This bread was inspired by our recent trip to Scotland. Despite going in the middle of the summer, porridge was a perfect breakfast for taking off the morning chill. Unlike oatmeal in the US, Scottish porridge is made with whole grain oats, giving their porridge a pleasant, uneven texture.
I also love oatmeal bread, and was looking for a way to mimic Scottish porridge in a bread. This bread does that. Using ingredients that are likely in most pantries (or at least in the pantries of breadmakers), this loaf has a soft crust and a perfect crumb. It toasts well for breakfast, or makes excellent late-summer tomato sandwiches. It also freezes well, if you happen to need more than a few days to eat a load of fresh bread.
Finally, this recipe is adapted from a British recipe, so please pardon the mix of US and metric units. I use a mixer for this recipe, but it's also easy enough to make by hand.
(Makes 1 loaf)
50 grams rolled oats (not instant or quick cooking)
1 tablespoon wheat germ
1 tablespoon wheat bran
2/3 cup (150 mL) milk
400 grams bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoon yeast
2 tablespoons honey
4 tablespoons milk
1 cup (250 mL) water
- In a food processor, process the oats for about 2 seconds. The oats should be in large pieces, not turned into flour. Bring 2/3 cup of milk to a boil. Stir in the oats, wheat germ, and wheat bran and turn the heat off. This mixture will be very thick.
- When the porridge has cooled (this is critical to not kill the yeast), put the flour, salt, yeast, porridge, and honey in the bowl of your mixer. Blend these together using the dough hook.
- Add the water and remaining 4 tablespoons of milk. Knead at medium-high speed for five minutes, until the dough is smooth and shiny. When it's kneaded enough, you should be able to stretch it a few inches. The dough will be wet, but firm.
- Cover the dough and let it rise for about an hour, or until it's doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Butter a 6 by 11 inch bread pan.
- When the dough has doubled in size, turn it onto a floured countertop. Press the dough into a rectangle that's roughly 8 by 11 inches.
- Picking up an 11 inch side, fold one-third of the dough onto itself, then fold the remaining third over the top. Pinch the seam together.
- Put the dough into the pan seam side down. Let it rise again for about 30 minutes, until it just reaches the top of the tin and the finger dent test is positive. (Press your finger into the dough. It should bounce back slowly and incompletely.)
- Bake for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, turn the temperature down to 375 degrees. Bake for another 25 minutes, until the interior of the bread reaches 200 degrees.
- Turn onto a wire rack and let it cool (if you can) before slicing.