Oat Porridge Bread from Tartine Book 3

Tartine Oat Porridge Bread

Like most of my bread friends, I purchased Chad Robertson’s new bread book Tartine Book No. 3 back when it came out over the holidays, however, I only got around to baking from it fairly recently. In Book no. 3, Robertson builds upon his basic country bread formula he established in his first book, Tartine Bread, with a focus on whole grain baking. I had been skimming the book for awhile and noticed a few things:

  1. As with Tartine Bread, the photography is absolutely breathtaking. The book just forces you to want to bake bread by being so beautiful. In that way, it is very inspiring.
  2. Robertson’s take on whole grain baking is very different than most bakers. It seems as though Robertson is more interested in whole grain baking from a flavor standpoint rather than a nutritional one. Most of the breads actually contain a majority of white flour and Robertson uses and demonstrates a variety of methods for injecting other grains into the bread. He puts a focus on using grains that would not usually be used in bread baking(because of poor baking properties) and uses them as flavor enhancers.

I decided to put some of the methods described in the book to the test with a formula called “Oat Porridge Bread”. This is one of the breads in the “Porridge Bread” chapter that involves cooking grains into a porridge(similar to making oatmeal) and then using it as an inclusion in the final dough. Robertson details using several interesting grains with this method but I decided to go with the most basic, rolled oats, because that’s what I had on hand.

Oat Porridge Bread Crumb

The still warm crumb was extremely moist, custard-like and soft.

I actually attempted this bread twice with noticeable improvements on the second attempt. My process reflects the adjustments I had to make to get the results you see here.

A few changes I made to the formula:

  1. I didn’t have high extraction flour so I just used 25% whole wheat in the final dough compared to the 50% bread flour and 50% high extraction flour Robertson called for in his formula.
  2. I omitted the wheat germ as I didn’t have any on hand.
  3. When cooking the porridge, I probably ended up adding 3x as much water as called for. Using the quantity of water suggested in the formula seems like it would have resulted in a very dry porridge. Maybe my oats were just more absorbent?
  4. I increased the overall hydration to around 82% compared to 75% in the original formula. You may wish to push the hydration as well because the dough felt a bit stiff initially. However, I would caution you to hold off on making any major adjustments until the porridge is fully incorporated into the dough as it definitely adds a lot of moisture.

Formula – Oat Porridge Bread

Oat Porridge

Baker’s % Ingredient 1000g. Loaf
100.00 Rolled Oats 69.00
200.00 Water 137.00
300.00 Total 206.00


  1. Put rolled oats and water into a pot and cook on the stove over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until you achieve a mushy oatmeal consistency. Add water as necessary to keep mixture from drying out.
  2. Allow porridge to cool before adding to final dough.


Final Dough

Baker’s % Ingredient 1000g. Loaf
75.00 Bread Flour 309.00
25.00 Whole Wheat Flour 103.00
82.00 Water 339.00
2.50 Salt 11.00
15.00 Leaven 62.00
50.00 Oat Porridge 206.00
249.50 Total 1000.00

Process(Hand Mix)

  1. Combine the flours, leaven and water(holding back 50g.) in a bowl with hands. Desired dough temperature: 76F. Autolyse for 30 mins.
  2. Squeeze in salt and 20 g. of remaining water into the dough with hands(hold the rest of the water back to adjust the hydration after incorporating the porridge into the dough). Dough will breakdown and then come back together.
  3. 30 minutes later, squeeze in the cooked porridge and fold the dough on itself until the porridge is fully incorporated and well distributed throughout. Adjust the hydration with the remaining 30g. of water as you see fit. I added it all and ended up with an extremely wet dough that was very slack.
  4. Oatmeal Porridge Bread

    Cooked and cooled oat porridge about to be squeezed into the dough
  5. Fold the dough every 30 minutes until you’ve reached six folds. I felt like this dough could take as many folds as I could give it. All my folds were very strong and I actually cooled the dough off in the fridge during bulk fermentation so I could slow it down and give the dough more folds. It needs all the strength it can get. My bulk fermentation ended up being around 4 hours.
  6. Pre-shape the dough into a boule and let rest 30 mins.
  7. Final shape the dough into a boule, roll in oats and place seam side up in a basket dusted in rice/bread flour.
  8. Proof over night in the refrigerator or, if your temperatures are right, do what I did and proof it outside. I find that my refrigerator runs a bit cold so I put my dough outside on my roof over night(where temperatures have been between 50F and 55F. I find that this results in much nicer proofing if timed right. My dough ended up being outside for around 12 hours. Make sure you wake up in time to bring it inside before the sun comes out and starts warming everything up!
  9. Preheat your oven and a dutch oven(I use this Combo Cooker)
    to 500F
  10. When the oven is up to temperature, flip your dough into the preheated dutch oven and score by snipping the top with scissors. Put the lid on the dutch oven and bake for 30 minutes with the lid on and 20 minutes with it off or to your desired color. Make sure to turn the temperature of the oven down to 450F after the first 10 minutes of the bake.
  11. Allow bread to cool for at least an hour before trying to slice. This bread is pretty delicate inside initially.

Oat Porridge Bread

I must say that this is one of my favorite breads I’ve ever made mainly because of the texture of the crumb. It is extremely moist, custard-like and soft in a way that I haven’t experienced in any standard sourdough I’ve made in the past(and I’ve made a lot). I’m thinking that this has to do with the porridge aspect. The flavor is also quite nice but I wouldn’t say it is particularly “oaty”. I think the key to this bread is making sure you have enough strength in the dough(by doing a lot of strong folds) and getting the proofing right. The first time I made this bread it was very gummy and chewy, most likely because of under proofing. Enjoy!

Oat Porridge Bread Crumb

Submitted to Yeastspotting.

  • ml

    Wonderful! I have almost given up on Tartine 3, & I have been told I am a pretty good amateur baker :) Thanks for giving me hope. I will try again.

    • abreaducation

      Thank you! Yes, the breads in the book can be pretty challenging but are very, very good if you get them right. I’m glad I could give you hope!

      The levain I used was 50/50 whole wheat bread flour used pretty young at 65% hydration.

      • Anna

        what flour did you use as bread flour? How much protein content did it have?

        • abreaducation

          I used King Arthur Bread Flour which I believe is somewhere in the high 12% range.

  • ml

    PS What levain did you use?

  • Excellent writeup, thanks for the tips! I’ve been trying this bread off and on and have had a difficult time thoroughly incorporating the porridge. How long would you say you ended up cooking the oats? Another problem I believe I’m having is I’m not cooking the oat long enough until they break down. It’s interesting to see your final crumb as you have no oat flakes present whereas I did…


    • abreaducation

      Thanks, I probably cooked the oats for about 15 mins but I had to add much more water than the formula called for to keep them cooking. They probably would have just dried out and burned on the bottom of the pan otherwise. I definitely made sure they were well broken down.

  • Maria

    Hello. Thank you for the great writeup. I have been making a porridge bread myself, but adding the oatmeal right at the start, when mixing flour & water. The crumb is good but not as open as yours. I tend to mix in added ingredients at the early stage as my loaves a huge- 2kg each (I bake for charity). Do you think it makes a difference? I will definitely try your method next.
    Thanks again.

    • abreaducation

      I’ve never added a porridge right from the beginning so I can’t say for sure but I do feel like letting the gluten develop a little bit before adding the porridge is beneficial. The porridge really seems to break down the dough a lot when I add it so having a little strength there already seems to help. Good luck!

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  • jmk

    This is a winner! Thank you for posting the recipe with such detailed instructions. I made a half recipe, using your proportions. I did add the 7% wheat germ. The only thing I didn’t do “kosher” was adding my firm storage starter directly from the fridge (without refreshment) to innoculate the overnight levain; and I used all whole wheat for the levain not half/half. The timing matched yours nonetheless (4 hour ferment, 2 1/2 hour proof). I love the flavor and texture of this bread! I didn’t get as big holes, might be because of the starter. I too found I used a lot more water in making the oatmeal, so I had to add flour to the dough to get it back to a barely-manageable consistency. (It was still too wet to knead and I had to use the “in air” and french fold to knead.)

  • Matt

    Hello?…I hope you are still checking in…incredible bake, it looks like you have nailed it.

    My first go around with this formula was good, but not that good, and my questions mostly revolve around the crazy and inconsistent instructions on the porridge. I too end up using at least 3 to 1 (or more like 4 to 1) water to oats, which not only requires some compensation on the water added to the dough in the mix, but has me using less oats. Are you still using the same proportion of dry oats to total flour? Some more explanation would really help.

    The other piece I don’t entirely get is how to take such a wet and sticky dough and roll it in flaked oats to coat it before putting it the basket. I’ve done such maneuvers with stiffer doughs, but it is all I can do to shape and get it in the basket without any major drama with this stuff.

    I had the barley porridge bread from Tartine and like the other breads there, it was simply amazing, it seems well worth working on. Further insights since you posted last?

    • abreaducation

      Hi Matt,
      Thanks for commenting!

      I probably am using less total dry oats to flour given how much water I cook them with but it’s pretty hard to say considering that Robertson only gives you a quantity for porridge and not oats. Even if you followed Robertson’s advice exactly and cooked the oats in double the amount of water you may still end up with a different quantity of oats in the bread because of variations in water evaporation when they are being cooked. My advice is to just experiment with different amounts of porridge(try your best to cook it the same way each time) and find what works best for you.

      As for rolling the dough in oats, I think it’s all about being fast and confident in your movements. There is no room for hesitation! Just go for it, plow ahead and don’t panic. I also have this suspicion that Robertson sort of laces up the dough after it’s already in the basket to give the loaf some extra tension. Notice how the top looks laced together in all the photos in the book of dough in baskets? If you lose some tension while rolling the dough in oats you can try that method to get it back in the basket.

      Good luck!

  • Suzy

    Very nice bread. Have enjoyed looking at your website and bread recipes. Please keep posting!

  • Breanna Forni

    To clear up some confusion and in fairness to Robertson, I did the same thing with the oats/water, then when rereading the chapter, he does warn that oats absorb more water and when making oat porridge one will have to account for that (page 171, he probably should’ve stated that earlier, in the instructions). That aside, there are a few inconsistencies in the instructions in Tartine No. 3 – like when to incorporate the porridge. When in doubt, I go with what’s easier:) But either way, it’s a beautiful book and that is a beautiful loaf you made!

  • Omg, I think I need that book!

  • Kat

    Does “leaven” refer to starter?
    I have 100% hydration All Purpose sourdough starter.

    • Leaven is essentially the starter you put in your dough, simple answer is “yes”. For the Tartine loaf it’s quite specific because Chad Robertson uses a young leaven, usually only about 3-4 hours old compared to most starters being fed 8-12 hours when being used for leaven. You’ll often hear (or read) bakers refer to “building a leaven”, this is because it’s common to use a small amount of starter to make an entirely different yeast culture; changing the type of flour that’s fermented, the hydration level, or adding some form of enhancer like sugar or malt to adjust the activity of the yeast.