Oat porridge sourdough bread has a custardy soft crumb and smidge of oat sweetness. Recipes for this bread abound throughout the baking world—there’s even one in the sourdough book Eric and I wrote—but they tend to use all or mostly all refined flour. You don’t see very many recipes that use only whole grain flour. The thought process behind this was, at least in our recipe, to compensate for the weight and gluten disruption of the oat porridge and keep the bread from being too dense.
Well, it turns out that an all whole grain flour oat porridge bread doesn’t have to be dense at all. In fact I even used butter and milk in the porridge, ingredients also known for slowing down gluten formation, and the dough was still fairly strong and the crumb open.
Deep crust color on this whole grain oat porridge sourdough bread
Tender, tasty, and fiber rich; delicious dipped in soup, for sandwiches, and toast
To achieve this relatively airy bread, I used a strong wheat variety, yecora rojo, and I let the gluten develop in the dough for a little over an hour before laminating in the porridge. The porridge was cooked with the milk and butter, rather than these ingredients being added to the dough. I followed up with a couple of rounds of stretching and folding, and this seemed to allow the dough and porridge to combine “just enough” so there were no big lumps of porridge, but the porridge wasn’t completely incorporated into the dough either, which would have disrupted the gluten structure.
Oat porridge is rolled into the dough, and further distributed during two rounds of stretching and folding
Small lumps of porridge visible during shaping
I used a mix of flaked oats and flaked wheat berries for the porridge because I have the new Mockbake Flakelovers Flaker and can flake almost any seed or grain. You can use only rolled oats for your porridge if you prefer. Moreover, you may want to make your porridge with water only and no butter and milk, which is also fine. Simply aim for the porridge consistency you see in the photo gallery after the recipe.
Fresh flaked oats
This bread isn’t particularly sweet apart from the slight nutty sweetness in the oats. I think adding a tablespoon of honey or maple syrup to the dough would be delicious. If you do this, then subtract 15 grams of the water in compensation. You can also reduce the light sourness of the bread’s flavor if you shorten the final proof by doing it all at room temperature, rather than doing an overnight refrigeration.
I baked this bread in Breadtopia’s Hearth Baker, which allows a dough to splay open as it bakes, but you can choose a different shape for your dough or a different baking vessel if you want one with side support (e.g. the Round Cloche or Oblong Baker). Making the dough a little dryer and proofing less will also result in a taller loaf but with a tighter crumb—a trade-off I didn’t want to make.
Whole Wheat Oat Porridge Sourdough Bread
Oat porridge brings a custardy tenderness to the texture of this 100% whole wheat sourdough bread. The slightly sweet oats are in harmony with the red wheat flavor of yecora rojo wheat, which has enough gluten strength to keep the bread airy despite being porridge heavy and whole grain all the way.
1 hour, 20 minutes
1 hour, 55 minutes
70g flaked oats and flaked yecora rojo wheat berries (3/4 cup flakes) Feel free to use all oats or combinations of other grains you prefer. I used 50g oats and 20g wheat berries.
14g unsalted butter (1 Tbsp)
165g milk (2/3 cup)
Optional Crust Coating
50g flaked oats (1/2 cup)
Melt the butter in a small sauce pan, add the flaked oats and wheat (or just flaked oats), and stir to combine.
Add the milk and cook on low heat for a few minutes.
Turn off the heat and leave the porridge covered to cool and absorb any remaining milk.
Mix together the flour and water until they are thoroughly combined. Cover and let sit for about an hour.
Mixing, Gluten Development, and Bulk Fermentation
Add the sourdough starter and salt to the dough by gently folding and kneading it in. Cover and let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
Laminate the dough to add the cooled porridge to it. The photo gallery below and a video in this article show how to laminate dough.
Do two rounds of gluten development with 30-minute rests in between. I recommend stretching and folding for both rounds to spread the porridge more evenly through the dough. Add more rounds if your oat porridge seems very clumpy after the second round.
Let the dough continue to rise for a few hours until it has increased in size by 60-70%. My dough fermented for a total of 5.5 hours in warm temps (low 80s) on a Raisenne dough heating pad. Depending on your starter strength and dough temperature, the first rise may be shorter or longer.
Shaping and Topping
Scrape your dough out of the bowl onto a lightly floured work surface.
Gently stretch the dough outward a bit and then shape it into a batard, boule, or oblong loaf depending on your proofing basket shape.
Evenly spread the 1/2 cup optional flaked oats on your work surface in the shape of the dough (round, oval, oblong). Brush or spray water on the top of your dough and flip it onto the oats to coat the dough surface. Then place the dough oat-side down in your proofing basket. Scoop up some of the extra oats and “drizzle” them down the edges of the dough to further coat it and prevent sticking.
Numerous proofing strategies are valid for this dough (and all doughs). I proofed at room temperature for 30 minutes, and then in the refrigerator for 12 hours. This increases the sourness of the bread a bit compared with shorter, all-room temperature proofing. I baked the dough straight from the refrigerator without warming it up first. If you want to proof the dough entirely at room temperature; 1-2 hours should be sufficient for the dough to rise 1-2 cm up the sides of the basket. (See the photo gallery below for target dough expansion.)
Preheat your oven and baking vessel to 500F for at least 30 minutes.
Flip the dough out of the proofing basket and onto a sheet of parchment paper or onto the base of your hot baking vessel.
Score the dough. This is easiest to do with scissors rather than trying to saw through the oats with a lame blade, then cover and return the vessel to the oven.
If your baking vessel is made of ceramic/clay, bake at:
500°F for 20 minutes, lid on
450°F for 5 minutes, lid on
450°F for 10 minutes, lid off
If your baking vessel is cast iron, bake at:
500°F for 15 minutes, lid on. At the 15-minute mark, place a baking sheet directly under the cast iron on the same shelf. This will prevent the base of the bread from burning.
450°F for 10 minutes, lid on
450°F for 10 minutes, lid off
When baking is complete, the bread should have an internal temperature of at least 205F and it should sound hollow when you knock on the bottom of the loaf.