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Steel-cut oats whole wheat formula

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david earls's picture
david earls

Steel-cut oats whole wheat formula

My wife has been on a nutrition kick for the past couple of months. She sent me to the grocery store to buy her some "whole-grain sandwich rounds" and I couldn't pronounce about half the ingredients. Nutritious chemical additives? So I began adapting an old oatmeal loaf formula I have and added some new twists. I started the whole wheat flour at 25% and have been moving its percentage up. As of today here's where we are:

Everything is calculated and weighed as a percentage of total flour.

Poolish:
Whole wheat flour, 40%
Bread flour, 30%
Water, 70%
Yeast, about half a teaspoon

Dough:
Bread flour, 30%
Brown sugar, 12.5%
Steel cut oats, 10%
Softened Butter, 8%
Water, 5%
Salt, 3%
Yeast, about half a teaspoon
Rolled oats, 10% (optional)

1. Mix the preferment and allow to proof in tightly sealed container overnight.
2. Next morning, dissolve the yeast in the additional water.
3. Mix the water/yeast, steel cut oats, brown sugar, and salt together with all the preferment.
4. Mix/knead in the additional flour.
5. Mix/knead in the softened butter in two steps (do NOT melt the butter).
6. Proof in tightly sealed container until at least double in volume.
7. Do a stretch-and-fold, return to container for second proofing.
8. Turn dough out on floured board and divide into two pieces (it's sticky).
9. Roll each piece into a blunt-ended log slightly longer than your loaf pan.
10. Braid the two pieces of dough around each other and put into pan.
11. Spray the top of the loaf with water and add the optional rolled oats (they're for show, like the braiding).
12. Allow to proof until loaf is at the top of the pan.
13. Bake in the lower third of a pre-heated 350-degree oven for 35 minutes. Tent the loaf if necessary to avoid scorching.
14. Bake an additional 10 minutes at 300 degrees.
15. Turn baked loaf out, wrap in towel and allow to cool on raised rack.

This makes excellent sandwich bread and because of the high hydration and butter, it keeps wonderfully. I've found that 400-425g of total flour makes a loaf that fits my pans perfectly - adjust your flour to fit your pans.

I've noticed that a lot of people want to pre-soak the steel-cut oats. I just use them the way I would use wheat germ and it works just fine. No crunchies, no broken teeth. The high hydration poolish enables adequate gluten development during the pre-ferment, and it adds softness to the crumb.

And even better than store-bought "whole-grain sandwich rounds."

 

cerevisiae's picture
cerevisiae

I might need to try that sometime. It's been a while since I've made a sandwich loaf.

Since reading Tartine 3, I've taken to fermenting my oats, which I think adds another layer of flavor and increases the bioavailability of the nutrients. If you'd like to try it, combine 100% oats, 200% water, and 5% sourdough starter OR yogurt with active cultures. Let it stand for at least a day and up to a few days. The book says not to go longer than 3 days, but I've gone up to 4 or 5.

david earls's picture
david earls

for this idea. After some unsuccessful other-grain experiments, finally got to try this last weekend by adding the steel-cut oats to the preferment. My wife says this is the best bread she's ever eaten.

cerevisiae's picture
cerevisiae

Nice! Glad that it went over well.

david earls's picture
david earls

Never tried fermenting oats. My wife eats most of this bread - will try it and see what she says. Thx for the idea - bread is an iterative process - 

cerevisiae's picture
cerevisiae

I usually use lightly crushed/broken steel cut oats, use boiling water and then let it cool to at least 90F before adding the fermenting agent, and let it go longer than is originally recommended.

If using rolled oats, you can probably use tepid/room temp water and put everything together at once since they'll soften more easily than unrolled.

One thing I would do either way is cook the oats a bit before adding to bread. This does two things; remove any excess liquid, so it doesn't effect my hydration (though I could just pour if off), but also stop the fermentation so that it doesn't interfere with the yeast in my dough (which is why I don't don't just pour liquid off). Then I let it cool enough so that I feel okay touching it.