Saturday, January 16, 2021

Toasted Oats Bread #BBB

Oat breads have, for some unknown reason, been a hit or miss item for me.  Sometimes I get amazing results, sometimes I get intolerably dense loaves.  This one was a hit.  And have I mentioned how much I love my sourdough starter?  I haven't used it since a day before Thanksgiving and it still doubled within 12 hours of a feeding where I discarded a full cup to bake with and only had ¼ - 1/3 cup left to feed up.
This particular bread was described by our host this month as "beautifully lean (but not at all dry) and slightly nutty tasting."  My loaf, which I baked to bien cuit status, still had a perfectly moist interior with a very textural crumb, but not really porridge like.  Actually would probably pull it earlier by five minutes next time as it was already golden when I pulled the lid off, but as it was it was a perfect European style bake with a deeply golden and beautifully caramel colored crust that sang as it cooled, oh it did sing.  A crisply well done crust that you can leave out to cool overnight and not worry about staling.   Eldest loved it, youngest said pass.  She loves oatmeal, but the texture in this bread was a bit much for her I think.  It is a filling loaf and sticks with you, good for breakfast toast!  Good for dipping in soup and stew and I am tempted to try it as French toast.

I did, in typical Babe fashion, completely choose my own method for the dough as suited my mixer and preferences.  I also got to use my grain roller for the very first time, which was pretty cool.  It means I can keep whole, sprouted oats on hand and just roll them fresh when we want oatmeal or need it for baking.

If you like a hearty loaf with a shatteringly crisp crust, do try this out and bake along with us this month!  No blog is necessary to participate, a picture will do. Just send a picture or your post of your finished loaf to our host by the 29th of this month.  New recipes are posted every month on the 16th. Check out our Facebook group to see the participants' baking results during that time.

Toasted Oats Bread
makes 1 large round

Leaven: (prepare the night before baking)
60 grams whole wheat flour (I used Kamut)
60 grams water
dessert spoon of starter from the fridge (about 30 grams) 

Oat soaker: (prepare the night before baking)
100 grams rolled oats, toasted
100 grams boiling water 

Final Dough:
100 grams 100% whole wheat 'no additives' flour (I used half freshly ground sprouted Kamut and half freshly ground Edison hard white wheat)
400 grams unbleached all-purpose flour
5 grams wheat germ (I used the bran I sifted twice out of my fresh ground flour)
5 grams malted wheat chops (I used steel cut oats instead)
325 grams water
all of the leaven from above, when a small forkful floats in a glass of cool water
10 grams salt + 25 grams water
all of the rolled oats mixture from above 

Topping (optional)
quick oats

For the Leaven: In the evening of the day before making the bread, put the starter, flour and water into a small bowl. Mix until the flour is stirred in well. Cover the bowl and set aside overnight.  If the kitchen is cold, leave in the oven with only the light turned on. 

Flaking the oats for toasting:


For the Oats: Pour rolled oats into a dry cast iron frying pan and place over medium high heat, stirring with a wooden spoon from time to time. It takes about about 7 minutes to toast the oats. (They will start to turn golden and smell nutty.) Transfer the toasted oats into a medium-sized bowl and pour the boiling water over top. (I actually needed ~115g water to moisten all the oats.)
Cover with a plate and leave overnight in the oven with the leaven.
Kamut on the left and Edison hard white wheat on the right.
For the final dough:  On the morning of the day you will be making the bread, once a small forkful of the leaven floats in a small bowl of room temperature water, proceed to making the dough. Sift the whole wheat flour into a large mixing bowl, reserving the bran for after shaping. Add all-purpose flour, wheat germ, malted wheat chops, and 325 water to the sifted whole wheat flour. Stir with a wooden spoon. Set aside for a moment.

Weigh the salt and 25 grams water, whisking it together in a small bowl and set aside. (I used 15g water.)

Add the leaven to the large bowl.  Use a dough whisk or wooden spoon to mix these ingredients together to make a rough dough. Cover the bowl with a plate and leave on the counter for about 30 minutes.

(For my dough I combined the Kamut and Edison flour, water, and leaven along with the sifted bran instead of wheat germ, and steel oats into my mixer and mixed to a smooth batter.  I let that sit for 15 minutes to hydrate the bran.  Then I added the all purpose flour and kneaded until the dough was smooth and fairly well developed.  I waited the 30 minutes to add the salt mixture and proceeded with the stretch and folding.)

Adding the salt and knead: Pour the salt mixture over the dough.  Use one of your hands or a mixer to mix the salt and water into the dough.  Continue to mix until the dough becomes cohesive again.  Keep folding the dough over onto itself until it is relatively smooth. Cover with a plate and leave to rest for about 30 minutes.

Stretching and folding: Add the oats over the top of the dough. Turn the bowl as you fold and re-fold the dough into the center, to distribute the oats.  Cover the bowl with a plate and leave on the counter (use the oven light again for a cold kitchen).

Continuing to stretch and fold: Repeat the folding step about 3 times in all at 30 minute intervals. After the final time of folding, leave the covered bowl in a draft free area until the dough has almost doubled.

Pre-shaping: Scatter a dusting of all-purpose flour on the board and gently place the dough on the flour. Fold the dough over in half, gently patting off any extra flour that might be there. Turn the dough a quarter turn and fold in half again. Continue turning and folding in half until the dough is shaped in a ball. Leave it seam side down on the board and cover with a large overturned mixing bowl (or a tea towel) and let rest for about 30 minutes.

Prepare the brotform: Liberally coat the insides of a brot-form with rice flour. 

Shaping and optional topping: Scatter a very light dusting of flour on top of the round. Gently press down with the palms of your hands to create a disc that is about 4 centimeters deep. Carefully turn the disc over.  Without breaking the skin on the bottom, use the dough scraper to fold the dough in half. Turn the dough a quarter turn and continue folding until a ball is created.  Leave it seam side down and use the sides of the dough scraper to tighten the dough ball further. Once it has been tightened, wet your hands and rub them gently over the top. Scatter quick oats over the top.  Now carefully put the shaped loaf seam-side UP into the brotform. Scatter the reserved bran evenly onto the seam area. (I skipped that.)  Cover with the tea towel or an overturned mixing bowl and let sit for an hour or so to allow the loaf to almost double. "Almost" is the key here....

Preheat the oven: To know when it's time to bake, run your index finger under water and gently but firmly press it on the side of the bread. If the dough springs back immediately, recover the bread and leave it on the counter for another 15 minutes of so. If the dough gradually returns back after being pressed, leave the bread on the counter. Put a baking stone on a lower shelf of the oven. Place a cast-iron combo cooker (or lidded casserole dish) on the middle shelf and preheat the oven to hot.  (I use the lid of a granite roaster, which is much thinner than a cast iron cooker, and so my loaves require either reduced time or temperature.  Spray the inside of the lid with water and do not place until the loaf is in the oven.)

(At this point I had to completely reform my loaf and let it rise again because I missed my timer and over-proofed my loaf.  So my original oat topping was also incorporated into the dough.  This is a very forgiving loaf for timing though, I worked on it all day with a couple hours between the final folds because I had appointments.)

Scoring: When the oven is thoroughly preheated about fifteen minutes later, transfer the round into the hot shallow pan of the combo-cooker. (I place a piece of parchment over the brotform and my peel or a baking sheet over the top and gently flip it over onto the peel or sheet to transfer to the oven.)  Using a lame, sharp knife, or scissors, score the bread in the pattern you like.

Baking: Bake for 30 minutes with the lid on. After 30 minutes, remove the lid and without stopping to stare in amazement at the amazing oven spring, close the oven door to continue baking for another 15-30 minutes, until the crust is a lovely dark golden brown and the bread sounds hollow when knuckle-rapped on the bottom.  (If the loaf is already turning golden at 30 minutes, check earlier.)

A singing crust sounds like a crackling fire when it is amplified.
(I took out as much hiss as I could.  You can hear the clock ticking
and the oven tinking as it cools down as well.)

Cooling: When the bread has finished baking, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool on a footed rack before slicing and eating.  The bread is still cooking internally when first removed from the oven so do not slice in order to avoid a gummy crumb. If you wish to serve warm bread (and of course you do), reheat it after it has cooled completely: To reheat any uncut bread, turn the oven to 400F for 5 minutes or so. Turn the oven OFF.  Put the bread into the hot oven for about ten minutes. This will rejuvenate the crust and warm the crumb perfectly.

 The rest of the Bread Baking Babes


  1. I love it when it sings!! What a beautiful loaf you made, and how very interesting that oatmeal bread is "hit or miss" for. And it's equally interesting that with this "hit", you still had one who didn't like the crumb.

    I can't get over that you have your own grain roller. How very cool is that? Could it be that having freshly rolled oats is why the bread turned out so well? Or was it the use of Kamut and Edison flour (had to look up Edison flour to find out that it is made from hard white wheat).

    1. I have been immensely happy with the Edison wheat. I ordered some of the flour as well initially because I messed up, but this was the wheat that we grew at the church community garden the last two summers so I already knew it was bred for our region and had wonderful flavor.

  2. Darn those typos: "[...]for you. And it's equally[...]"

  3. I am in awe that you can flake/roll whole oat! I can imagine where I'd even find whole oats...I have to start looking.
    Kelly your loaf is stunning. Marvelous how well sourdough starter can come to full strength so wonderfully.
    And you got singing! It's happened twice for me and it is totally thrilling.

    1. I do have to order the oats. I wanted the sprouted oats for the phytic acid issue because we love oatmeal but aren't really keen on soaking them overnight in an acid medium. So I get those from To Your Health Sprouted Flour Co. I did try to get a recording of the singing but there was too much background noise on it. I may still try to clean up the audio... :D

    2. yes!! Clean up the audio. I bet the singing will come through loud and clear. (Brilliant idea to record it!)

    3. Excuse me for appearing to reply to myself.

      Yay!!! The recording of the singing bread turned out even more brilliantly than I expected. Many thanks for uploading the beautiful song.

    4. Kelly that is so funny. My first singing bread, years ago (Bitttman’s No Knead) came out of the oven at something like 3AM. I tried to record it...all I got was the refrigerator running.

    5. Lol, you can hear the hum of the fridge, though I tried to de-noise it as much as possible. I have sound software to mess around with, so I amplified and then got rid of as much hiss and hum as I could. I think it's funny that it sounds like a campfire when it's that loud.

  4. Your loaf is perfection. You are so creative with your flours and flaker! I'll have to use the mixer next time. So much easier!

    1. Still getting used to the new Ankarsum mixer! It's the reason I got the roller. Now I can ogle all the rest of the possible attachments...

  5. What a gorgeous loaf! I love the combination of flours you used and you flaked your oats as well. Well done!

    1. Thank you! Gradually using up my odds and ends of leftover flours in the freezer. Easier to store whole grains longer term.

  6. I need to look up oats... I can get oat 'flakes' which is the standard here and steel cut at the bio store. Not sure what 'rolled' are. Regardless, your bread looks wonderful - and perfect for breakfast toast.

    1. I expect they are essentially the same thing, flaked and rolled oats. Rolled would probably be thicker, but commercially they are oats that have been steamed to gelatinize the starch, and then rolled or flaked into a flat piece. Quick oats are a thinner flake and old fashioned oats are a thicker cut or roll. My family likes a lot of texture in our oatmeal and we have always boiled our oats as you might do another grain, in lots of water, and then draining to serve instead of cooking to a gooey, mushy mess.


Thanks for commenting, I love hearing from you! If you have any questions I will do my level best to answer them for you.