The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Toasting oats before making porridge

bikeprof's picture

Toasting oats before making porridge

Anyone out there toasting grains before cooking them in porridge for porridge breads (a la Tartine)?

A while back Cook's Illustrated did one of their typical pieces on making the 'ultimate' oatmeal, and recommended lightly browning the oats (steel cut in this case) in butter prior to adding water.  I've done this and it did give the oatmeal a richer (go figure) and nuttier flavor. Not a huge game-changer, but a nice touch.

My experience dry toasting plain rolled oats doesn't seem to do a whole lot for them without adding other things to them (e.g. in making granola), but I'm now using a dry toasted batch in a Tartine Oat Porridge Bread now. We'll see what happens.

Shai's picture

I thought about this concept a while ago, when reading PR's "Whole Grains Breads" book, but haven't tried it since. I will really like to hear from you how this loaf compared to an untoasted one.

I do find that toasting is cruicial for flavor when making porridge or rice. I wonder what effect the heat will have on the enzymes.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

and small portions of flour, also for gravy or to thicken sauces.  Toasted oats is one of my favourites and do use butter or olive oil when browning.  Even the white sauce for lasagna gets toasted flour first.  Stir almost constantly and don't walk away from the pot.  It browns rapidly and a hot pan may over brown too.  So remove from heat just before reaching the desired toast.  And keep stirring for a few minutes.

dabrownman's picture

when not used for porridge.   We like to take a couple different kinds of bran, some wheat germ, the sifted out hard bits from home milling,oats, ground sesame, flax ad poppy seeds and dry pan brown them.  These are called Toadies named after a Fresh Lofian - - who came up with the of toasted bits in bread.  I think they are the best flavor enhancer that bread ever saw in y book - and you can tang zhong or porridge them too.

Happy Baking

bikeprof's picture

...well that was worth just figuring out what that common reference in your posts actually means...I was in the dark until now!

Felila's picture

I make my oatmeal in a rice cooker; no time or energy to toast it first.

My speciality is chocolate oatmeal. I have read numerous articles about the health benefits of dark chocolate. I cannot afford squares of dark chocolate candy, so I just add a few spoonfuls of cocoa powder to the water and oats when I make oatmeal. Less expensive and caloric; tasty with organic milk, my one extravagance.

hanseata's picture

I like the "Cook's Illustrated" roasted oats version, too, and prepare it like that ever since. But here the steel cut oats are roasted in butter, not just toasted in a dry pan.

So, if you prepare your porridge bread with butter roasted oats it will also include this butter. But, some of the Tartine porridge breads also have oil as an optional ingredient, like almond oil for the oat porridge bread. Therefore, I don't think it would make a difference in the consistency if you have the butter roasted oats instead of the optional oil.

In my opinion, it's worth a try.



bikeprof's picture

That was my thinking as well, while in general wanting to avoid enriching the dough. 50g almond oil or 50g butter, certainly worth a try.

We were pretty sold on the CI oats method when we tried it, but we have lapsed back into skipping the butter toasting after going with the rice cooker for some time.

bikeprof's picture

This loaf worked quite well, and I love the texture and flavor, but I can't say "...oh yes, toasted oats really make the difference."  I'll try lightly browning in butter before they go into porridge next time.

The crumb was very soft, but I did not quite get the Tartine, custardy really open quality that Breaducation recently did (and that I experienced with a loaf made by Chad & Co.).

BTW - I also made the porridge with the dry toasted oats the night before, and as they cooled, I stirred in some mature starter.  The next day the porridge was rather fragrant, particularly of lactic fermentation (or so it seemed to my nose).