on the dough cycle and let it rest and additional 1.5 hours.  I then did the stretch and fold and let it rest another hour.  I shaped it as directed and it worked beautifully.

It will make a great sandwich bread because it doesn't have tons of honey to overpower the taste of the filling, yet it tastes great with butter and jelly. 

zolablue's picture
zolablue

JMonkey - Thank you so much! I mixed this up yesterday using my DLX which worked fantastic to incorporate the steel cut oats wet mixture into the dry ingredients. I started at 2:15 pm and pulled a beautifully baked loaf from the oven at 6:30 pm, having baked it for 50 minutes.

 

I used SAF gold instant yeast because of the honey in this and I'm wondering if that is why my dough went a little faster. It was just a pleasure to work with and also that dough once mixed just had a wonderful scent from the beginning.

 

Instead of using the rolled oats on the top I wet the loaf slightly and sprinkled some oat bran. It made a beautiful sandwich loaf.

 

Now the flavor - OMG, it is G - O - O - D !!! I toasted some this morning and it is just out of this world. I mean that! And I have had some trouble warming up to most whole wheat flours I've tried. This happened to be some I purchased from Heartland Mill and I can really tell the difference in flavor from the KAF WW I didn't care for so I can only imagine how wonderful your own freshly milled flour is.

 

Thanks a whole bunch for the recipe. I will make it again and again (even though I love my Memo bread so much)! I discovered something else. I am a big oatmeal fan - I just love the stuff. But I was not so sure I loved the steel cut oats I bought from KAF. This was not only a great excuse to use them in bread but I had a small bowl yesterday and found out I really love eating them.

 

YAY!!!

 

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

Laurel knows what she's doing when it comes to bread. :-) And oats ... well ... grain of the gods, so far as I'm concerned. Had a nice bowl of oatmeal this morning, as a matter of fact. Mmmmm.

redivyfarm's picture
redivyfarm

OK, OK; I'm home from vacation in tortilla-land and this will be the first loaf in the oven. In light of all the accolades, this formula will join the "JMonkey recommends" files. You never let us down!

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

I'm just starting to try baking whole wheat and I LOVE this bread..the taste was great, but I'd like to see more loft and not quite as dense. I was wondering, other than home milling, if there are any brands you'd suggest? I used 2/3 Bob's Red Mill and 1/3 KAF white whole wheat. I'm using SAF, will the Gold make a big difference? or maybe vital gluten?  Thanks for your advice!

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

Paddyscake, I personally prefer either the KAF Traditional Whole Wheat or their Organic Whole Wheat. I had great results from both.

I wasn't impressed with Bob's Red Mill at all -- I like their whole wheat pastry flour, but not their whole wheat bread flour.

As for the white whole wheat, I personally don't care for the flavor, but that's totally subjective. But since I don't like the flavor, I didn't bake with it much, and so don't have a lot of experience.

If you want to use vital wheat gluten, I'd start with just 1 tsp and then increase it from there. Too much, and your bread will acquire an unfortunate cardboardy taste and texture. But it will definitely help with volume!

dvigs24's picture
dvigs24

I made this bread today for the first time (it was my first oat bread as well) and couldn't be more pleased with the result. This bread tastes great! Thank you. I wrote a post about the experience over at my blog, The Teacher Learns to Cook

Oatmeal BreadOatmeal Bread

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

I read your blog and noticed that you were surprised that the recipe called for steel-cut oats rather than rolled oats.  FYI, the original recipe calls for either.

Remember that JMonkey halved it, but the recipe on page 206 of The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book calls for "1 1/3 cups raw old-fashioned rolled oats, OR 2/3 cup raw steel-cut oats (both weigh 106g)" plus 2 cups boiling water and 1 tablespoon salt.  The comment in the recipe preface says, "When the porridge is made with rolled oats, the bread is light and bright; it has a rich creamy flavor - very subtle, but with great warmth.  When you use steel-cut oats instead, the loaves are not so specatularly high, but the flavor is even better, and the recipe has outstanding keeping qualities."

You cook the oatmeal in the water until it thickens, add the salt, and set aside for a few hours.  Alternatively, you use 2 cups leftover oatmeal porridge and 2.75 teaspoons salt.  JMonkey chose to specify oatmeal made with steel-cut oats.

Rosalie

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

Yes -- I use steel cut oats, so that's how I wrote it up, but either works well.

dvigs24's picture
dvigs24

I really enjoy the flavor of the bread with the steel cut oats, but will try it next time with rolled oats just to see the difference.  Thanks for the info Rosalie.

 -Darron

johnster's picture
johnster

I've seen this picture on the home page for a few days, now, and decided to give it a shot.  I've cooked up the steel cut oats (pinhead oats, they're called, oddly enough....) for breakfast this morning, and tomorrow, with the leftovers, WE BAKE!!

JMonkey, thank you for the beautiful, inspiring picture!  I'm excited to get going.

I'll let everyone know how it comes out,

Johnster