Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Oatmeal Bread Makes Great Toast

An amazing thing happens when you start a wild yeast sourdough starter...you just want to bake bread all the time. Yesterday evening I decided we needed some good sandwich bread, so I looked through some cookbooks for ideas and chose Oatmeal Bread.

This recipe is based on Oat Bread in Monday Night at Narsai's by Narsai M. David, although I took liberties with it since is doesn't use a sourdough starter.

That's the other thing about having a sourdough starter...you sort of start with a normal yeast recipe and then take off on your own into sourdough territory. I use a little additional dry yeast with something heavy like the oats.

This bread makes absolutely wonderful toast! The dough did it's first rise after dinner and then I shaped it about 10 PM, put it in a bread pan, put a clean kitchen towel over it and set it in a slightly warm place overnight. Noises at the fire station next store woke me at 5:30 am, so I came downstairs and heated up the oven for the bread.

The overnight slow rise seemed to work really well...the dough had risen in a nice dome over the top of the pan. I baked it for 55 minutes, the whole house smelling of fresh baked bread by the end, then let it cool a bit while I showered and dressed. As you can see by the tight crumb, it is a wonderful texture. The rolled oats gives it some body and nutrition, plus great flavor. The crust was better than my earlier attempts, too.

Oatmeal Bread
makes 1 loaf

1 cup sourdough starter - I used Sukey this time
4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled to tepid
1 cup half and half or whole milk, at room temperature
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon dry yeast
1 cup rolled oats - I used quick cook (not instant), but regular would work, too. Don't use steel-cut...that requires a lot more liquid
about 3 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour
2 teaspoons sea salt

In bowl of stand mixer, with paddle attached, mix together on low speed the starter and butter. Warm the milk slightly in a glass measuring cup in the microwave and add the brown sugar, then stir. Stir in the dry yeast and let stand for a couple of minutes. Add the milk mixture to the starter mixture and combine briefly.

Switch to the dough hook. Add the oats and about 1 1/2 cups flour, letting the dough hook form some dough on itself. I usually use the lowest or next to the lowest speed. Add the salt, then keep adding additional flour until the dough ball cleans the sides of the mixing bowl.

Knead using the mixer or by hand for about 6 - 10 minutes, until dough is satiny and smooth. Form into a ball and place in an oiled large bowl (not metal), turning the ball so that both sides are coated with oil. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double in bulk, about 2 hours.

Turn out of bowl onto a lightly floured board. Flatten out to about twice as wide as the loaf pan and about 2 inches longer. Roll up on the long side, fold the ends under to fit the pan. Place in buttered bread pan. Cover and let rise until it is over the top of the bread pan.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place a baking stone if you have one (pizza stone is same idea) on the bottom rack. When oven is hot, place bread pan holding bread onto the stone. Bake 35 - 60 minutes, until crust is deep golden brown and, when you turn the loaf out of the pan, tapping on the bottom produces a hollow sound.

Let loaf cool at least 1/2 hour before slicing. Slice with a bread or serrated knife for best results.


  1. Oats are great, aren't they? I love oat bread almost more than regular bread -- we use rolled oats and sometimes I bash them in the coffee grinder for oat flour. We incorporate oat bran on the top for a sort of nutty flavor. It makes amazingly good toast, yes!!

    I have a serious bread addiction...

  2. I've never had oatmeal bread but it sounds amazing. I'm also very jealous of your sourdough starter. I may have to try making my own over the holidays.

  3. There's nothing like toasted oatmeal bread with peanut butter for a delicious snack. ANd I wish I had some of your bread right now.

  4. Anonymous8:42 PM

    I know exactly what you mean. I don't buy yeast anymore. Whenever I see a recipe I want to try, I end up trying to tweak it for using starter and only starter instead. I'm always surprised at how many successes I wind up having. But hey - this is how people used to bake bread in the old days so it's gotta work out most of the time.

    Man, that bread looks great! I need to try it out!

  5. That looks SO good! I haven't made bread in forever. Maybe I should try this one.

  6. Gorn waited all day craving a baloney sandwich for my oatmeal bread to come out of the oven! Mine is an old 30 y/o recipe and it does make the grandest toast!