The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Heart Healthy Oat Bread

Danni3ll3's picture

Heart Healthy Oat Bread

Just before Xmas, a friend’s husband had a heart attack and needed a bypass. I remembered Lazy Loafer’s Heart Bread and decided to base my weekend bake on her recipe. Of course, my friend ended up with a couple of loaves.






250 g Spelt flour

200 g Selkirk Wheat (circa 1950 variety of wheat)

75 g oat bran

550 g unbleached flour

100 g multigrain flour

50 g ground flax

700 g water

21 g  pink Himalayan salt

40 g kefir

90 g rolled oats

180 g water for oats

330 g bran levain (100% hydration) - See how to make this below.

  1. A few days before, sift the Spelt and Selkirk wheat flours and reserve the bran to feed the starter. Save the remainder of the sifted flour for the main dough. 
  2. Weigh the sifted bran, the oat bran and add enough unbleached flour from the 550 g of unbleached flour to measure 142 g in total. Use this mixture to feed to 40 g of your starter in successive builds of your own choosing. I did a 4 stage build. Time your builds so that the levain is ready to be used mid day on the day you are making the dough. The bran really soaked up the water and was more on the dry side than anything. The levain also did not show much activity because of this. Mine only rose 50% once I used the flour portion which was during the last build. Just keep it warm and give it time, and it will do its thing. 
  3. Add the remaining unbleached flour, the multigrain flour and the ground flax to the sifted flour.
  4. The night before making your dough, prepare the soaker. Add 180 g boiling water to the rolled oats and let sit overnight.
  5. The next morning, add the soaker and the 700 g of water to the combined flour. Mix well and autolyse for 3-4 hours in a warm spot.
  6. Sprinkle the salt on top of the dough and add the kefir and all of the levain. Mix well and add a few grams of water if needed. 
  7. Once well mixed, I did 50 stretches and folds. The first few go well but the remainder end up looking more like kneading in the bucket than an actual stretch and fold. Place in a warm place for bulk fermentation.
  8. After 40 minutes, do a set of 8-9 stretches and folds. That is all the folds I could do without tearing the dough. Repeat after 45 minutes and again 45 minutes later. Do one more set of folds, an hour later. I was very gentle in order to not degas the dough. I let rise about 50% which took another 45 minutes. The dough was full of gas and bubbles were evident around the edges. 
  9. Divide into 3 portions of about 820 g and preshape. Let rest 15 minutes and do a final shape. 
  10. Sprinkle the bannetons with rice/ap flour. Place the dough seam side down into bannetons and cover the dough. Place in the fridge overnight or for about 13 hours.
  11.  Heat oven to 475 F with pots inside for 45 minutes. Bake seam side up in preheated covered dutch ovens (lined with parchment rounds) for 25 minutes at 450 F and then uncovered for 22 minutes at 425F. Interior temp should read at least 205F.  

I few things to remember for next time: Bran really soaks up water so need to stick to 100% hydration or higher for the bran portion. Keep the dough warm during the autolyse as the bulk fermentation will go much faster. This time, the bulk was done in 4 hours as opposed to the usual 5-6 hours. 


The loaves got great oven spring. Probably the best I have had for quite a while. I was a bit surprised that the crust didn’t come out darker but this is probably due to the lack of sugar from honey or fruit in the recipe. 


PalwithnoovenP's picture

And it translates to the beauty of these loaves. This really motivates me to try a bread with oats since all of us really need to take care of our hearts. :)

dabrownman's picture

 fine.  Sorry about your friends husband.  Hearts are a terrible thing to break.

Well done and happy baking Danni

Danni3ll3's picture

Not bad I think for the amount of whole grain in there.

I must say that it is super moist! Nice springy crumb! I like it.

Bread1965's picture

.. yet ANOTHER characteristically great loaf of bread.. ! That crumb is pretty special.. well cone!

pul's picture

Another one goes to my bookmarks! I love your consistency and how the natural scores open up. PRO!

Danni3ll3's picture

but under different lighting! Ha ha! 

Actually, I don’t but I am sure some of you have got to be thinking that. 😂

Thank you for the positive comments!

pul's picture

You get an impressive oven spring. You are doing something very right because the amount of seeds in you loaves is always staggering! Congrats


trailrunner's picture

so beautiful and fun to do is good for you ....and others ? ! You are such an inspiring baker. I take my loaves to our Buddhist center every week. We missed last week and it was so lovely hearing the comments yesterday when I arrived with bread. It gets everyone asking questions and talking in a way that they wouldn't otherwise. Breaking bread together is a fundamental act that strengthens us all. 

isand66's picture

So nice of you to gift such a healthy and I'm sure tasty bread to your friend.  Hopefully he will recover fully and get the benefit of enjoying your bread as well.


Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

I like your version; it turned out lovely (as always)! Sounds like you might have a regular customer there. My special customer orders three loaves every week. :)

MontBaybaker's picture

Danni, this looks great and is on the short-list.  Do you make or buy your kefir?  I've never used it.  Can you sub good yogurt and adjust the hydration if needed, or is there a distinct taste difference?   TIA!


Danni3ll3's picture

it just depends what I have on hand. I don’t find that the hydration changes either way. The kefir or yogurt i use is made by a local dairy farm and is made from full fat milk. Go ahead and just use what you can get. 

By the way, I have made yogurt in the past but I haven’t tried making kefir as I don’t have ready access to kefir grains. I do make Kombucha though, I should try using some of that in bread one day. 😁