Saturday, February 9, 2013

A New Kind of "Oat" Bread

I've wanted to make this recipe ever since I received Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads. I finally made it two weeks ago.

Oat Bran Broom Bread

My apologies; I forgot to take a shot of the crumb. However, it was quite a tight crumb...slightly tighter than the other sandwich bread's I've made, but I don't think it was as tight as the picture in Reinhart's book.

Recipe for Oat Bran Broom Bread (modified from original):
  • 184g whole wheat flour (medium to fine grind)
  • 28g Oat Bran (4tbsp)
  • 14g flax seeds (1.5tbsp)
  • 4g salt (1/2 tsp)
  • 198g water
Starter (or starter straight out of the jar if your starter is fairly vital and 75%)
  • 50g starter (100% hydration)
  • 177g whole wheat flour
  • 120g water
Final Dough:
  • All the soaker (429g)
  • All the starter (or 398g starter)
  • 56.5g whole wheat flour
  • 5g salt
  • 1tsp dry active yeast (3g)
  • 20 g water
  • 2 tbsp honey (42.5g)
  • 1 tbsp olive or vegetable oil
Day 1: 
  • Mix all of the ingredients for the soaker together in a bowl until they form a reasonably wet dough. Cover it with plastic wrap and let it sit for 12-24 hours. If it will be longer than that, place it in the refrigerator.
  • Mix all of the starter ingredients together and mix them until they form a fairly stiff dough. Knead for a minute or two in the bowl before covering with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 8-48 hours.
Day 2:
  • About 2 hours before mixing the final dough, take any refrigerated ingredients out of the refrigerator.
  • Chop or tare the soaker and the starter into pieces and dust them with the flour.
  • Hydrate the yeast in a cup or bowl (no need to make it bubble, just mix it with the water). Pour the hydrated yeast, the oil, and the honey over the dough. Mix with wet hands or with a spoon. If you don't like the stickiness, you can also slightly oil your hands. Add water or flour for adjustments-- due to the different protein content of whole wheat flours, you may need to adjust. The dough should be soft and slightly (but not very) sticky.
  • Knead the dough for about two minutes in the bowl.
  • Lightly flour your hands and a work surface with whole wheat flour. Coat the dough in flour and knead by hand for 3-4 minutes. Try to incorporates little flour. I found this step very frustrating. My hands got sticky and the dough didn't cooperate well, so I changed the next few steps from the book.
  • Put the dough in a clean bowl and do a stretch-and-fold. Do the stretch and folds with wet hands.
  • Wait 5 minutes and then do another stretch-and-fold.
  • Wait 10 minutes and do another stretch-and-fold.
  • Wait 10 minutes and do a final stretch-and-fold. By this point, the gluten should be adequately developed.
  • Let the dough rise under plastic wrap for about 2 hours at 75 degrees F.
  • After the 2 hours, turn the dough onto a floured surface.
  • Gently stretch it out into a rectangle and roll it up; then seal the seem.
  • Place it seem-side down into a loaf pan (I tend to spray my loaf pans with oil and then lightly flour them so the dough doesn't stick, but this might be overkill).
  • Let the dough rise for another 2 hours in the loaf pan.
  • 30 minutes before you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. If you would like to bake under steam, prepare whatever you will use for steam (this is not really necessary, but I baked it under steam).
  • When ready to bake, turn the oven down to 350 degrees F and place it in the oven for 20 minutes. At the 20 minute mark, take off the steam (if you chose to use it), and rotate the pan 180 degrees. Then bake for another 20 minutes (so 40 minutes altogether).
  • Check the loaf to make sure it's at least 190 degrees F.
  • Transfer the bread to a cooling rack and cool for at least 1 hours before slicing and serving.

Review of Oat Bran Broom Bread: 3 Stars
One of the things that really bothers me about this book is that Reinhart puts absolutely absurd amounts of yeast in everything. It's really unnecessary and it doesn't give the dough the time to develop that wonderful flavor. With bread, quick and delicious very rarely coincide (except maybe with sourdough crumpets). So I slowed this bread down. But even then, it didn't have the flavor I wanted. I need to play with the recipe.

Furthermore, the bread doesn't taste anything like oats. The oat bran in it is minimal. I've decided I will rewrite the recipe and try again.


  1. Replies
    1. Breakfast, mostly. I usually have a slice of whole-grain or mostly whole-grain toast with almond butter, half a cup of yogurt, and a cup of tea. Not very creative. But I think I also had an open-face sandwich with cheddar, grilled chicken, and lettuce.