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:
- 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.
- 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.
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:
- 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.
- I omitted the wheat germ as I didn’t have any on hand.
- 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?
- 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
|Baker’s %||Ingredient||1000g. Loaf|
- 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.
- Allow porridge to cool before adding to final dough.
|Baker’s %||Ingredient||1000g. Loaf|
|25.00||Whole Wheat Flour||103.00|
- Combine the flours, leaven and water(holding back 50g.) in a bowl with hands. Desired dough temperature: 76F. Autolyse for 30 mins.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Pre-shape the dough into a boule and let rest 30 mins.
- Final shape the dough into a boule, roll in oats and place seam side up in a basket dusted in rice/bread flour.
- 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!
- Preheat your oven and a dutch oven(I use this Combo Cooker)
- 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.
- Allow bread to cool for at least an hour before trying to slice. This bread is pretty delicate inside initially.
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!
Submitted to Yeastspotting.