Easy brown bread with an oat topping recipe

Easy Brown Bread Recipe


5-6 hours


I made brown bread with a brand new recipe so decided to share it with you. Look at the steps I take to make a new recipe work for me and incorporate them into your baking. 

This recipe is a 40% wholemeal bread. It’s the perfect combination between light and wholesome,

I loved eating this bread, especially the oat topped crust - It's also much healthier than white!


    230g  Wholemeal bread flour

    350g  White bread flour

    380g  Cool water 

     20g  Cool water (seperated)

     10g   Salt

     11g   Fresh yeast

     17g   Salted butter

    Plus 2-3 handfuls of porridge oats to cover the top of the bread

Make this brown bread video tutorial


Weigh the ingredients

Weigh the ingredients and add the salt to the 20g of water. Give the water a whisk and set aside.


Begin the autolyse

Add both the flours to the 380g of water in a mixing bowl. Using a dough scraper, gently incorporate the ingredients until it forms one roughly mass (about 1-2 minutes). Cover and allow to rest for 1 hour.


Add the salt and yeast.

Uncover the dough. Add it to the bowl containing the salt water and crumble the yeast into the bowl.


Incorporate the ingredients

Gently incorporate the ingredients until it forms one mass (about 1-2 minutes). 


Slow knead the dough

Turn the dough out on a table and gently stretch it for 3-4 minutes until an even consistency is created,


Fast knead the dough

Set a timer for 5 minutes and start fast kneading the dough on the table as the video describes.


Add the butter

Lay the dough flat on the table and place the butter on the surface by breaking it into small flakes. Stretch and fold the sides over the dough and to help incorporate the butter gently knead for an minute before changing to a fast kneading technique. Continue kneading until the chunks of butter have dissolved into the dough.


Bulk fermentation

Put the dough back into the bowl, cover and leave to rest. If the dough is warm and sticky (use a temperature probe (+25C or 77F) to be precise) use the fridge, otherwise it can be left on the kitchen counter. Rest for 1 hour.


Stretch and fold

Remove the dough from the bowl and complete a stretch and fold. Just gently knead it for 30 seconds if you find this difficult.


Bulk fermentation continued

Return the dough straight back to the bowl, cover again and leave on a work surface for a further 60 - 90 minutes. The temperature of the dough now should be 25-28C (77- 83F). If it is much warmer, place the dough in the fridge for all (or part) of the bulk fermentation. If it's cooler, place in a warmer place.



The dough should be gassy and risen up about double the original size, give it a little bit longer if you need to. Place the dough on the table and pre-shape into a boule shape, pushing some of the air from the dough as you shape. Leave to rest for 10 minutes. 



Flatten the dough and shape it into a round shape again. Wet the dough with a water mister and roll it into the oats. Place the dough into a banneton with the oat side of the dough facing downwards. Cover loosely with a bag or large bowl and leave to rise.


Final proof 

Proof for 1 - 2 hours. Preheat the oven with a baking stone and a baking tray, just below to 250C (480F)


Cutting the bread

Once the dough has risen to the top of the basket and passes the poke test the dough is ready to go into the oven. Turn the dough out of the banneton onto a dusted peel. Using a bakers lame (or a serrated knife) I made a small cut in the middle of the bread. 



Place into the oven on top of the baking stone. Pour a small cup of boiling water from a kettle to the tray below or spray inside the oven with a water mister for a couple of seconds. 

Lower the temperature to 220C (430F) and bake for 30-45 minutes, opening the door after 20-25 minutes to release the steam. 


Testing if the bread is ready

After 35 minutes if the colour of the crust is nice and golden, remove from the oven. Give the bottom of the bread a tap with your finger. If it doesn't sound hollow, put the bread back on the baking for a few more minutes. 



Once you are happy that your bread is baked, take it out of the oven and leave to cool on a cooling rack for 3 -5 hours before tucking in.

Top tips for the best brown bread

Take a temperature reading at the end of kneading. If it is above 24C (75F) place the dough to rest in the fridge, if under this it should be keep on the worktop, providing the kitchen temperature is not excessively hot.

For a more uniform shape, final proof the bread till it pokes above the surface of the basket.

It is not necessary to cut wholemeal bread. The complex starches in the flour create a much less volatile oven spring than white bread flour. As this recipe is 40% wholemeal and 60% white, it's up to you whether you cut it or not!

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