The Fresh Loaf

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Help needed formulating a porridge bread

Anonymous baker's picture
Anonymous baker (not verified)

Help needed formulating a porridge bread

So I have some flour to use up and don't have a particular recipe. Just going to throw together some spelt, rye, durum and khorasan. Have some spelt starter ready so was thinking of a longish ferment with 10% starter and a final proof in the fridge overnight.  

My question is how would I incorporate an oat porridge. I'm thinking of 5% oats and 5x its weight in water. Make the porridge and allow to cool. Then form the dough and add extra water till it feels right.  

Does this sound right to you?

prettedda's picture

I have been using the method for porridge breads in Tartine 3. Essentialy just use your normal formula and then add the cooled porridge during stretch and fold after you have good gluten development. Unless you weigh your porridge after cooking to hit a target hydration the amount of water you start with is not very important since you loose a lot during cooking.

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

I shall have to look up the Tartine method for porridge. Interesting that you add it in when doing the stretch and folds. Another method to learn. I would have thought to add it in when forming the dough.

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

My porridge formula varies depending on the grain. If it's oats I usually do about twice the amount of water as oats (by weight) and cook them for only a couple of minutes until creamy. They tend to make the dough quite sticky and they will dissolve into the dough quite easily. If it's, say, rye flakes, I will use more water and cook for longer (up to 20 minutes). Sometimes I'll use a lot of water and simply drain the extra off after the flakes or grains are cooked the way I want them. Then I just weigh the finished porridge instead of trying to calculate the overall hydration of the dough, etc.

I'm a bit of a heathen and will sometimes mix the porridge into the dough water before adding the flours, just because it's easier. However, if you are folding the porridge into partially developed dough you'll have to watch out for lumps in the porridge and might want to use more water in the porridge to make it softer.

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

I'm already onto my stretch and folds but noted for next time. 

My final formula was...


20g oats

100g almond milk


380g flour (a mix of spelt, rye, durum and khorasan with the bulk being khorasan)

All of the porridge

8g salt

Water ? (It feels like a 75-80% hydrated dough)

I also added in some coconut oil. 

80g spelt starter (about 90% hydration) 


Gave it an hour autolyse with flour, water and porridge. Added the salt, starter and oil. Now I'm doing the stretch and folds. 

We will see what we get...

Flour.ish.en's picture

I used an alternative method to the Tartine's (500 gm of porridge: use 200 gm grains and 500 gm water) which has worked better for me. First, I cook the grains in a rice cooker, or in a pan on the stovetop, to the texture of rice, then dehydrate or let it air dry as much as I can. Weigh and fold the porridge in the dough at the second stretch and fold. I've been more successful in controlling hydration using this alternative method.

Hope this helps!

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

Very good tip! I've got alot to learn with porridge breads as I've only just gotten into them. You do 1.5x the grain for liquid in the porridge I see. Normally I just do 1:5 when making an oat porridge for eating but perhaps not for a bread. 

clazar123's picture

Keep in mind she was NOT a good breadbaker but occasionally got lucky and made the best ever. This loaf was one of the best. It was a TT recipe (Toss Together).


Make enough oatmeal (porridge) to serve an army.

Army doesn't show up (oh, that's right, they grew up and moved out)

Same day-Make enough bread dough to feed an army.

"Hold the train! What should I do with the leftover porridge?" "Waste not-want not!"

Solution-just throw all the leftover porridge into the bread dough she had already mixed in a bowl. Unknown if she added any extra flour/water but her porridge was as thick as library paste-she cooked all starches for about an hour-rice, noodles, potatoes, porridge, etc Many times the noodles actually came thru the holes in the colander when they were drained. She had no teeth so maybe "al dente" didn't mean much to her. Everything was well cooked and everything stuck to our ribs. Come to think of it - Mom may have discovered tangzhong!.

Rise to double-punch down-rise to double-punch down-put in loaf pans-rise to double again (Everyone back then used a lot of dry yeast in a recipe-you could have risen it 10 times probably and not run out of yeast-power).

Bake 350F til brown and sounds hollow when thumped. All her bread was thumped and everyone that was home had to give an opinion-did it sound hollow enough?

Best bread ever! I visited that day and remember. I gave my thump vote.

My point, I guess- just add some porridge (eating consistency or thicker) to existing dough,at any point, and integrate well. She did not have a clue as to why her bread did or didn't turn out well. You are way ahead of that and know how ingredients generally behave so I'm sure it will turn out well.

My mom was the reason I wanted to KNOW how to bake bread-not just bake it willy-nilly and HOPE this was a good loaf.

Now if she made biscuits (the bread rolls kind-not cookies), hers would float off the baking sheet and melt in your mouth. Her cookies and cakes were superb. She was just not so good with bread.You were more likely to get good bread made by Uncle Joe (an old army baker) or the local bakery.

Have fun!

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

And I've been meaning to ask. Just what is the difference between a porridge and tangzhong? 

Momma knows best! 

Thank you for sharing your mother's method. I do like her method and the way the bread was formulated. Thank you so much for sharing. Lots to learn. 

Turned out quite nice actually. The dough was overly hydrated in the end for the flour used and somewhat overfermented (khorasan ferments quickly) but somehow I made a loaf out of it. Actually very tasty. 

IceDemeter's picture

Oats and khorasan are one of my favourite flavour combinations - and the porridge just gives it so much moistness in the crumb, doesn't it?  I've found that I need to figure out what my hydration ends up with on the porridge before I start mixing the autolyse, though - otherwise my overall hydration can get a bit out of hand (hit around 103% on one bake --- yay for tins!).

I had thought about the difference between a porridge and a tang zhong, too, and feel that it is primarily that the tang zhong uses finely ground flour and so gelatinizes more easily.  The porridge generally uses larger pieces or whole grains, and so there is less external gelatin and more moisture held within the grain (to be at least partially released during the bake).  I could be wrong on this, but this is what I've observed while using both techniques.

I'm considering trying a bake with both options, but that will most definitely need a careful eye on the hydration!

All the best, Laurie

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

It really turned out delicious. My new way of enjoying these kinds of breads is toasted and dipped into pumpkin seed oil.

The khorasan is the dominant flavour of course because that has the highest percentage but the porridge gives it a lovely moist crumb.

To be honest I almost needed a tin for this. I used to just have a failure when the hydration was too high but like you I've learned that a loaf tin is the saviour for situations like these :)

It's interesting that a tangzhong is considered a typical Japanese style bread when in reality it's really just a porridge bread.