/ Easy Brown Bread With An Oat Topping Recipe

Easy Brown Bread With An Oat Topping Recipe

I made this brand new brown bread recipe so decided to share it with you. This recipe is a 40% wholemeal bread. It’s the perfect combination between light and wholesome. Using wholemeal flour is a great way to keep eating bread whilst staying healthy. I loved eating this bread, especially the oat topped crust – It’s also much better for me than ordinary white bread!

Look at the steps I take to make a new recipe work for me and incorporate them into your baking. This recipe makes 1 large brown cob and takes around 5 hours to make.

What you need to make easy brown bread

To make this bread, you’ll need the following equipment:

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Using a thermometer will help you with controlling proofing times. For accurate dough temperature readings try this thermometer from Gdealer.

What if I don’t have a baking stone?

A baking stone conducts heat into the loaf. Using one increases the height of the oven spring and helps to give an even bake on the base of the loaf. If you don’t have a baking stone, preheat the thickest baking sheet that you have.

Can I use a dutch oven to make this recipe?

Yes, if you would rather use a dutch oven to make this brown bread recipe you won’t need to add steam to the oven. Simply preheat the dutch oven and drop the dough inside on a sheet of parchment paper to bake. If you are looking to get a dutch oven, I recommend getting this one from Challenger.

Brown Bread recipe

Ingredients 

For the dough:

  • 230g  Wholemeal bread flour
  • 350g  White bread flour
  • 380g  Cool water 
  • 20g  Cool water (separate)
  • 10g   Salt
  • 11g   Fresh yeast (5 grams dried active yeast)
  • 17g   Salted butter
  • Plus 2-3 handfuls of porridge oats to cover the bread

Yeast conversion for instant or dried yeast

If using instant yeast, divide the amount of fresh yeast used by 3 and follow the same method as fresh yeast. Active dried yeast needs to be activated before use. In this case, remove 20 grams of the 1st water addition from the recipe. Prepare the autolyse by adding the 1st water (minus the 20 grams) and flour together. 10 minutes before the yeast and water are to be added, Warm 20 grams of water in a small bowl or jar to 35C (95F) – no higher. Add the yeast with a teaspoon of sugar, whisk and leave to bloom. 

After 10 minutes, add the yeasty water to the dough along with the salt and kneading can begin.

Changing the size of the recipe

This recipe makes 1 large cob. If you want to change the size of the recipe, use the bakers formula.

How to make easy brown bread

1) Weigh the ingredients

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

2) 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.

3) Add the salt and yeast

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

4) Incorporate the ingredients

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

5) 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.

6) Fast knead the dough

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

7) 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.

8) Bulk fermentation

Put the dough back into the bowl, cover and leave to rest. 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. Rest for 1 hour.

9) 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.

10) 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.

11) Preshaping

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.

12) Shaping

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.

13) Final proof 

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

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

14) 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.

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!

15) Baking

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.

16) 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. 

17) Cooling

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.

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Nutritional information per loaf

Calories: 2230kcal | Carbohydrates: 422g | Protein: 75g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Fiber: 36g | Sugar: 7g | Calcium: 89mg | Iron: 19mg

Other bread recipes to try:

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