Oat Porridge Bread

By • December 11, 2013 • 38 Comments


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Author Notes: For Tartine Book No. 3, I explore ancient and heritage grains as a means to maximize flavor. I fermented, smoked, cooked, and sprouted grains in an attempt to accentuate their inherent flavors while retaining Tartine's signature style loaves. Rolled oats seemed the most straightforward place to begin exploring the idea of porridge-style breads. It was the first one we tried before moving on to seemingly more interesting ideas. But the rich, sweet flavor of the oats, coupled with the exceptionally moist, custardy crumb imparted by the cooked grain, have made this one of our signature breads.Chad Robertson

Makes 2 loaves

Starter and Leaven

  • 625 grams white bread flour
  • 625 grams whole wheat bread flour
  • Slightly warm water
  1. Mix the flours to make 1250 grams of 50/50 flour blend. Use this blend to feed your culture and develop your starter.
  2. To make your starter, in a medium bowl, place 300 grams of slightly warm (80 to 85° F, 26 to 29° C) water. Add 315 grams of flour blend (reserve the remaining flour blend), and mix with your hand or a wooden spoon to combine until the mixture is free of any dry bits. Cover the mixture with a clean, dry kitchen towel or cheesecloth and let stand at warm room temperature until bubbles start to form around the sides and on the surface, about 2 days. It’s important to maintain a warm temperature. Let stand another day to allow fermentation to progress a bit. More bubbles should form. This is your starter. It will smell acidic and slightly funky. At this stage it’s time to train your starter into a leaven by feeding it fresh flour and water at regular intervals.
  3. Feed the starter: Transfer 75 grams of the starter to a clean bowl and discard the remainder of the starter. To the 75 grams of starter, add 150 grams of the 50/50 flour blend and 150 grams warm (80 to 85°F, 26 to 29°C) water. Mix to combine; it should have the consistency of pancake batter. Repeat this feeding process once every 24 hours at the same time of day, always transferring 75 grams of the starter to a clean bowl and discarding the remainder, then adding the flour and water and re-covering the bowl with a clean, dry kitchen towel after each feeding and letting the mixture stand at warm room temperature. The batter should start to rise and fall consistently throughout the day after a few days of feedings. As the starter develops, the smell will change from ripe and sour to sweet and pleasantly fermented, like yogurt. Once this sweet lactic character is established and the fermentation (the regular rise and fall of the batter) is predictable, a few days to one week, it’s time to make the leaven from this mature starter.
  4. Leaven is the portion of prefermented flour and water that will go into your final dough and raise the whole mass during the bulk (first) and final rises. Two days before you want to make bread, feed the matured starter twice daily, once in the morning and once in the evening (the process described above) to increase fermentation activity. When you are ready to make the dough, discard all but 1 tablespoon of the matured starter. To the remaining 1 tablespoon, add 200 grams of the 50/50 flour blend and 200 grams warm (80 to 85°F, 26 to 29°C) water. This is your leaven. Cover and let rest at moderate room temperature for 4 to 6 hours.
  5. To test the leaven’s readiness, drop a spoonful into a bowl of room temperature water. If it sinks, it is not ready and needs more time to ripen. When it floats on the surface or close to it, it’s ready to use to make the dough.
  6. To maintain the leaven for regular use, continue feeding daily as described above. To save leaven for long periods without use, add enough flour to make a dry paste and keep covered in the refrigerator. When you want to use it again, keep at warm room temperature for at least 2 days and do three to four feedings to refresh and reduce the acid load that builds up while it is stored in the refrigerator.

Oat Porridge Bread

  • 500 grams high-extraction wheat flour
  • 500 grams medium-strong wheat flour
  • 70 grams wheat germ
  • 750 grams water
  • 150 grams leaven
  • 25 grams fine sea salt
  • 500 grams cooked oat porridge, cooled
  • 200 grams almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped (optional)
  • 50 grams almond oil (optional)
  • Coarsely chopped oat flakes (rolled oats) for coating (optional)
  1. To make the dough/premix, in a large mixing bowl, combine the flours and wheat germ. In a second, large mixing bowl, add 700 grams of water. Add the leaven to the water and stir to disperse. Add the flour mixture to the liquid-leaven mixture and stir to combine until no dry bits remain. Cover and let the premix rest for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours to hydrate during this rest period, taking care to keep the mixture where it is at warm room temperature. After autolyse (or the rest), add the salt and the remaining 50 grams of slightly warm water, folding the dough on top of itself to incorporate.
  2. For the bulk rise, transfer the dough to a medium bowl and keep covered to maintain a warm dough temperature of 80 to 85° F (26 to 29° C) to accomplish the first rising time, 3 to 4 hours. During the bulk rise, the dough is developed by folding and turning it in the container. Fold the dough every 30 minutes for the first 2 1/2 hours of bulk rising. To do a fold, dip one hand in water, grab the underside of the dough, stretch it out, and fold it back over itself. Rotate the container one-quarter turn and repeat three to four times. When you are folding the dough, note its temperature to the touch and how the dough is becoming aerated and elastic. Fold in the cooked oat porridge, almonds, and almond oil gently by hand after the first two series of turns, about 1 hour into the bulk rise. After 3 hours and six foldings, the dough should feel aerated, billowy, and softer. You will see a 20 to 30 percent increase in volume. If not, continue bulk rising for 30 minutes to 1 hour longer.
  3. When the dough is 20 to 30 percent increased in volume, billowy, and elastic, remove it from the container with a dough spatula. We don’t “punch” the dough down tode-gas at Tartine. We strengthen the dough by using gentle folds and turns. As flavor develops during the first rising, it is key to preserve that flavorful gas built up within the dough until the bread is baked. Lightly flour the top surface of the dough and cut into two pieces using the dough spatula. Work each piece gently into a round by drawing the spatula around the side of the dough in a circular motion. Surface tension builds as the dough anchors to the surface while you rotate and work it. Again, take care to work the dough gently to preserve the flavorful gasses that have formed during fermentation. When well shaped, the dough should have a taut, smooth surface.
  4. For the bench rest, lightly flour the tops of the rounds, cover with a kitchen towel, and let rest on the work surface for 20 to 30 minutes. Line two medium baskets or bowls with clean, dry kitchen towels and dust generously with a 50/50 mixture of any wheat and rice flours. Starchy rice flour (whether white or brown) is more absorbent than wheat flour and keeps the dough from sticking to the cloth-lined rising basket. Tapioca flour can also be used.
  5. For the final shaping, slip the dough spatula under each piece of dough and flip it, floured-side down. Pull the bottom of the dough up to fold into one-third of the round. Pull each side and fold over the center to elongate the dough vertically. Fold the top down to the center and then fold the bottom up over the top fold-down, leaving the seam underneath. Let the dough rest for a few minutes, seam-side down, so that the seam seals.
  6. For the final rising, transfer the dough to the floured baskets, flipping the dough over so that the seam-side is facing up and centered. Coat the loaf with the cracked oat flakes by rolling the smooth side of the dough in the coating before transferring it to the floured rising baskets, placing the dough coated-side down, seam-side up. Cover with a clean, dry kitchen towel and let rise at warm room temperature for 3 to 5 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
  7. Twenty minutes before you are ready to bake the bread, preheat the oven to 500°F (260°C), adjust the oven rack to its lowest position, and place a 9 ½-in/24-cm round cast-iron Dutch oven, 11-inch oval cast-iron Dutch oven, or any other heavy ovenproof pot with a tight-fitting lid into the oven to preheat (with its lid on). Carefully transfer one dough round into the pre-heated Dutch oven, tipping it out of the basket into the pot so it is now seam-side down. Score the top of the dough with a razor blade or cut with scissors. Cover the pot and return to the oven. After 20 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 450°F (230°C). Bake another 10 minutes, then carefully remove the lid (a cloud of steam will be released). Continue to bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, until the crust is a deep golden brown. When it’s done, turn the baked loaf out onto a wire rack to cool. To bake the second loaf, raise the oven temperature to 500°F (260°C), wipe out the Dutch oven with a dry kitchen towel, and reheat with the lid on for 15 minutes. Repeat the baking procedure as with the first loaf.

Comments (38) Questions (0)

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Sara_clevering

about 1 month ago sarabclever

This is one of my favorite breads from the cookbook so far--perfect for my morning toast!

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3 months ago Jef

Any idea of what the internal temperature of the bread should be? I just made this for the first time and long the flavor but I think it needed a bit longer to bake… a little damp on the inside still. It certainly looked done and sounded hollow at the time I pulled it out but I guess I should have given it a bit longer. Sometimes I'll check the internal temp if I'm not sure.

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3 months ago Mike

I think they should reach 212F, the boiling point.

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3 months ago Cindy @ Elgin Harvest

This is my second attempt with the oat porridge bread. Although my crust could be darker, and it hasn't even cooled down enough for me to rip into, I absolutely love the outcome of this bread. My first attempt was a heavy albeit delicious cake. Can't wait to attempt my next loaf! http://imgur.com/ZmRLUVW

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4 months ago italiancowboy

Hello!
Question about the starter activity. I am about a week in, doing regular feedings and keeping things between 80 and 85 degrees. The starter smells great, and I do get some bubble activity and some rise (from about 300ml to 350ml on the glass measuring cup where I'm keeping the starter).
The question is whether this sound like enough rise to start converting it to the actual leaven. My fear is that there is not enough power to eventually leaven a whole loaf.
Congratulations on a beautiful book.

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4 months ago rynnybit

for anyone who might be reluctant to throw away starter/leaven, I imagine some of the recipes at http://www.kingarthurflour... might come in handy :)

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4 months ago Tanya Hammond

I have the book and am just making the Buckwheat bread with toasted groats. Looking good as it bakes... It has undergone it's final rising in the fridge. Would you let it sit at room temperature prior to baking for any length of time after this??

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4 months ago Chad Robertson

Home refrigerators are colder than the temperatures one would normally keep doughs rising overnight so yes- I'd recommend leaving the dough out at cool room temp for 2-4 hours to take the chill off and let rise longer (at very cold fridge temps- fermentation is severely slowed). You'll get a more open texture as well as more flavor development in the final loaf this way.

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4 months ago Isabela Moraes

I noticed the baking temperature is higher than for your country loaf, and the baking time is longer. Is it because of the porridge or just to get a darker loaf? (Thanks for such an awesome book! Just got it a few days ago.)

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4 months ago ileanah

I don't see any yeast on the recipe. Forgive my ignorance, but am I missing somenting?

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4 months ago Winifred Ryan

The starter provides all the yeast you need. That's why it's so important to have a healthy, strong starter. I've just gone through a week of developing one that's come on quite nicely. It's also probably why bakers became important in so many communities: not everyone wanted or had the time and talent to maintain a good starter and a good wood oven in days gone by.

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4 months ago Demington

Would love tips on creating a "warm room" climate in a cool house and wintry clime. No expensive couche needed if you have a canvas for rolling pie dough and use rice flour. Breads pop out even after rising slowly (in cool house) for a number of hours. I suspect the rice flour technique also works with dish towels. To keep bread from becoming too dark on the bottom, put cornmeal in bottom of Dutch oven before adding bread, and put covered oven on two cookie sheets (stacked one on top of the other). Please, Amanda and Merrill, more practical, trouble-shooting techniques!

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4 months ago Chad Robertson

You could put a pot of boiling water in a home oven (with the oven off) to make a warm chamber. But if you're in a serious winter climate and your house is cool, I'd recommend mixing the dough very warm (around 85 degrees), keep it as warm as possible for the first 2-3 hours, and then just let it cool down to rise overnight. Bake the next day. The other tips you mention are great! And yes- rice flour works well with dish towels too.

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4 months ago DerekB

In choosing the 4+ hour autolyse, would you then reserve the leaven until after this period to incorporate?
I have had trouble with porridge breads since the polenta bread from Tartine Bread. The flavor is great, the crumb webbing is tight, not opening at all. Should I just keep folding the dough over the porridge, or should I pinch and cut the dough to get it to incorporate?
Thanks for any advice in advance!

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4 months ago Chad Robertson

Yes- definitely reserve the leaven until after the 4 hour autolyse and then incorporate. Take care to try and keep the dough from cooling down too much during the autolyse- try to hold in a relatively warm place (unless you plan to let a cooler dough rise overnight). When I'm incorporating porridge by hand, I tend to dip my hands in water and then pinch and cut the porridge into the dough.

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4 months ago Angela Brown

This recipe is certainly ambitious, but it will be the perfect project for the next snow day spent at home. The photo of the finished bread is beautiful, too. I'm looking forward to checking out the new book, Chad. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

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4 months ago Chad Robertson

Enjoy, Angela. Let me know how it goes.

Monkeys

4 months ago monkeymom

Is there any problem with adding the porridge earlier? I find it is a little difficult to work the porridge into the slightly risen mixture during the bulk rise. Will adding it before doing the folds interfere with the gluten formation? The bread I am getting is wonderfully moist and delicious but lacks larger holes in the crumb. Thank you!

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4 months ago Chad Robertson

You definitely want to develop the dough structure a bit before adding the porridge - this is key to getting that open texture you are after. I would recommend starting your folds a bit earlier and more frequently so you can develop the dough more quickly, and then get the porridge worked-in before the dough starts to rise too much. There is little danger in overworking the dough if you're mixing by hand, and more frequently turning early in the process. Hope this helps.

Monkeys

4 months ago monkeymom

I modified as you suggested and did get much nicer structure - some big holes! We are in love with the porridge breads. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe and knowledge! I can't wait to get the Tartine 3 book for x-mas!

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4 months ago Deb Tedford

What are the details for the oat porridge? How much water, what type of oats? The hydration of the porridge is probably important in the bread. By the way, I love the Tartine country loaf - I make it all the time - can't stop. My family is spoiled! Thanks so much.

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4 months ago Chad Robertson

We typically use about 2 to 1 water to oats by weight for cooking. You can use rolled oats which cook faster, or cracked whole oat groats which will take longer to cook. Just cook until the oat porridge is pretty standard porridge consistency and then spread out to cool on a sheet pan or wooden board before adding to the dough. Thanks for your kind words- glad you are making bread!

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4 months ago Mike

I've been making ww loaves (and others) from the Tartine Bread book for about 6 months now with great success, this is after 6 or 7 years of Jim Lahey's no-knead bread. The wild starter worked on the first try, and it's been easy to maintain. And, I've found a great local (Chicago area) source for wheat/flour.
My wife ordered a copy of Book No. 3 for me for Christmas, and I'm excited to see what you've come up with! Thank you, Chad!

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4 months ago Vysherwood

Hi- could you tell me your source for flour? I live in Chicago and was just wondering where to get these specialty flours… Thanks!

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4 months ago Mike

I buy wheat berries and mill my own flour. Breslin Farms is southwest of the city, and their organic wheat/dried bean products can be found at farmers markets and other small stores. http://breslinfarms.com...

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4 months ago Chad Robertson

So glad you're baking bread! Enjoy the book!

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4 months ago Willamette

Can you comment on the easiest way for a home baker to obtain a high-extraction flour, or a reasonable substitute? In the past for other recipes I have sieved a coarsely ground whole wheat flour, but I have only done this successfully with one particular brand that is readily available nationwide. Other brands are too finely ground. Do you have other suggestions? Thanks, and thank you for the detailed formula for this very interesting sounding bread!

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4 months ago virion

This is explained in the book Tartine No 3. High extraction flour seems to be whole grain flour that is sifted to remove the bran. This can be done at home.

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4 months ago Chad Robertson

Willamette - I often direct people to this site http://www.thefreshloaf... and check it myself when I have questions like this. You'll find many excellent bakers posting a ton of knowledge here - lots of it geared towards making professional quality breads in a home kitchen and how to find the best tools to accomplish this. Best of luck working with the porridge breads!

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4 months ago virion

Is there a version of this that uses bakers yeast rather than levain? Porridge bread sounds great but, the levain involves not only a fair amount of waste, but it seems that it uses ambient environmental yeast. That can vary from place to place and season to season. Perhaps using regular yeast would be a way to standardize and perhaps make it safer for us novices.

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4 months ago Chad Robertson

Hi there - One could definitely use bakers yeast, but the outcome will have quite different flavors and keeping quality, and the way that the wild yearst and lactobacteria work together to leaven the dough (using a natural leaven) makes the final loaf of resulting bread much more easy to digest. Studies over recent years have shown that the microbiology of natural leavened breads around the world vary less according to place and relate more to the time and temperatures (feeding schedules and holding temperatures), and the flour types (whole grain wheat, rye, etc.) with which the cultures are maintained.

A recipe like Jim Lahey's no kneed bread is the most effective and simple way to get a decent loaf of bread at home, but the extra steps involved with making a natural leaven are worth a try. In the end, making a natural leaven doesn't require much direct working time, just some patience.

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4 months ago virion

Thanks for the explanation. Since the microbiota comes from the grain and not the environment, it makes sense now. My copy of Tartine No 3 arrived yesterday. The details in the book do a great job of answering my questions. I look forward to trying these innovative breads. Thank you again.

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4 months ago Alice Rose

That's a lot of discarding.

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4 months ago Felicia M

I'm wondering about that too. Is there a reason why we have to discard so much of it instead of just using 75g of flour in the first place?

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4 months ago Chad Robertson

Hi Felicia - You could use a smaller amount, but the tiny amounts tend to cool down quickly. The most important thing is to keep the temperature ambient warm (between 75-82 deg F) in the early stages to kick start the fermentation. Best to use a nonconductive container and keep it in a warm place covered with cheesecloth or a kitchen towel.

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4 months ago Chad Robertson

Hi Alice - The initial discarding is due to the nature of making a natural leaven over the first few days: it usually takes a few days for the wild yeast and bacteria to settle into a dominant culture, stabilize, and become predictable as it cycles through stages. Any fermenting food stuff we discard goes into the compost bin. If the amount you are discarding smells pleasantly fermented and slightly sour, you could keep it in the fridge for a day or two and use it to make sourdough pancakes or waffles.

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4 months ago cookbookchick

70 grams W(heat) germ?

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4 months ago CelliSean

Wow! It's going to be a long time before I bake using this recipe, but it's wonderfully well written. I appreciate the theory, explanation and specificity in sourdough and baking. Can't wait for the opportunity to give this a try!