The Fresh Loaf

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Yeast Bread Baking Attempt #1 - Oat-Nut Bread

zhi.ann's picture

Yeast Bread Baking Attempt #1 - Oat-Nut Bread

This is from before I actually joined this site - actually this is the reason I joined this site.


In the States, I baked yeast bread. I had one recipe - from a craft, not a cookbook, so it used terms I was familiar with rather than the terms I more often find in baking recipes now that I'm looking around. It was a honey-whole wheat bread. I found all the ingredients in my local grocery store, used that recipe with no alterations except substituting applesauce for half the butter, and I baked it every Saturday, never with a problem.

Now, I live in rural China. I didn't bring the recipe with me. I don't have access to whole wheat. When I look at recipes, they confuse me. And yet my husband really misses bread. I am at a high altitude, but right now it's not dry at all, rather, close to 95% humidity most days. And, without air conditioning, heating, or well-sealed/insulated windows and walls, what it's like outside is a whole lot what it's like inside.

I found this recipe (I can't now for the life of me seem to find it anywhere!! I have it on a notecard) last week and tried it.

Oat-Nut Bread

830 ml flour
830 ml oats, ground to a flou
180 ml finely chopped walnuts
180 ml raisins
60 ml brown sugar
14 ml yeast (1/2 oz.; 14 grams)
10 ml salt
460 ml water
160 ml yogurt (I used vanilla unintentionally)
60 ml oil

1. Combine half the flour, all the oats, nuts, fruit, brown sugar, yeast, and salt.
2. In a saucepan heat water, yogurt, and oil over low heat, just until warm.
3. Add wet to dry ingredients, beating until smooth.
4. Add enough remaining flour for a soft dough.
5. Knead about 4 minutes, or until soft and elastic. Form to a ball.
6. Place on greased baking sheet, cover and let rest for 20 minutes or refrigerate overnight to bake in the morning (I did it overnight.)
7. Bake at 200C for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.
8. Cool on a wire rack.

Unfortunently, this didn't work out for me so well. I did step 1, step 2, step 3. In step 4, I kep adding flour until I'd added way, way more than the recipe called for, and it still was a dough I could barely handle, it was so wet and sticky. I ran out of flour, and began adding oats, hoping to save it - I ground most of them but out of desperation began throwing them in there as whole rolled oats until I could finally knead the bread. Even then, it stuck to my hands, the cutting board, etc. In step 5, I formed it to more of a blob than a ball, since it was runny, and stuck it in a covered bowl in the fridge. In the morning, it was conformed to the shape of the bowl, so I dumped it on a baking sheet, stuck it in the oven, and let it bake.

The result was a very dense bread, tasty enough to eat mostly because of the raisins, but so dense I had to eat the whole thing (my husband didn't like it at all).

dough as I took it out from the freezer 

I tried the other loaf (this was supposed to make two) leaving it out all night after having frozen the dough (based on something I'd read online, somewhere). It came out just as dense, though it rose a bit in the oven whereas the first never did.

 piece of the bread

I'm munching on the second loaf now, hoping to get rid of it so I can bake something decent.

The only other note is that I won't be doing the walnuts again, even if I do come back to this recipe, because I couldn't taste nor feel them, and they cost the equivalent of $1.50 for so little!!

Any ideas, anyone, on what I can do better? 



nbicomputers's picture

two things

1 the kind of flour you use-  some will absorb mor wayer than others

2-the oats take a lot of time to absorb water 10-15 minutes

make just add the oats to the water and give them time to soak.

zhi.ann's picture

If I use a less absorbant flour (bleached white), should I use less water/liquids than the recipe calls for in every recipe?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Sounds familiar...

Try this (and you may be doing this a lot) include three egg whites with the water thereby reducing the water.  Second, the protein content of the local flour is so low, it is tricky to develop any gluten (the goey stuff that holds things together) when the oat flour content is more than 1/3 of the total flour weight. I would make about 300g oat flour and the rest in rolled oats. Chinese flour likes to turn into liquid and I found I was always adding more flour even to shape etc.  Making lots of rests while mixing and kneading helps it absord the liquids.  And if you need more, use it.  

You also need a good plastic bench scraper, I found one out of teflon used for plastering walls. Check a paint shop or hardware corner. Oat flour is sticky stuff. Armed with a plastic scraper in one hand you can manange a little control. Try using the scraper to help you knead. Try using hulled sunflower seeds instead of walnuts or even sesame seeds or peanuts.

Also try letting the dough sit for 20 to 30 minutes before kneading, before steps 4 and 5, this gives the flour a chance to absorb the liquid and give the gluten a chance to start on it's own first.

After kneading, oil your bowl and line it with rolled oats (just dump some in and shake them around so they stick all over) they lay your dough inside and wait out the time. Invert GENTLY onto a cookie sheet and bake using upper and lower heat.

Mini O