The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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greedybread's picture

yum yum yum....Buttery Oatmeal, Almond, Raisin & Wholemeal Spice Bread......

This has to be one of the best breads I have ever tasted.

This bread will blow you away!!

The texture is cake like but it's not.

It is just gorgeous, a crumbly flakey crust and crumb.

Sweetness comes mostly from the raisins.

Plus you can adapt the recipe and play around with it as I have done.

In this one, I added almonds and mixed spice but my first one, I used cinnamon,raisins and cranberries mixed up.


I know, you are thinking " as if"  or "Ohhhhh Yuck".....

BUT so did I and curiosity got the better of me and it was all downhill from there...

step away!
step away!
loaf style..
loaf style..
free form:)
zeee dough..
zeee dough..

What will you need?

1 cup of water warm

1 cup of raisins

1 cup of flaked or slivered almonds (or another fruit or nut)

1 & 1/2 cups of hot milk

200g butter

1 cup of rolled oats

2 tsp of mixed spice

1 tsp salt

6 tbsp muscovado sugar

15 g dried yeast

2 cups of wholemeal flour

2 cups of strong bakers flour.

mmm buttered oats....
mmm buttered oats....


Heat the milk to hot and then melt the butter in the hot milk, then stir in the oats.

Warm the water and place raisins in the warm water.

Leave both for an hour.

Stir the oats occassionally...


Drain the raisins and leave to the side.

Warm the raisin water and stir in the muscovado and the yeast.

Leave ten minutes to froth up and feed!

Put all the dry ingredients (flour, salt, spices) in a bowl and mix through.

putting in the fruit and nuts
putting in the fruit and nuts

Pour oat buttery milk mix and yeasty mix into the dry ingredients.

Form a sticky dough and knead for 5-6 minutes.

Add in the fruit and/or nuts and knead for another 2-3 minutes.

Remember to lightly dust the fruit/nuts with flour before putting in the dough.

Place in an oiled bowl and cover, leaving for an hour.


Remove from bowl and place on a lightly floured bench.

Knead slightly and knock back.

Cut into two pieces and form your shapes or place in a well-greased loaf tin.

Cover with a damp cloth and leave for 90 minutes.

20 minutes before time is up, preheat oven to 180 Celsius.

Uncover, place dough in the oven and bake for 45 minutes.

You want it to be golden brown but not too brown.

oven time...
oven time...
P1120125 (800x600)
boule style...

Leave in loaf tin and/or baking tray for ten minutes.

Transfer after this to a wire rack and cool .

Slice when slightly warm or cold....



lovely and lots...
lovely and lots...
up close.....
up close.....

Recipe adapted from "The Secret of Everything" by Barbara O'Neal.

There are other wonderful recipes in this book as well:)

Did you like this bread?

Have you tried our fudges?

fudgey wudgey...
fudgey wudgey...
katiecooks815's picture

Planetary Mixer vs. Spiral Mixer - Help needed!


I am making a pretzel dough (firm dough - about 55% hydration) and am starting to expand my german pretzel business and need to buy a mixing machine. I am looking between a planetary mixer (hobart) and a spiral mixer (Esmach). Any suggestions on what I should go for?

clazar123's picture

Great GF loaf

I have not been working on my GF skills lately and I had a little time today so I thought I would try to just throw together a loaf using what I have learned and trying to develop a "feel" for a more kneadable dough. The loaves I have made in the recent past have been more like a batter bread. I wanted to actually handle the dough and see how it felt.I did loosely track a "recipe" and I actually learned a lot from this loaf.

Here are some pics:

A close up of the crumb:

This was just cooled to room temp when it was sliced. It is not as moist as it looks but has a really pleasing texture that reminds me of a potato rye I have made in the past.

The crust browned beautifully. I attribute that to the fact that I shaped it with hands dipped in whey (I used kefir for the liquid and had some whey separated in a bowl.) After I shaped it, I lightly rubbed the surface smooth to encourage a closing of any holes. I wondered if that would help trap the bubbles. In the past, loaves developed holes as it rose.  The dough shaped like a cookie dough but actually had a little oven spring! I'm not sure why I slashed-prob out of habit but I was pleased to see the separation after the bake.

What I learned is that GF flours take very little liquid but still need time to absorb and need to be "kneaded" so that the starchy gel develops. You can feel the difference. The hardest part is actually determining when the loaf is fully proofed. You can't do the "fingerpoke" test as there is no rebound. I think I will have to research how rye is proofed and hope MiniOven will jump in for that. I also baked this at 375F. I thought it would help to bake it longer/slower to release more moisture and it seemed to have worked.

Recipe-such  as it is.

Mix together in bowl:

2 cups GF flour

1 1/2 tsp salt (needs a little more)

1 tbsp. sugar

Mix all wet ingredients together and then mix into dry ingredients. Make sure the psyllium is well combined so there are no gel lumps in dough:

1 egg

2 tbsp. oil

1/2 c kefir (buttermilk or reg milk would prob be fine)

2 tbsp. psyllium + 1/4 c water-mixed and sit until gelled

2 tsp yeast+2 tbsp. water+pinch sugar-mixed and sit for 5-10 minutes

(I used SAF Gold for this recipe)

Mixed by hand-let rest 20 minutes-then "knead" with damp hand. I actually gave up trying to keep my hands clean and this dough does not change a lot but it gets a little smoother/more gelled feeling.

Shape on greased or parchmented pan. Lightly rub over surface to smooth it and dip hands in milk or whey. Apply sesame seeds generously.Slash lightly. Bake 375 until nicely browned.

Have fun! I would be happy to post my GF flour blend if interested.


rgt10's picture

Machine Kneading vs Hand Kneading

Hi all,

Ive been doing tons of reading here but have not run across the appropriate thread.  I have a Kitchenaid Artisan mixer and would love to use it to its full potential.  I am also not a big fan of hand kneading as I either get to tired, or what usually happens is, while kneading by hand, I inevitably use to much flour on the bench and the dough does not come out properly.

So if I am reading a recipe, and it says to turn out and knead by hand 10 minutes, can I do this instead with my machine, and how do I adjust the speed and times.


Thanks so much for your help, I am trying to learn as quickly as I can.



JOHN01473's picture

3kg Monster

when I first read "Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast" by Ken Forkish I was amazed to read of a Boule weighing three kilos.

the mighty loaf is mentioned on Page 162 in the Chapter 9 - Hybrid Leavening Doughs.
I began to dream of baking such a monster. I started with scaling up my usual recipe to produce a 2 kilo boule.
this proved very successful, but the 3 kilo version had some production problems for me.

I decided to step away from a levain and would go for a basic recipe using Flour, Water, Salt and Yeast.
I decide to use Marriages Strong White Bread Flour, Marriages Wholemeal Flour and Light Rye Flour.

I magnitude of the volume persuaded me to construct the dough as three pieces of dough.


I split the formula in three and mixed them in sequence. The danger of this is that the first ball of dough was more developed than the last. To combat this I took half of each ball of dough and kneaded them together to make two balls of dough.

three S&Fs at ten minute intervals were followed by 30 minutes to complete the bulk development.

I kneaded the two balls together after the bulk proving and produced one large ball of dough that I placed in a banneton until it doubled in size - this took about 30 minutes.
the oven was pre-heated to 230°C with the baking stone and steaming tray of pebbles.

after slashing the top of the loaf and with a tumbler of boiling water was on hand the monster loaf was slid into the oven on the baking stone.
I poured the boiling water onto the stones in the steamer tray and shut the oven.

after minutes I rotated the stone 180 degrees and baked it for a further 30 minutes.
after the total baking time of 60 minutes the internal temperature was 96°C


3kg 1



after cooling on a rack the loaf was weighed and slide in half to reveal the crumb and crust.
the loaf ended up 14 inches / 35 cm across and 6 inches / 15 cm tall.
the final weight of the loaf is 2.7kg - some loaf.
I cut the loaf into quarters for ease of storage and distribution.

3kg 4

the crust and crumb are superb.

this was well worth the effort.
it would be great to see others bake a 3kg monster loaf.

The Baking Bear

Skibum's picture

Overnight country blonde ciabatta

I used 1/3 of the Forkish recipe and made a couple of change ups. First, I left the WW flour out of the levain, but kept everything the same. Second, the first 2 KF loaves I proofed in plastic mixing bowls lined with linen. When proofed, the linen was wet and stuck to the loaf. Ken proofs in wicker bannetons and I am going to have to get off of my wallet and order one.

The other change I made was mixing in a larger bowl 12" diameter rather than my usual 9 inch bowl.  I did 4 S&F's in bowl with 20 minutes rest and found it much easier to do the S&F in bowl in the larger container.  It did seem strange having this small lump of dough in the big bowl, but I did seem to get better dough development and KF uses a 12 quart container for his mix.

As has been suggested on this site, I handled the dough as little as possible.  I did 1 gentle letter fold and proofed on bakers parchment on a linen couche.  After an hour, I rolled the loaf over onto another piece of parchment as per PR in ABED and found the dough stuck to the parchment! The nothing sticks to parchment myth just got busted!

Baked it in my Lodge DO covered for 10 minutes and uncovered for another 10 @ 500F convection.

Happy baking! Brian

leekohlbradley's picture

Experiment: Starter + salt / Starter + lemongrass

I live in Taiwan where it's hot and humid. I love the weather (probably one of the very few!) and so does my sourdough starter. A little too much, in fact. It doubles in 2 hours! It makes great bread but honestly it's too much to handle. I had it in the fridge before but was facing the opposite problem. It was very sluggish and unpredictable.


So I've decided to try two experiments: Feed a starter with a low percentage of salt to limit fermentation and yeast / bacterial activity. And feed another with added lemongrass, which grows here and I'm led to believe has antibacterial properties. Given how long it lasts in my fridge I'd say it's true haha. Anyway I will try to post results here and if anyone has advice/thoughts then I'd be delighted to hear!



varda's picture

Bake to Order

In addition to my recent foray into selling at the farmers market, I have also been doing a small bake to order business out of my house.   I post a few choices for one day a week, and people order a couple days in advance.   Then stop by and pick up.   This is very constrained as zoning regs say that only 6 people per day can come to the house to purchase.   It would take a neighbor complaint to make enforcement kick in, but obviously it could only grow so much.  

I started with a few friends, and then a few people who became friends, plus a few friends of friends.   A couple people order almost every week and have done so for months, and then several more people order regularly but less frequently.  

A woman I know who gets things done decided to hold a bread tasting for me - in other words she hosts and invites her friends, and I bake.    That's next week, so we'll see what comes of that.  

Picture above was taken just after the last bagel came out of the oven, but unfortunately after the first customer came and walked off with a few bagels and a baguette. 

Delbadry's picture

Bubbly crust

I was wondering if anybody knew what causes bread to have a bubbly crust. Is it high hydration? Too much yeast?

Thanks :)

jofl's picture

My starter isnt sour

I have a 12 month starter from rye and wholemeal originally, but for past 6 months wholley fed with rye.

I keep in in the fridge and feed it once a week. It has a lovely smell and has excellent results in my bread, BUT the flavour is not markedly sour??

Any advice please