Oats in any form seem to do wonderful things to wheat based bread. Every loaf I have made with some form of oats added (ie. rolled oats, quick oats, leftover porridge or oat bran) has turned out soft, very delicious and with a fairly even, open crumb. This one is a recipe I developed to incorporate oatbran in a half wholemeal half white sourdough loaf, to increase the fibre. It also uses the ‘no knead’ method, but the loaf can be made the conventional way too, in fact, if you have any confidence at all with sourdough you can mix this up and develop the dough in numerous ways according to your timetable. Here’s how this one came about…
1 cup plain flour (bread or cake flour are fine, whatever you have)
1 cup whole wheat flour (I used stone-ground organic, quite different to the wholemeal flour you get in supermarkets, it is the whole grain milled rather than bran added back into white flour)
1.5 tbsp soy flour (optional)
1.5 tsp salt
1/2 cup oat bran
1 cup white sourdough starter (100% hydration, like thick gloopy pancake batter)
1 cup water
- Mix dry ingredients well, then add wet ingredients and mix until combined, the dough will be very wet to begin with so don’t panic and add more flour.
- Cover the bowl with a plate and leave the dough to soak up the liquid (oat bran will do this) and ferment for a few hours. I left this one for 3 hours on a hot Brisbane summer day. I actually intended to leave it for an hour but got distracted building an outdoor shower, just shows you how forgiving sourdough is.
- After 3 (or 1 or 2) hours, grab a spatula and fold the dough into itself in the bowl (kind of like kneading) a few times, you should notice the gluten strands begin to resist and the dough will firm up somewhat.
- Leave your dough for another couple of hours (actually I was still absorbed in outside projects, I left mine for 5 hours!). Make sure the bowl is covered again with the plate to prevent your dough from drying out. Note that the loaf will be more sour the longer you leave it, but I wouldn’t push it more than 8 hours in total on a hot day or it will have gone too far.
- When you get back to your dough (preferably somewhere between 3 and 5 hours), turn your oven to 250°C to preheat. Then fold the dough into itself again with the spatula, in the bowl as you did before.
- Then tip the dough out onto a surface generously sprinkled with semolina (flour is ok too), and stretch and fold it into a loaf shape of your choice.
- Place the shaped dough onto a piece of non-stick baking paper and picking it up by the corners of the paper, place the dough back into the mixing bowl for the final rise. Don’t forget the plate on top to prevent it drying out.
- After half to one hour, or when your dough is looking about 1.5 to 2 times it’s original size, transfer it to the oven to bake. I put this one inside a cake tin (baking paper and all) which sat on top of my preheated baking stone, and covered the tin with a large stainless steel mixing bowl. You could also place the loaf into a pre-heated casserole pot or other such baking vessel. Whatever you use it’s important to create some kind of mini oven within your oven. This creates close steam around the loaf which helps the bread to kick unimpeded and creates a good crust.
- Bake for 25 minutes with the lid or bowl covering the loaf, then remove and bake for another 15 minutes or until the loaf is getting golden brown and rustic looking, that’s very important 🙂
- Wait for it to cool completely, then tuck in. Bread does not get much better than this.
Go for it, have a go at sourdough!
- Light rye sourdough with rolled rye berries (greengoodsarchive.wordpress.com)
- Easy and best no knead sourdough (greengoodsarchive.wordpress.com)