The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Honey Oatmeal Bread trouble

Nim's picture

Honey Oatmeal Bread trouble

I have a odd problem. I have almost always baked with whole wheat flour sometime adding less than 20% of White Bread flour. My bread is very flavorful, light with a wonderful crust and crumb. This week, I found myself with no whole wheat flour and a packet of KA bread flour. Since I am going on vacation in  10 days I decided not to buy my whole wheat and made the Honey oatmeal bread (from TFL) with all white flour. The results were less than satisfactory. The crust was very good but the bread was dense and not light. I even suspect it was slightly undercooked even though I let it bake for 52 minutes.

I did let the bread rise in the refrigerator overnight since I was too tired to bake, something I have done often with my whole grain. Could it have over proofed? What might be the problem?

I  thought that since I bake with whole grains, getting a light and airy bread with all white flour should be a breeze! Well, you keep learning all the time...

Any advice/tips will be appreciated.

noyeast's picture

Nim, regarding the question is it over proofed? it does not sound like it to me. The volume of risen dough as compared to its initial volume after kneading should be a good indicator.

Cold fermentation in your fridge overnight is fine, something I do regularly because I make a lot of SD and it takes quite a while to rise and proof and I do not want it sitting on the bench overnight and going too far.

So I take it out in the morning and allow it to warm to room temp which takes several hours depending on the ambient temp. So.....

I wonder if you may have allowed too little time for this warm up and subsequent final proofing ?  Once again, the final volume can be a guide along with the "feel" of the dough i.e. does it feel spongy/aerated/firm/well developed and able to hold shape etc. Don't bake until you are satisfied its light enough for the style you are making.



Nim's picture

Thanks, Paul. I think that could be it, I really shaped it as soon as I got it out of the fridge and let it proof for 45 minutes before putting it into the oven that I had preheated for more time than usual. It did expand while sitting in the loaf pan though less than I'd have liked.

btw, is there a way of making this room temp transition quicker? It did cross my mind to put the bowl with the lid on in the microwave for a few seconds (I know! Blasphemy!) but I didn't do it.

jleung's picture

Nim, if you have several loaves and not enough space in your microwave, you could also put them in the oven with a bowl of boiling water on a rack underneath to warm them up more quickly. Or, you could also turn on the oven for a few seconds, turn it off and then put your loaves in to warm up. I prefer the hot water method when I'm in a hurry though because that also provides a bit of humidity and not just dry heat.

pmccool's picture


While I haven't made the bread that you made, my experience with other breads containing oatmeal is similar.  The crumb is usually fairly moist and dense, and the dough tends to rise less than a bread made completely with wheat flour.  It isn't all that surprising when you consider that oats contribute little to no gluten to the bread, particularly when they are in a flaked form.  My guess is that the bread turned out exactly as it should have, but not at all like you were expecting; especially if you were anticipating that oats and wheat could be swapped without affecting the bread.

One of my favorite cakes, which my wife just made a few days ago for my birthday, is a mocha oatmeal bundt cake.  It, too, is moister, denser, and definitely chewier than it would be if made only with AP or other wheat flour.

Paul (too)

Nim's picture

hmm...that certainly makes me feel better. I will be careful about the temperature next time though.

poppyfields's picture

One would expect a white loaf to rise more than one with whole wheat.  So my guess  is with the bringing up to room temperature time was not enough that Noyeast said.

As far as a fast warm up, I do use my microwave as a proofing box.  I put a small glass of water in first, and have that come to a boil.  I put the hot glass carefully in the back corner and then put my shaped loaves in for a final proof. 

Perhaps this method would work to warm up refrigerated dough as well.



Nim's picture

Thanks for that tip. I use my microwave oven as a place to let my cultured milk sit to make yogurt. Proofing box sounds like a good idea...

dostillevi's picture

Sounds like you may already have an answer, but I thought I'd add my two cents since honey oatmeal is my favorite loaf.  I've never tried refridgerating my dough, but I have found that oatmeal absorbs more liquid than you might think.  I always have to add less oatmeal then I think I need to ensure that the loaf has enough moisture in it.  If it doesn't, a dense but tasty loaf is inevitable.. the dough must be just dry enough to not stick too badly when you kneed it out. I think the oatmeal continues to soak up moisture while the dough rises.


I've also found that unless you add a huge amount of honey there's very little difference between a honey oatmeal and an oatmeal made with a normal amount of sugar.  Too little honey even seems to give the loaf an off flavor.