While trying to reduce my processed food consumption, I’ve taken to adding a handful of oats to my breakfast bowl. I really like the flavour of uncooked oats as well as our Sunday morning porridge with fruit or honey from my bees. I really enjoy eating them and it’s a real bonus that they do lots of good things from strengthening our immune systems to reducing our cholesterol.

An ingredient like that needs to be used more and although I have used oats to top my loaves, I haven’t done very well when incorporating them into the dough, so I asked Vanessa to take a further look at oats as an ingredient and how to make the most of them in a sourdough loaf.

PS. Did you hear our Vanessa Kimbell on last Sunday’s BBC Radio 4 Food Programme, The Grain Divide? Part 2 is coming up this Sunday lunchtime. If not you can catch it on the BBC iplayer?

Oat grains are a wonderfully nutritious food. They are high in carbohydrates and contain about 17% protein, only 7.5% fat and they are a source of calcium, iron, and vitamin B1.

The proteins in oats are not glutinous. Being a gluten free cereal means that you cannot make bread with just oats – add salt and water and some yeast to oats and you’ll get a yeasty porridge. So to bake bread with them you need to replace between 10 and 20% of your flour with oats, use good quality strong flour and that way your bread gets a decent rise.

Oats do not have a huge affect on the taste of the bread. It is perhaps a little sweeter, but they do soften the crumb. In this recipe I have soaked the oats in my sourdough starter the night before. The natural fermentation helps breakdown the oats making them more digestible which then allows us to access more of the micronutrients. You can if you want add a tablespoon of natural yoghurt to this preferment, which will soften the dough a little more and add a slight lactic tang.

See my recipe for Oat Sourdough Boule here.

Jumbo Rolled Oats

Jumbo rolled oats are an excellent cereal for toppings on breads and rolls and are perfect for many uses in the kitchen such as porridge, meat loaf and biscuits. Why not just add a handful to your bowl of cereal, or mixed in to yogurt?

Bordelaise Professional Lame or Grignette

Slashing patterns in your dough needs a grignette. Ordinary kitchen knives tend to drag across the dough or tear. Start using a grignette, as used by baking professionals across the world. BakeryBits is the UK distributor for Mure & Peyrot bakery knives: the number 1 in the market.

Type “00” flour

Type "00" flour from strong organic wheat suitable for ciabatta, baguettes, brioches, croissants and as a general bread flour.

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