The Fresh Loaf

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Noah Elbers' Maple-Oatmeal Bread (courtesy of farine-mc)

breadsong's picture

Noah Elbers' Maple-Oatmeal Bread (courtesy of farine-mc)

Hello, What a pleasure to discover farine-mc's post on her blog about Noah Elbers and his talented group of bakers, and this bread.
Thank you Farine!!! (Farine-mc's post is here: - great information on how to make this bread, and video from Mr. Elbers' bakery, too!)

This oatmeal bread is made with cooked steel-cut oats, maple syrup, levain and a poolish. I had to try it!:

These are the weights I used (to make two loaves, 680g each)
(My baker's percentages may not correspond exactly to farine-mc's percentages;
I keep my starter at 100% hydration):

Noah Elbers' Maple-Oatmeal Bread       1360 Desired Dough Weight in grams       <----      
  Baker's Percentages Weights Baker's
Ingredients Dough Levain Poolish Dough Levain Poolish Total %
Bread flour 0.75 0.2 0.9 438 23 53 514 76%
WW flour 0.25 0.05 0.1 146 6 6 158 24%
Steel-cut oats, cooked 0.2     117     117  
Water 0.54 0.25 1 316 29 58 403  
Maple Syrup 0.16     94     94 75.05%
Yeast instant     0.004     0.2 0.2 0.03%
Salt 0.0264     15.43     15.43 2.30%
Sourdough Starter   0.5     59   59  
Levain 0.2     117        
Poolish 0.2     117        
Total 2.3264 1 2.004 1360 117 117 1361  

Here's the crumb shot (this bread has a gorgeous flavor, very moist crumb, and a slight sweetness, not definable as maple but still very good):

Happy baking everyone! from breadsong


louie brown's picture
louie brown

I saw this on Farine's blog as well and made a note of it for the future. Your rendition is lovely, breadsong. Great scoring, too!

breadsong's picture

Hello louie, I was so charmed by the scoring on Farine's loaf - the oval shapes echoing the shape of rolled oat grains;
I had to give it a shot! The ingredients also sounded really appealing to me. I'm very grateful for this formula - it makes absolutely delicious bread.
from breadsong

GSnyde's picture

Very pretty loaf.  And the combination of flavors sounds great.

How do you make the oval scores?



breadsong's picture

Hi Glenn, thanks so much!

I don't know how to make this long story short, so here goes!:

I tried for a different scoring appearance when I made a whole-wheat Pain au Levain recently - I wanted a star-shaped score on the boule - I started the score shallow, then progressively got deeper towards the center of the boule, then progressively more shallow on the other side. This caused the score to be 'pointy' on each end and somewhat star-shaped overall.

Based on that experience, I tried to make these scores even depth (a little under 1/2" deep), hoping the scores would be deep enough that they'd open into a nice width (assuming I'd get OK oven spring), and that an even depth would keep the ends of the score rounded rather than pointy.
Each score was maybe 2 inches long.
I tried to keep the blade 90 degrees perpendicular to the loaf and not angle the cuts.

I'm glad I got ovals as that's what I was trying for, but I really wasn't sure what I was going to get!
from breadsong


ehanner's picture

I've been gathering ingredients for this myself. MC did a terrific job on this "Meet the Baker" interview. It does look delicious. Your version is perfectly executed, nice job.



breadsong's picture

Thanks so much for your kind comments, Eric.
I am very grateful to have found MC's site and she was very generous to share this great formula and the story of the people/bakery behind it.
Regards, breadsong

OldWoodenSpoon's picture

I think MC got a lot of TFL traffic this weekend.  I also saw this on Farine today and made a note to follow up.  This is a beautiful loaf and you've done a marvelous job. 


dmsnyder's picture

The scoring is not only lovely to look at, but it had a similar effect as a "chevron" cut in producing a rounder loaf cross section. (Forgive my obsession with scoring effects on loaf shape.)

Looks yummy!


Jaydot's picture

Fantastic loaf and very attractive scoring!

I've saved the recipe too, and I'm looking forward to making it.

SylviaH's picture

What beautiful scoring on your loaf!   I love oatmeal bread and yours is just gorgeous....thanks for sharing!


Franko's picture

Hi breadsong,

The flavour of that loaf must be incredible. I'm just imagining what it must taste like toasted....maybe with a little maple butter. You've made it darn near impossible  to pick out any one particular aspect of the loaf that's better than the rest, as the entire loaf from scoring to crumb is first rate in every way. Nicely done, and thanks for sharing the recipe!


breadsong's picture

Hello Franko, Thanks again so much for your very nice comments about this loaf! I think maple butter would be the perfect accompaniment.
I made some maple butter many years ago and it was really good.
Here is the recipe in case you didn't have one or ever wanted to make some:

Maple ButterMaple Butter Maple Butter

This butter is delicious spread over toast or on top of pancakes, waffles, and French toast.


Makes about 1 cup.

  • 1 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 two-inch cinnamon stick
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  1. Pour maple syrup into a medium saucepan; add cinnamon. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook until a candy thermometer registers 240 degrees.(soft-ball stage), 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the pan from heat, discard cinnamon stick, and stir in butter until melted.
  2. Immediately transfer mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat, starting on low and increasing to high, until mixture is thick, opaque, and creamy, about 8 minutes. Store in an airtight container, refrigerated, up to 2 weeks.


There's this recipe too which I saw but haven't tried yet but it looks good too!
Makes 1/2 cup

  • 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  1. Using a rubber spatula, combine ingredients in a small bowl. Orange-maple butter can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

From breadsong

breadsong's picture

To OWS, David, Jaydot, Sylvia and Franko: You are all very kind to write and thank you so much for your compliments! I am really happy with how this bread turned out and am grateful to Farine for her good notes, video and pointers on her site - all were very helpful.
I hope if you make this bread you enjoy it as much as I am! 
Happy baking to you all, from breadsong

kim's picture

Hi breadsong,

I use your recipe to produce roughly 16 breads in two days for the Japan earthquake fundraising last weekend for my church fund raising event. Thank you so much for the recipe. All breads sold out within couple minutes. Here is the pics:



Thanks, Kimmy

breadsong's picture

Kimmy, I am so impressed by your hard work, and outstanding bread you baked for your fundraiser. 
Your breads are just gorgeous; the oven spring and bloom, crust color and crumb are all incredible and thanks for sharing your photos.
Baking from the heart always tastes the best and I'm sure everyone who bought your bread loved it. It's no wonder these breads sold right out!
I'm sure Mr. Elbers would be thrilled that you employed his recipe for such a worthwhile cause and to such spectacular effect!
from breadsong


SallyBR's picture

... even though the odds of baking good bread are stacked against me due to my present living conditions, I could not resist making this bread, after reading about it at Farine's blog and here.   Oatmeal and maple sound too good to pass


so, I made it, and even though it turned out pretty good, there's lots of room for improvement.  

My problems started with the sourdough starter, the house was impossibly cold during the night and I neglected to take that in account.  Next morning, when I had the poolish ready, my starter seemed flat, nicely sleeping.  I had to  bake it on Saturday, so I put the starter inside a turned off oven with a cup of boiling water nearby.   TOok a deep breath, and made the bread 3 hours later. 

That was mistake number 1 - I should have postponed the bread til SUnday, or next weekend.  ANYWAY.. .live and learn.


Now, comes the possible mistake number 2 - the recipe calls for steel cut oatmeal - I used a product described exactly as such,in a gorgeous little can, IRISH OATMEAL -   I baked it as the instrucitons called for, it behaved as described, turning into a brick.  But, in the final bread, I'd say it made a gritty texture that was not exactly what I expected.  Is it supposed to be like that?


Also, it made it pretty difficult to fold the dough, because it prevented it from being strecthed smoothly -

Reading this blog, I see that breadsong used rolled oats.... that sent me shivers up and down the spine - did I use the wrong thing?????

I include two photos, you will notice that my crumb is pretty tight - I am wondering if it's all due to a lazy starter or the oatemal, or both.    The taste of this bread is excellent, my beloved husband wanst me to make it again, but next time I want to make it right....


thanks for any tips you might have for me...

breadsong's picture

Hello Sally, That is a beautiful boule!

I used steel-cut oats; here's a picture of what I used:

During baking these oats had soaked up the water and softened up; they had turned into the "oat chunk" as described by farine. 
The oats were dry on top, though, and had crusted a bit.
I poured a skiff of water over the top; it soaked right in and moistened the oats on top. 
When mixing, I could still see bits of oats but I couldn't see them in the crumb after baking.

The oats I have do feel a bit gritty when dry - I wonder if the ones you used hadn't absorbed enough moisture while cooking?

Thanks Sally for posting a picture of that lovely loaf; I hope my reply is helpful.
:^) from breadsong

Janetcook's picture

I am waiting for my leaven and poolish to do their thing and the steel cut oats are in the oven as I type..

One thing I can't find in MC's instructions are when to add the maple syrup.  I am thinking that after the oats come out of the oven would be a good time since the baking appears to dry them out a bit...

When did you add the m. syrup to your dough?

I love how you scored your loaf too and will give that a try on mine.

Another question about the formula...I have never used a poolish and a leaven together in the same recipe.  Do you know why this one uses both together?


SallyBR's picture



I added the maple syrup together with all the other ingredients, but it could be a good idea to mix it with the baked oats as you suggested.


As to the poolish + leaven, I exchanged a few emails with Noah because I wanted to ask his permission to blog about his recipe, and it turns out that he always adds a poolish to breads that have a higher sugar content, to help the levain a  little bit.   Also, he prefers to use steel cut oats instead of rolled - his advice was "the closer to the original structure of the grain, the better"


I actuallly blogged about it last week, if you want you can take a look at the whole post here


Hope you make it and enjoy it too, it has such a unique flavor...

Janetcook's picture

Hi Sally,

I just checked out your blog and I like the way you wrote out the mixing directions with the overnight retard piece....I am planning on retarding too and was puzzling over a bulk ferment or dividing and ferment as individual loaves....due to refrig. space I think I am going to do the bulk...then shape in the morning...

I did go ahead and add the maple syrup to the oats and water (I made the exact amount needed for the final dough.) right after it came out of the oven.  Mine was dry as others have said and I didn't want 'crunchies' in my child doesn't like anything crunchy in bread...

Thanks for explaining the leaven and poolish combination.  Makes perfect sense.

I hadn't looked closely at the % of maple syrup in relation to the flour yet...working on the preferments and soaker...just did when I read what you wrote. Interesting in that I was reading through old threads a few days ago and ran across a discussion about a commercial yeast specifically geared towards sweeter loaves due to sugar's hydroscopic tendencies...and here it is - a solution that doesn't require yet another purchase of something 'commercial'.  :-)

My leaven is rising nicely but my poolish is a bit sluggish at this point and I am wondering if my 'pinch' of yeast wasn't quite enough.  Now that I know why he uses both I know I can simply add a bit more yeast when I do the final dough mix.  With the room temp. fermenting time any new yeast will have plenty of time to start doing it's 'thing' before being stuck into the cold.   :-)

Thanks for the help and info.!


breadsong's picture

Hello Janet,
Sally has kindly replied to your questions...and with regards to the pre-ferments used, what better answer could we get that what Sally obtained from Mr. Elbers himself? (Thanks, Sally! :^)  )
I'm so glad you liked the scoring on my loaf. I hope you enjoy this bread. We loved it.
Thanks, from breadsong

Janetcook's picture

Thanks for the response....The bread was baked this morning and 1/2 is already gone.....

I ended up making 2 boules and had intended one for a friend...I do not think my friend will get a loaf from this batch....will have to bake another batch terrible can that be....

I had never used a poolish before so now I can say I have and also know how they work and why they are used.

My scoring was nowhere near as nice as yours....more practice needed....

SallyBR's picture

.... just in case someone hasn't seen it but could have some pionters for me....


main question being - did I use the wrong oatmeal product????



breadsong's picture

Hello Sally, Please see my (belated) reply above.
From breadsong

SallyBR's picture

Ok, I used the exact same thing... I guess what confused me was seeing something similar to rolled oats on the surface of the loaf, I thought maybe those were supposed to be the right ones.


I don't think my oats absorbed enough water - they did turn into a hard brick, but not only the surface was dry.   Maybe i should have baked them less, or did as you, adding water after and allowing it to moisten back a little.


Thanks so much for your reply, it's a great bread, but I want to make it better next time



kim's picture

Hi Sally,

Sorry Sally, I didn’t see you post until today. I think you use the right oatmeal; my steel cut oatmeal also has the same appearance as your oatmeal. I had the same problem as you pointed out too but I did add more water after the oatmeal came out of the oven because it was too dry in the center and bottom, I put the baked oatmeal back to oven to dry off the excessive water. Maybe the water absorption differs greatly in oatmeal? Perhaps you can add more water to start with next time you are baking. What kind of flour do you use for the dough? KA ap flour? I use KA ap flour in two batches of dough, the dough didn’t need any fold at all maybe I also use freshly milled ww flour in the recipe. I added 50g more water to the dough in the middle of mixing. The KA ap dough seem a little tight too me. I went with my hand feel and decided not to fold them. The others flour is from my local fresh milled flour, the dough did end up with two folds during proofing. I hope this help.


SallyBR's picture

Oh, no problem whatsoever...    I won't be making it again this weekend, so i was not in a hurry to get  feedback, but wanted to make sure the thread was not going to disappear forever.. :-)


I think you are right, different oatmeals might behave in completely different ways regarding how much water they soak.  i used KA all purpose flour, and I don't have a KitchenAid at the moment, so I did all the mixing by hand.  The grittiness of the oatmeal made it kind of unpleasant, maybe the initial mixing at least would be better with an electric mixer.


I might wait until the Summer when I'm back in my regular kitchen before trying this bread again....


thanks again!

kim's picture

Maybe you can mix all ingredients first without adding baked oatmeal (You can even add in more water in order for you to fold the dough easily – perhaps your comfortable level); during your first fold you can pat/lightly press the oatmeal on top the dough before folding. I use this method to add my mix nuts for my seeded steam buns (bao).


SallyBR's picture

that's a pretty good idea, will keep that in mind....