Today is World Bread Day, and Zorra is hosting submissions from all over the world. For those of us who love to bake bread, this is an exciting event because we get to see a bevy of breads that inspire us for months to come.
I decided to try my hand at an Irish Porridge and Oatmeal Bread from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking: Delicious Recipes Using Nutritious Whole Grains. This bread fascinated me because it used both steel cut oats that I had to soak overnight, and old-fashined rolled oats, not to mention powdered milk and vital wheat gluten.
When the dough was rising, my husband asked me what I was making that had beer (!) in it. No beer, but the earthy aroma of the bread filled the kitchen. The result was a dense, flavorful, toasting bread that’s great with butter and a cup of tea. I would not recommend this bread for sandwiches, though; the texture is wrong for that.
After experimenting with the bread for a bit, I have some tips. First, if you have a baking stone, set the loaf pan on the stone. Second, preheat your oven a good 30 minutes (at least) before baking. Why? My first loaf, even after an hour in the oven, was a bit raw in the middle! I realized that I had been too busy to preheat my oven as long as I usually do, and when I make dense loaves, I usually shape them into boules or batards and bake them directly on the stone. Thus, no rawness.
Be sure to check Zorra’s blog for a roundup of breads on October 24-25. This bread has been Yeastspotted! Recipe after the jump.
Irish Porridge Bread
Adapted from a recipe in King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking: Delicious Recipes Using Nutritious Whole Grains
1-3/4 cups water (14 oz.)
2/3 cup (3-3/4 oz.) Irish oats (steel cut)
1/4 cup (1-7/8 oz.) packed light or dark brown sugar
4 Tbsp. (2 oz.) unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
1-1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup (3-1/2 oz.) old fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup (1 oz. wheat germ)
2 Tbsp. (5/8 oz.) vital wheat gluten
2 cups (8-1/2 oz.) unbleached bread flour
1/4 cup (1 oz.) nonfat dry milk
2 tsp. instant yeast
The night before you plan to make the bread, stir together the Irish steel cut oats and water, cover, and let sit out over night.
Next day, transfer the oats and water to a small saucepan, and simmer until the oats are tender – they should not be mush and still have some bite to them. Simmer until thick and and the water is absorbed, about 15-20 minutes. Stir in brown sugar, salt, and butter, stirring until butter melts. Cover and let sit until it reaches room temperature, about an hour.
In a stand mixture, combine the remaining ingredients with the steel cut oat mixture and knead until you have a soft, smooth dough that’s a bit tacky. Cover and allow dough to rise until it is puffy and nearly doubled, between 1 to 2 hours. This will really depend on the heat in your kitchen.
Lightly grease an 8-1/2 by 4-1/2-inch loaf pan. Gently deflate the dough, shape it into a 8 inch log, and place in the pan. Cover with grease plastic rise and let rise in a warm place until the loaf crests about 1-1/2 inches about the edge of the pan, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Keep an eye on this, because you should start preheating your oven about 30 minutes before the loaf is ready to bake.
Preheat oven to 375 F, and if you have a baking stone, it’s a good idea to use it with this dense bread. When loaf is ready, place it in the oven on the stone, and drop heat to 350 F. Bake for about 35-40 minutes and check the bread. If it’s getting too dark, tent with foil and continue to bake until a thermometer inserted in the center of the loaf registers 190 F. When done, remove loaf from oven, wait about 5 minutes, then remove it from the pan to a cooling rack. Cool bread at least an hour before slicing, or it may fall apart.
Makes one loaf.