The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Oatmeal Whole Wheat bread tastes great but falls apart

spadg's picture

Oatmeal Whole Wheat bread tastes great but falls apart

Made a new recipe for Oatmeal Whole Wheat which flavor wise turned out great.   Unfortunately the loaf once sliced falls apart unless I slice very thick slices.   Is this due to lack of gluten formation or not enough baking time?   Ideas?    Bread rise and final crumb texture visually was very good so I'm confused.

isand66's picture

You need to share the recipe and your technique and if you have any photos that would help.

Most likely it is due to poor gluten development, but it could be some other reasons as well.

Dragonbones's picture

I've had the same problem in the past when adding oatmeal to bread, and assumed it was due to inadequate gluten development, but rather than doing experimentation to solve it, I just gave up on adding oatmeal. I'll be interested to hear how this gets resolved.

Mebake's picture

Oatmeal breads are bound to be slightly crumbly due the high oat content, which interferes with gluten development. Therefore, extra kneading is required to make sure the dough is silky and smooth. Increasing the water also helps make the dough more pliable, that otherwise would be dry due to the oats.

isand66's picture

I have to politely disagree with Mebake...I have added rolled oats to bread many times and have not had any issues with gluten development nor have I needed to do any extra kneading.  I will agree that it does absorb more liquid so increasing the water would certainly help.

isand66's picture

Please share your recipe and method so we can more accurately determine the cause of your problem.

PaddyL's picture

It is tempting to add more flour to oatmeal bread dough when you're kneading, but it should feel quite 'tacky', though not wet to the touch.  I make oatmeal bread all the time, sometimes just adding a couple of handfuls of rolled oats to my sourdough, remembering all the time not to add too much extra flour, and the loaves turn out fine.

dabrownman's picture

to grind the oatmeal to medium flour consistencey and treat it like like a whole milled grain for hydration purposes - around 80%.  We don't change the rest of the methods of the formula to include it.  No crumbly problems.  If we use whole oats we autolyse them for an hour first.

flourgirl51's picture

It could be that it is too dry.

clazar123's picture

The type of oats added makes a big difference.

 If you add groats or steel cut oats then this can interfere with the formation of gluten strands in the same manner that coarsely ground grain or nuts can-it can cut through and cause breakage of the crumb.

If you add dry rolled oats at the end of the mixing process, they will tend to be a slight lump that will absorb the moisture from the crumb around it and that part of the crumb will become fragile and crumble.

If you add any kind of oats that have had a good soak, it can change everything. Oats will generate a lot of starchy gel and stickiness that should not be tempered with more flour. The wheat in the recipe should be allowed to form  good gluten to trap all that wonderful starchy gel by having a good soak and a great knead or stretch and fold routine. This will also allow the wheat bran time to absorb moisture from the dough before the bake so it doesn't rob moisture from the crumb after and develop crumbliness there.

So the physical form of oats,hydration of oats and gluten development all are important on a multigrain, oatmeal loaf.

Try looking at this and see if it is helpful.