The Wood-Fired Blog

Some Over-Hydrated (But Good Tasting) Whole Wheat Oat Bread

I took a second attempt at the “shoot from the hip” whole wheat oatmeal loaves, and learned a couple of useful lessons—or more accurately, I re-enforced a couple of lessons that I should already know. For example, in order to make my baking as accurate as I would like it to be, I need to be consistent in weighing my ingredients, and I need to learn how to manage some new ingredients.

So while my previous Whole Wheat Oat loaf was a big success, today’s bread was seriously over hydrated, and because of the way I made it, and I can’t really tell what the hydration level was. Why? Because I mixed grams and cups (again). I guess it’s time to do the math before I do this recipe again. Here’s the formula:

350 grams/70% whole wheat
150 grams/30% white whole wheat
10 grams/2% salt
5 grams/1% yeast
20 grams/4% olive oil
25 grams/5% molasses
300 grams/60% water
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup of boiling water

I mixed all of the flour and bread ingredients, and then separately mixed the oats and boiling water. After the oats cooled, I add them to the dough and kneaded it on KitchenAid 3 for 8 minutes. The result was a dough puddle that did not hold its shape as a dough ball. I folded it 6 times to try to give it a little structure and decided to just go ahead without adjusting the flour. What the heck.

After a one hour proof, I shaped two boules and put them in baskets to proofs — adding extra flour so they would not stick. Well, they still stuck. And they were so wet that I couldn’t even score the loaves; and I ended up using scissors.

Then, to add insult in injury, I baked the loaves on a baking sheet (forget using my pizza oven, I didn’t even use my pizza stone) in my convection oven. hahahaha.

It was interesting. The combination of the oats, the extremely moist dough and the bad baking environment created a couple of boules with a soft, almost tender crust. Almost like a quick bread—such as banana bread. Or ciabatta meets miche to create an unusual offspring.

But for what the bread lacked in good looks and crust, it somewhat made up those shortcomings with its good flavor and moist crumb. For a 100% whole wheat loaf, it was light and air, the crumb structure was good, and it was easy to enjoy. It makes great toast and in interesting bruschetta.

I’m not saying I would do it again; and I am committed to learning how to bake with oats using baker’s percentages—but it was a worthy experiment.




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