Tartine-ish oat porridge bread
I've been in a porridge bread mood lately. The thing to note with porridge breads is that the water in the porridge can lead to a very wet and slack dough that can be hard to handle. Two months ago I tried to make an oat porridge bread. The dough was so wet that I wasn't able to shape it. After struggling with it I finally just scooped the dough into the brotform. After cold proofing, the dough stuck and I had to scrape it out of the form. The resulting baked loaf was very flat and very sad.
Since the failure of my oat porridge bread, I've learned a lot and I've practiced a lot too. I've learned to not rush the dough and to make sure the gluten is developed and properly fermented. Regardless of the hydration level, if the gluten isn't developed properly, I won't be able to shape the dough. I've learned to handle high(er) hydration doughs without adding too much flour. But I've also learned that if the dough feels too wet, it might be just that. Too wet. And it's okay to add more flour. It's okay to do another set of stretches and folds. It's okay let the bulk fermentation go another 30, 60 or 90 minutes. With each loaf I bake and with each week that passes, I feel my bread baking confidence grow.
I baked a couple breads with corn polenta porridge recently. I started with a lower hydration dough (70%) and added a small amount of porridge (17%). I was able to handle that dough so for the next bake I increased the hydration to 77% and the amount of porridge to 25%. The hydration including the porridge was around 89%. That bake seemed to go pretty well too and I had no issues handling that dough.
So it was time for me to tackle the oat porridge bread again. I used the Tartine basic country bread as my base recipe. I used 20% whole wheat and added 50% (baker's pct) oat porridge.
The oat porridge consisted of a 1:4 ratio of rolled oats to water which I cooked over medium heat until it was porridge-like. I let it cool while I mixed the dough. After some gluten was developed, I mixed the oat porridge into the dough. Bulk fermentation was done at room temperature (about 74F) with stretches and folds.
If my math was correct, the hydration was 102% including the oat porridge. The dough was pretty slack when I was preshaping, but I managed to loosely shape it for the bench rest.
I shape retarded in the refrigerator for 15 hours. I went a little overboard with the oatmeal flakes because I wanted to make sure the dough came out of the brotform without sticking. It did stick a little bit, but I got them both out without too much damage.
I baked them in enameled cast iron pots. 450F for 20 minutes with the lids on and 25 minutes without lids. The batard was a bit pale compared to the boule since the high sides of the oval pot seems to shield the loaf from the heat. So I left the batard in for 5 more minutes with the oven turned off.
The crumb was very moist and it wasn't dense at all. But I think it was on the verge of gummy, but toasting the bread before eating removed all trace of that. You wouldn't know that there were oats in the loaf. They seemed to have disintegrated.
I never thought that I would be able to handle a 102% hydration dough. I think I've come a long way.