The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Heart Bread

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

Heart Bread

One of my friends / customers recently had a heart attack and bypass surgery. He loves my bread, but his wife is understandably concerned about his diet, so I created a new bread for them based on some research into diet and cardiovascular health. There is evidence that whole grains, particularly oats, are related to reduced cardiovascular risk. Good fats can be found in olive oil and flax seeds, and sprouted flour and long, slow fermented sourdoughs may also have benefits (at least for digestibility if not heart health). Here's what I came up with:

I'm finding the addition of a little yeast water (apple, in this case) makes for a softer dough. This small amount probably won't add to the taste much, especially as the sourdough sort of takes over. And I added the bit of vital wheat gluten to strengthen the dough because of the relatively weak sprouted spelt flour and oats / oat bran.

The dough was a bit sticky but strong and fairly easy to shape. I mixed it in the big mixer (made a batch of six) for about 4 minutes, then did three or four stretch and folds over the first two hours. It ended up sitting in the coolish basement for about five hours, then I put it in the fridge overnight to bulk ferment.

This morning I scaled it and shaped it, putting it into floured baskets to prove.

About an hour and a half later I popped them into pre-heated cast iron pots to bake. They're still in the oven at the moment, but the test loaf (same formula, slightly smaller than the production loaves) is at the top of this post.

The crumb is lovely and moist, with a complex slightly sour flavour. Something my customer (and I) can feel good about eating! Oh, and he loves it. From the heart. :)


IceDemeter's picture

the formula, and the resulting loaves --- all beautiful!  I'm weird, though --- while that final loaf is fabulous in crumb and colour, it's the dough that is really tempting me since it just looks like a dream to work / play with ;)

Your customer is lucky to have you baking for him, Wendy!  There aren't many bakers out there who would put in the time and effort to research how best to meet their physical needs while still providing an absolutely delicious product.

Some research I did a while back suggests that it is the soluble fibre (along with the micro-environment) of oats that makes them more "heart healthy" --- and that same level of soluble fibre is also found in barley, so you can offer him a different flavour option occasionally.  You are very wise to limit the amount of un-sprouted whole grains down, to limit the amount of insoluble fibre in the same loaf.

Adding oranges (high soluble fibre and high folate), or peeled apple chunks (again - lots of soluble fibre) might give you some other flavour variations that all of your customers would enjoy, too.

Thanks for sharing, and hope that you and yours are all well and happy (and totally free of fire / smoke / natural disaster).  All the best, Laurie

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

Yes, I've already been thinking about how I can make some variations on this theme. I'm just in the process of milling some whole barley, as a matter of fact, so that's an interesting sub. I wonder how good a starter it makes? Ever tried it?

The apples with the apple yeast water might be nice too. Hmmmm. I'm finding that I like adding flax seeds (ground or whole) or the mucilaginous water from soaking flax to bread dough as well. That, with the yeast water, seems to make dough that is beautiful to handle. This heart bread dough was a bit sticky and grainy from the whole grain and oat bran, but with a little bit of flour it shaped up very nicely.

We are free of smoke again today, but the last three days have been a bit nasty. And it actually rained last night / this morning! It was so nice I went out for a walk in it. :) How are things your way? Where are you again (my faulty memory)?

albacore's picture

Personalised loaves for individual clients - brilliant!

It looks great as well; I might just have to give this a try!



Danni3ll3's picture

Good job with the recipe! I bet it's delicious!

I wasn't so lucky with my oats bread this weekend. Glad yours turned out!

isand66's picture

Great looking and tasty bread!

adding some roasted sweet potato would be a nice healthy variation.

Happy Baking.